Friday, August 07, 2009

villa on the tiber?

I have never been very picky about where I live. Buying a McMansion in a west coast suburb was never one of my dreams.

In my better moments, I could easily live in a monastic cell.

And then there are moments like Thursday.

When I visited Melaque last year, I wandered around to get a feel for the various neighborhoods. The west end of the beach offered the best swimming. Because of that fact, tourists tend to congregate there. Along with the mélange of architectural styles that tourists expect at the beach.

But I did not expect to see the house pictured above in a residential area. Several appellations came to mind: the kindest was 1950s bank. Dostoevsky dacha on the Don was not far behind.

On Thursday the estate agent took me to a house she thought would be perfect for me. It was, of course, the "bank" that had provided me with moments of amusement during the past year.

I am no longer laughing. The place is a bit austere inside (in a luxurious Hollywood manner), but its three bedrooms may work out fine for me. There is a small garden for Jiggs. And the swimming beach and good restaurants are extremely convenient.

The rent is more than I want to pay. But it is the high season and I need the place for only five months.

The only thing that needs work is the kitchen. It effectively does not have one -- almost as if the architect forgot about it, and then decided to stuff it into a hallway.

I am a bit leery at renting a house with a promise that modifications will be done n the future. But it could be another opportunity for an adventure in Mexico.

There is something about the place.

If Jed or Granny or Elly May wander in looking for Miss Hathaway or Mr. Drysdale, I am going to feel right at home.


Anonymous said...

You live there long, you will find many crazy people.


zannie said...

I eagerly await the advice of those who have lived in Mexico for some time, since I am sure (or at least I hope!) this is the sort of quandry I will face in a few years myself!

lavachickie said...

I'd think the color and that decor might drive you mad yourself. Whew!

Mic said...

I love it!! Hope you get it so we can see more pictures.

Felipe said...

This house amuses me. It is your typical Mexican´s dream residence. It was designed by a Mexican for sure. Lower-level narcos would like to live there.

If you move in for five months with the hope modifications will be made to suit you, I have a replica of the (fill in the blank) here in Pátzcuaro that I will sell or rent to you for a very nice price.

Modifications will not happen. And take care with the deposit/gift amount.

Charley said...

I don't know Steve, it's missing the one thing you're really looking for, the Kitchen.

Could you be at home in this sort of layout? Not exactly cozy.

jennifer rose said...

It looks like a fantastic house. I don't think you'll go wrong by renting it.

Upper-middle class and better Mexican homes do not have a huge emphasis upon the kitchen. It's a utility room, a place where the servants do the work and not the gathering place that Americans and working class Mexicans expect from a kitchen. Live it up while you can.

Babs said...

Good Lord, it looks like Hollywood gone to Melaque! It sure doesn't look like a "beach house"......

So, why do you need much of a kitchen if the restaurants are nearby?

Good luck with your search....

Steve Cotton said...

Horst -- But I just may be crazy enough to do it.

Zannie -- This choice will be more visceral than logical.

Lavachickie -- Well, it is no less subtle than my current surroundings.

Mic -- You will have to come to the first toga party.

Felipe -- If I choose to live there, I know the kitchen will never be modified, even if it is owned by professional colleagues. I have read enough blog tales to understand that. But, if it does, it does. You may recall I had a Roman fixation when I was in high school. Talk about taste reversion.

Charley -- For five months I could be happy living almost anmywhere. Remind me of that later.

Chrissy y Keith said...

the place creeps me out. Looks like it has bad mojo.

Anonymous said...

Your cultural references always amuse me. I am unpacking my toga as we speak.


Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- There are times I am not certain if you are being ironic. I remember having our conversation about the kitchen in your house and how your neighbors were not interested in it. For me, it is important. Cooking is a fun hobby for me -- and I am my own servant.

Babs -- I would prefer the fun of cooking my own food over going to a restaurant any day. Besides that, my food is far better than any restaurant I have been to in Melaque. If I want adventure, I go out to eat. If I want good food, I eat at home.

Chrissy -- The place does have a bit of The Apartment aura to it.

Doug -- When I saw the house, I thought of you, frat boy. The only guy I know who does not look ridiculous in a toga.

Anonymous said...

can i come to the toga party too? every time i read your blog i wish i could go back to mexico soon, but it may be a while. did i tell you i'm going to europe next month, and then another cruise in april to celebrate my sister's 50 anniversary? (she's quite a bit my senior.) so i guess mexico will have to wait.

not sure what to say about the house. it's a bit too fancy for me but then i'm not the one that's going to live there. if you think you can deal with the kitchen as is, for the months you'll be there, and you're happy about everything else, then go for it.

have a great weekend!


Anonymous said...

Steve...I have always been intrigued by that house as it never seemed to be occupied anytime we were in Melaque but is quite the place. One year it changed colour from Blue to Yellow and we thought maybe we'd see people living there but I only ever remember seeing a light on once over Christmas.Is there an interesting story that goes along with the house? You'll be right in the thick of things at that end of town. The Professor will love the lawn to say nothing of being able to visit with many passers-by. And, the walk to the swimming beach will be perfect for him. Decisions, decisions.

Arnie Bautista said...

As Felipe has alluded to, the only thing missing is a big "Scarface" poster in the entryway.

Just a housewarming gift suggestion.

Joanne said...

That's a lot of house for one guy and his dog. Three bedrooms and no kitchen? Why do you want this house? Within a month you are going to hate it. But that's just my opinion, you can make up your own mind.

Felipe said...

You move into that house, and this will be your future:

Islagringo said...

This place looks like it was built for no other reason than to show off. Doesn't sound like a comfortable to live at all. You will hate, hate, hate that kitchen and kick yourself often for moving in. If there any other options available, choose one of them.

