Tuesday, October 09, 2012
ms. barra-in-the-country seeks your vote
You have met candidate number 1.
A house I have known off and on for five years. Almost like one of those dates where things have not quite jelled.
Candidate number 2 has quite a different back story. The blind date who once jilted me and is now back on the marriage market.
When I flew down to see property in 2007, I wanted to see the houses I had chosen in La Manzanilla. But there was a house I had recently seen online in Barra de Navidad that had captured my full attention.
A man in Guadalajara had started building a house, but changed his mind. At the time, I was looking for property that would accommodate my mother, my brother, his wife, and me. We were all considering retiring in one compound.
And this property would have been perfect. A large house with three bedrooms, a casita, and a pool. All surrounded by a 12 foot wall. The moment I saw it, it jumped to the top of my list.
Unfortunately, the weekend before I flew down, it sold. I searched it out one afternoon about two years ago. The way you do with relationships you thought held promise. But all I could see was a bit of the wall and casita.
When I returned to Melaque last week and told my friend Lou I was in a house-hunting mood, he told me my dream girl was back on the market.
The next morning, I was in the realtor's office, and we arranged a visit with the current renter.
Let me assure you. I am fully aware this contemporary house is not to everyone's taste. It has a certain early trailer trash-late narco style to it. But it somehow appeals to my baser instincts.
And I have already come close to indulging in the cheesier side of my taste (a moving experience). Remember the Greek villa I almost rented?
When I first saw it online, I had a notion to set it up as a bed and breakfast with the hook tag of "Live like a narco." I would pick up guests at the airport in black Suburbans and whisk them through Barra and into the gate of their protected compound.
But, in person, it had a far more human scale -- with a few exceptions.
The casita is a nice touch. 810 square feet on two levels. A kitchen-living room- dining area downstairs. A bedroom, bathroom, and a sitting room upstairs. I could be comfortable living there.
The main house is 2765 square feet on three levels.
A living room-kitchen-dining room makes up most of the lower level. It would be a pleasant open space except for some bizarrely-placed pillars that chop up the room in odd sections.
There is also a bathroom (that services all of the first level -- including the pool) and bedroom on the first level.
The second floor has a huge master bedroom. With a grand view over the property. My writing space would be in that room.
The bedroom also has a dressing room larger than my current apartment and a bathroom to match. There is another bedroom and bathroom on the second level.
The third level is a screened and covered sun room for the master suite. It is also the access for the water and other utilities.
Like Joseph, this house has had a lot of deferred maintenance. And, because of its size, it would be quite a paint job.
One of the other drawbacks is water. Not drinking water. The water table.
We have had a lot of rain recently. Most of the surrounding property is a former coconut plantation. At the moment, it looks like a coconut plantation in the Everglades.
The road to the house is rather rough -- with raw sewage draining out of overflowing septic systems and sewer lines. But that is an issue that this area of the coast faces.
The list price on this beauty is $229,000 (US).
With all of her warts, I like the place. I fell in love with it online five years ago. And seeing it in person, did not change my mind. Even with its muddy road and scruffy exterior.
But, before I say too much, there will be a third contender tomorrow.
Not as flashy, but with a good personality.