Wednesday, February 15, 2017

waiting for the envelope

First impressions can be misleading.

We all know that. But first impressions can also have lasting impressions.

When I took Darrel and Christy to Pátzcuaro, I knew that our brief visit would not give them enough time to rationally consider whether one of my favorite places would also be one of theirs. After all, this is a very important point -- deciding where to retire.

A little background is in order. Darrel and Christy are desert folk. They owned a small ranch on the outskirts of Bend. With the ranch came chores. Tending horses. Raising the odd goat. Keeping Mother Nature's desire for chaos at bay.

When I started looking at purchasing a house, I asked them what they would be interested in -- and interested in avoiding. The brutal winters of Bend topped the list. They wanted to move somewhere warm. They also wanted to get away from the constant demand of projects and chores.

Darrel is also very interested in driving his Polaris Rzr through the outback. For him, the open spaces of Baja are perfect.

During our six days, Darrel and Christy came to enjoy a lot of the same things I have found attractive in Pátzcuaro. The lake tops the list. It is a  beautiful natural setting. Even when it looks a bit like James Joyce's "snot green sea."

Both of them were a little disappointed to discover the lack of recreation on the lake itself. Swimming from a power boat would be heaven to both of them. Even though there are good reasons not to dip too deep in the lake.

They also share my love or archaeolgical sites. There are plenty around the lake -- or within a few miles. I have explored most of the restored sites. We have nothing like that in Barra de Navidad.

And then there is the weather. Felipe, being the frank type of guy he is, pointed out that the month we visited is cold. For me, the weather was perfect. Nights in the 40s; days in the 70s. I never needed anything other than a short-sleeve shirt.

Darrel found the weather pleasant. Christie agreed with Felipe. The mornings were simply too cold for her. But she feels the same way about winter mornings at the house with no name. She reminded me cold winters were something she wanted to avoid.

But there were counterweights, as well.One reason they want to move from Bend is the increasing irritation of traffic. For that reason, they found the crowded streets of Pátzcuaro to be a little distressing.

And, in their hustle and bustle, the residents of Pátzcuaro tend to be far more remote than are my neighbors in Barra de Navidad. There may be plenty of reasons for that. But I have found the same aloofness in my visits there.

They also picked up on one of the limitations of Pátzcuaro -- its restaurant scene. Most of the offered food lacks variety and is toned down for tourist consumption. There are some rare exceptions, but no one comes to Pátzcuaro for the restaurant food. Or, at least, I have never met anyone who has.

I drove them around the outskirts of town to see if returning to rural life appealed to them. They far preferred that area with its pine forests and mountain views. I suspect it made them feel as if they were back in Bend.

The bottom line? They like Pátzcuaro. And they will return for visits. But it does not appear to be the place they would like to settle.

I suspect Baja is rising higher on their list with each of the places we visit.

Tomorrow, I will be leaving them on their own in the house for just over a month. They are going to watch the house while I traipse off to Reno, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. While I am gone, they will be able to take the Escape wherever they like -- to see if they can find some additional places that may suit them.

It may be here. And that would be perfect with me.

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