Back in Baja and the first thing I notice is the smells. First, there was the acrid body odor that accosted my nostrils as soon as I got in the car with Gregorio, the guy from the place where we store our car. Then there was the powerful, almost unbearable odor of rotting animal flesh emanating from the car’s AC vents.
I knew better – you have to put rat poison under the hood if you’re gonna leave a car sitting for long.
We were lucky all the little bastard did was die and stink up the car. Rats and mice around here are notorious for destroying the wiring in cars left sitting for more than a few days at a time by unsuspecting owners.
What is it with rats and wiring? Why do they feel the need to gnaw on plastic insulation?
Our house in Mexico is powered by solar. So we have an inverter and a controller that are part of the overall system. A heavy-duty wire connects them, delivering the energy capturedto the batteries where it’s stored. Shortly after installing an independent system for the guest house, a particularly large rat decided to munch on this wire. The result? A rather rank and rent rat accompanied by a temporarily disabled solar system.
At the end of the hour and a half long drive along a rutted and windy dirt road to our home, we entered the house. After being closed tight for weeks, the air was stifling, seemingly devoid of oxygen. I felt like I’d just walked into a house-sized oven. The house plants were bent and wilted. Tiny baby geckos lay dried like beef, or should I say, reptilian jerky. The sweat began to pour off of us as soon as we entered. It was uncomfortably hot and I, for one, slowed down. It wasn’t a conscious act, but done out of some kind of instinct for self-preservation. I checked the temperature gauge in my little office and discovered it was 97 degrees F with 86% humidity. It was 6pm.
With little more than an hour left of daylight, we hurried to take the hurricane panels off all the windows and sliding doors so we could air the house out – we hoped in time for bed.
Some time after 8pm, we finally stopped to eat under a ceiling fan that dried the accumulated sweat from our bodies leaving behind a layer of salt. Then we began preparations for bed. A shower to wash away the accumulated dirt and salt, the stench that is the reality of desert life. I couldn’t help but notice as I used the commode that the seat felt strangely like it possessed its own internalized source of heat – like I imagine the thrones in swanky hotels in cold weather climates might have. In Canada, we’d be the envy of the whole neighborhood. Here, not so much.
We lay in bed, ceiling fan on max, and I tried to ignore that same solar heat emanating from within the mattress. As I tossed and turned, exposing heated flesh to the cooling breeze of the fan, my body’s memory brought me to consider how wonderful this same heat would feel were it snow instead of sand outside and this a cold Canadian winter’s night.
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