The original plan yesterday was to drive up past the third bridge and then hike part way up the trail towards Mt. Uran while Tita was cleaning.  We had to go to plan B because the hill before the waterfall was soooooo slick from mud that even in the Toyota 4 Runner in 4WD we couldn’t get up it!  Bill had to back all the way to the house as there was no place to turn around.  We are still in doubt as the viability of grading this road during the wet season….

There is another dirt road that goes from the center of the village along the other side of the river we have been meaning to explore.  This was a good time so off we went.  Just before town we came upon the grader (niveladora) working down there.  We parked near the community center and with packs and walking sticks began a new journey.

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This road had been untouched by the wonder machine and was rather enjoyable.  It wasn’t long before we lost the river and were heading between some ridges.  The day was sunny but most of the road was shady.  After walking about an hour and a quarter generally uphill we decided we had better turn around.  By then the packed dirt and stone road had changed to being graded recently.  The road could go on forever and sometimes the rain starts early.  After a pee break we headed back down.

Just a bit further on as I meandered a bit left in the road to see up a driveway to get a better view of a house, I saw a live snake!!!!  Yikes!  I didn’t care it was “just” a black snake who eats really bad snakes.  It was four feet too long and fat!  Of course, Bill had to mess with it using his walking stick.  He poked at it three times before it struck.  As it slithered in my direction I directed my attention to quickly getting across the little stream traversing the road without getting my feet wet.

After a bit I noticed that although we were back on the untouched road again that it was suddenly looking freshly worked!  Then Bill noticed an area of water in the road that was bubbling up a bit from a hole in a manguera (water pipe).  Hah!  I could hear that niveladora working just out of sight!  Oh, dear.  As we approached we could see dear Rafael moving another manguera and looking a bit distressed and tired.

As we continued on there were several places where mangueras were cut and water flowing freely.  There were two other men helping out and as we were talking with one the other came along.  We could hear the word manguera and felt badly for the people involved.  Meanwhile the niveladora was moving on cutting more mangueras as he went……

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Back at the salon we could see it was midmorning break at school.  Teachers, note that the kids are free to leave.  I have noticed that in the next village while I have my Spanish lesson, kids are at recess, even off school property playing soccer, and there is not adult supervision!!!  These are elementary schools….

We got back in the car and arrived at home just as the rain began to fall on my laundry.  I dashed to take it down and hung it up in the loft, my new “dryer” which heats and dries for free!  Yea, solar energy!  The cats don’t seem to mind sharing their condo.

A bit later in the afternoon a storm moved in and poured hard for a few hours!  The river rose about two feet and was really muddy.

This morning we saw the niveladora heading up the road.  We were sure the aim was to fix that ever so slick hill.  When we went up to check the progress we saw that even the wonder machine had issues and hadn’t done anything to improve the situation.  We had to walk all the way to the first bridge when Favio came along on horseback and told us the chain on the out-of-sight niveladora, had broken and had to be taken into the big city to be fixed.  Soon the driver and the two local overseers came walking along having to give up for the day.  ¡Qué lástima!

Just an update…my dermatologist called this morning from NYC to tell the results of my biopsy.  It is a basal cell carcinoma which he will remove in a couple of weeks when he is back in the office.  Meanwhile, I am to have complete blood work done, including two coagulation tests, which could total twenty-five dollars.  Since we go back to the dentist tomorrow, I will have it done before that so we can pick up the results when we are done.  Then I email him the information.  Things are so different here…..

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