Paul has been walking every morning, routinely meeting a couple of our neighbors before 6am. Since I am not a morning person, I am still lazing in bed while he is working up a sweat. They walk down, down, down the mountain to the Barranca River, then turn around and walk back up, up, up. The other day, Paul took me down in the car to show me his route. Towards the bottom, we passed the ICE hydroelectric plant and noticed the gate was open and cars were driving in.
Since we were curious, we followed. We had heard that there was a swimming hole somewhere in there and wanted to check it out. Before long, we found it, full of young people enjoying the afternoon.
We walked over to the office where we had seen Edwin, an ICE worker, drive his ATV. He had recognized Paul from the morning walks and invited us to tour the plant. He explained that this is the smallest hydroelectric plant in the country, and one of the oldest. He also said that the water levels are lower this year than in the previous six years due to low rainfall. We bounced a bit as we walked across the yellow suspension bridge to the place where they take measurements and control the water levels. I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like in the midst of the rainy season. “Come back anytime,” Edwin said. It struck me how welcoming he was. There were no worries of terrorists poisoning the water or even local teens up to some mischief…very pura vida.