Gail Walter

Shall I say what I mean?
MARCH 30, 2012 10:53AM

What Mexico Made Us Do

Rate: 13 Flag


We are sitting on wickedly reclining wooden chairs with our feet in the fine white sand. We are different now. Opposite is our brand new compatriot grinning and plying us shamelessly with margaritas on the rocks with salt. The brazen July sun is setting over a lazy Caribbean. Our Caribbean. But it wasn’t always this way.

 Sometimes it’s just necessary to come clean, to take responsibility or to deftly shift blame for the things that happen.  In this case the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of that beguiling, bewitching Mexico, a country altogether too colorful for it’s own good.


We were innocents, not young, but innocents. Innocents with a slowly gleaned sliver of savings gathering dust in our bank account. It was May and it was necessary to take our family away from a shy Colorado spring. We chose Mexico, but really, Mexico chose us.


We were level headed before we got there, in possession of as many faculties as we could muster over the turbulent, trying landscape of the years. We were level headed maybe a few days into the vacation, and then we lost it. It wasn’t a loud thing this losing, no crashing sound as it landed on the ground. More the whisper of stays loosening in a light breeze.


We didn’t know we’d lost it or what the ‘it’ was that had left us wide open. All that grew was a capacity for spontaneity, which, by its very nature, is hard to see coming.


Where we were exactly when it hit was on the warm paving of a curved road in Playa del Carmen on our strolling, heedless way into town.


“Lets just go in and see what they have,” Michel said, pointing at the local realtor’s office not quite hidden in amongst some riotous bougainvillea.


We stepped into the airconditioned office all sandaled and casual and were led immediately into the office of our grinning compatriot, Oswaldo. Of course.


Michel introduced the subject but then I took over and pointed to a spot behind the realtor’s head. We all stopped and turned to look at the white washed wall.


“Only if you have one of those,” I said. Strong voiced like Julia playing Erin Brokovich, but shorter.


They both knew what I was talking about. Next door was Villas Arqueologicas, subject of many swooning ‘if onlys’.


“If only we knew who stayed here. If only they’d rent these out. If only I knew who to contact to arrange that. If only…”


And the ‘how lucky’s’.

“How lucky these people are. How lucky to live here.”


“As a matter of fact”, Oswaldo said, and picked up a set of keys. We walked out the door, in through the next gate, round the pool and up the stairs. The doors were French and teak, and lots of them.  I stepped in on my feet with no weight on them and fell in love.



Two days later we’d made an english offer to the spanish owners and they’d accepted, in spanish. That’s how you jump. How an alternative reality seeds and takes root. That’s how our feet are in the sand. We’re just back from the extraordinary experience of a bilingual closing in a foreign land. That’s how this is ours now; another life, another country, another language. Mexico made us do it.





Author tags:

playa del carmen, travel, mexico

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La postal más encantadora que he tenido el placer de venir a través de!
I've been to Cancun. I can understand how it happened. Lucky.
Wow it is beautiful!
Wow it is beautiful!
Damn Chicken Maaan I spent ages on google translate to get the gist of that powerfully mysterious comment. You should have seen us trying to register our scooter in english. When they only do it in spanish. And hands don't help. Waving them around, speaking louder, gazing intently into the man behind the counter's eyes and gesturing, hopefully not rudely. So I think you said you enjoyed this postcard. Show off!
Blame Google translator, Gail. That's where it came from. I think I'd asked it to tell me en espanol how to say this is the most enchanting postcard I have ever seen. It is.
Why thank you chicken maaan, you speak a mean english and, uh, it just sounds better the way YOU said it. In a way I don't think google translator enjoyed it quite as much.
Gail, I also love Mexico. Have been to the West Coast, Mexico city, and Oaxaca. I would love to go back. Perhaps some day. If you like beautiful beaches try Culebra PR. Laid back and off the main. PM to me if you'd like to know more. Might head over there myself. So different from FL. Thanks for the post.
Mexico is hypnotic like that. I think they do something to the food, or maybe it's in the music that brings on the dance.

In my very best Spanish: Is the hacienda next puerto availamiento?
Lucky but deserving I'm sure, Gail. I hope you're able to enjoy it often & write The Novel :-)
wow. jealous. So fun the write up too!
oh man. i try really hard not to be jealous of others. you are making that really hard.
Ah, the 'if onlys' and 'how luckys' will get you every time. So lovely, all of it, especially the gorgeous writing.
I hope I don't burst your bubble. If you're just renting the property for a few weeks of vacation, that's fine. But don't even think you have anything square if you actually think you own the place.

The fact is, you're in the protected zone, which is anywhere in Mexico 50 kilometers from the ocean. And beachfront property is the Federal zone, owned 100% by the government up to some yards away from the high tide line.

Assuming that you've taken the first steps towards becoming more of a permanent presence down in Mexico, I'd strongly advise you to learn as much Spanish as possible. And I'd also urge you to return to the the same spot again and again to get to know the locals. After a while, you might be able to get a good idea of who's more reputable than other people, and who you need to stay away from at all costs.

Then, when you want to think about actually owning property, you can scout around. However, before you find that perfect spot, you should acquire the services of a reputable Mexican attorney who could assist you with your immigration status, as well as doing all of the necessary paperwork on a fidiecomiso, which is a bank trust which would allow you to actually own your own house and property.

Anything less than a fidiecomiso, and you're pretty much screwed as far as ownership.

Message me if you have any questions about what I've said.
So easy to fall in love - especially after the stays are loosened.

Your new place is lovely.