Life is spinning by as fast as ever. We are entering the summer season and tourism is slowing down and the plants and rains are taking off. Here are a few pictures that don’t warrant a post in themselves but are fun reminders of this time in our life.
I suppose it’s time to do an update on the move to the jungle tree cabin! There is always something more to be done so it’s a little hard to say we are “finished” moving over. But we have been sleeping in the cabin for about 2 months now! Once we moved the bed over, we were officially living here!
This, like everything, was quite the process because we had to haul everything over on foot.
We also cleaned out the studio cabana and it needed a full scrub down! Even though it is tiny, things still get really dirty here. Having all our stuff out made the job a little easier.
Then we bought another bed for the cabana and cleaned it again so that it will be ready for visitors.
Back at the jungle cabin, while we had running water, electricity and even internet, we didn’t exactly have a kitchen. Not that that was a deal breaker considering that we lived for 3 years with a mini fridge and a hot plate for our method of cooking, but I was pretty excited to have a full sized kitchen.
So we started building the kitchen including making our own counters/lower cabinets.
Britton installed the heavy enameled cast iron sink but had to drill through our very thick floor in order to have a grey water drain out.
The next big thing was to hook up gas to our new gas stove so that we would literally be cooking with gas! We went down to Rafucci’s next to Ventana Al Mar to get the parts and the friendly owner said he would just send the gas guys down. We warned them that this was not a standard hook up and that you wouldn’t be able to find us from the road, but he didn’t seem worried.
When the two workers showed up, they walked down the drive, through the meadow, past the chicken and turkey coops, through the tropical gardens, down the ridge line trail, across the bridge, up the stairs and quickly concluded that they would not be able to hook up a big propane gas tank. They said they would return with a 25 lb tank in about an hour. After waiting about 3 hours, we went back to Rafucci and talked with Alfredo again who said he talked with the muchachos and they said that the site was a little too difficult for them. (Would have been nice for them to have told us that instead of having us wait…)
So we decided to go ahead and do what we were going to do in the first place and just install it ourselves. We have found that often people don’t like to tell others bad news so they will just tell you what they think you want to hear and then just avoid you. Because of that we always have a Plan B especially since we know that we are an odd case in general.
Last night we actually ate our first meal cooked in the oven: lasagna; and it was so good! We have been joking that we are going to get chubby again eating with a real kitchen with a full fridge and everything! haha!
Overall, living in the cabin has been a lot of fun. Because there is no road and we are deep in the trees we are immersed in nature. The hummingbirds buzz around, the doves flap and the hawks are always swirling high above. We often see the mongoose running around and of course lots and lots of iguanas, geckos and coquis everywhere. The trees sway all around us and we feel like we live in and amongst them. It’s a really cool feeling.
It can be a bit of a challenge to walk home in the night so we have to always remember our flashlights especially because there are very few guard rails. One night we forgot them and had to crawl on our hands and knees across the bridge because it was a dark and moonless night and…we had been drinking. But we laughed the whole way across.
Internet is one of those modern conveniences that is just….. so nice to have. Checking in on Facebook, paying bills or looking how to do things on youtube. We haven’t “hooked” up internet service here yet, but we’ve always had some signal of some sort to utilize. It is probably more of a personal challenge to find alternate ways of connecting than any actual reason. In the process you can learn all kinds of new things about networking and radios.
When we first arrived the only way to get an open signal was to be on top of the cabana on the corner of the house. Usually this was in the sun or rain! This is what I will consider internet v1.0. It was much easier than packing up and going to a cafe, plus we didn’t have to buy coffee or sit outside some place and look like moochers. We could mooch from our own home!
I then figured out how to setup a repeater bridge by installing a Linux variant DD-WRT on a Linksys router. The bridge would take the internet signal from yonder and repeat it so that we had wireless access from within the cabana! It needed to be waterproof so I bought a plastic trashcan from the dollar store, drilled holes for the antennas and hung it upside down. I had to hang it upside down to keep the rain from draining into the antenna holes.
Version 2.0 worked really well, it was nice to sit inside the cabana and have access. Of course with both 1.0 and 2.0 the speeds were pretty much dialup. The Access Point we were using was pretty far away. Eventually the trees grew tall enough to block our access. We had to find another source!
We had been talking to our neighbor about the idea of paying for a share of his internet and in return he would put his wireless router in his window nearest our property to get a good line of sight link to our wireless bridge. Well this worked out really well! This was version 3.0 and I even made a little wood box for it out of scrap T-111 because the plastic trashcan disintegrated in the sun!! The speeds were MUCH faster and it worked really well.
Forward to the cabin being built and wanting to have internet over there. It is easily 500 feet and there is a forest between the router box, so no signal is going to make it over there. We had already put in an electricity line and I did some research.
Apparently companies have figured out how to make a device that will transmit from an electric outlet to an electric outlet. This is perfect! It is called Ethernet over power in case you may want to use it. One end plugs into the wireless router (Ethernet up-link) and plugs into the power outlet the router is plugged into. The other end plugs into an outlet at the cabin. Since they are on the same circuit they can talk. The device at the cabin also has a wireless router built into it! So now we have wireless internet at and around the cabin!
The only problem I had now was that apparently wires and cables are fun to chew on. So rats and iguanas have been chewing up the power and Ethernet cables inside the box and it quits working.
So here comes version 4.0 pictured below. It is waterproof, chew proof relays a wireless signal from our neighbor to our concrete cabana AND sends a signal thru the electric line to the new cabin. It isn’t pretty, but hey, maybe nobody will want to steal it?
It is fun to invent, design, build and test. That is what we have been doing the entire time we have lived here in Rincón! What can I say? I’m a geek.
We just accomplished a major milestone in building the cabin! We have just finished installing the tile floors! This was quite a process not the least of which was just simply bringing over the supplies. Before they could even start on the tiles they had to bring over almost 30 sheets of plycem (concrete backer board). Each one of them weighed over 130 pounds! Then they had to move over all the boxes of tiles as well!
One special touch we added was a tile mosaic in the center of the room under the large ceiling fan. It complicated things a little but I think it is pretty cool. We bought the last one in the tile store and so we had to cut some parts special for it, but it turned out very nice.
For a more in-depth how-to on this tile installation you can watch this video; there’s some pretty funny bloopers at the end too:
Once we finished with the tiles we were able to accomplish something else that we are super excited about: bringing over the full-sized fridge and stove! These were very tough to move over because they, like everything in the cabin, had to be brought over by hand. No dolly was used.
And yes, their backs were pretty sore after this! But we are super excited about the floors and what it means. With the floors and the walls basically finished, that means we are nearly ready to move everything else in too! Next up, the toilet and finishing work on the bathroom!