Rain seems to be the big theme this past week or two, with many interesting situations being a direct result of it. The impact of the rain is a bit more now definitely because we are living in a new place, totally new circumstances, and the impact of the weather is substantial on our new lifestyle.
The road into our new abode is a rough-cut and as basic as a road can get. We live way out in the rural countryside of the rainforest, roads here are merely carved out of the jungle and everyone hopes they will stay in for at least a little while! In dry weather, this is no problem. In wet weather…well, let’s just comment here that the mindset of the road builder is that if they don’t ditch the roads (meaning a manipulation of the water runoff to save the road from washing away), then after the rainy season the road crew will need to be hired again to fix the roads – thus, another payday. Read this as: OMG! Look at all of this water running down the roads! They are washing my road away and may not be passable before the end of the season! This results in a lot of man hours/labor with shovels, usually in the pouring rain. This is just one of the ‘costs’ of living out here!
Another important weather influenced circumstance is the river that we must drive across to get to our house. In the dry season, this is no problem…it is usually not deep, always running, easy to cross. By the way, our rainy season traditionally starts in April/May, however this means only that the rains have returned, and they may only be in the afternoons or so many times per week. It isn’t until September, October and November that the rains settle in for the duration – sometimes weeks at a time. They increase to daily – mostly afternoons and nighttime, and then they usually don’t stop for a while, this is never totally predictable- in fact, the weather up until recently was unusually dry with little rain. However, when the rains return with full force the rivers and creeks become another critter altogether. The land gets saturated, instead of absorbing the much needed moisture to maintain the jungle/rainforest persona, and the water runs off…i.e. down the roads, into the ravines/creeks/rivers and eventually the ocean. Those beautiful peaceful meandering creeks and rivers become huge roaring beasts to be extremely cautious and wary of.
Crossing our creek has become somewhat of an ‘issue’ now, as the level has risen and is staying high and fast and a bit furious. We must watch the weather for breaks of extended periods of time so that we may cross the river – to get out. This is one more example in our current lifestyle demanding that we live with full attention, in the Now. And, we must return before the rains (generally starting around midday) begin again and the river rises, rather quickly, and prevents getting home. Trips to town are quick, to say the least, and just getting to town requires time – what an adventure! Not only does the water rise, but as most of us are aware, water is powerful and can move huge boulders without much ado, and this is another very important point in river crossing: the big rocks and boulders submerged beneath those swift currents, and the subsequent issue of not ‘bottoming out’ with our truck! Drive across the river and get stranded in the middle on top of a boulder – ouch! Then what? Fortunately the neighbors that live at the river and must cross it regularly (on foot) to tend to their farm, will move the rocks out of the way for us, at least the ones that can manually be moved. The water can be as much as three feet deep here, but this is ‘normal’ for them, and they do not mind. We repay them in any way that we can – food staples mostly – with much gratitude. Without them we would be totally locked in – or out!
So during one of these first crossings just after a rainstorm, the water had rearranged everything in the bottom of the creek and what was once a level crossing was now a big hole on the other side…we are moving into the water half way across and wump! The front end of the truck falls in a foot or two deeper- but with skilled quick response my Mate is hitting the gas and jumping the truck right on out and up the other side. Phew! We’re out, but what about getting back through and home again? Well, the brothers helped us out while we were gone, moving the two culprit rocks and leveling the playing field for our return. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
One more week goes by, the rains have been non-stop, but there is a break and Ricardo needs to make a much needed run to town for a few very important supplies. A boulder, a really big one, has lodged itself almost in the middle of the river just above the crossing, and the water has moved around it on both sides creating deep sandy holes entering and leaving the crossing. He heads across the creek, which is high and fast – at the point of almost too high, even for him (an adrenalin junkie) – his left tire goes up on an underwater boulder and moves the truck over to the right – and it is now floating…he hits the accelerator and the rear wheels grab hold and lurch the truck forward and out of the creek, but not before the hood and windshield get thoroughly washed over!
Good truck…thank you. Now all he has to do is get back through it again! Rule: in the rainy season, ALWAYS bring your rubber boots and a shovel along with you, and it is a good idea to have an emergency pack with essential items in it, just in case LOL. Thus, Ricardo was prepared to move the boulders out of the way so that he could cross back through and return home, and he has safely returned, once again…this time.
Life is truly an adventure, and here there is always another exciting tale to tell! Hopefully rainy season will end before anything seriously drastic has a chance to happen, but we are prepared for whatever – you must be when you live like this.