Wednesday, October 03, 2012
love for sale
I got lost in the shower yesterday morning.
Well, not so much lost as spatially disoriented. I could not quite remember where I was.
You have probably had the same experience on a trip. You wake up wondering just where the strange bedroom you are in is located.
My confusion is understandable. This has been a rather busy travel year so far. In addition to Melaque, I have been in Salem, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Atlanta, New Orleans, Nassau, Cartagena, Malaga, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona, Alexandria, Cairo, Aqaba, Safaga, Dubai, Bend, Myrtle Point, Powers, Diamond Lake, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Morro Bay, San Miguel de Allende, Morelia, and Pátzcuaro.
My mother sent me an email yesterday welcoming me "home" to Melaque. The quotation marks are hers. She knows "home" is merely the space I occupy at any moment.
But her email started a thought avalanche. I spent a good deal of time in Pátzcuaro dreaming about living high above the lake. At one point, I had similar dreams of living in Barra de Navidad -- the town on the east end of our bay.
Barra was my third choice for real estate. The first was Puerto Vallarta. Friends told me how inexpensive housing was there. "They are almost giving away beach houses."
It turned out their idea of "giving away" was $600,000. I had forgotten their idea of house prices was formed in southern California during the bubble.
The second choice was La Manzanilla. The prices were more affordable. And the views were stunning.
But the complications were immense. The houses are built on ejido land, and the regularization process was -- well, let's just say, Mexican.
Then I discovered Barra de Navidad. On the beach. Not a gringo stronghold.
No ejido issues.
I drove through Barra on Tuesday morning. Just to see if the dream of owning land near the beach is still alive.
The first thing I noticed was the number of "for sale" signs that have sprouted during the summer. And I am not certain what that means. It looked as if the landed class was planning an evacuation.
Of course, it may reflect a perception that the real estate market is starting to rise from its tomb. That is the optimistic view.
A view with a patina of cynicism (which is just another word for "realism) is that some expatriates have simply given up on the Mexican dream. Either for reasons of health. Security. Finances. Or to avoid the inevitable rise of ocean tides that will turn their dreams into a trip to Atlantis.
Just how serious people are about selling is another question. Some of the houses are grand affairs. With jaw-dropping price tags.
But there are also what seem to be some nice bargains.
I looked at this house when I first moved to Melaque. It is small. And well-situated. Even though it does not have a view.
When I first looked at it, it was extremely overpriced. But in the four years I have been watching it, the price has gradually declined. Something that does not seem to happen very often in Mexico.
I am going to take another look at it.
If, for no other reason, than to see if it is possible to buy love.