Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shocking Views Of San Miguel

Walking the warm and dusty sidewalk into town on the Ancha de San Antonio one day, I noticed an odd feature on a telephone pole that was planted in my way. About eight feet off the ground was an electrical outlet that was wired and taped to the pole.

Oh no, it's not grounded!
Just out of reach

I speculated as to its use while my eyes traced the connecting wires. They led up the pole and were twisted into place on the power line high above. I suspected that in the evening a street vendor or food cart of some sort plugs into it to illuminate his food or power the portable T.V. for clients to watch as they munch on 6 peso tacos. The interesting thing that I further considered was that at some point, someone with an extension ladder made the hasty connection, tightly wrapping the stripped wires around the 'hot' leads above insuring a good contact before strapping the outlet in place. I actually liked the idea that someone took the initiative to do this. I also smiled, realizing that nobody of any civic authority cares that it's there.

A view from out roof. I think that's
our tapped in power line in the middle.

Lamp cord run through conduit
Bulging switch without cover
This is not the first time I've seen this kind of guerrilla electrical commandeering. Last time here, I recall standing upstairs at the neighborhood pizza parlor sipping on a beer while I waited on my food. I stepped out to the balcony and watched the street scene below. As I gazed down through the telephone wires that hung limply across my view, I noticed a white lamp cord with its insulation stripped on the end. The exposed wires twisted into place within arms reach of where I stood. I followed the path of the wires which led back into the cool room. It sagged against the painted stucco wall, tacked every yard or so with a bent nail. Eventually it ended at an electrical box that was screwed to a dark stained shelf and was providing power for a 1980's television. It was showing an old episode of The Simpson's dubbed in Spanish. This too made me smile.

Oh what a tangled web we weave

Apparently, it's open season on stealing electrical power in this town. But, these two examples of Mexican ingenuity have sidetracked me from the original subject of this post which is the importance of aesthetics (or lack there of) here compared to where I live in the U.S. The emphasis here is placed on efficacy much more so then appearance. And although this idea of efficiency over beauty applies to most things, because I'm a handyman, I notice it more in regards to the building trades. The plumbing, electrical, and construction in general.  If the switch to the lights works, who cares if it's being pushed out of the wall by a fist full of corroded wires. If you've got water to the sink, then it doesn't matter that the copper supply line is soldered into the shape of a double helix and pressed to the wall with a hollowed out root ball. I am in no way wanting to sound critical here. It's different than what I'm use to and although I constantly have the urge to correct it, this is just the way it's done here and I respect that. It's my problem that I want to change it. This I have to learn to accept, and it's easier to do when I consider that none of it is mine. 

Posted by Mark

Here again is my installment (#4) of video taken from a rooftop. This is looking down on Calle Pila Seca from the roof of the Lifepath Retreats complex.
rooftop video of pila seca

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I recognize that work....is Matt down there with you???
    Are you ready to skype your new digs?


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