Bridge over troubled water

Sitting on the dining room table last night.

YOU MAY RECALL last January’s post, A better way for water, in which I bragged about our new filtration system. Prematurely, it seems.

It was simply a small gizmo that connected to the end of the faucet, but it had rave reviews on Amazon, which is where I bought it. One for the Hacienda, one for my child bride’s pastry kitchen, one for the Downtown Casita and one for the Mexico City condo, and they were not cheap, $1,500 pesos each.

Almost immediately, my wife started to have urinary issues that were misinterpreted by three gynecologists and one internist as a mysterious female problem. This went on for months till she finally took herself to a lab and discovered she had a bad bacterial infection. That was solved by antibiotics.

In April, I began to have problems with my digestive system, which led to a colonoscopy in May where a bacterial infection was found in my colon. That too was solved by antibiotics.

* * * *

A lightbulb appears

New ImageA lightbulb went on over my head, and we returned to bottled water.

Whether that simple filtration system was the culprit remains unknown because I took a water sample that had passed through that filter to a lab in the nearby capital city, and an analysis found no bacteria.

No matter. All four filters have been removed. However, I am getting too long in the tooth to sling around those five-gallon bottles. I am sick of it.

Enter our new filtration system. See the photo. Significantly bigger and higher tech. The water even passes through ultraviolet light that kills bacteria and Lord knows what else. We installed one at the Downtown Casita, the pastry kitchen and, just this morning, here at the Hacienda.

At the store in the capital city where I bought the new system, I also purchased a small gizmo that measures water quality, and grades water at seven levels from Ideal to Stuff You Don’t Want in Your Mouth.

It measures TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) but it does not measure bacteria. I measured the water we buy in the big jugs. It registered as ideal.

The next level down is water akin to “carbon filters, mountain springs, aquifers.” Then comes “hard water” followed by “marginally acceptable,” which it says is the average U.S. tap water. The two following levels are not for drinking.

The previous little filter registered TDS at the borderline of mountain streams and hard water. The new one registers just a tad higher into hard water, but both are below the average of U.S. tap water. And only the new system kills bacteria.

Let’s see what happens now. Pray for our tummies.

The water gatherer

Ready for the ride up the sidewalk.

DON’T DRINK the water.

That’s what they say about Mexico, and it’s wise advice. Tap water, that is. It’s been so long since I last drank tap water that seeing it done on Gringo TV now seems strange.

I began thinking of this matter yesterday while I was driving back from a small store down the street with two big bottles of purified water beside me.

We use a brand called Santorini, which is part of the Pepsi Corp. A large truck drives our streets regularly with these huge jugs, which are called garrafones in Spanish.

It’s like the five-gallon bottle used for water coolers in the United States, though I don’t know if our garrafones hold exactly five gallons. And they are plastic, not glass.

The driver and helper bellow agua in the street and also ring doorbells. I’m sure they earn commissions. If you respond to their yelling, they’ll bring the bottles right into your kitchen, and you hand over the empties.

A full bottle costs 25 pesos, which is about $1.30 U.S. these days. If you don’t hand over an empty, the price is way higher. I forget how much higher. I always have empties.

We once got door delivery, but you have to be home, and I found that doing it myself when we need it is more convenient. The store is just four blocks up the street.

And it’s exercise. Weight-lifting.

Arriving home with the two blue bottles, I heave them into a wheelbarrow for the brief trip around the Romance Sidewalk to the Hacienda’s front door.

This routine is not very difficult, but I wonder how many more years will pass before it will be physically beyond me. Then I’ll have the guys bring it into the kitchen for a sweet tip.

People drink bottled water in America because it’s stylish. We do it here because it’s the smart thing to do.

And it’s darn cheap.

Just in from the store up the street.