For all substantive purposes, when I left you last we had weathered the August 2016 hurricane threatening the Yucatan Peninsula. The remainder of the season was uneventful and winter had come. At least that's what it said on our electric bill as we transitioned from the hot summer with some corresponding rebates to a relatively...and only relatively...milder season. They somehow have the temerity to call this "invierno". The floor and ceiling fans paused not one revolution.
That also meant is was time to prepare for a spring move as our lease would expire and staying in one place beyond the agreed four years tempted me not in the least. The "where to go this time' discussion was short-lived. Thanks to some friends, we found something that just might work for us even if it was close to the hubbub of the Bahia entertainment district. Very close.
The house, a very generous wedding gift from the bride's father, was just too big for the young couple. It's a large 2-story, 3-bedroom, 4-bath structure with secure parking area, small garden, and a pool behind monster walls topped with electric fence. We signed the contract then they took their 72" SMART TV (darn!) and moved to a smaller abode and we became custodians of 38A. Too large for us, you say? Hmmm....perhaps, perhaps not. More on that in another chapter.
And so here we are. The castle-like walls and 5-strand cattle fence were our reminder we were moving from cozy Calderitas to big city Chetumal's Barrio Bravo - the Angry Neighborhood. Or so it was called back in the day. Now, everyone seems quite friendly. Especially Senora Martha who, along with her two cats and chihuahua, sees all from her front door perch and every time I stop, she loves to report the neighborhood news in great detail.
As with any move there were things that needed to be done to be ready for occupancy - a story in its own right that I will relate in due time. Suffice to say we have all the comforts of modern living one could ask for. Except an oven. A silly oversight in the construction phase it seems as there is neither oven nor gas line to support one in the house. So I'm making do with what is arguably the next best thing - a pizza oven.
Yup, a tired, less expensive version of the pizza ovens you see in most pizzeria's. A couple of gals gave up their plans to get rich making pizza and I scarfed up the tired relic for a decent price, fixed a few...OK, a lot of things that needed attention, and it works just fine. Indeed we've had several successful pizza events. However, after having it a while now, I know I need a real oven with a working thermostat controller. It's too hot to be outside monitoring the temperature and adjusting the gas valve as necessary every few minutes to maintain that perfect braising/baking temperature. Some basic automation is a must have.
Yes, a real oven is on the "Must Have Someday Soon" list. Said list being third in line of four lists: 1) Needed Immediately (lift-the-sofa-cushions-for-spare-change emergency list), 2) Needed Before Everything Else (e.g., food, water, cold beer, utility payments, etc.), 3) Must Have Someday Soon (e.g., oven, espresso machine), and 4) Yeah, in Your Dreams (e.g., Canal boat trip in France.). So you see, there's great hope for the oven.
In Belize I made and sold bread as there was very little of any quality to be had. Here it is sausages. Fresh pork sausages of several varieties that I sell to a local restaurant and a few friends. Since this is artisanal work not a frankfurter factory, it's hard to keep expenses low enough that I can be competitive with commercial outfits. But since there are only two kinds of "fresh" sausages available in the stores and they are definitely industrial quality, I have a market edge. Or not.
At some point I'll have to do a reasonably valid market survey and see if this can be expanded into a better business but for now, it appears my biggest hurdle is getting Mexicans to try something different. Mexican food has great variety but, at least around here, they tend to not be terribly adventurous when it comes to new food. On top of that, when you offer them "salchichas" - the correct translation of "sausage" - they expect a plain old hot dog at plain old hot dog prices. "Salchichon" is salami-style which I'm not doing yet and "Chorizo" is a specific kind of sausage (which varies by locality but generally follows the same recipe). A fresh, "Saucisse de Toulouse" is unknown here.
The expat population, who know and appreciate fine sausage, just isn't large enough here to support a business (however small). After several visits, I know there is interest in Mahahual and with their much larger expat population plus tourists, there's opportunity there. So we shall see and report further as circumstances warrant.
I see it's almost August again as I write and we approach the height of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. So far it's been very calm but that will change here in the next week or two. Hopefully we'll have a quiet year - the emergency generator to run everything in this electric-only house is, last I looked, in List #3. Or was that #4...