Saturday 25 June 2011
In the morning I woke up to brilliant sunshine, blue skies and an even more brilliant and bluer sea. What woke me was the sound of a loudhailer extolling the virtues of a candidate in the local election. (I was to discover that this loudhailer announces anything – from meetings in the plaza to the sale of grapes and automobiles – moreover, it must be an extremely effective means of advertising because it goes all day and all evening!)
The casita where Paloma, the other young girl volunteering with me from Spain, and I are staying is quite unique and very charming, even although it is basically a lean to roof with one and a half walls, the others being covered in mosquito netting. Within the space resides our bedroom – the converted camper van that Wally and Amaranth started their dream life together in. The bathroom has 6ft separating walls and the kitchen has a sink built into concrete counters. There are signs of Amaranth and Wally’s creativity all around – from the bamboo pegs in the wall to the bright sun murals painted on the walls. Although Paloma speaks really good English, she encourages me to speak Spanish, which although hard work is excellent practice which I desperately need!
At 8.00, sure enough, Amaranth arrives and takes me up the hill to the main house – a lovely 3 storey building, designed and built by Wally after the pair of them got married. It’s very unusual, inasmuch as the kitchen, which has a sitting area and dining terrace, is on the top floor, which ensures it is virtually mosquito free without having to have screens. An added bonus is the incredible view over the surrounding countryside to the mountains in the east and the sea in the west. You can see the whole of the bay of Mantachen, from San Blas in the north all the way to Sayulita in the south – quite something!
My first task is peeling a huge bowl of lychees in the kitchen, while Paloma goes off to help Wally in the hen house. It’s Saturday, so we finish early for the weekend – no work on Sunday – I picked a good day to arrive!