Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day to Day Living in Puebla de los Angeles......

Last year when the temperatures were high in Merida, we began to consider moving to a cooler climate, then when Rene (our son) got violently ill (for the second time and worse than before) it became clear the move would have to be made before the next Spring came around again and so our search began to look for our next destination; we went all over searching for good weather, a high quality of life, beautiful surroundings, great food, culture, entertainment, public transit and to be able to get back to what we remembered living in Mexico was like.

I guess in that sense we were at a disadvantage from other people that move to Mexico with a clean slate and who hadn't spent so much time here before; while those of us that had lived in Mexico before, in our youth, had images colored in such a way as to leave indelible markers which you will refer to during your life; sometimes these "nostalgic images" are seen as rather unreal to present day inhabitants..... those of us still trapped, either by choice or time warps it seems, still look for the snapshots of life we remember. While in our daily jaunts throughout the city we inhabit in the present day yet see in past day tense, ever comforted by the sounds, smells and more then anything else, the tastes of long ago are so compelling they take you through time and evoke scenes of long past events that will never be seen again.

Anyway, it was hard to decide where we would go and settle next, there were more tan a few destinations which fit our requirements: Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Queretaro, Cuernavaca, San Miguel Allende, San Miguel El Alto, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Tlaxcala to name the most prominent, but we still had to narrow it down and insure, at least in general terms, that we were on the right track. So we began to filter our searches by population, crime levels, immigration levels, cost of living, polution indexes, style of food, educational opportunities, cultural sites, entertainment options and so on and pretty soon there were fewer cities on the list until we finally settled on trying Puebla.

I can only say we decided to move right at the time we should have since about 2 weeks after arriving we heard temperatures in Merida had already been spiking close to the 100 degree mark while Puebla was comfortably around 80 degrees during the day, with bright sunny skies at least until 4 pm or so when rain clouds would begin showering us with a cooling rain which would bring cool nights (around 50 degrees or so). We noticed our son's health improve steadily with the cooling temperatures and hoped everything else would go smoothly as well.

We had adopted a Yucatecan feral cat in Merida and brought our "Cuca" kitty with us considering that the weather might affect her too since she was used to the hot humid heat of Merida. Now that it's been cooler we see that she does get cold and looks for warm spots around the house so we've laid little rugs all over she can sit on (she doesn't like a cold tummy) and she's been sleeping with me more and more at night too, sometimes hogging most of the bed and leaving me immobile or risk squishing her in my sleep. She's a regular little heater too....

While we looked for a house or apartment we had to leave her with a vet who had pension services for pets, since we couldn't have her at the hotel, and she lost weight and was sad all the time she was in his care. It took her a couple of weeks to adapt to the new house and every now and then she still gets nervous around the new noises and movements in the house. She was so comfortable in the old house and had "her" places all set up it's taken her a while to look for and get new "places" she likes. One place she really does like is right on top of my laptop and will find any oportunity to lay there and since she's not allowed (because she knows how to turn it off and turns keys on and off and more) so she settles for the place in back of the computer where it's warm and plays "peek a boo" with me...

When we found the apartment we rented it had not been lived in over a year and once we moved in found many things were not working and several windows had been left open (there was an inch of mud on the floor of the shower for instance) and many of the windows were broken and while the real estate company promised to fix everything that was needed (a little at a time and we're still repairing things after almost 2 months time.

We've done a lot of work on the apartment, not because it was broken or didn't work or anything like that but because we wanted it to be to our liking so we could be more comfortable. We knew any place we found would need improvements, this is just the way it is in Mexico and we've never found a place that didn't need "customizing".....

For us the kitchen is an important part of the house and so the kitchen was remodeled so that all the wood furniture was in a black Onyx finish; the existing wood furniture was in a bad state and had a horrible yellow barnish so this was all refinished leaving a perfect spot to put my herbs against the windows (they love it there and are thriving in this little spot); there was a place in the kitchen for a small refrigerator and our large side-by-side wouldn't even fit through the door let alone his place, so we turned this space into more much-needed shelving with electric outlets for the small appliances; more shelving close to the stove for the spices and knives while cooking, and there was no work area available either so we installed a wood bench type in front of the sink with plenty of hanging hooks up on the wall for all the kitchen accesories you'll need so everything is within easy reach.

Our floors are beige marble terrazo and had been covered with carpeting which was removed when the last renters left, but they left the nails holding the carpet or the holes where the nails were, not a pretty picture. So we found a man who "does floors" and he came and worked on ours for a couple of days, filing in the holes and refinishing the floors. Let me tell you it was a mess while he was here, splashing the walls with the grime and grit he was lifting off the floors and then the dust from the polishing and sealing, but I have to admit the floors look clean and shiny and even though my kids and kitty skate around on their socks now it's been a big improvement in the whole house and looks fabulous!

Then we had windows screens installed on all windows (so kitty can catch a look at the view and still be safe, us too) and vertical blinds as well and now the run down apartment looks like a modern loft with big windows and plenty of light shinning off the lovely floors.... completely changed the look of the place and has made it comfortable and stylish as well.

Now all I need is furniture.... I've got some located that I like and I found a great wrought iron guy who will make me custom buffet and cocktail tables I've designed (with glass tops) but we're waiting for the peso to go down some more and make it an even better deal than before..... but if it remains as is I'll probably break down and buy the furniture any way since we need to finish off the house now, plus with so much open space noise tends to bounce off the walls so we need to take care of this too.

Got some great recipes to post but got caught up with the house pictures and will post those next so check back, ok? I've done lots of searching for materials, furniture and home stuff so if anyone needs anything in Puebla, give me a call.... talk later....

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