wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)
One week and one day later, we have hot water.

There will be a bath for moi this afternoon!

In other watery news, having grown up in a desert climate, I've always said I would never tire of rain. If we settle permanently in Basque country, I may have to revise that statement.  It rains. all. the. time.  Since moving here in mid-March, we have probably had a total of three weeks of good weather, and not on consecutive days.  It isn't raining at the moment, but it looks like it will start pouring down any minute.

I can definitely use my "rainy season" tag again.  Though I don't expect to see any refrigerators floating by any time soon...
wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)
 These aren't the ones I had in mind, but since they are what I have, they are what you get. Or rather "it." Only one today to see if I have the hang of this MacBook photo resizing thing...

To my knowledge, there are two tiny islands of white sand in the lagoon, on in the southeast and one in the northwest. This is the one in the north. 

You can't see them looking in this direction, but there are fabulous rain clouds looming over Grande Terre behind us. The beauty of the rainy season in Mayotte is that the rains rarely last all day, and we can have beautiful weather instead of constant cloud cover and gloom. I want to do a panorama of it, but that'll have to wait until I get the photos on the other pc...
wayfaringwordhack: (woman reading)

I had planned on getting some writing done today. I very much wanted to as it has been a while since I've allowed myself to even think about my stories.  However, pouring rain and constant thunder dictated the wisdom of shutting down the pc.

My consolation prize?

Lying in the hammock on the balcony, listening to the pounding storm and enjoying the coolness while immersing myself in The Etched City by K. J. Bishop.

I can think of worse ways to spend a slice of my day.

But now that the rain has ended, the blank pages call, hoping I'll at last unleash a little of my imagination on to them.


They may regret it later. >:)

wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)

Since all our other photos are in external hard drive limbo, I had to take a few more. Luckily, rain is not scarce and hard to come by right now in Mayotte. 

This is a hibiscus growing just outside our living room window, so I was able to snap a few shots, sheltered from the downpour. There were blue skies over Grande Terre during this rain, blessing me with a lovely ray of sunshine on these blooms.

And an extra one if you care to click )
I don't mind the rain when I'm at home, but I really hope that tomorrow and Sunday are cloud- and wet-free because I'll be participating in a two-day market in the south of GT.
wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)
So, as I explained once several months ago, we live in a dead-end street on the slope of Mount Vigie, and where the tarmac ends, a footpath works it way up a ravine to where there are several bangas (typical Mahorais housing, which are no longer made of mud and straw and bamboo and palm thatch but of corrugated tin). When a heavy rain falls, water gushes down the flank of the Vigie, carrying with it mud, detritus, and alllllllllllllll the garbage that the inhabitants of the bangas toss into the ravine or into the pathways outside their yards. The majority, if not all, of the people living up there are illegal immigrants and there is no trash collection service up that way.  Not that that would likely change the littering habits, which seem so ingrained in the population here.  Anyhow, aside from soda cans and soiled diapers, you also have to watch out for floating freezers. The probability of the water being contaminated with diseases is high as well. No plumbing up there, either...

Our landlord, barefoot and apparently unworried about damage to his feet from rusty cans and nail-studded boards, trying to make sure the majority of the trash keeps flowing down the road instead of getting stuck in front of our houses.

Here is F, the neighbor, dashing back in after moving his car out of further danger, ie, the possibility of *another* freezer shooting down the road and banging his bumper. The torrent carried the first one off too quickly for me to get a good shot of it. Zebu owners hollow out old fridges and freezers and use them as troughs for their animals. Empty or not, not something you want ramming into your car.
wayfaringwordhack: (maki2)
Ask a rhetorical question, I guess. I could have called this post "Wiped out," "The little piggy finally made it to the market," or "Out with the new in with the old, or the unboundless stupidity of some people."  Let's take those one by one, shall we?

Wiped out:

I'm so freaking tired. I feel like a wet noodle. No, worse. Noodles do not, to the best of my knowledge, have eyes that burn with fatigue. The doc gave me iron, potassium, and folic acid, as well as allergy medicine to take (have I already said that? I'm too tired to double check) until my blood tests come back, but so far, I don't feel them making any difference...

The little piggy finally made it to the market:

Yes, this morning, Julien and I got up at 5am to go to the craft market on Grande Terre. The fatigue is partly due to that fact, I know. It rained and it rained and it rained. There weren't a lot of visitors at the market, but I still managed to sell 96€ ($122) worth of stuff. I guess that isn't too bad for my first time out.  This coming week, I'll be busy doing more crafts because there are a few more markets to hit before Christmas.

