To begin with, I think a welcome is in order.
“Welcome to my brand spanking-new blog!”
Yes, I’m a virgin blogger having my first experience, right here in public. How exciting! I hope you will enjoy the experience as much as I hope to be inspired by it. And that is the point of this exercise – my need for and recent lack of inspiration and discipline. I’m also hoping that I will get over what is clearly fear – the fear that I think many artists experience when they consider putting themselves out there in the form of their art. So I’m a virgin blogger who’s trying to discover some cahones.
The mundane statistics appear in my profile, so I won’t go into that here. But what does not appear there is my living circumstances and other aspects of my life that will serve and inspire the contents of this blog. I live “off-the-grid” in a house on the beach on the Sea of Cortez in a tiny tourist development called las Vinoramas, in the state of Baja California Sur in Mexico. Many of you may have visited Cabo San Lucas, the nearest tourist trap, which is a 2.5 hour drive to the southwest of here. I say 2.5 hours because to express distance in miles or kilometers is very deceiving due to the poor condition of the roads out here in the middle of nowhere. The highway, Mex 1, is only 20 miles away by road, less as the crow flies, but it can take as long as 90 minutes to get there from here depending on how long ago the grader smoothed the bone-jarring washboard road. There are, as well, times during the year when the road is impassable, after the heavy rain associated with summer tropical storms and hurricanes. So much of what we do and experience here is related to our isolation.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term (as I was before moving here), “off-the-grid” means that we are not connected to a power grid and produce all the power we need to operate things like this Mac computer and our refrigerators with equipment we have right here on the property. Many people living in the United States and Canada choose to live off-the-grid for various reasons (to lower their electrical bills or to reduce their “carbon footprint”), however we have no choice. There is no grid for us to tap in to, we live beyond the extent of municipal services (including, as I’ve already pointed out, infrastructure maintenance). So our power comes from solar panels that are connected to great big batteries that allow us to store the sun’s energy for times (at night and on cloudy days) when the sun is unavailable. For us, living off-the-grid also means we don’t have a municipal water delivery system. There is no water meter reader as there is no meter to be read. Our water is delivered to us by one of the local ranchers who charges us for “delivery.” It’s against the law in Mexico to charge someone for water, as it’s considered a vital necessity. So people get around the law by charging you for delivery. Ismael Gonzalez is a local rancher’s son who drives a big water truck up and down the terrible road, day in and day out. He charges us 600 pesos (from $40 to 60 US dollars depending on the exchange rate) for a load of water that can be anywhere from 8000 to 13,000 liters, depending on which truck is functional at the time (as you can imagine, vehicle break downs are a regular part of life here). We’ve learned not to complain about the discrepancies in the size of a load because in the end we’re just happy to have water out here in the desert!
You may also wonder at my use of the plural in relation to refrigerators. On our property we have three refrigerators – two in the main house and one in the guest house. Considering how far we must travel to get groceries, it is helpful, if not essential, to have as much food-storing capacity as possible.
We are very fortunate to have electric refrigerators rather than propane ones. Before I moved here, I had a propane fridge and discovered that they do a very poor job of keeping food cold in the 110 degree heat of summer. For some reason vegetables do very poorly in a propane fridge and broccoli in particular must be eaten within 24 hours of getting it home or it turns yellow and begins to smell. You may as well leave it out of the refrigerator all together, if you ask me. I am a vegetarian and eat broccoli almost every night, so that would not do. Here in Vinorama, we are more civilized and my broccoli lasts as long as two weeks, if I take proper care of it.
The “we” of whom I speak includes myself, my manfriend, the Mexican caretaker, Felipe, and six dogs. You’ll be hearing more about each of them in future blogs.
Well, I think that serves as a start for my very first blog. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how I, a Canadian from the land-locked province of Ontario ended up out here in the desert by the sea.
To close a caveat.
I am doing this for myself in an attempt to create the discipline that I so painfully lack and which is so important for an aspiring writer to possess. Now don’t get me wrong. I care that you are reading this and I care what you think of it – whether you find it interesting entertaining, insightful or just boring. I also care whether some grain of insight or tidbit of information I offer up is even slightly helpful or inspirational to you the reader. So do share your thoughts and ideas by posting comments freely. And do please return often to see if I’m making inroads into the writing world. But in the end, I’m doing this for ME – moi – YO.