It’s time to get down to business as the vacation portion of Bruce and Mary’s escape to México is drawing nigh. Join them, this day in March 2008, as they embark upon checking out an income possibility; a small hotel in Telchac Puerto, a pueblo east of Progreso on the Gulf Coast. Right now they are on the shoulder of the highway that fronts their condo complex, waiting for a bus.
The Lobby of Libros y Suenos
We’re pretty excited about this expedition into Telchac Puerto. The small hotel there that we want to investigate looks quite promising, on the internet. We’ve been standing in the sun for about 45 minutes waiting for a bus, but it is pleasant. This el norte, cold front, is finally winding down, there’s not a cloud in the sky, not a whisper of wind, and the temperature is cool, maybe mid 70s. In other words, it is a perfect day for traveling.
Now it’s been an hour and I wonder if we’ll ever see an east bound bus, we’ve seen plenty of west bound. We’re just about to give it up for the day when Mary says, “Let’s wait for one more car.” And sure enough, right at that moment a beat up green bus rounds the bend.
We flag the bus and Mary asks how much. The bus driver says, “Veinte pesos.” Mary figures this is per person so she gives him four 10P coins. The driver gives her one back and, as we’re sitting down, he and his buddy start heehawing. Mary catches a snatch of it and she says to me, “They’re laughing at me!” “Why?” I ask. “Because I thought it was 20P each but that was the total and he tipped himself ten pesos, and he thinks it’s funny as hell!” I seldom see my mild mannered Mary that fired up, so while she stews I just stay quiet.
The ocean front development becomes less crowded but more luxurious as we head east. We ogle at many million dollar homes. As we’re enjoying this sensuous Mexican bus riding experience, with odors as pungent as the colors are vivid, I feel a need to exchange gases with the atmosphere. Normally I’m polite about these things but now I figure who’s going to know and sure enough I am the only one who knows that this silent-but-deadly emanates from me, not the great Mexican outdoors.
We see a sign telling us that Telchac Puerto is 4 kms away and we start scanning our surroundings as we enter the outskirts of this little fishing village. A woman walks to the front of the bus and says, “Baja!” The bus brakes to let her out so I think, for some reason, we should exit too.
We’re on the main street of this coastal village that is laid out like a ribbon. I look to my left and it is a couple blocks to the ocean front and to my right it’s a couple of blocks to the low, scrub jungle. Mary is not happy that we did not ride the bus further into town but what the heck, it is a nice day for walking. We have walked perhaps a kilometer when I spot a rare two story building up the block. I can see a “Hotel” sign and when we get opposite the building I see a sign that says, “Libros y Sueños”; this is it!
We just stand there and gaze at it. It’s weird to see in bright daylight a sight that we had only seen on photos on the internet, way last fall and way up north, back home in Minnesota.
We cross the street and enter the tiny lobby and are greeted by a woman named Susan, who is a lively one. After our meet and greet, she turns to Mary and says, “So how does it feel to be married to Sean Connery?” “I get that a lot.” Mary responds, “I attribute it to his similar male pattern baldness.”
We get into a conversation about the place. The owner, also named Mary, is in Mérida at the moment but Susan, who is a property manager friend from Canada, is quite forthright about the particulars of the listing. She tells us that it is listed for $199,000 but 175 will buy it. The motivation is the fact that her husband is back in Canada, running a horse farm and the horses are not doing well, making it impossible for him to join her down here. Susan says, “I tell them, after all these years, come on! But they’re hopeless.”
Susan directs us to Pasquel the hotel handyman for a tour of the 8 units and the cute little bookstore off the lobby. They units are Spartan, but clean. We rejoin Susan in the eclectically furnished lobby, complete with big screen TV. We quiz her about the clientele, room rates, occupancy rates, and overhead. Susan is quite knowledgeable and happy to answer all our questions. We excuse ourselves to take the short walk to the ocean to talk privately. This place is really cool! We walk back and ask Susan to have Mary give us a call on our cell when she gets in. We tell her to ask if Mary will consider financing and if so, how much down. Susan is happy to do so. We’re practically skipping as we exit the hotel to flag a bus.
While waiting for a bus and dreaming out loud about this, maybe our, hotel, a Chrysler minivan pulls over and a middle-aged man hops out of the passenger’s seat. This friendly guy wonders if we are looking for something. It seems that we look lost – we seem to hear this a lot. We tell him that we’re waiting for the Progreso bus. He says, “We’re heading into Progreso. We can give you a ride and we’re a lot cheaper than the bus, well not a lot cheaper, cuz they are almost free!” We squeeze into the third row bench seat and engage in a spirited conversation with these, you guessed it, Canadians. These two couples have retired early, being around 50 I guess, and spend half the year in twin beach-side condos, that they point out to us on the road out of town. Our quick paced chatter is interrupted only by a, “Look Flamingos!” We crane our necks to the inland side of the road and get a view of these exotic birds on the horizon of this ria wetland. The only way you can tell they’re flamingos at this distance is the distinctly pink haze of this huge flock of birds.
We arrive at our condo driveway. Lance and Carol Ann, Bruno and Janet wish us a hearty farewell and make us promise to stop in for brews sometime. They are Canadian, after all.
We’re buoyantly walking up the dirt driveway to our condo, when our $10 Mexican cell phone rings. It is Mary, the owner of Libros y Sueños. She very politely tells us that she is not willing to finance any portion of the purchase price, but thanks anyhow.
We’re back to square one and we feel, quite naturally, pretty deflated. But we’re still here in México and that ain’t bad. On to plan B.
Thanks for visiting gentle reader. The next post will find Bruce and Mary still vacationing but focused on finding and buying a small hotel or B&B. How do you suppose that gambit will play? Bruce enjoys any and all commentary and responds in pretty much real time, as he used to call it back in the States. Hasta pronto!.