Out with the new in with the old, or the unboundless stupidity of some people:

We no longer have a new computer. Long story very short: We bought it from a business that puts the pcs together themselves instead of through a chain, etc. The techs installed a modem that is not compatible with Linux. It created conflict with the sound and other things. We ferried our car over twice (15€ a pop) to try to get the prob resolved. Asshat-owner never calls us with an update as promised, so J calls back.

The verdict: Asshat wants us to buy a new modem that will cost us 50€ more than what was agreed. Instead of giving us the compatible modem and respecting the contract (which was signed and a down payment given before the construction of the pc) as a gesture of goodwill in regards to our phone and ferrying bills racked up because of THEIR incompetence, Asshat tells Julien, and I quote; "This isn't the Red Cross," and then hangs up on him.

Yes, you read that right. He hung up! What kind of business person is that????? Naturally, J was pissed and went straight to GT for a refund, which Asshat didn't want to give us. Don't worry. We got it today (a day late and by an employee). But...ARGH!!!!!

OK, I'm going to go chill out in front of some rugby. I need it. Sorry if this is typo-ridden and lacking in sense. Too tired to reread.

wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)

Yet another flower picture. I think I know the name of the plant, but like a word on the tip of the tongue, it won't come to me. This was also taken in the Hell-bourg cemetery. My next pics will be of the rain here in Mayotte and the scarily impressive and dangerous thing that is our street when a hard rain falls. :P

wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)

Poppies![1] I love the delicate poppies that grow wild in the French countryside, especially when they bloom in the thousands, creating a swath of scarlet in a field of gold or green. Imagine my surprise seeing them flourishing in a cemetery on Ile de la Réunion. I guess I shouldn't have found their presence odd though, given the hundreds of microclimates on the island.

Poppies in Hell-Bourg[2] cemetery -- Reunion Island, 12 Oct 2008[3]

[1] Please bear with me if the image size is too big. I'm learning new programs here and working with a different screen! :P And with that in mind, could you tell me how this size is for you on your monitor? I don't think it makes a difference, but in case it does, I don't want to put anyone out.

[2] The same gentleman, Anne Chrétien Louis de Hell, that gave his name to Hellville in Nosy Bé, Madagascar is responsible for the name of this village because he was governor of the island back in the days when it was known as Bourbon.

[3] I'll have other photos from this cemetery when I post some more Reunion Island vacation photos because it's pretty unique.  Too bad I didn't get to visit it alone. I could have taken more time there. :(

wayfaringwordhack: (droplets)
I'm going to do a whenever-I-think-of-it photo-a-day for a little while featuring...Water. I think that's appropriate given that the rainy season has well and truly begun, don't you? The rest of you (or most of you) have snow; I have rain.

This first one is for [livejournal.com profile] pjthompson . PJ, this isn't the panorama I mentioned a while back, but I made it because I've been thinking of you and your loved ones. I hope it transports you to a place of peace.


Le Voile de la Mairée (Bridal Veil) - Reunion Island, 12 Oct 2008
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
Last Saturday we had a huge storm that created havoc with our telephone lines. We haven't had Internet service because of that.  When nothing had been done by Wednesday, I called the phone company using the neighbor's phone, who, curiously, had a working telephone but no net. They said that there was no prob with our line. 

So, back at my house, I plugged in our neighbor's phone, and, sure enough, had a dial tone. Turns out that there was something wrong with our cable for the net. I should say cables, actually, because we have five of them linking the downstairs outlet with the computer in the upstairs office.  As I was unplugging and wiping down the prong of each, I got shocked. That was an unpleasant experience, but once I removed the faulty cable, the net starting working.  Kind of. The connection is sporadic, so I don't know when I'll be up and running again. I've tried catching up with LJ, even if I haven't commented on everything. I'm like the net: here, kind of.

And another glowering, growling storm is on the way. Better shut the pc down. Don't want to fry it, even though the new one should be ready today or tomorrow, hopefully, at the latest.

Thinking of you all...
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
In many ways, January was a looooong month. On the other hand, I can't believe that it's already February. 

In assorted news: For the first time in over a month, I felt well enough to go to my Tahitian dance class...and it was cancelled because of the rain.

The insurance guy came about my laptop and J's digital camera, which where damaged during the flood, but if the landlady isn't insured and if the insurance company feels like being jerks (and don't they always when it comes to getting some of your money back?) about the classification of the damage ("everyday" water damage, rather than "natural disaster), then we may not be able to get any money out of it. Bye bye, laptop; bye bye, camera.

