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.