In my previous post I wrote that I was planning to go apartment hunting while I am in Mexico City later this month. Frankly, I was not looking forward to the prospect of spending my time down there searching for a place that would fit my needs and budget. But then on the day of New Year's Eve, it would seem that the perfect apartment just fell into my lap. The daunting task may very well turn out to be a piece of cake!
When I was in Columbus for Christmas my plans to become a "semi-ex-pat" were a topic of conversation with my family. An in-law who had come in from Chicago for the holiday told me that she had good friends in Chicago who own an unoccupied apartment in Mexico City. She said that she would talk to them and see if they would be interested in renting it to me. I really wasn't holding out much hope. Even if these friends should be willing to rent their place, would the apartment be in a convenient location and would it be in my price range?
On New Year's Eve I received an email saying that they were very interested in renting the apartment. I got their phone number and immediately talked to the wife, Mary. Her husband used to be a pilot with Mexicana Airlines, and they bought and furnished a place in Mexico City. Five years ago when Mexicana went defunct, they settled in Chicago. But they have not sold the apartment. Other than an occasional business trip that the husband makes to Mexico, the place has been sitting vacant all this time. They have a very trustworthy cleaning lady who comes once a month to keep everything in order. They are thrilled by the prospect of making some money out of it.
It is a three bedroom apartment (much larger than I was planning on) located in the very nice neighborhood of Napoles. It is to the south of the neighborhood where I usually stay, but it is only a few blocks from a "Metrobus" stop on Insurgentes Avenue. (Since I have no intention of driving in Mexico City, accessibility to public transportation was an important requirement for me.) Mary had furnished the apartment herself (I suspect with impeccable taste), and it has everything I need right down to bed linens, towels, dinnerware and kitchen utensils. It has a parking garage (which will make it convenient for when my friend Alejandro is there), and security. And it has WiFi... so I will be able to continue with my blogging.
The price per month that she is asking is at the upper range of what I was willing to pay. However, if I were to go through normal channels and sign a long term lease on an apartment, I would be stuck paying rent even for the months that I am not down there. Mary is very happy to accept payment only for the months that I am in Mexico City. So I would be getting a far nicer place at half the price that I would otherwise pay. She would expect me to pay the electric and cable bills and the cleaning lady for the months that I am there. From what I read, utility bills are quite reasonable by our standards. The cleaning lady charges only 250 pesos per visit (that's about $12 US!). Heck, at that price I would ask if she is available to come on a weekly basis.
Of course I want to see the place before we make an agreement. Mary gave me the cleaning lady's phone number, and she is going to let her know that someone wants to see the apartment. When I get down there, I'll call the cleaning lady and arrange a time when she can meet me and show me the place. Chances are that that will be the extent of my apartment hunting!
I don't plan to start this experiment in living in two places until April. I have some doctor and dentist appointments in February and March, and I have to see my accountant to file my income tax. I will also need to make some arrangements before I start leaving my home in Ohio empty every other month. But it seems as if things are falling into place, and I feel much less anxious about the changes in my life.
Ironically, just a few days before all this news, I received an email from my cousin Brigitta in Switzerland. She asked me if had found an apartment yet, and she asked me how much the airfare from Zurich to Mexico City costs. I wrote back and told her that I was not going to start looking until I was down there, but that, if I found a two bedroom apartment, they would be welcome to stay with me. A few other people have expressed an interest in visiting me in Mexico City. Well, it looks as if I might be changing gears... instead of frequently playing "tour guide" in Mérida, I might be showing friends and family the sights in Mexico City!
Best wishes to all my readers for a very happy New Year!