I've been working on my Spanish. Yay, me. I've been working on simple vocabulary, but that's all right with me. Once I have enough words, then I'll worry more about putting them together.

My writing is also moving along. I'm up to 33K. I hope to bring it in at around 90K. We'll see.

Other than the fact that my house is clean at the moment--except for the terrace and the laundry (yes, *still* from the flood [it won't dry with all the humidity in the air!!!] Let's not talk about laundry)--I've not been doing too great with all of my goals. That doesn't really distress me because, as I may have said "aloud", for me January was always supposed to be a test month. I didn't count on being sick, too.

Here's to hoping that February sees me making progress with the other areas like drawing, polishing shorts, writing a query/synopsis for The Traveler's Daughter, harmonica playing....
wayfaringwordhack: (guitton - housework)

Loads of laundry done today: 3
Estimated remaining loads: 8

The office is reorganized at last. Now we have to get the terrace straightened out, and the house will be back to normal. Tropical storm Fame is on its way out, but Gula is building up north of Reunion Island. Hopefully Madagascar will screen us from the worst of it like it usually does.

Last year, we were on high alert for Bondo, but I think Fame has been worse to live through--more wind and rain, and of course the flooding.


25 Jan 2008 01:03 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)

A story, true no less, featuring a giant squeegee and in which references to excrement are made a little too frequently for polite company.

Picture this: Mayotte, Wednesday, 5pm, thunder and lightning announce the imminent arrival of rain. Rain arrives posthaste and  falls steadily until midnight, when it finally lets up enough to let the sick and stressed* Heroine fall asleep.


4am: A noise and a light awake the Heroine. Befuddled, she wonders why she smells sewage...

“Quela, wake up!” our Hero exclaims. “The house is flooded.”

General mumbling about the lamp turning itself on and light cursing ensue. 

All goes black.

The Hero bravely, though the Heroine was too sleep-fuddled to realize it at the time, says, "Just in case, I love you."

The Heroine knows her man loves her and doesn't quite understand the "Just in case...," but she hopes the return to darkness means that the Hero was exaggerating, and she can now go back to sleep. But that does not solve the mystery of the horrid smell assaulting her poor nostrils, nor the fact that the Hero’s feet make splashing noises when they hit the tiles. Rain has resumed a lulling pitter-patter on the roof.

More mumbling and light cursing. The Heroine groans and wiggles out from under the mosquito netting. She toes about on the floor, feeling for her thongs (for she does not walk about barefoot at night with centipedes on the prowl). Instead of foam rubber or cold tiles, she encounters 10 centimeters of water. On her bedroom floor.

While the Hero frantically unplugs all the appliances and moves the cables out of the water, the Heroine locates her stash of emergency candles and matches. By the feeble candlelight, they see they are standing in a morass of rainwater and sewage. After saving what can be saved from the floor, the Hero starts bailing water out of the bedroom, where leakage from the foundations is assuring that the level stays high, while the Heroine makes a dam of sorts so that water doesn’t reach the amazingly dry half of the kitchen. She then takes up the giant squeegee.

Before she makes any progress, the Hero bids her stop and snaps a few photos for the insurance. Unfortunately, 4am, sleepiness, and no electricity are not conducive to good photography. The better photos are taken later, when it is light and most of the mess has been cleaned up.

Consider this your Glimpse of the week. It doesn't get truer to life here than this :P :

And a before and after of the covered terrace:

The neighbors are in the same boat, some even worse. Two of those neighbors, Koko (meaning “grandmother”) and Fabie, come over to see what things look like in the Heroic household. Even though the water is shin-high in their house, they take up sawn-off water bottles and help the Hero bail. Of a sudden, jolly old Koko bursts into laughter and points at the bed. She speaks maybe ten words of French, so she continues to laugh, point, and meow. The Hero shines his headlamp at the bed and sees two cats, Max and Tiboy, taking shelter on the bed under the mosquito netting. Though the intelligence of certain cats in the Heroic household has been questioned upon numerous occasions, it cannot help but appear that they are showing signs of the utmost wisdom now.

As the Heroine squeegees water out the front door for the next four hours, thereby getting a blister--which the Hero says could have been avoided if only she favored the broom more often over the vacuum--she sings a modified version of an old Live song that goes a little something like this: Gotta live, gotta live, gotta live in this Sh*thouse. Gotta live, gotta live... Yes, very catchy tune.

The majority of the water removed from the hall, living room, office, and the sewage-y side of the kitchen, she goes to help the Hero bail water. And finds her thongs. Floating against the wall at the head of the bed on a good two centimeters of water.

