Thursday, September 8, 2011

We had arrived in Maz!!

We had arrived in Maz!!

Dragging suitcases, boxes, computers, IPods and magazines Hub and I finally went thru Mexico customs, after one flight to 8 hr layover...and onto another flight, we got a taxi and filled it with all our ‘stuff’ and arrived at our new casa!

The front lawn was torn up!!

But we knew the American contractor was putting in a cistern, so it was to be expected, although it was to have been completed prior to our arrival. Hmmmm best laid plans again!

The closets were not finished. The counters were not what were discussed and now there was a huge hole in the side of the house with wood covering it all. Seems the tradesmen went thru the wall when installing the new counters,decided to cover it up with wood and not tell anybody including the contractor about it.

Did I mention there was NO water? (Not necessarily the contractors fault but with a post-menopausal wife, Hub quickly found us a lovely B&B for a few days.)

The owner, an American, living here for 6 years, took us under his wing and showed us the ropes of living in Mazatlan.

1st rule – Alcohol- Know your limits! You’re no longer just vacationing...this is home. Yes you will get plowed at the beginning but try not to start before noon.

2nd rule – Time – no importance here. When somebody says they will be there at 2pm and their not, don’t get upset. It’s a waste of energy. They did intend to show at’s just that they were on their way and something else came up.

3rd rule – Money – Always bargain but not on everything. Leave the small prices alone and go haggle over the big stuff.

4th rule – Safety – Maz is as safe as any other big city. Know where you are and who’s around you.

The B&B owner showed us how to get a phone, restaurants with great food at cheaper prices out of the tourist areas, where to pay future bills, found us a massage therapist, took us to a Dentist and Doctor, he even took us to his Mexican bank that has a VIP section strictly for “tourists and gringo’s”.

Well after five days we were back in our new home with water, a new good friend and now looking at a our first Christmas and New Years away from family and friends, as well as a major remodel on our new casa in less than a month!! (The earlier post has a slide show of the details and pictures of the remodel but doesn’t tell the whole story.)

January 17th 2011, it all started, right on schedule (which is amazing in Mexico!!)

Heavy equipment dug up our front yard and workmen arrived to dig our walls...just 3 walls out front but it looked like they were digging to China!!!

Hub, now retired of course, kept behind all the guys, asking questions in his broken Spanish and allot of sign language, only to have the Mexican contractor reply...”you’re frightful.” He’d smile; joke and then Hub would come into the house muttering about levels, permits and the infamous water issue.

Did I mention at no time did we ever see a hard hat, a pair of work boots, safety goggles or glasses anywhere?? Tradesmen’s dress of the day and every day was baseball hats, sandals and t-shirts.

But the walls went up and while the finishing coat was going on with expert care, and after much discussion, we informed our contractor that we should go back to our original 9’ high walls. That would mean breaking out the first two rows of bricks, mortar and finishing coat to add 1’ higher. The Mexican Contractor smiled and told Hub, “You’re frightful again!”  So they ripped the top rows out and raised the wall. No complaints from anyone and no bitching about how “gringos” can’t make up their minds.

They started the new garage in the back. Men digging, running wires and plumbing, mixing cement by hand and running it up onto the new roof with buckets on their shoulders all on a makeshift ladder.

Hub dogged them every step of the way with broken Spanish and sign language. I went in the house and got the boys ice and water...and made myself a cocktail or two.

Now if you’ve ever had a house built you know the confusion, headaches and arguing that it all entails...try it in a country where English is NOT the first language. It’s a true test of your marriage, believe me.

No one ever complained except Hub and moi.

But we were told it would be finished in 12 weeks...guess what??!!! It was completed in just under 12 weeks and we couldn’t have been more pleased. Yes, there are a few fixes that need to be taken care of, but all in all, we finally had our “retirement” home!!

The contractor’s since been hired to put in a cascade (pond of sorts) later this year and do some other wall work.

Soooo here we go again! Isn’t retirement grand!

Just a few thoughts from 2 Canadians living and loving it in Mazatlan.
Linda and Hub