Sunday, August 30, 2009

Telchac Puerto: the lure of the murals


I didn't have much of a sense of the village of Telchac Puerto except it was probably too far out of the way for my upcoming trip to Merida and the beach towns. Then I saw a confusingly translated reference to this mural project by young graffiti artists, with a link to this irresistable Flickr slideshow. On the apparently official Telchac Puerto website I learned that "Artist and muralist Rigel Sauris is 'Painting the Town'..." The undersea mural covering city hall is the grandest work but numerous other buildings in town have had similar treatment. Despite my determination to avoid driving around in cars while there, I think I'm going to have to see this place.

These photos are from the Telchac Puerto website linked above.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SeaSick


Listening yesterday in the car to a disturbing interview on The Current on CBC with Alanna Mitchell, author of SeaSick. I wonder, what are the implications of the vast anaerobic "blob" in the Gulf of Mexico for the communities on the Yucatan side?

Paradise for home remodelers

Here's a pre-meltdown story on the gringo surge to Merida. I wonder how much has changed in the past year. As I compulsively scan the real estate listings I get the impression that not much seems to be selling these days in the city. If the listings are an accurate picture of what's actually for sale, that is. I keep checking the listings, watching the exchange rate, hoping my miniscule budget will be enough for something.
Fifty-three days to go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Know your narcotraficantes: A field guide to identification

A lot of people living in Mexico take umbrage at any mention of the drug wars in the country, and parry any reference with claims of exaggeration and comparisons to crime and violence NOB (north of the border). I tend to think information is a good thing. Here's an informative article:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0819/p10s01-woam.html

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Realty check


Okay, I checked my line of credit documentation and discovered I have less available cash than I thought to purchase a little place in Merida/the beach towns. Once again I'll be the bottomfeeder - even in a place where homes start at 1/10th the cost of the crappiest Victoria abode. This week I saw a likely prospect come up in the Merida listings for $20,000 US. It sold within days.
My question of the week is how best to make arrangements with realtors. I've read the horror stories: down payments absconded and spent, unsolvable title issues involving ejido (communal) land or complicated family ownerships. I've found in my previous house-hunting foray in Merida that realtors often can't get in to show houses that are listed by other companies. So how does one decide which realtor to engage, and whether to go with different realtors to see their company's listings? I understand relationships are important to doing business in Mexico, so how awkward or counterproductive would it be to view houses with more than one realtor? Will I be able to see all the houses in my price range if I don't work with more than one? These are the big questions this week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A place to stay


My big thrill this week was deciding on a place to rent for my two-week trip to Merida. Last visit we stayed in beautiful small hotels including Hotel Marionetas and Medio Mundo. This time I wanted to experience what it would (will) be like to live in the kind of small and basic house we could maybe afford to buy ourselves. A reality check.
There were several in the low to modest price range. A small, charming one bedroom casa and a gorgeous, colourful, elegant place both in the Santa Ana/Santiago area we got to know last time we were there. And this one in La Ermita.
We never even got to Ermita Santa Isabel last time, but heard a lot about it. A bit further from the main cathedral and park, on the other side of the somewhat grittier area around the bus stations. An up and coming area for expatriates, but not Gringo Gulch as some people call the Santiago neighborhood. I liked Santiago, but decided it's important to get to know other potential neighborhoods.
I think the owner won't mind my using these photo - free advertising!