It is 8am, the stores have opened. The Heroine showers because she just can’t stand the thought of crap clinging to her for another minute. The Heroic couple gets in their car and goes to stock up on bottled water and canned foods, for the end of the world may be nigh. Many areas of town look like it has just been raining a few minutes. The beauty of good drainage and slightly higher ground. Other areas are clogged with mud and rubbish. The beauty of living on an island where trashcans are shunned and the littebug is king.

The shopping done, the couple returns home to continue cleaning. The morning wears on. The Hero braves turning on the television to see the weather report. We will have more, more, more rain over the next 48 hours. The kashkasi (rainy season) has arrived. No sh*t, Sherlock.

The neighbors find time to cook and send Fabie and Maeva over with chicken wings and fried breadfruit, so the Heroic couple take a lunch break. The Hero naps while the sick Heroine sits, zombie-like, in front of a movie. They work up their courage and go back to cleaning, sorting, and throwing out. Flies are everywhere and that crude expression about flies on excrement takes the place of the Sh*ithouse rendition. The day wears on.

The Heroine reheats leftovers for supper and makes a peach/apricot cobbler. Everyone needs a little sweetness in their lives, especially those who have been ankle-deep in crap all day.

1.5 liters of bleach and several moppings later, the Heroic couple decides to turn in for the night, after a thorough scrub-down in the shower, of course. They strip the bed and sleep on towels and pareos because the cats and water have dirtied all the bedding. The Heroine smuggles a bottle of White Chocolate Massage Lotion into the bed and gives the Hero a massage because he was such a great help, never complained, and willingly mopped the entire house thrice. The Heroine sleeps fitfully and rises several times to make sure water is not swamping her home again.

She awakes sick, sick, sick, and decides that she really must see the doctor. He declares antibiotics are in order without telling her, as is his way, what is wrong with her. She doesn’t really care. No matter the drugs, he can’t prescribe her a clean house to pick up at the pharmacy. She and the Hero have to see to that on their own, sick or not.


*stressed because, while Aïcha’s b-i-l did come last Sunday to fix the roof, he only somewhat fixed it--slowing the leaks in some places and making new ones in others by using regular nails and by placing the tin willy-nilly.

wayfaringwordhack: (Maki World Domination)

Yesterday, we arrived back in Mayotte, greeted by the baking heat as we stepped from the airplane staircase to the shuttle that would drive us 70 meters to the baggage hanger where heat of another sort awaited us, that of a poorly ventilated, dark barn stuffed with people who do not share my Western views on masking natural body odors.

The good news was that we came home to a clean, unbroken-in-to house with unruined furniture. No, not because Aïcha had the roof repaired as she promised to do but because we had wonderful housesitters looking after things for us. Fortunately they were here to empty the buckets.

At 5:35 am,

[profile] mana_triniwoke me to tell me it was raining and we should move to the bedroom to sleep. I was on the verge of protesting when the roof began to leak over the bed. I couldn't get to sleep once we moved inside because it was too hot--yes, at 5:30 in the morning--and because I could hear water hitting the deck in new places where the roof hadn't necessarily leaked before. 


I encouraged

[profile] mana_trini to email the landlady today and tell her that if her b-in-l doesn't repair the roof by Monday, we are calling a professional to do the job and will pay him the rent money in return. I've had enough of false promises.


Welcome home indeed.

On a postive note, the vacation was wonderful and I will write glowingly about it later on.

wayfaringwordhack: (passionfruit)

What kind of glimpse would I be giving of Mayotte if I didn't include at least one photo of the rains? Not a very accurate one, that is for sure. So, in the spirit of the season, here is Fabie, on the safety and relative dryness of her porch, watching the rain, enjoying a moment of coolness and quiet.

Wet feet

16 Dec 2007 10:17 am
wayfaringwordhack: (guitton - housework)

Yesterday, it rained. And rained and rained. Luckily, most of the time it was a steady downpour that only once became torrential, allowing most of the water to run off. 100L of water emptied. Before 

[profile] mana_trini left on his overnight fishing trip, I asked him to wedge a piece of wood between a beam and the tin to try to prevent collected water from running back under and pouring down on the bed. Because it wasn't raining at the time, we couldn't see if we got the wood in the right spot.

We didn't. At 3:30 am, I awoke to wet feet. I was not and am not amused. If J would have been home, he would have felt it much sooner--since it's on his side of the bed--and the puddle wouldn't have soaked the bedding again. I spent nigh on 3O minutes trying to fix the problem, but I'm not tall enough, even standing on a bar stool, to reach the terrace roof. I got a long pole and tried to lift the tin to run the water down, studiously avoiding the fiberglass sheets, new though they are. I went back to bed and ten minutes later heard splat, splat, splat.


