It’s February 2011, and Eddy the Realtor has returned from his “breakdown” holiday at his father’s home back in Canada and appears to have recovered his equilibrium.
Not only that, his marriage seems to be back on the straight and narrow, meaning he no longer has to sleep at his office. His lovely wife has taken him back and peace reigns again.
As far as our condo is concerned, the CFE (the electrical company) has managed to finally plug us in. I had unknowingly left one ceiling fan on by mistake. One day when I glanced up at our living room from our hideout at the boutique hotel far below, I saw the appliance was slowly turning.
Then everything went dark.
After I regained consciousness, Michelle and I staggered up the 10 floors to our dream/nightmare home, where we threw on everything electrical. Our home must have looked like the circus had come to town.
Our six fans were made to go as fast as possible, the washer-dryer sprang to life, every light went on and popcorn poured out of the microwave. We were in business, we were “on the electric.” We wept openly.
Of course into everything I touch a little rain must fall. The elevator was far from ready. It was being assembled in Guadalajara and the specifications were killing them. It had a very small space into which it had to be fitted, plus it needed three doors rather than the usual one.
The first was where one entered, then there was one door on the right at the pool floor to exit and one on the left for the condo floors, because their entrances were at the back of the building. Yikes.
In early March when the elevator arrived, it turned out to be the smallest elevator I had ever seen outside of a two-person lift from the 19th century in London. It had to be tested before we could use it.
Smoke appeared out the top and almost asphyxiated the dubious workers, who had been paid a bonus to get in it. Five of them started shouting when the metal walls heated up quickly.
Michelle and I and a few worried engineers forced the doors open to let the outraged laborers out. Harsh words from everyone, I am afraid.
Two weeks later the elevator came back and it worked. Ta-dah.
We paid the final monies to Sergio the developer. We now owned the condo in the sky.
We thought that was it, right? We owned it and moved in. Finished.
But it is never over in Mexico, my friends. On a Sunday in July 2014, five cement trucks appeared at our parking lot just across the street from the condo. In minutes they started pouring their contents into prepared wooden shells one after another.
I ran across the road to ask what on earth they thought they were doing to our shared property. Michelle and I always said we would never drive here, but we were still deeded a parking spot, which the next owner might use even if we did not.
The answer came back from the foreman at the new construction site: Sergio had sold half of our parking lot before he deeded it over to us and the condo association. In other words, more than three years ago when we thought we owned a large, comfortable lot for SUVs, etc., we really owned a tiny one good only for Smart cars and bikes.
A house began to appear where once we thought there would only be vehicles.
Everyone in the condo association more or less agreed that we would be stuck in court forever, so forget it. Now Michelle and I have a square parking spot under a tree, period.
Let me end my ongoing story with the fact that my wife and I love where we live; we are thrilled every day by it. We own a beautiful place in the tropics and would not move anywhere else. In fact we have grown to adore Mexico and Puerto Vallarta more because of what we have been through.
But what a test it was, for none of us is trained for this. We couldn’t be. Does anyone say to you over and over and over again, “It’s Canada” or “It’s America?” No, of course not, because that would be an unacceptable excuse for the kind of things that happened to us. However, here it is a plausible statement to say and say it we do. It’s Mexico.
There are several rumors flying about the city now about buildings under construction. On one work has supposedly ceased because the foundations are unsound, while another finished building is leaning dangerously.
These are just rumors, of course, at least so far, but it makes for interesting speculation. We feel so lucky that hopefully all is behind us, and we ended up with a lovely home and a small parking lot.
A few weeks ago we had a dinner with Sergio, whom I have come to like quite a bit. He is a rascal, no doubt, but he did what he had to do to survive as a small businessman in Mexico, and we got the view of a lifetime because of it.
We have made friends with wonderful people and are enjoying ourselves more than we could ever have imagined. Also we are healthier because of the fresh fruit and veggies plus the enormous amount of walking we do. The best decision we ever made was to move here.
I have enjoyed relating our adventures to you every week, although reliving some of it forced us both to drink more than a few large martinis in remembrance. I am now contemplating changing my column to a more day-to-day thing, such as life here in PV as an expat. I have nothing solid yet in mind, but I would like to see what comes of it.
The writer lives under a palapa in Puerto Vallarta.
© Christopher Dalton 2015