Innocents in Mexico, Chapter 10


San Miguel Sunset from the Roof of the House We Chose to Rent

Innocents in Mexico

Find Chapter 1 HERE  Chapter 2 HERE   Chapter 3 HERE
Chapter 4 HERE
  Chapter 5  HERE  Chapter 6 HERE Chapter 7 HERE  Chapter 8 HERE  and Chapter 9 HERE,

Chapter 10

            On our sixth day of searching, we found three houses we wanted to rent.  One had the advantage of being blocks from the jardin and a block from the market.  It was stark and small, but we could fix it up.  There were many patios, but I would have to supply the plants.  If we were renting for a year or two, it would be worth fixing up, but not for a month.  As we left, Bob toed aside a large, dead cockroach. 

            The second apartment was in an area above the Biblioteca which we had not seen before.  The man who owned the house was a large-scale metalsmith and would share his tools and space with Bob.  The apartment was charming––decorated with flair.  It had one bedroom, kitchen and bath with a small sitting room on the ground floor.  He, his wife and children and assorted art students lived above.  We were free to use any of his studio space as well.  He was so anxious to rent to us that he said he would do anything to please us.  He came down $200 from his original offer when we had done nothing but ask him the price again.  The $300 a month covered utilities, and he would pay half of our parking nearby.  We were sure we would take this place, but we had first, as a courtesy to Susan, to go see the house she had been trying to get us in to see for three days.  We went back to see Clello’s house by the mercado, found yet another dead cockroach under the sink, then returned the key and told her we had decided to take a different house. 

            We then remembered that we had forgotten to tell the metalsmith that we had a cat.  It was no problem, he told us, when we called to tell him.  He would do anything to get us to take the apartment. 

            “But first” we said, “we must go to see one other house.”

            We went to La Conexion, Susan’s internet business, and she loaded us into her van.  On the passenger side door were vivid purple scribbles.

            “My kids did that.  It’s not graffiti,” she told us. 

            Her van looked like ours––lived in.  Crayons littered the backseat floorboards, a Eudora instruction booklet lay on the dashboard.  I piled my San Miguel guidebook, book of notes and phone numbers, Spanish dictionary and town map on top of it. 

            We went a different route to the house than the first time––when we had seen the neighborhood but couldn’t get in to see the house.  It was in a Mexican neighborhood a short way out of town.  From the road in front of the house, we could see the half-unoccupied shopping mall whose only prosperous inhabitant seemed to be the huge grocery/notions store named Gigante.  The road was dirt, the field to its right littered with plastic bottles and paper bags.  At first, I thought it was a dump, but it was just the refuse which was the normal byproduct of being so close to a market.  The neighborhood looked less bleak this time.  On the  long road that ran past the house were two metalworking shops, which interested us both.  Susan opened the gate to the courtyard and we stepped in.  It was a beautiful modern stucco house constructed in the Mexican style, using Mexican methods and materials––two stories with a rooftop patio.  Two second story patios served as roofs for two ground floor patios which  flanked the house.  A brick pathway vee’d and then joined as it approached the house.  Around us were bougainvilleas in various shades of purple, burgundy, wine, rose, orange and gold.  A 15’ long wall of organpipe cacti stretched far up into the air, running parallel to the side wall, but well out from it.  A mesquite tree spread over the central courtyard and the walls of a small ruin which they had left intact and which contained a quirky artist’s shrine.  As we stepped into the house, we saw  first of all a huge picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe which dominated the 30’ high back wall .  On closer inspection, we saw  that it was a beaded curtain meant to hang in a doorway.  Ceiling fans above it sent air currents which caused it to gently sway in minute waves out from the wall and back.  The effect was an underwater effect––or one of heat waves in the road in front of you when driving through a desert.  The house was spectacular.  One large central room opened to the 30’ high ceiling.  To the right was an open kitchen which led to the right front patio, where the glass top dining room table and chairs were.  To the left were the guest bedroom and bath, which sported the only inner door in the house.  In front of us, two open stairways formed a V leading up to the office on the right and the master bedroom/bath on the left.  Both were bounded by just an open balcony railing overlooking the main living space.  Most walls were whitewashed adobe brick, but a few walls were kept unpainted.  The vent over the stove was covered with vivid yellow tile and the cement floors were painted an aged terracotta, blue or yellow, then waxed.  Rugs added warmth to the floors.  As we moved through the house, the image of the Virgin de Guadalupe was repeated over and over on glasses in the kitchen, in small shrines and in a tiled tray on the patio.  An autographed picture of Beaver and Wally Cleaver sat on the stand beside the desk.  To its left was a small shrine to the Rolling Stones.  Elsewhere in the house were pictures of the Swami Yogananda, a print of Remedios Varo, whose work we had earlier seen in Ziwok, a wall devoted to Bob Dylan (We had included all of Bob Dylan’s tapes in our limited cache of tapes brought along to Mexico.)  On the open clothes rod at the end of the master bathroom were sedate Hawaiian and batik shirts that could have been Bob’s.  On the shelves were shorts and loose pants that look like the ones packed in his bag back at the hotel.  When we saw a picture of Jim, the owner, he had long light hair, like Bob, and was of a similar stature and size. 

            I loved the house.  I looked at Bob.  He loved the house.  Prior to this we had looked at no fewer than 10 houses and apartments, and had only agreed about these last two.  We took the house.  Sadly, I called the metalsmith to break the bad news about not taking his apartment.  He was very disappointed, I could tell.  I promised to tell anyone I met about his place.



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About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

10 thoughts on “Innocents in Mexico, Chapter 10

    1. lifelessons Post author

      No.. We only stayed in San Miguel for three months and then moved to Lake Chapala where I’ve been for 22 years. Unfortunately I can’t find any of the photos I took of that house or our time in San miguel other than the few I’ve already shown. Can’t imagine where they are. On some dead computer, perhaps.

      Liked by 1 person


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