Tuesday, May 26, 2009

San Pedro Nohpat: Los Cuartos

Breaking ground. Part three of San Pedro Nohpat project.

Pablo asked the engineer about putting up rooms. I thought five would be reasonable, but Pablo got caught up in the moment and ordered ten. That would probably be over-extending the finances a little. But what the hell, ya’ pays ya’ money ya’ takes ya’ chances. As the construction began and started taking shape, several ideas came to mind about how to occupy the rooms. My first thought was that the obreros (albaniles and other construction laborers) would be interested in weekly or monthly rentals. Many of the laborers drive long distances from their pueblos to various job sites. People working around here could use a place to hang their hammock during the work week.

We also fantasized about the entire project being rented out by the government or some big medical corporation. We imagined a small pharmacy, doctors’ offices, a reception bodega, exam rooms. I can’t remember the fantastic rent they were going to pay us as they offered decent medical care for the folks out at San Pedro Nohpat, Kanasín, and other less developed areas. But it was just a dream. It was a fun fantasy though. The kind of fantasy that helps pass the time between “the rooms will be ready a week from Thursday” and five months later, when the rooms are actually ready.
When the guys got together they too cooked up a fantasy. Pablo and Manzana talked about renting the rooms by the hour. I wasn’t too thrilled about that idea. In fact as a legal alien resident here I am not allowed to engage in illegal activities, such as running a bordello. Luckily that idea sounded pretty complicated once they considered the details involved, so the guys scrapped that and kept on thinking.
The rooms were just completed three weeks ago. They are small, accommodating a matrimonial size bed and a few other belongings. If the space is used creatively, as in building up on the walls, I could see it being an efficient little studio. Each unit has a bathroom which is also small, but complete. Shower, shower curtain, sink, toilet, toilet seat cover, and toilet paper. That is pretty complete, right?
If these look familiar, it's because I did a swap. I took my old beds out to the terreno and will be getting two new sturdier frames and fresh firm mattresses this week!

As of today, we have 7 rooms rented out. Three more to go. And two bodegas. We ended up renting them on a monthly basis. The price is unbelievably cheap, but until the road is paved and there are more services out there, I think the priority is to keep them rented out. Our first renter, Don Gilberto, arrived on the exact day we needed to find a new security guard. He and his wife live in the room toward the back of the property with their three young children. Gilberto is our caretaker/vigilador and is doing a great job out there. He has been gracefully showing the bodegas and cuartos and cleaning up the property.

Don Gilberto, caretaker and Licensiado Pablo, project manager.

I answered several of the inquiry calls. That got a little complicated. Giving directions was hard enough, but “What bus do I take to get there?” stumped me.

“Hold on, I’ll ask.” I said. But before I could get to Pablo teaching class IN the swimming pool….the lady said she’d call back and hung up. She called me five times. I never seemed to have the answer she was looking for.

We originally purchased five beds. I thought folks would prefer to sleep in hammocks, but people asked first thing if there was a bed and a bathroom. So we ordered five more beds. The bed winning over the hammock surprised me. The engineer didn’t put hammock hooks in the rooms. He must be a chilango. I won’t speak badly of chilangos (people from Mexico City) because a few of our renters are from DF.

We began this project in October of 2008. Our world has changed a lot in just 7 months. The international financial crisis has negatively affected the real estate business in all of the Yucatán. There are a lot of expats who came here to flip houses. Unfortunately that market is not lucrative right now. I am glad we didn’t jump on that bandwagon and struck out on something unique, original and more useful for everyday folks. We are helping people and they are helping us. Isn’t that what makes the world go round?
The big picture. Project complete...except for adornment. Little by little.


Islagringo said...

Oh My! You are a brave soul to have taken on such a big project. But providing reasonable housing to people...priceless my dear! Not really understanding why, I am so very proud of you and Pablo!

norm said...

A swimming pool and a place to eat in the morning and you have a dandy motel. I think you chose well in your location, that area was bush not that long ago and it is on the way to Cancun and the ruins. Is it easy to bus into Centro? For folks who are afraid to drive in the old colonial area, staying outside of town might be a selling point.

Linda Dorton said...

Isla Gringo, Perhaps it is because we are a little crazy, but our intentions are so good! We are an odd couple, we should be expected to do weird things!

Linda Dorton said...

Norm, I am with you on the swimming pool and little palapa restaurant. I was looking at the rooms thinking, ok, I could do this, if there was just some SHADE and a few fans! Pablo of course wanted to put the swimming pool in first! One step at a time, one day at a time. Thanks for the encouragement.

Here's that bus question again. Ok I have learned you take the bus to Kanasín and it stops at San Pedro Nohpat.

Nancy said...

I hadn't read these posts when they came out for some reason, and I am just blown away! That is so cool! And you are so right about needing to be able to touch your investments. I love the project being a reasonable project for the local people, and it looks to me like you are making a great success of it. Congratulations!

Linda Dorton said...

Well,Nancy. It seems like a win win proposition. But unti we recuperate some dough we invested in it, it will be a little tight around the old homestead! I may end up having to rent my house and live in one of those rooms. Ha!

Jackie said...

A bordello. Do they even call them that anymore?

Seriously though this is a great projects. Way to go and give back to your community.

Linda Dorton said...

Probably not a commonly used word, bordello, but it sounded better than whorehouse...don't ya think?