We went out to dinner tonight. No, not Outback, Applebee’s, or Red Lobster. We went to the Homeless Shelter in Tin Town, a small neighborhood in Bisbee. The shelter helps a lot of people—they have a paid board, volunteers, and bunks for women and men. The homeless folks staying there are expected to help out too. Every Wednesday night they throw a huge supper and about 60 people come. You get a plate and hand it to the cook and he loads it up. Tonight we had chicken cacciatore loaded with fresh vegetables over pasta, soup, salad, bread, hard boiled eggs, and brownies. The food, prepared by a friend of ours who volunteers every week, was first-rate. There are long tables set up and you find a seat with friends or strangers. It’s free, but there is a donation jar to which we added $10. They also packed us up two more of these delicious meals to go. They get the food from food banks and donations, and you can sign up for free boxes of donated food.
It’s hot and my car’s overheating. I worked in a couple houses this week with no coolers, so I’m overheating too. Most people don’t have air conditioning here, we have evaporative coolers, known as swamp coolers. A swamp cooler is a large box with vented sides attached to your house, usually the roof. It contains a blower, an electric motor with pulleys, a water pump, and evaporative cooling pads made from aspen wood fibers. The fan draws hot dry outside air through the vents and through the damp pads. Heat in the air evaporates water from the pads which are constantly redampend by the pump. Cool moist air is then directed through ductwork into your home. Moist air is blown in and cycles through the house by an open window at the other end of the house.
They’re wonderful in dry climates and cheap to run (80% cheaper than AC). They are so efficient that even hospitals here use them. Their one drawback is that they obviously lose efficiency during the humid monsoon season.
Many of the old converted miners’ shacks here don’t even have coolers much less AC, they just have ceiling fans. People who have lived here for a long time are totally acclimated to the heat—but I bet they don’t do aerobics in their houses in the summer, like I do when I clean.
Some friends gave us a loaf of bread yesterday from Mexico. I’ve never heard of Bimbo Bakeries (pronounced beem’ bo) so I looked it up. Established in Mexico in 1945, it was sold and resold and is now a huge company that owns Friehofer’s, Arnold, Boboli, Oroweat, Thomas’, Entenmann’s, and many more. The parent company, Grupo Bimbo, acquired these century-old brands in the 1990s. The word “bimbo” doesn’t really mean anything in Spanish, but obviously would be offensive elsewhere.