February 09, 2010

From Zapata to Merida

A Video Tour of Our Merida Home

The story of our week in Emiliano Zapata did not end on Friday. It ended on Sunday morning when we left for Merida. But I want to jump the gun in the story and start with Merida and our rental house, Casa de Angeles.

We arrived late in the afternoon. We were about to see a house that we had learned about through connection on Craig's List. We had seen some photos and by the description we thought the house would be great. But our first impression of the neighborhood was not all that appealing. The caretaker lives next door and he showed us through the house. It was wonderful with a courtyard, a garden and a pool. The house has lots of bedrooms and a decent kitchen. There were two things missing: a parking place and a washing machine. Seeing the house I understood the lack of parking but I could not understand the lack of a washing machine. Still we love the place and the rent was just within our upper limit, so we took the place and paid two months rent. We hope to stay until the first of May. If you have a fast connection, take a look at a video tour of the house. If you do not have a fast connection I have posted a few still photos on this page and on my Flickr photostream.

So lets go back to Thursday night in Emiliano Zapata. The engine was in much worse shape than we originally thought. When the belt failed, every one of the twenty valves that maintain engine compression and fuel flow were twisted or bent. The difficulty of the repair and its cost jumped exponentially with this information. I am not quite sure what the belt cost, but I know each valve cost 240 pesos or about $20. So $400 just for the valves. We were very lucky to have been directed to a mechanic who could essentially totally overhaul the engine. Before we were done, Porfirio had $1000 of our dollars and we got our a car engine that seemed to be running like a champ.

The Pool
 Casa Pool
The Kitchen
Shop Yard of Chilango
Our Sitting Room
Casa Sitting Room

We got that information late on Thursday. On Friday I returned to his shop to get clear on everything. My fear was that the costs would run away and be higher that the value of the car. But Porfirio assured me that he would be able to fix the car for a reasonable price. We also finally saw some other relief. The cost at the hotel was hurtful and life there was a bore. To our delight, friends of Porfirio invited us to their home, an invitation we gladly accepted. After we moved in, I was able to return to the shop and get a clearer picture of the final cost. His lower estimate was good to hear, but better yet he said that the job would be finished before noon on Saturday. Still, the head was off the motor and I could see what a difficult job it was going to be.

The Klaja Family
Klaja Family

Porfirio's friends were Slawek and Sol Klaja. They are a wonderful couple with a young son called Luis. Luis is a talkative two-and-a-half year old. boy. Sol is dentist and Slawek a web-page designer. Slawek is a polish immigrant. Sol and he met several years ago online and later in London where he was working. We talked and talked and talked. The conversation roamed from computer tech stuff to kids and child-rearing to life in Emiliano Zapata and so much more. Slawek and Sol live with her parents. Her parents were out of town on Friday night, which gave us even more time together.

I was a nervous wreck on Saturday, worried there would be problems and worried Porfirio was not as good a mechanic as all proclaimed. Noon came and went and still no car. We had called earlier and we new he was hard at it. Finally after one we called again, just one more hour. Around three Porfirio arrived with the Passat. We took it out for a test drive and it seemed to be working great. Then I got the final bill, which was several hundred dollars more than what he told me the day before. We settled on $1000 and we had the car.

It was so late in the day, we decided to stay another night and leave in the morning. Our wonderful conversations with the Klaja family continued and we shared a great meal. On Sunday morning we took some photos and bade our farewells. The car ran like a top during our six-hour drive to Merida.

Well that is it for now. I will try to write an update every week.

Posted by bill at February 9, 2010 04:09 PM

I love this story. So full of heart.

Posted by: Mickie Turk at February 10, 2010 06:15 PM

The house looks really cool! Marilyn and I went to Uxmal years ago, it was a pretty nice ruins.

Posted by: Greg Speltz at February 10, 2010 10:13 PM

I took the tour. But for my inability to leave without snow and low temps, I'd be there in a nano second. LOL. Great house, love the doors all around. Is that typical for Merida? Mexico? I don't remember

Posted by: Mickie Turk at February 11, 2010 11:27 AM

What a cool house. Wished I could have joined you, but unfortunately, it was not to be. Hope you also enjoy the area you are in.

Posted by: Marty Christensen at February 11, 2010 02:52 PM

Hey - nice to see the house on video. If Juan and Nora haven't told you already, there is laundry about two blocks away. Since it is so inexpensive to have our laundry done by someone else, we never had the need for one in the house. Enjoy, Annette

Posted by: Annette at February 12, 2010 02:40 PM

bill, you're going to need roller-blades or a small pony to get around your rental house. ciao luke

Posted by: luke rader at February 22, 2010 08:35 AM