Wednesday, June 11, 2008

a pot on every chicken

Birds do it. Bees do it. At least, they appear to do it -- vote, that is. Everybody seems to be in the process recently of casting ballots over one thing or another.

Why not we citizens of blogland? (Please note the edgy post-modern refusal to capitalize proper nouns.)

And I have a topic that it is every bit as trivial as any Gallup Poll (hardly a post-modern organization).

I love Pacific Mexican architecture. And there is a young architect whose work I have come to appreciate: Alejandro Lazareno. I have seen several of his houses in Barra de Navidad, Melaque, and La Manzanilla. If I buy a house in the Barra de Navidad area, I hope it will be one of his designs.

So, here is the question: Of the following six houses, which one would you recommend for me? (Like most polls, you will not have adequate information to answer the question. But voting is its own reward. Choose a house from this post and then vote over in the right column. At least, that is how it is supposed to work.)

Candidate number 1:

This is the house I wanted to look at when I went to Barra de Navidad in December, but a sale was pending at the time. It is an Alejandro design with plenty of color.

Candidate number 2:

This is another Alejandro design. The most fascinating feature is the master bedroom suite. It is separated from the main portion of the house by a court yard.

Candidate number 3:

I have not seen this house, but it is another Alejandro design. You can see his style in this house. Plenty of flowing curves and bold colors.

Candidate number 4:

This is the newest Alejandro house in the group. Easily identified by the fluid swoops and primary colors. Houses 1 through 4 are in Barra de Navidad.

Candidate number 5:

This is the house I went to see in La Manzanilla in November. It is small, but large enough for me. The view is potentially great, but a house may be built that will block the view. I still dream about this house.

Candidate number 6:

I have added this house as my reality check. Dreaming of buying is all very well and good. But this lovely house in Melaque will be available as a rental. I am flying down in July to determine if this is the way to start my adventure in Mexico.

The polls are open until midnight (Pacific time) on Friday. My fate is in your hands. Be gentle. Be kind.


Hollito said...

Difficult, really difficult.

I voted for #5, because I like the lots of green around it. And it seems to have a garage instead of just a parking place. Great view is another pro.

But the other houses are fine, too, especially #2. :-).

Anonymous said...

tough choices-i really like 1 and 3 but still like number 6 the best and think renting is a great idea so you could have the time to get to know the area as well as other parts of the country before making a final decision as to where to settle.
the voting column didn't show up on my computer, that's why i'm commenting here. i'll be eager to see the poll results.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes. #5.


P.S. Thanks for the encouragement re blogging!

JJ said...

I chose #1 because I really like the lines and the colors. Sure you have neighbors, but remember that sense of community. I wonder which one will win?!

Babs said...

Candidate #6 for the first year. You need to go through a full year on the beach to see if (a) you like it and the people and (b) see if you can stand the heat. I promise you'll be glad you did.....Over and over I see people buy a house and within the year discover that either Mexico is not for them, or the town they are in. Property prices are falling through the floor in Mexico due to the economy in the USA - the longer you wait, the less expensive the house will be. If you do buy, I suggest it NOT be attached to another house.....many, many reasons too numerous to write here.
And, if you even THINK about La Manzanilla you need to go rent for at least six months and see if you like it there.......Was I kind and gentle?

Billie Mercer said...

I like #1 and #6 BUT if a sale was pending on #1 it is probably gone. #6 looks great but it is really, really close to the water. Since I've lived along the Texas Gulf Coast I see the ocean and think hurricanes. So I chose #4. I love the curves and I can see adding even more color and the excitement that it would create in the juxtapositions of straight and curving surfaces.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Babs is giving you good advice, I voted for house #5 but I really like #1 also. The truth is that many people find the idea of living at the beach more appealing than the reality. We have some friends whose dream has been a beach house, so they bought one, but now have sold it and moved to town, Why, for various reasons they find themselves in Merida at least 3 times a week, and in the winter they get very few visitors so they get lonely. The ideal from them would have been two houses with weekends spent at the beach but that isn't in the budget.
Also, when you live somewhere and keep your eyes and ears open you will find houses that aren't on the web or being handled by realtors. So inspite of my vote, you really should think about renting first.

