Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mexicana De Cobre

January 16, 2013

I took to the skies again yesterday and arrived in Hermosillo, Sonora in northern Mexico along with an entourage of smelter men from Canada, Australia and Finland.  We rented four vehicles and drove north for about four hours through the cities of Moctezuma and Nocazari de Garcia to the little town of Esqueda, near a copper smelter called Mexicana De Cobre (La Caridad mine) where I will be spending the next month planning a major shutdown in September, October and November.

For the first hundred miles or so, Highway 14 north of Hermosillo threads its way through a wide desert valley bottom.  You can see distant mountain ranges as they gradually close in on you and by the time you get to Moctezuma, you start threading your way higher and higher up the rollercoaster highways into the mountains.  As you go up, the temperature comes down and where I am is about 1400 metres above sea level.(Castlegar BC is only 450 metres, Calgary is 1048 metres!)  The temperature was a nasty -6C when we got in  last night and it was -11C when we got up. Brrrrrr! And here I stand in my speedos and a beach towel!  I only brought a few long sleeved shirts, jeans and a hoodie and the room I am staying in, as well as the office trailer I am to work out of each have paper thin walls... and the town is sold out of heaters.
I am staying in a company owned town in a compound guarded by hooded men with machine guns. They control access to and from the plant at checkpoints and stand in watch towers strategically placed around the perimeter of the plant.
Dinner last night consisted of tortillas con carne with a healthy side of beans and rice. Breakfast was eggs and beans and dinner tonight was tortillas with pork, and a healthy scoop of beans and rice. We will be eating lunch at the plant every day and today we had stewed chicken with a healthy scoop of beans and rice. So far so good but the beans and rice may get old, especially after three months of the same in Brazil!
At any rate, I will send updates when inspiration hits. For the most part, I will be busy enough writing safe work plans and trying to stay warm for the next few weeks. Have a great day!

Welcome to Esqueda!

Evenings find me walking the main drag looking for food. Here is where I buy my corn on the cob.

Corn on the cob, soft butter painted on with a brush and rolled in grated asiago cheese.

Most evenings I stop at this ol cowboy's eatery and order una tortilla con asada por favor.

My nightly tortilla

The best "Super Mercado" in town.

Here is where I stock up on my daily fruit n veggies.

On weekends, when our cafeteria is closed, we eat at the "Correcaminos" cafe (Roadrunner). As a special treat, we are sometimes entertained by this woman (who happens to be a very good cook) who sings for us.

Here is the Mexicana De Cobre smelter.

Yours truly, all dressed up and no where to go...

Yours truly in my new office

La Train, la Train!
Our humble accomodations... all of which are inside an armed compound protected my armed men circling us on quads...

Me, playing basketball with Jesus...


El Centro in the town south of us, Nocozari de Garcia.

Who knew?

Its fine to make your house in a box car...
But make sure you use the rails for street lamp poles!

All it needs is a battery!