Posts Tagged ‘apartment’

Church bells and scorpions; I must be back in my new home.

My return to Oaxaca was long and bumpy, with thunderstorms populating almost the entire trip.  A rocky ride was had by all.  The pint-size Embraer landed at 11 pm — pretty late for Oaxaca’s little airport.  However, as we alighted from the plane, the land crew provided welcoming umbrellas to protect us from the downpour, as we dashed across the blackened tarmac to the terminal.  With luggage retrieved, green light received, and boleto purchased, I jumped into the waiting and wonderful white airport van.

First to be dropped off, I pulled and dragged my suitcases up the two flights of stairs (trying not to awaken my sure-to-be sleeping neighbors along the way) and into the waiting embrace of Casita Colibrí, only to be greeted by carpenter’s tools strewn about and my bathroom door off its hinges — evidence of a project that was 2/3rds completed when I left six weeks before.  Not a problem, I told myself.  Then, my toilet wouldn’t flush.  No big deal, I told myself.  However (drum roll, please), when I came face-to-face with a scorpion in my bathroom sink, that WAS a problem!

I tried to be a “grownup” but it was my first real live scorpion and it totally freaked me out.   Eventually, I managed to send it on its way to the big alacrán casa in the sky.  I will spare you the details but suffice it to say, among other things, it involved saran wrap and duct tape.  Scorpions tend to carry on their scorpion business at night and, needless to say, sleep has not come easily since my close encounter.  However, like a good former reference librarian, I’ve done my research and discovered that the sting of the local variety of scorpion may be painful but is generally not deadly to healthy adults, lavender is used in France as a repellent, and people in the US Southwest report success using cedar oil to keep these creepy creatures out.  Now to find one or both…   In the interim, I reluctantly purchased and used one of several toxic sprays found on Soriana’s shelves — moderate peace of mind must be achieved if I am to get a good night’s sleep!

It took almost a week, but unpacking has finally been completed, suitcases stored, apartment has been tidied, carpenter has put my bathroom door back on, I’ve  fixed my toilet, and the pantry has been restocked.   I again awake to church bells chiming, geckos chirping, and colibrís zipping across my terrace.  My African Tulip trees are in bloom…

… and tonight I’m going to watch the Guerreros de Oaxaca play the Piratas de Campeche with my best friend in Oaxaca!  It’s good to be home…

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… it must be time to water Casita Colibrí’s growing garden!

Casita Colibri sign

The 112 containers, from 6″ to 24″ pots and 30″ x 8″ x 8″ planter boxes decorating my entry and terrace, are brimming with one to twelve succulents and cacti.  They are watered weekly with gray water — shower water, dish water, and rain water, the latter when and if it ever rains again!  Oh, and then there are the 2 bougainvillea, 1 plumbago, 1 gardenia, 1 geranium, and pot of herbs, which require watering two to three times per week in this 90+ degree heat.  Water is an especially precious resource here in Oaxaca and we tenants must pay for all water deliveries to our compound.  So, in order to nurture my garden, everyday I haul buckets and dish-pans out through the terrace gate to my collecting barrel, a 32-gallon (not so sweet-smelling) plastic garbage can.  The plants don’t seem to mind the hand-me-down, fetid, murky water — in fact, they appear to love it!

Water barrel

With a few exceptions, my original garden was propagated from slips lovingly cultivated by my neighbor G, from his own exuberant and thriving terrace garden — a garden so profuse that there is scarcely room to walk!  When I arrived ten months ago, I was a disbeliever, never imagining that my terrace, too, could become home to a lush riot of greens, grays, magenta, red, yellow, orange, white, and blue.

An added bonus, besides (hopefully) filtering at least some of the exhaust from the diesel buses that race each other up the hill, the vegetation attracts a host of critters — giant friendly bumbling black bumblebees zeroing in on blossoms; geckos skittering across the pottery and terrace walls in the morning and afternoon, catching their breakfast and dinner; large brown crickets that like hang out in my “greens” recycling basket, not minding or even moving when I add more spent flowers and cuttings; and birds, including my home’s namesake colibrí, flitting back and forth across the terrace, chasing insects and sipping nectar from cactus and succulent flowers.

Garden God presiding

My garden never ceases to inspire, reward, and delight.  And… the garden god watches over it all!

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