Islagringo said...

I love polls! I voted for #4 because of the open floor plan. Why I skipped the others:

1. That stairway will be slippery when wet, which it will be all the time what with the salt in the air. You don't need that element of danger in your life.

2. For security reasons, I would not have my sleeping quarters separate from my living space.

3. This one almost won. Love the open floor plan but the tiles suck.

5. If you think it is small now, wait until you try to live in it! Plus, if they can block your view, why bother?

6. Lovely house, lovely view. But there is just something about it that doesn't appeal.

There, I've had my 2 pesos worth! What a fun poll!

Islaholic Trixie said...

I voted for number 6 only because I like the view from the windows!! Also, if it has potential for rental income, that helps.

Anonymous said...

OK, to some extent this was a process of elimination, and I agree with some of the other comments above.

1) Rent #6 for a year, but don't buy it. Remember 2005 in the Gulf Coast? You never want to actually OWN a beach house. Also, as per some other comments I have left here, it seems to be borne out by other comments that if U.S. real estate is falling, then Mexican real estate is also falling. U.S. real estate market won't settle for several years yet. Your best strategy is to sell soon (current house) and buy late (future house). So there's another good reason (beyond those already noted) to rent for a year.

2) House #1 is the best "Mexican" house. It has a garage, and a nice sturdy fence for the yard. Mexicans tend to keep themselves locked up behind gates. There must be some good reason for this. And for that reason, #2, #4, and possibly #5 look vulnerable. You no doubt will travel at times, and there'll likely not be anyone else living in the house while you are gone. You want everything there when you get back. I voted for #1.

3) On #2 and #3, the grass detailing struck me as something that'd likely harbor bugs who like you at least as much as they like the grass. 'Nuff said.

4) House #4 looks very cool, perhaps the coolest of the bunch, but a smidgen vulnerable.

Some closing comments. So you are going to retire in Mexico. If you really are going to be buying your last house, do you really want something with stairs? On a steep hillside? My own parents (late 70's) built their dream house (with stairs) but made it possible to live entirely on the ground floor in the event that stairs ultimately become too challenging.

Also, if you have never lived in Mexico, it really behooves you to rent. If you don't like it after all, renting is so much less of a hassle to reverse.

Best of luck,

Kim G
Boston, MA

Babs said...

"And so it goes", as Linda Ellerbee says.

Hollito said...

Mmmhhh...another thing that was not covered is:

What kind of neighborhood do you prefer, Steve?

There are a lot of things that could be important (or not) for you, e.g. next supermarket, available internet connection, distance to the city center and so on.

Everybody who ever was in MX will agree that your neighborhood can be heaven or hell (or both)- depends on your preferences. In Xochimilco, everybody was nice, everybody was curious about "El Aleman" - but I got really annoyed when the people there were blowing fireworks nearly 24 hours per day, some so strong, that the car alarms went on. Not nice if you want (and need) to sleep.
That was one of the reasons why I prefered #5 - seems to have no *close* neighbors, has a closed garage with room for car and (maybe) a scooter or so.

Well...nevermind, Steve. I´m shure you will find a nice place somewhere. :-)

Be prepared to find me asking for a cold beer at the front door some day. ;-)

Steve Cotton said...

I have refrained from adding any of my own comments simply because you have all been adding such great information to the poll. I will add a summing up on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I vote for #6 - but this could be weighted in that if I were really evaluating I would have to compare the same rooms and many criteria not offered - what are the lot sizes, price variables, square footage, location etc.

At this point a totally emotional vote for #6 - but don't hold me to it ;-)

Alan said...

Steve, I don't see you as a yellow person, and quite frankly I really like number 6 style wise, but my vote has to go to nmumber 2. The master separated by space makes sense to me if you have (when!) visitors. There may well be a security issue, but then I have alway thought of you as quite saif. Alan

Steve Cotton said...

Al -- Funny you should make the yellow comment. That is exactly what Carrol said. I bet that is the first time the two of you have been in the same boat.