The landlord still has not returned our messages. That does not amuse me either.


I'm not going to let another night of ruined sleep get me down, though. I'm going to attack the housework and do some baking. After sleeping on a speedboat in the middle of the ocean, J should appreciate coming back to a clean home and fresh goodies.

wayfaringwordhack: (christmas quail)

The other day, during a big rain, I remarked (yes, I'm totally using the French sense of the word) that there was a pouch of accumulated water on the fiberglass sheets of our terrace roof. I took a long pole and gently--gently--lifted the pouch. The pole stabbed right through the fiberglass, and I got a shower of dirty rainwater in my face. And the shower kept coming--100 liters worth during the duration of the rain, in addition to the other leaks that we already have.

[profile] mana_trini, being the good husband (perhaps, [personal profile] frigg, I should say "wer" so that I'm not using your Danish word :P) that he is, bought some new sheets and repaired my inadvertent damage. Once he took off the old sheets, we could see that they were a burnt caramel color--almost black along the area where we had the leaks--instead of opaque with off-white fibers. It was so baked by the sun, it is no small wonder that it broke under such a slight pressure.

We hoped that his reparations would fix the other leaks that we have, but we hadn't since had a good rain to test it out. J wasn't quite as optimistic as I because he had seen the condition of the rest of the roof. Well, yesty, the sky was black and charged with promising clouds. In my chipper way, I chanted, "Rain, rain, rain!!!" And boy did it. I checked the leaky areas and they were DRY! With a gloating grin, I went back to drilling holes in rocks and shells for my jewelry. A few minutes later, I checked again, and streams--a veritable curtain of water--were pouring onto the terrace. Even worse than before, I think. I frantically placed the buckets, bottles, and pans. The rain lasted 30-40 minutes and I dumped over 200L of water; that is WITHOUT the hole. Also, two leaks started up over our bed and I didn't catch them in time, so our bedding was soaked, forcing me to sleep inside.

We called the landlord about the leaks last year and she did nothing. J sent her a message yesterday (she's in mainland France), but she hasn't called back. All I have to say is that it had been be fixed before we go on holiday. I'm not coming back to a flooded house.


wayfaringwordhack: (guitton - housework)
The dry season has come and is in the process of going. I had forgotten what rotten headaches the atmospheric pressure gives me just before the rainshowers here.

A downpour started at 5:30am, waking me, and I rushed to put a bucket under one of the leaks. When the rain finally let up, I saw that we had collected 3-4 liters. Really going to have to call Aïcha and get her to fix it. If not, we'll hire the work out and deduct it from the rent. I'm not spending another rainy season using all my pots and pans to collect leak-runoff.
wayfaringwordhack: (paper flames)
When we arrived in Mayotte last August, we used fans all the time so hot and muggy did we find it. This year, being more acclimated to the weather, we've turned them on only twice or thrice in the past few weeks. But ever since we've gotten back from Madagascar, I've noticed the increase in humidity. No longer can I get out of the shower and expect to feel fresh for a couple of hours. These days, as I stand before the bathroom mirror, towel still wrapped around me, my whole body is covered in a sheen of sweat and I want nothing more than to jump back in the shower for another pointless rinsing off. Same thing when I sit at the computer, or just sit period. You don't have to be doing something to break into a sweat. Breathing is enough.

As further proof of the change I feel, the sky has been overcast of late, and I awoke at 5 this morning to rain pattering on the tin terrace roof. It was still raining, harder, even, an hour later when J got home from work. Looking out the office window, I see a solid layer of gray still pads the sky. At least the winds have dropped and the lagoon has regained its lake-like qualities. There is an upside to every thing.

And speaking of beginnings, I've retaken up TTD for a pass with an eye to tweaking the first chater, cutting weasel prose in the beginning and the last quarter, and reworking the last two pages or so. After that, query letter and synopsis writing shall begin, segueing into the beginning of my agent hunt. Lots of beginnings. There always are when one is alive.
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
I may not be available for the next week or so. Mayotte is in the current path of the cyclone Bondo, which is now closing in on Madagascar. They are predicting that a 10m wave will hit Mayotte--there is a risk of water reaching our house--and winds between 200-315km/hr (124-195 m/h). We'll probably lose electricity, so no net, no telephone.

I've got to go stock up on canned goods and water. Catch you on the other side if not before.


wayfaringwordhack: (Default)

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