Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Waiting out Olga

For the past two days we have been watching clouds scurry by and listening to the wind blow 30-40 mph pretty steady, with some higher gusts. TS Olga is moving south of us, headed for Mexico. At least, thats the forecast.

The crew of the Sail Provo catamaran "Arielle" were having fun getting off the dock at HRD Monday afternoon.



Even in the relatively protected area inside the floating docks, the wind was giving them problems pushing them against the concrete bulkhead. Captain Ryan got her out, though, with some careful handling and people fending his boat off the quay.

By Tuesday we were seeing the alternating bands of strong winds with rain squalls, between periods of strong winds with clear patches. We took a ride around town to take care of some errands and visit the house site. It was interesting to drive an open Land Rover when the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the driven rain:



Not a lot of traffic in this. I wish I had thought to get a photo of one extremely nervous Jack Russell Terrier in the back. He was not happy about the weather. He spent most of the afternoon safe inside glued to the Weather Channel forecast. One good thunderclap and we would have had to change the sheet we use to protect "his" sofa...



We considered trying to take the "Cay Lime" from the boatyard on the South side of Provo up to Leeward. But given the wind and seas, we decided to give it another day. It's very well protected right where it's sitting. We know the boat can handle the conditions, but being that it's just been completely taken apart and put back together a few weeks later I am expecting some gremlins. I expect a hose clamp not to be tight. Or a connector to come unplugged. Or a whatchamacallit to come un-macallited. Or a screw to be loose. That even runs in the family. In any case, when one or all of the above happen, I do not want to be in a single engine, 22 ft. boat in 40 mph winds being blown broadside toward a rocky shoreline trying to fix things. So, we wait.

We made a trip out to the house site yesterday before the serious squalls started. The crew there was working away, we were quite happy to see. They have uncrated the garage doors:



Two eight footers and a ten footer. Amazing. We are always pleasantly surprised when someone gets an order right. Steel, Miami-Dade and Texas hurricane certified, or something like that. Rugged.

Two of the three windows in the workshop are installed, and La Gringa is asking questions about what the floor is going to be covered with eventually:



The third workshop window is an "oops". They did not factor in that it is narrower than the others and the hole they left in the concrete wall was too wide. Working on making it right is a gentleman we met for the first time yesterday. He had to explain his Haitian name to us several times, but what we think he was telling us is "Petiteblanc" pronounced something like 'Pettyblon'. He is a preacher. He also asked us when we are going to throw a party for the workers. Not shy, this Pettyblon. We don't know which religion he preaches, yet, but the main religion in Haiti is Vodun, commonly pronounced Voodoo. We have now confirmed that a beer party would be totally acceptable to all concerned.



If we can confirm the Vodun part, I think it would be way cool to ask Pettyblon to bless the house for us, if he will. We have no idea what sort of ceremony that might entail, or whether it involves chickens and rum, but whatever it is, we want it. This house is likely to see a lot of Haitians. Couldn't hurt.

For what it's worth, I have done some research into Vodun. Contrary to my early misconceptions, it's a valid, peaceful religion not unlike others, for the most part. If you are interested in things like that there is a wealth of info on the internet. Way too much to go into here.

While on the subject of "oops" issues, we also found guys tearing into our new walls around the feeds from the roof gutters into the cistern system. Seems they are just a little too high and need to be lowered for good water flow. Glad to see it got caught and made right. Another example of the excellent work M&M has done for us. Everything is made as right as they can make it all through the house.



And one more "oops", although this one has nothing to do with the house. Since we have been here, people in the US and elsewhere have puzzled over why we are reluctant to use our mailing address. I know I have mentioned that the TCI has no street addresses nor even street names in many cases. We have no idea the name of the street we live on now, for example. It makes for some interesting conversations when giving people directions for deliveries, I can tell you. If it were not for cell phones, half this island would be wandering around lost looking for places. The common practice is to get close to your destination and then call for further instructions. We have a lot of telephone conversations like "Hello, I am at the big yellow building. What next?" for example. Hey, it works.

My family in Texas, as one example, does not understand why I am reluctant to give them our mailing address, even though it is a P.O. Box. I am reluctant because I am afraid they will actually try to use it for something important. Last year a friend in Australia sent me two CDs. It took seven months for them to get here.

Yesterday we stopped by the Post Office to check for mail. Out of four envelopes we received, I want to use two of them as an example. This first one was a notice to me from the IRS telling me that a tax refund check they had sent me had been returned to them as undeliverable. This is the envelope, mailed August 20th, received December 11th. Almost four months!!



It appears that it has visited France, Germany, and Iceland before finally making it's way to the TCI just 600 miles south of the USA. I guess "Islands" could look like "Iceland" to some European government employee...

Oh, the realy funny part of this one is that inside is a form for me to fill out and mail my CORRECT mailing address to the IRS. So do I go buy TCI postage stamps to inform the US Government's IRS that the address they have for me is indeed the correct one? What would be the point? I would like to think that their employees had enough common sense to realize they are mailing things outside the US, though.

The other envelope of the four we recieved was only delayed by three months. Mailed September 16, received December 11th. Why?



Insufficient Address. Should we have listed Planet Earth? Your guess is as good as mine. I guess the P.O. Box number, the city, and the country correctly spelled out is not enough address for some. Unbelievable, but true. Once the mail gets here, things go smoothly enough. Its just getting it here in the first place. Keep those cards and letters rolling in, folks. Have your handwriting tour the world.
Thank goodness for email.

I know I have said that in order for a typical corporate American to adapt and live happily in a small country like the TCI takes patience, flexibility, and a sense of humor. It's a big change from the ratrace pace of the USA. We constantly get reminded that we need to throttle back a little. And we love it here. Wish we had moved here 20 years ago. Welcome to our world.

3 comments:

trish (catch the wave charters) said...

it might be the fact that you need to put at the end of turks & caicos islands B.W.I. so then they know its the caribbean providenciales is located in!!!!!! and who said the little things dont count!!!! try it out cant hurt. anyways im gettin ocean fever myself and i wish i had my bigger boat :(

Gringo said...

Hi Trish. We just now got back from our boat. We were going to bring it from the boatyard up to our slip there at HDR. We got a half mile out and the engine quit. As you know, it's blowing like heck today and choppy and snotty. Wasn't much fun. I got us upwind of the entrance to the boatyard and managed to idle it back in downwind. Surf is up. It quit six times. I guess there is still water in the system. Tilt indicator doesnt work. They left a boot off where the cables go back into the deck so the bilge was full....little things like that. But we DID get out on the boat today.

Hey, I got an email this morning from Silver Deep with just a photo of a Grouper, no explanation. Do you know anything about that?

Lil' Gringo said...

Missent to Iceland! I swear...these people!