Christine said...

I know why you are taken with this house! It is the cool greens of the floor. The house appers cool and refreshing--and just as you are about to expire from the heat.

1st Mate said...

It sort of reminds me of Scarface's house. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a secret stash of coke in those banisters.

Do you have any more options? Have you looked in Barra? La Manzanilla?

Anonymous said...

Steve, since most comments indicate you will not like this place I think you'll love it and it will be fun. You will certainly have some amazing adventures in this yellow palace. I know that for sure! If you have a place to cook that is a kitchen. Kitchen's are over rated! Enjoy. Now I think you are getting into the spirt of an adventurer. Living in a typical little Mexican home can be very depressing. I know we did that. Our kitchen pipes oozed up terrible odors as did the shower drains. That in itself is pretty depressing. You will be King of your castle. Our little one room mexican house always felt dirty no matter how I cleaned it. We would have loved the amazing yellow castle. Now, hope you can clinch the deal!

Steve Cotton said...

Teresa -- Enjoy Europe. If we have a toga party, I will send pictures -- or not. I need to look up "toga party" in the dictionary you gave me as a going-away gift. The correct accent marks are necessary for the invitations.

Anonymous -- No one has lived in the house for the six years the estate agent has lived here. The location is certainly an asset.

Joanne -- The house is no bigger than the house where I am staying now. I would be happy with a couch and a sleeping bag. No matter where I stay, I will not use much space.

Felipe -- With the exception of the red in the film, they could have shot that scene in the house.

Islagringo -- But aren't all possessions designed to show off something? I thought all philosophies based on materialism (such as, socialism) were based on that premise. But I am playing with your point. You are correct. The house is as anti-Minnesota as a place can get. No midwest reticence here. But I have not seen a house in Mexico that would please my St. Vincent relatives.

Christine -- That may be it. The house was amazingly cool -- without any fans running. Of course, reptiles generate very little of their own heat.

1st Mate -- Because this is a short-term rental, I am not going to put much time into looking around. The added benefits will be small compared to the time expended. I have looked at two houses. That is good enough for me. If I were shopping for pants, I would have already looked at one pair too many.

mdoneil said...

It is a a house, what is important is if the Professor likes it.

A small kitchen may make for more dropped morsels.

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous (also) -- Finally. A voice of adventure. If I cannot be Lord of he Beach, I will be Prince of the Boulevard.

Ruth said...

It's a cheerful color and based on the one picture of the inside it looks very bright and airy inside. Does it have much outside space?

Steve Cotton said...

Arnie -- Yu have parked an idea. I could open my own cinema. It certainly has the ambience.

Steve Cotton said...

Ruth -- Colorful it is. But there is a lot of white inside.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Muy Mexicano, not having them modify the kitchen would not be the worse part, having them modify it while you live there would be the worst possible case scenario. It would not be healthy for you or Professor Jiggs.
If you really want the house, offer them less money because of the kitchen, if the kitchen is ready when you are moving in, then you can pay more. it's a bargaining culture.
There are plenty of more houses just like that one, drive around any upper middle class neighborhood, and none of them have good kitchens for exactly the reasons Jennifer wrote.

Howard said...

I lived a couple of blocks away for two and a half years. Nobody "lived" in the house during that time, though it had the rare visitor. There is an interesting story of a murder there, but you can dig that out for a future blog. There are a number of alternatives almost right next door which I would not dismiss!

Steve Cotton said...

Theresa -- I have been amazed at how inadequate the kitchens are in the houses I have looked at. The houses are fine, but the kitchens are often nothing more than a counter and a two-burner propane unit -- with gas that will burn no more than yellow. As inadequate as the kitchen is, I could live with it -- if I decided I liked the rest of the house that much.

Howard -- How weird! I had a dream last night that someone was being killed in the yellow house. I thought I was channeling Felipe's Scarface scenario. Art simply imitating reality, I guess. I will email you aout alternatives -- on houses, not killings.

Anonymous said...

I say go for it. But first see if you can negotiate a lower rental price. It sounds like it would be great for Jiggs. You will not be pleased with the kitchen, but you are not going to live there permanently. I remember when we bought the Doncaster house. I loved the size of it and the floor plan. I told your dad I could put up with the kitchen to get the house. That was fine for several years, but after 30 years I hated that kitchen. I had always wanted a family room kitchen. I think that is why I like my Bend house.


Steve Cotton said...

Mom -- I think Jiggs would prefer the other house. It has a lot of outdoors -- and everything is on one level. He would not have to worry about stairs. He could never climb the marble stairs in the yellow house: no traction.

Felipe said...

I could easily live in a monastic cell.

Sure you could. And I could gleefully move back in with my second wife.

You´re about as monastic as David Niven. Where do you come up with these crazy notions about yourself? And the ability to state them with a straight face? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

So, there was a murder in the house. You've had a dream about it. Upwardly-mobile narcos will eye you with envy every time they pass. A you sure this is the right place? Or will this blog soon become the Chronicles of the Amityville Horror, a la Mexicana?

That is when your computer stops mysteriously malfunctioning.

Whatever you decide, I hope it turns out well.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where such a house would be inconceivable

Mic said...

AHA, a toga party - what fun!! But would have to miss it due to the commute :-) Could enjoy it thru your pictures tho.

If it would be bad for P.Jiggs, I'd vote ney on the house. Wouldn't want him falling down the stairs trying to follow you....and why pay for an upstairs if it separates you.

Still think it's a pretty cool looking residence...except for the kitchen deficiency.

Steve Cotton said...

Mic -- Perhaps a virtual party?

Mic said...

Not being much of a "party girl" that would probably suit me better :-)