Friday, January 15, 2016

It's been awhile........

I’m baaaack! Summer did NOT go as planned, but we did spend it in Tahoe. And thanks to our good friend Daniel, we had a roof over our heads in quite a nice little spot. The workamping gig did not pan out as they could not give us our regular days to work…we just weren’t up for working weekend nights. But we did get to spend some time with my son and his cute dog, Piper, and with our friends, hashing, making music and getting to some concerts too. We went to Florida in August for Bill’s mom, Doano’s 90th. His daughter, Madeleine, came in from London, and his son Will made the trek up from Key West. All three of Doano’s sons were there and a few cousins joined in the festivities. A super chill afternoon was just what the matriarch wanted and what she got!
The "brothers" in order of birth, Kurt, Bill and Scott 

Quite the family!

The birthday girl!

The first week in October found us back in Los Barriles. We were happy to be home again as we were gypsies for about 5 weeks – luckily we have great friends who hosted us along our way. October was pretty darn hot down here but the water temps were fabulous and I spent a lot of time in it. Bill got an early start on his garden and anxiously awaited the return of his volleyball buddies. I started playing a little pickleball, which is a super fun game, kind of like tennis, played on a smaller court, with paddles and a whiffle ball. Our new yoga teacher, Tehroma, had been teaching all summer so I was happy to get back to the beautiful Healing Winds Studio and onto my mat, which I had neglected for far too long.

Last spring while out on the water paddling with friends, June and Don, of Baja SUP, Don mentioned that Gustavo, owner of his “RV park,” was going to expand on some land he owned a block in from the sea. I loved the little Buenos Aires Park where Don lived and was most interested. RV parks are very popular down here – and not only for the RVers, which there are many. I have written about them before, but for the uninitiated, many of them have little casitas and palapas built onto them with outdoor kitchens and entertaining areas. The owners have to maintain a certain percentage of the park for RVs in order to get a preferred tax status. In our little town alone there are about 7 that I know of – Martin Verdugo’s (where we spent our first couple of months), Costa Brava (the original place we were looking to buy in spring 2014), East Cape RV (the place that took our deposit money and at the last minute reneged on a spot for us), Juanita’s Garden, Playa Norte, Buenos Aires and the newest one, Baja Sunrise. There are a lot of advantages to RV park living, and disadvantages, as well. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of privacy. In most of these parks you are living right on top of each other and because most have an outdoor living area this can be quite an issue….especially if you are us, we like to play our music loudly and have been known to run around in less than “proper” attire. The advantages are that there is a greater sense of security – there is always someone around and, especially in the summer months, with hurricanes it can be really nice knowing someone is there looking out for your place. Also, one doesn’t have to deal with all of the ownership laws and the FideiComiso issues. It’s a bit like a condo arrangement, where you pay a monthly fee and your water and trash is included. Usually there are community bathrooms, showers and a laundry room. And you have community – this is big for me, not so much for Bill, who is more social and finds that everywhere. I have admired the Buenos Aires RV park because I LOVE the location – just about a mile out of town and all of the noise, it’s an easy walk to the beach, it’s small and the sites seem a bit more private than the other parks. I’ve also heard really great things about the owner, Gustavo. After our paddle Don took me over and showed me the area where Gustavo was going to build.  
Once we were settled back into Casita Namaste, in October, I emailed Don and asked if Gustavo had made any progress on his new rv park and he said that I should come over and look as he had started subdividing the lots. He had 4 lots that were 60’x45’ and one corner lot which they thought was 60’x50’ and all 5 would rent for $400/month. I was very interested in the corner lot and came to find out that so were 2 people over at the old park. We quickly signed a lease to begin January 1st and the lot was officially measured at 60’x58’!! Now what do we do?! I had never built a house, Bill had, many years ago, but we were not familiar with Mexican building, nor were we very fluent in the language.

Gustavo mentioned that his friend, Pilar Flores, who had built the bathrooms and laundry room for his other rv park, and was the main electrician in town, was also building homes and he thought we should speak to him. Around this same time our friends Mike and Cathy were in the middle of getting plans approved for their new casa they were building in town. Mike has built many homes and loves the planning and designing process and encouraged us to use some of his designs to work from. I am old and wise enough to know what I don’t know, and follow the old adage of not reinventing the wheel, so I was totally hip to using whatever anyone was throwing my way – be that plans, or contractors or whatever. And that’s just what happened – people here, Mexican and gringo, have been incredibly kind, helping us with everything. The last 6 weeks have been exciting, to say the least, and I will bring you up to date with our very untraditional build next.

From pencil sketch to chalk...

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