Mex Life | Rain Dance

Every June, the Riviera Nayarit gets ready to welcome back the rainy season after a prolonged seven-month dry spell.

Barren hills transform into a vibrant sea of green. Tourist numbers dwindle, life slows to a crawl, and the water table gets replenished, ready once again to quench the thirst of a parched town.

At least, that’s the idea.

This year is a little different, so we’ve been told.

Sayulita is no stranger to water shortages. But 2021 has been a particularly rough year in that respect.

Locals here blame the shortfall on the continuing drought throughout much of the country, a lackluster 2020 rainy season, the explosion of domestic and foreign visitors in the past couple of years, and the local infrastructure’s inability to keep pace.

Pipas (what the water tankers are called in Mexico) have become an increasingly familiar sight around town and we’re thinking we’re soon going to need one ourselves.

We’ve got a 1,100-liter (300-gallon) tenaco (water tank) for our house, but the city water taps have been dry for over ten days, and we’re not sure how much longer we can ration before the taps run completely dry.

Our property manager, Halo, and our other neighbor are in the same boat.

The Pipas are too much water for one tank, but you have to buy the whole thing, so we’ll likely go in with our neighbors on a fill when the time comes.

Pipas don’t come cheap these days, if you can snag one at all.

Everyone’s crossing their fingers that the city taps will come back to life soon.

Fun with homemade cereal box puzzles.

Riley’s hair is getting pretty long. We should probably get it cut, but we’re having too much fun trying to figure out what to do with it. The man bun was my idea (popular in these parts). Riley isn’t too sure about it.

If there’s any doubt this place could use a bit of water, just head out of town in any direction. The lush jungles Sayulita is known for aren’t looking so lush (or jungly) these days.

We had some particularly high tides this last full moon, which took out a chunk of the coastline.

The sand has been accumulating since we arrived in October and now disappearing again. Maybe a signal of a looming change in season?

Back at central beach, the beach umbrellas and chairs have also steadily accumulated since we moved here. Maybe the change in season will have the same effect on them too.

The kids are down and I’m getting ready to fire up the barbecue again on another gorgeous evening.

So, yeah. We caved. Riley was starting to look a little too “Cousin It”.

Dapper dude.

Possibly empowered by his new big-boy haircut, Riley decided on a whim to go over to a group of señores and strike up a conversation in his “native” tongue.

Not sure what was discussed in the five or so minutes he was over there, but it was evident these guys were getting a kick out of the Spanish-speaking güerito.

Riley still very much prefers to speak Spanish, and it’s near impossible sometimes to get him to say anything in English (though he understands both perfectly).

It’ll be interesting when we head back the States later this summer.

Pigging out at another birthday party. Tis the season around here, apparently. So many spring and summer babies here in Sayulita. Noe’s big day is just around the corner.

Nope, I’m not making pesto. We finally got water running again, which should’ve been cause for celebration, but not so much.

After ten days of no city water, our water reservoir eventually ran dry, leaving us without water for nearly two days until we could get a Pipa truck refill.

In those two days, the pipe running from our water tank on the neighbor’s roof to our house was inundated by algae.

Immediately following the Pipa refill, I wasted no time. The first item of business was getting the ball rolling on the numerous loads of laundry desperately needing to be washed.

I fire up the washer, and BOOM! The entire load is suddenly covered in green slime.

My first thought was that we just paid a lot of money to fill a dirty tenaco. Halo climbed up to peek into to have a look, but the tenaco water was clear. No algae.

Yet, that was all that was coming out of our pipes. All of them.

It got so bad that all the water in the entire house eventually stopped coming out. Everything was stopped up with this green sludge. We couldn’t do anything.

Halo called around town for a plumber, but no one was going to be available for a couple of days. Apparently, we weren’t alone.

We have two spigots side-by-side in our front yard. The one with the blue handle leads from the tenaco, which was now completely clogged. The red-handle one came from the city water.

Multiple times a day I turn the red handle with the hope of getting a small stream of city water to put in a bucket for hand washing, etc. I’d been doing this for two weeks with no success.

But this time was different.

I opened the spigot and was grossly unprepared for what was about to happen next.

The water burst through the tap with explosive force, sending me a meter backwards landing on my butt with the entire tap still in my hand. Uh oh.

Precious water gushed out like a firehouse. I’d never seen such pressure in Sayulita. I threw the bucket in front of the stream and ran to find Halo, but found her husband, Arturo instead. He ran to the street and turned off the main water valve to all three houses.

So, now we have a ton of water, but can’t access it without potentially flooding the front drive and the house.

Halo called the plumber again, conveying the ever-worsening matter now unfolding. The plumber must have sensed the urgency and was there in an hour.

First item of business was to repair the city spigot, which took him all of 15 minutes.

Next, was to address the unholy green sludge that had taken over the entire plumbing of our house.

The temporary solution was to flush the system with a pressure washer, which resulted in the entire pathway connecting the front yard and back yard being completely covered in a thick layer of green sludge.

When we asked him what happened and how to prevent it, he said it happened because the builders skimped on the piping between the tenaco and the house and that it would continue to happen each time the water’s off for a day or two.

However, he was optimistic that the problem would solve itself once rainy season came and water started to flow more regularly.

Which, he reminded us, should be any day.

Looking around at the parched ground, thick layer of dust coating every nook and cranny of our yard, and trying to remember the last time it rained, which must have been in 2020…it seemed impossible that any amount of rain could be on the horizon.

To make matters worse, the owner of the house had seen pictures of our brown lawn and wasn’t pleased.

Having lived in the tropics for many years now, I knew that once the rains returned, the grass would green up almost overnight. Given the water situation here in Sayulita at the moment, it seemed ridiculous to waste water on the lawn.

But he was insistent.

So, after many days without water, the first item of business was to get the laundry going. The second, water that stupid lawn.

I tried to get it done as efficiently as possible, grumbling all the while, but trying to make the best of it. I just couldn’t believe what I was doing, but didn’t feel like I had much a choice.

I hadn’t showered in a few days, so thought I might as well spray myself off. It felt so refreshing in the blazing sun, I thought I’d even do a little rain dance.

I wrapped things up and headed inside just before the heat got unbearable.

It was turning out to be one of the more steamy days in recent memory. I kept thinking as I was watering that it felt hotter than usual. That should have been a tip off. Eight years living in the tropics, I really should have known better.

Three hours later, black clouds devoured the blue sky we had accustomed ourselves to all these months, and after who knows how long without a single drop of rain, the skies opened up and…

And just like that, it’s rainy season!

Leave a Comment