It was our first big summer storm since our return to the jungle. The lightning came cracking down directly over our house like an arrow landing its bullseye target, resulting in my jumping about three feet in the air and one of our rooftop AC compressors catching on fire!
Fortunately for me, I share a home with a fireman and knew that our family (and my nerves) were in good hands. The downpour helped to diffuse the situation as well.
Thanks to the ingenuity, reuse and repurpose mentality of Mexican culture, the compressor’s wires were changed out and the unit spared! Hard to believe, I know…fire and all.
Jungle storms can be unforgiving, powerful, messy and destructive. They are equally exciting, cleansing and replenishing—popping out those dense, lush, green canopies and the multitude of ecosystems that thrive inside of them—reminding you of the absolute grandeur and magnificence of Mother Nature.
The rainstorms also provide one with an opportunity to identify where exactly more silicone is needed, such as around the collection of leaking windows that are at the base of a 20-foot high boveda ceiling! Tall ladder anyone? Those first few falls on our slick marble floors were not so fun and made us delay not in tending to this issue ASAP.
The jungle wasted no time in welcoming us back and reminding us of the fortitude, sense of humor and determination one must possess to both survive and thrive here. Yes, there are prices to pay for living in paradise folks!
The following are a few suggestions as to how to maximize your living experience (and minimize your frustrations) in the tropics:
1. High-Quality Roof Sealant
Make sure that the roof of your home is properly sealed and protected from leaks and moisture intrusion. We learned this the hard way when our 2012 San Pancho rental grew large circular mold spores from the outside in after our first rainy season. A disgusting and unsafe “inconvenience” to say the least and one that duct tape alone would not remedy.
When perusing homes, the roof should NOT look like thisCheck to make sure that the roof has been sealed with a quality product that is not watered down, thinning or chipping off in areas. Hire a reputable company to assess its current condition and to power wash it prior to putting on a new coat if needed.
There are various types of impermeabilizantes (sealants) available based on their durability and years of warranty. Spending a bit more to ensure a quality result is worth it. We went with a 20-year, eco-friendly one, believing it best to be over protected rather than under with the amount of rain we receive here on the coast in Nayarit.
2. Air Conditioners
Have all AC’s serviced. The filters should be cleaned of mold/dust/debri and the electrical panels checked for unwanted critters that can wreak havoc. Apparently wires are a delicacy to geckos—ridding your AC’s of them is far easier than having to replace the unit.
Screens on all doors and windows are not a luxury but an absolute necessity for jungle living lest you want to share your home with mosquitos, spiders, geckos, iguanas and stray animals.
4. Bathroom Drain Covers
Just think—golf ball-sized cockroaches. Trust me, you’ll want to purchase and use these.
Jungle, hot, humid….ventilate your home (don’t’ forget the closets and other closed spaces) as much as possible lest you want to find fur growing on your shoes and other various household items.
6. Check Outlets for Proper Wiring
Hire a qualified electrician to do this.
Do you have any suggestions you could add to this list? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Cheers y Saludos,
Arturo: For the summer months it is highly recommended to put your clothes in airtight bags or vacuum sealed bags so that mold doesn’t grow in them especially if you skip town. I highly recommend to do this process with your shoes because if you don’t, the soles will disintegrate completely from the salty air and humidity.
Margaret: Keep all your food in the refrigerator, even if you wouldn’t normally, especially fruit. Clean up your kitchen messes as soon as possible to deter unwanted scavengers and never ever ever let your kids eat in the bed unless you want… ANTS ANTS EVERYWHERE! (And they bite). Even with screens and drain covers, if you leave food out they will find you… 😛
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