Camping for the price of coffee
We are trying to wrap up our lists before heading to the mainland but the constant lineup of tropical storms isn't making that an easy task.Before Miriam had even left the scene tropical storm Norman decided to roll through town, carving a path directly up the sea of cortez between baja and the mainland. Luckily Norman seems to be moving fast enough that our plans for Monday ferry travel should be uneffected but the amount of rain being dumped on LaPaz is crazy, especially when we spent yesterday talking about how the city probably couldn't handle anymore rain than we saw in those few hours.
Today the issue isn't only a handful of the roads leading downhill to the bay, but every street now a river with water flowing up to and over the curbs. The delicate task of trying to drive fast enough to not get stuck in the river but slow enough to not rip the wheels off if you encounter an underwater pothole is tedious, and getting in and out of the vehicle almost impossible. We had planned on spending the day at the electrician getting some work done on our ever-dim headlights and nonworking instrument panel but the downpour is too much for he and his team to do any work in the uncovered shop.
Instead we find a woodshop and buy a few pieces of scrap we think we can fashion into tops for our cabinets and to hold the speakers in place. Wood secured, but no luck yet finding anyone with wood tools we eventually pull over on high ground and on one of the drier streets in town to wait out the rains in a coffee shop with wifi. The combination of wet clothes and pumping a/c has jen pulling out a long sleeve shirt for the first time since BC. Cold yes, but our shriveled up feet are beginning to dry out, which is impossible inside the bus where its barely drier than in the rain outside.
Jen decides to take a quick nap and i go out on foot trying to find a carpenter during a short break in the rain. I ask maybe 10 different people directions, all of which are incorrect but i use the common points to keep circling in closer and closer before finally finding the place. Sadly the carpenter is a gringo, which means i get charged an insane amount of money for 5 minutes on his jigsaw and a couple of poorly cut lines. On my way back to the bus i see someone pushing their car and jog over to help out. Only as i look next to me to i realize it's Juan, and that they apparently are having car trouble...not good since the last time i saw their vehicle it was in the shop. I get their story of trying to leave town but every road is flooded and closed and I am even more happy with our decision to come to LaPaz when we did. You can check out their blog for the full story, but the problem got resolved quickly and i cant imagine a better place to break down then 2 blocks from Geraldos.
After they get back on the road they pull up behind us at the coffee shop where i have just finished installing our new cabinet tops and speakers (not only do we have a radio but we can actually use it!). The rains are back so we sit under the awning for a bit talking with a local and then we all walk down for another dinner at the shack. Last time we were here they had just hung the sails in their outdoor space, which was good for us as it provided for one of the only semi-dry tables in the joint. Even with that we had constant rain on our heads and the place looked like we were stuck in a full on hurricane. Dinner was also delayed because every time she would try to turn on the stove; water would drop in the fryer and create havoc...meaning we drank too much for too long, but finally got our wings and headed back to the vans.
Even the words i wrote about the amount of water earlier seem insignificant at this point as we walk back and cross the street the water is rushing well up our calves and we struggle not to loose shoes or our footing because the water is so strong. I completed misused the word river before as the water only ran on the low half of the street. Tonight even on high ground the water level isn't only on the low side but carries straight across from top of curb to top of curb. Insane, but im really happy we moved to higher ground.
I guess its not really stealth camping when you park a few vehicles in a row, but luckily the gals that work at the coffee shop know were here and dont really seem to mind. Rather than stealth camping we'll look at it as camping for the price of a cup of coffee a day.