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posted Feb 15, 2011, 6:31 PM by Ethan Shirley
Yesterday we (Elder and I) ventured to Fiao's ranch in the heat of the day to get some more cigarettes for Elder.  We got more than we bargained for -- we arrived just as Fiao, Fatima and Livia were butchering a cow.  FRESH MEAT.  No more dried beef.

They generously donated a piece of meat to our cause, and we returned.  I joked that we should do a churrasco, with an outdoor fire to cook the meat.  I didn't realize the irony of this comment until later....  

We walked back and I made myself a luxury meal of steak with unripe papaya French fries and caramelized onions.  It was easily one of the best meals of my life.  I joked that the meat was so good that we could almost just eat it raw.

I continued working on the roof in until about 8:00PM, when it is "wanting to" get dark (a Portuguese expression meaning something like 'about to').  Elder came running over around seven, after I had told him that I'd let him cook this evening.  We exchanged swear-words (casual greetings), and then he told me: "Ethan I have some more good news."


"We're out of gas.  And water.  And the beans went bad, so we're out of beans."

We made a fire, instead of eating the meat raw, and had ourselves a true churrasco.  He thought the beef tasted funny, though I detected nothing amiss.  In the morning today, it appeared that the beef had already gone bad.  Things go sour quickly when there is no working freezer.

Today I had two fried eggs on rice for lunch.  Eduardo is set to come tomorrow, bringing fun stuff like gas and tomato sauce, and, hopefully, more dried beef that I will sooner throw to the vultures than eat myself.  

The mortaring is going slowly.  I'm working on the roof, which has proven problematic -- the roof monitor wasn't designed to be easy to monkey around with, and i'm trying to put acabamento and mosquito netting up around it; but sealing it against bugs is not easy and mortar dries quickly in the summer sun (which is set to be directly overhead here in another couple weeks), which causes it to be weak and difficult to work with.

It hasn't rained in a week or so, which means it's hotter than hell here and the mosquitoes continue to be relentless.  It also means that potable water is scarce.  The well water here is brown from iron, which doesn't come out in the filter.  Rainwater is clear, and cleaner still after filtration.  We've been drinking filtered rainwater until now.  We have to hope that it'll rain soon again to get more potable stuff.

After this roof stuff is done, there are a couple menial tasks, then the bathrooms, which require both reboco and floors and will thus take two days each at least.  Hopefully I'll be done in a week.