Saturday, April 24, 2010

Google Streetview - yes!

Okay, I should be doing homework, or paying bills, or cleaning the house. But I just had to do some exploring around our new neighborhood now that Google Streetview is online for Merida. I counted the blocks to the new Sendero Mall, which Debbie and Lexy showed me several months ago during a quick scan of local amenities. 11 blocks, not bad. I know the bus to the mall stops very close to our house. It should satisfy many Gringo cravings with its big Soiriana food emporium. There's a Parisina fabric store, and I know they had bolts of inexpensive linen, which could be just the thing to cover the big windows in the front of the house. And apparently a great taco place. More local sights to come in future posts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here comes everybody

Yolisto flags a new story about the government of Mexico's dream of luring millions of  U.S. citizens to retire south of the border, from The Miami Herald: "Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees" 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mayan message

Graffiti on a wall in Merida, Calle 51 near the corner of 52. Haven't seen anything like this here before. Beautiful, but do you wonder about what stirs under the polite surface of a culture with such long experience of plunder, enslavement and subjugation?  Ronald Wright's Time among the Maya was a great, although dated, exploration of the Mayan world and its modern context. Still, I am keen to learn more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The "new" Merida Initiative

Do you think someone liked my blog's name?
http://www.internationalliving.com/Publications/il-news/04-09-Yucatan-Retirement-Paradise
I guess I should take it as a compliment. Interestingly the article, in part, seems to sum up our general plan: "Their focus now is on smaller residential properties with long-term value in places that have a sense of community and an active social life...They want lower-cost properties in desirable locations that they can use now for vacation homes and rental income. They want them to be good quality and low maintenance, preferably with on-site rental management. And they want to be able to retire comfortably in these properties when the time comes..."

...April 11 On further thought, there are a number of things in the article that don't actually reflect our checklist, such as on-site rental management...and the article refers to calculations of "'QTR'… Quality Time Remaining", which sounds awfully cold and actuarial, especially in reference to people who are a long way from conventional retirement age...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Manana myth

Back in Victoria with a notebook full of experiences from my first few days getting down to work on the long to-do list for our new Merida house. Although I must credit others for doing most of the work. A lot got done!

On Sunday I picked up the house keys and met property manager Maggie Cardena. She is effiicient! On Monday the huge tree that hid the house was hacked back to a manageable (though temporarily leafless) size. A shiny new deadbolt lock on the gate replaced the puny padlock and chain, we'd met the neighbors and the tax/water and electrical accounts were getting sorted out. All thanks to Maggie.

El Arbol, before and after: I knew there was a house under there somewhere!



Did I mention we have electricity? I had assumed the account was shut down, but on Maggie's suggestion I tried the main breaker (duh!), and instantly we had lights and fans. Funny how a bit of electricity can be all it takes to make a house seem quite liveable.

I was surprised and impressed by how efficiently things got done. Julio and his assistant worked strenuously all day at the big fig tree with just a machete and an axe. No power tools. I guess gas is more expensive than labour. Before the cutting began, we had to find someone to move two pickup trucks that were parked under the shade of the tree. So Maggie and Julio marched down to the market a block away (I tagged along, feeling like a bit of a goof) and they asked around to find the owner. They found him - and he wasn't too happy about losing his shady spot, but probably better than having his camionetas dented by large falling branches.

For my part I managed to get the floors more or less washed, though I don't know if I will ever get the hang of the Mexican squeegee method.