Saturday, April 26, 2014

Los Barriles - April 2014

Let's see....where did I leave off, it's been almost a month now, April went by in a flash! Ahhh...we were checking out an open house! It was great, a newer one bedroom, one and a half bath place with a humongous yard. No palapa on the roof but plenty of room to do whatever you wanted there and they were willing to entertain any and all offers. It was just a half a block from our favorite bar, Smoky's, and a block and a half from the beach, but they were asking a lot of money. We were smitten and just about ready to make an offer when we met Dale and Kaila at our newly discovered, Lazy Days beach bar.


We were kind of excited, having just seen this house and all, and we met and started a conversation with Dale and Kaila - co-authors of the book Pendulum of Justice. A super nice couple that were renting a home just south of Los Barriles. Kaila is a realtor, or used to be and shared some of her thoughts with us  - mainly that we shouldn't rush into buying a property when we hadn't spent more than a month or so down there. Sound advice to be sure, but I can't tell you how many people we've met, since then, that told us how they bought a palapa or house after being in Los Barriles a month! The place does seem to have that effect on people! And then I remember our new friend Jim's words of wisdom about buying anything in Mexico, that I have heard from others - don't invest in anything down there unless you're ok with walking away from it. So, sinking a couple hundred grand didn't seem like it would really fit in that category....ok, plan B!!

We met Dale and Kaila for dinner at the Thai restaurant in town. The owners are friends of theirs and they called earlier that day and mentioned that we were vegan so the chef made us up a special soup and were very helpful with picking out menu items that we could eat. The food was pretty good, but the chairs in there have got to go!! Meanwhile Bill was keeping himself very busy replacing the cue tips on the pool cues over at Vagos Bar. A bunch of the replacements had broken off, Bill suspected from a very low speaker directly over the barrel of pool cues.

My work load had finally lightened up enough that I decided it was time for a beach day. I couldn't believe how long we had been there and not spent one day at the beach that was steps from our house! We loaded up the car with chairs, umbrellas and coolers and drove it onto the beach, just because we could! 
The cattle wander around everywhere.
We ended up taking a long walk up the beach and saw some "For Sale" signs in front of what looked like an rv/palapa resort right on the beach. I had been reading online on the Baja Pony Express (a daily newsletter about East Cape activities) about some places for sale at Costa Brava, but had no idea where it was. We were intrigued so in we went to inquire about what was for sale. Most of the palapa's that are built here are around an old trailer or motorhome - this really didn't appeal to us much, as the ones we had seen were pretty old and smelly and after living in a motorhome as nice as ours that was going to be a difficult adjustment. We saw one palapa for sale that was a one bedroom concrete house with a huge palapa on top and another one in front yard. It was the most expensive of all that were for sale but the annual lease was very manageable. These palapas are for sale under a land lease arrangement of a five year lease with an option for another five years. In Mexico you are not allowed to lease land for more than ten years. The owner may issue you another lease after ten years but no lease is legal for any period beyond ten years. This is why they say you have to be okay with losing your investment down there, the owner does not have to renew your lease after the initial ten years. The community at Costa Brava seems pretty cool and Liz, who we were dealing with there, said that everyone that lived there had started out at Verdugo's!
The entire upstairs is open with a sink, fans and a nice view of the sea.
Lots of room in front for a little garden (in place of the flower pots) and
enough room to park a couple of kayaks and a dune buggy!

As seen from the gate - the front, downstairs palapa.

The view with your back to the house.
One night while hanging out at the tiki bar we met Simon. He had just arrived from Canada for ten days of fishing and was a most amiable fellow. We all had a fun evening together and ended up hanging out quite a bit with him over his vacation.

Simon, with just a few of his catch
Simon learned to make ceviche
with his fresh catch from one
of the best in the east cape.

I can't finish off this blog without mentioning our fabulous neighbor Katie. She was the first one to welcome us to the campground and we just hit it off right from the start. She has been coming to the campground for many years. She originally came down and rented a place on the beach, and eventually bought a trailer here at the campground. She is now in her second trailer which she stores down here along with her jeep for the summer and just flies back and forth. Katie is great fun and we spent many hours chit-chatting at the tiki bar and on our patio. There are no Netflix or Amazon movies available online in Mexico, nor is there a movie rental anywhere, but Katie had quite an assortment of movies and gave us a huge bag of them to watch at our leisure. Our friend, Jim, did the same - I was asking everyone I met! One thing, we'll make sure we do next time is bring down movies!! Katie and I went to the fashion show luncheon together over at the big hotel benefiting the local dog rescue agency and we have plans to get together once we're both back in Tahoe. We will be neighbors again next year, and both Bill and I feel really fortunate to call her our friend. 

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