Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Five Years on the Rancho

July 1st marks the fifth anniversary of our renting our house here on the Rancho. September will mark our 6th anniversary in the Pátzcuaro region. Our first house in the area was "ready to wear", a completely furnished 2 bdrm, 1 bath, lvg/dng rm houselet on acres and acres (I should say, "hectareas") of land. It was in a vacation club called Quercus, on the road to Santa Clara de Cobre.

While it was a cute house, the thin, wooden walls were uninsulated and we passed our first winter there, freezing our butts off.

In April, when our 6 month agreement expired, we moved into the grand, rambling, tile encrusted house of an Arkansas expat friend, close at hand to the ferrocarriles of the Tzurumútaro Choo choo. We lived there and cared for it for a little over 4 months. It had a few problems, which I won't go into here.

Our friend's house
Along about June, 2006, we were looking up and down the streets of Pátzcuaro in search of new quarters, as we expected our host to return in late July or August. With the possible exception of a duplex apartment on Gringo Hill, all the houses we looked at were tortuously constructed, some with hazards such as stairs of uneven height, and low concrete beams ready to clobber the head of the careless. There was a skinny shower room installed inside a pillar between the kitchen and the living room. The neighborhood wasn't all that nice, either.

We also visited a country cottage out in a peach orchard. It was even further away and higher altitude than our Quercus cabin, and worst of all, the skinny kitchen was like a utility room. At least the view was great.

Then I met an expat at the Men's Tuesday Breakfast named Mel O'Hara. He suggested that we come out to see the two houses available for rent where he lived. It was 20 minutes out of Pátzcuaro Centro. The Internet, delivered by microwave towers, was sketchy. But one house was passable all right, and the other amazed us. We knew almost immediately that this was it. The house was well built, and the setting was beautiful. The then drab exterior belied the well finished interior.

Our first view of the house
Our house as it is today
Double doors in the entryway
The living room before furnishing

The kitchen was the deal maker

The view; OH the VIEW!
The house has changed over time. Our landlords put up a new, tiled roof, at their own expense, and then when I proposed that we pay to have the house rewired (so that I could run a toaster oven and the microwave oven at once), they paid for 90% of the costs.

The local people have welcomed us. We attend many of their fiestas. We've also been to three funerals. Through these blogs, and through my Picasa web Albums, I've become the photo chronicler of the Rancho. The people who have emigrated to the Other Side (the U.S. border) enjoy seeing local events commemorated on the Web. Next wednesday, we are invited to a Graduation comida. I was asked to please bring my camera.

We have no doubt. This is the place. The right place.


Felipe Zapata said...

You lucked up. May it last forever.

I remain surprised that you ever moved into that first cabin. It was a dollhouse, pretty but you could scarcely turn around in it.

Babs said...

What views is right! Great life. I do love the area of Patzcauro so much. Would live there if it wasn't so darn cold most of the time.....
I'm a Southern girl after all. So, San Miguel is my second choice and lovely also........

Tancho said...

Congratulations....Congratulations on both!
She is quite a woman to put up with your antics for all those years, she deserves a medal, and a good dinner!

Steve Cotton said...

I can see why the kitchen would be the deal maker. Plus the view.

Anonymous said...

what a gorgeous kitchen and suck beautiful floors! as they say, you can't judge a book by tis cover. guess that goes for a lot of things.

teresa in lake stevens soon to be a resident of nagoya, japan.

Don Cuevas said...

Teresa, thank you. I'm sure you meant to write "SUCH beautiful floors". Not only are they attractive, they are good at hiding dirt.

Don Cuevas

Don Cuevas said...

I've just added a pic of our house as it is today.

Don Cuevas

Felipe Zapata said...

Nice front porch. Interesting that the water heater and gas tanks are there. Mexico is weird.

Anonymous said...

i was suffering (if you could call it that) from jetlag when i wrote that. i noticed another error when i reread it but of course you knew what i meant ;-)


Bill said...

Congratulations, Susan and Mike!

Don Cuevas said...

We just returned, last week, from attending the quinceañera of Fabiola, the owner's muy bonita daughter, in San Jose area, California. See pics here: http://tinyurl.com/SeePicsHere
until I can get to writing about it.

Don Cuevas