When Plans Go Awry
Our trip into town to look for longer-term housing started out well. The hostel owner was going to help me search for a place, and she had scored a deal on a rental car (for less than a scooter, so really nice deal!). When we got to the rental place, however, things turned a bit sour. Let’s just say you don’t mess with a Swiss woman. So we were without a car in a town without cheap transit options. And it was one of the hottest days yet. So we began walking.
The friendliness of Mexicans is always something I have appreciated about the culture. It showed up again after looking at our 4th place. A woman had helped us find the manager’s son. The rent was fantastic at about $100/month; however, that also meant no kitchen, no fridge, no bed, nada. And Cozumel isn’t cheap enough that we could realistically eat out for every single meal, buy furniture, etc. The nice lady asked what we were looking for and then walked us 3 blocks down to another place she knew of. A really great place. The owner was willing to throw in a hammock, but again no fridge or stove. He was willing to go down on the rate, but I’m not about to go buy a stove, refrigerator, and a bed for a 1- to 3-month stay. He had an idea, though, and so we followed him back across the street to his home.
He got his wife, an extremely friendly, short, round woman, and they showed us a room that at least had some furniture and a small refrigerator. I could work with small, but her eyes alit with great horror when I suggested we could get a hot plate. No,no, no! She had once plugged in a hot plate and had the worst jolt of her life, so no way, no how. It was hot, I was tired and hungry. . . not a good combo. The next thing I knew the married couple were having a quiet conversation and another option emerged. We followed them back downstairs to a small, 2-story house. This was their home originally, but since her spinal fusion surgery she can’t handle the stairs, so now they live in an apartment in the same compound. We could have the house if we wanted. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped. The husband seemed mostly motivated by me having Tigger along. “He needs security for the boy,” he told his wife more than once.
This was also Tigger’s first intro to the hazards of being a cute kid in a friendly foreign country. She kept hugging him, complimenting his eyes, and gushing over him. He continued to try to evade her and hide behind me which only made her more interested. He now refers to her as “the psycho woman.” She really was a harmless, sweet, grandma who was being very culturally appropriate, but it was a great conversation opener on how different cultures do things differently, and kids are basically meant to be loved on and spoiled in so many places. Unlike back in America where showing interest in an unrelated child instantly makes you a high risk.
We ended up not taking the house because another great deal came up through another contact (how do you beat regular use of a pool and iguanas living on your roof?), but I felt the day was another one of those great life lessons that sometimes things seemingly go bust because something far better is just around the corner.