Finally the retaining wall is finished. It has taken two+ months to complete but seems like forever. The wall extends all around the second level of the property; from in front of the bungalows on one side to the entrance-way on the other and converges in front of the end of the pool. The engineer has been very good and so we have confidence in the structural integrity of the wall. All of the back fill has been done slowly; 6 inches of dirt at a time, then compacted; then another 6 inches of dirt and then compacted again. An amazing undertaking if you consider the wall is an average of two meters high, the dirt was transfered by 5 gallon bucket from one side to the other, and most of the compaction was done by lifting and dropping a cement block.
We had a contractor and his crew build the wall. If the contractor was here, the workers worked hard. However, if he wasn’t….there might be 2 hour naps and long lunch breaks and early departures. Frustrating to watch and not have control over the crew. Doug finally told the contractor that he wasn’t here on the job, not to send his workers.
We have two young men living with and working for us. They have been responsible for moving the dirt and the compaction of the dirt behind the wall. Before that they sanded down each board of the pool deck in preparation for refinishing. I find it amazing how hard they work at such menial tasks. They are like automatons! We took Jhon and Nixon out to dinner tonight in Mancora and it was fun to get to know them a little bit better personally. They are such good “boys” and so respectful of our space. Most of the time we don’t even know they live here!
On Wednesday of this last week, Doug and I traveled to Piura for drs. appointments. I had another EKG and we found that my heart arrhythmia was gone and I only need to continue with the medication and get rechecked in another month. Doug needed to have a glucose and insulin tolerance test to determine the severity of his diabetes and to inform the drs. about medications. This turned out to be a huge hassle…. the first clinic we went to didn’t want to do the test because another physician (not affiliated with their clinic) had made the order for the tests. The suggested we consult with one of their physicians and then follow his advise. We found this redundant and since the insurance wasn’t going to cover it at this clinic…we went to another. The second clinic had no problem doing the test, but we would have to pay up front and then get the insurance to reimburse us. We decided to go ahead with it but it turned out his blood sugar level was too high to do the tolerance tests. These results were sent to my cardiologist (in the same clinic) and he will hopefully let us know what to do next. This cardiologist is also an internal medicine certified dr.
On our way to Piura, we were stopped by the highway police who inspected our documents. These include the vehicle registration, Doug’s US driver’s license and his passport. This is not an uncommon experience to be stopped, so thought nothing of it. Until the officer asked to see our “technical inspection certificate.” We had no idea what he was talking about and we a bit suspicious of some kind of scam….again, something not unusual. The officer told us he would take us directly to Sullana to have the inspection done and that it would cost us about S/.450 or $175. Not being sure what to do next, Doug decided to check with our friends, the Los Organos highway police, to see what we needed to do. In the glove box we keep the business card for the jefe (chief) of the highway patrol here in Los Organos, and Doug got it out, showed it to the officer asking for this additional document. The officer said, yes, this person had four stars on his epaulet, whereas he only had three, but yes, we needed this additional document and he would be more than happy to escort us to the inspection center. Doug then started to call the jefe and the officer then said, “Oh, forget it…go on.” Even though we continued on our way, we still contacted our friend to find out whether we needed this inspection. We had to leave a message as he wasn’t available. We then called another police friend in Lima and spoke to his wife. She said she would relay our concern on to her husband, but that he was unavailable at that time. We then called our good friend Luis in Lima who has helped us with so much as we’ve adjusted to life in Peru. When we asked Luis about the inspection there was a hesitation on the line and then he very sheepishly told us “Oops, I forgot to tell you about that.” It turns out that if your vehicle is more than three years old, you are required to have it inspected for its mechanical integrity.
On our way home from Piura, we came across this large building where these mechanical inspections take place. We decided to stop and get it done. And 15 minutes and S/.70 later we had the sticker on the windshield, the certificate in the glove box and were on our way home.
We had a visit today from the jefe (chief) of the highway police in Los Organos and his wife. He was following up on our phone call to him about the mechanical inspection. We served them lunch and had a great visit. His wife works for the government as a lawyer in the department of land ownership and titles. They were able to help us with advise as to how to proceed with trying to get title to our property. We did find out that we bought it from someone who did not own or even possess the property. It may be that we will have to rebuy the land from the true owner of the property who is the state of Peru. Oh, the intrigue of living in a foreign country and navigating the perils of ignorance and the predations of thieves.