Wednesday, May 28, 2008

for me or not for me?

I want to make my trip to Melaque in July as informative as possible. (Yes. Yes. I know. I should use the time to relax. )

Even though I will only be a renter for next summer, I want to learn the basics of living in a Mexican town. I intend to put the following questions to the owner (who has been incredibly helpful at every point in the process). If I have the answers before I go, I can actually try to put the pieces together while I am in Melaque.

1. Where and how do I pay for the following?






internet (in this case, it is part of the telephone bill, I think)

2. When do I put out the garbage? Where? How?

3. Where is the water heater located? How do I ignite the pilot light?

4. Do I need to know how to fill the water tank?

5. Where is the fuse box? What type of fuses?

6. Are maid services part of the rental agreement? If so, who pays the maid? How?

7. How will be repairs be handled? Who pays?

8. Where is the propane tank -- or does the house use cylinders? What is the replacement procedure?

9. If there are any functional problems, who do I contact? (The owner lives in the Midwest.)

10. Where is the best money exchange?

11. Where is the best restaurant?

12. Where is the best place to snorkel?

13. Where is the best place to rent a car?

What am I forgetting? Can you think of any other questions a renter in Mexico needs to know. (We are working on the term and the price.)

With these questions -- and the answers -- I intend to walk around Melaque and see if I can figure out the operational side of renting. And I should get a feel for whether this is the place to start my first 6-month stay. I think it will be.

At some point, I also need to start thinking about whether I want a FM3 visa or whether I will rely on a tourist (FMT) visa. For round 1, I think an FMT will do. But that decision can wait until next year when I am more certain of my plans.


Theresa in Mèrida said...

Steve, the best exchange rate is usually the one you get at an atm. That said, see if your bank has a way for you to take money out without paying fees. We've been too lazy but many of our friends have Monex accounts, they cash checks for no fee and after you establish a history with them there is no waiting period.
What about hurricanes? How do you secure the house? And where do you go if you have to evacuate?

Steve Cotton said...

Theresa -- Thanks for the additions. Come to think of it, I should add flood evacuation routes, as well, after Melaque's unfortunate floods last year.

JBSK said...

Take a few tools with you so that you can deal with some of the inevitable breakdowns or issues like changing propane tan, removing the supply line from faucets to remove crud, repairing or replacing corroded light swutches or receptacles and so on.

We find an 8 and 12 inch crescent wrenches, slip joint pliers, multi tipped scredriver and a leatherman can get us through most things.

Steve Cotton said...

jbsk --

Great suggestion. My father would have suggested the same thing. I am not very handy with tools, but it is never too late to learn.

Anonymous said...

The experience will be worth ten times as much if you don't overplan it. I came alone several years ago with two suitcases, barely usable spanish, no connections and having done no homework. Figure it out as you go along. You will come out the other end with a heck of an education. If you want to learn to speak spanish don't look for gringos for help or anything else. Also, beware of the advice you get if you ask for advice. How it's done in Mérida (visa or whatever) may be totally unrelated to to it's done in Los Mochis. ¡Good luck!

Steve Cotton said...

Good words of advice. Michael Dickson reminds me of the same thing -- as does my oldest friend. There is a certain aspect of just doing it.