Thursday, October 2, 2008

The wet season and Florida Shopping Trip

The wet season is now in full force here. It is absolutely clear and beautiful this morning (about 7 am now) and we can see the coast which is about 30 miles away as the crow flies. Most days remain clear until noon or as late as 3 pm, then the heavy rain lasts until 7 or 9 pm, when it clears off again and we can see the lights of the villages and towns along the coast. I’ve tried taking pictures, but don’t have the right filters to show what we can actually see.
When we moved, I brought a good weather station with me, and its fun to see the statistics. We had a little over 21 inches of rain in September, and almost 82 inches since I set it up in April. It doesn’t seem like that much to us because it doesn’t rain all day. In Washington, the sun rarely comes out all winter but the annual rainfall is only around 36”. When it isn’t raining there it’s usually dark with thick clouds. It feels like we get less rain here because the sun is usually out when it isn’t raining, AND, it is much warmer here!

The temperature remains ideal (for us) year- round. Mornings are usually in the mid 60s, and will warm to the mid 70s. Of course, we’re at 4700 feet above sea level where it stays cooler. San Ramon, which is 6 KM from here is at 3500 ft, and is consistently 3-4 degrees warmer. The coast is way too hot for us.

Daylight is different here also. In Washington, sunrise and sunset times vary greatly with the seasons: longer days in the summer, shorter in the winter. Here, since we’re close to the equator, the days are almost the same year-round: sunrise around 5:30 am, sunset around 5:30 pm. People start their days earlier here. Most of our workers (there are about 15 of them) arrive before 6.

Last weekend we flew to Fort Lauderdale to shop for door knobs/locks, faucets, electrical outlets and switches for the house. We only stayed for two nights. We flew for about $140 each including extra luggage; returning, we checked 4 large bags and took two carry-on bags. The airlines are now charging for checked bags, and have a 50 pound limit. Fortunately, the Hampton Inn where we stayed in Fort Lauderdale has an exercise room with a balance scale, so we were able to weigh the bags and rearrange the stuff about four times. We had one bag at 47 pounds and three at 48 ½ each. Hardware is heavy! We also bought sheets, towels, and a few clothes. All are available here, but MUCH more expensive. Imported goods are very heavily taxed. We saved thousands by bringing it in ourselves. It was good to get all our purchasing done in the states, but really good to be back home!

The house is coming along nicely. The back part of the house (non view) will have flat wood ceilings; the metal trusses for that side of the roof were built onsite in place and are now done. The view side, with the kitchen, living, dining and master bedroom will have vaulted wood ceiling with exposed beams. All of the beams now have two coats of clear finish, and they’ve just started putting them in place yesterday. When they’re all up, the tongue and grove boards that will be the finished ceiling will go on, then the metal roof will go on the entire building. We should be water tight in another three weeks. At that time, all of the wood ceilings and beams will get a final coat of clear sealer.

The casita (small guest house) is quickly taking shape. The walls are up and they will start the metal trusses next week.

So far, the entire project is on schedule, and we hope to move in around the first part of January.