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.
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23 Comments

  1. Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this post i
    thought i could also create comment due to this good piece of writing.

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    • Serendipity sure can be amazing. 🙂

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  2. What a great experience to be able to share with your son, just one of many in your upcoming adventures.  As always, just the simplest of things on the road can turn into major headaches and frustrations.  I laugh at the people who think long term travel is just one big vacation.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

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    • Tell me about it! Even just getting a SIM card turned out to be a multiday, multiple phone call, multiple walks, and taxi ride affair. 🙂

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  3. I’m hoping that we can have better things around the corner! Awesome that you did find a place though. I’m a little concerned on how much the Yucatan is going to set us back.

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    • It’s definitely pricey here. Maybe away from the beaches, and therefore the tourist attractions, will be better.

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  4. “The Psycho Woman”  I love it!  This is a really helpful post actually.  Thanks alot guys.  Great to hear all is going well.  $100 would have be true to good to be true.  You would have had people flying into Cozumel as we speak. 

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    • Well, we’d be okay with people flying in. 🙂

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  5. $100 for a month’s rent? man, its cheaper than my apartment in manila.. long stay really is the way to go to get a good deal in accommodation.. and love that there are “harmless” wildlife in your neighborhood… are you going back to asia in a year or two?

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    • The $100 for rent really was just a room with a tiny bathroom so not a real apartment. Definitely rentals are cheaper than traditional lodging. We probably won’t be in Asia for a few years. Just depends on our pace.

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  6. Interesting how windows and doors open to reveal all sorts of opportunities once you let others in.  Well done and congrats on your new home for the duration. 

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    • We took the place with the iguanas on the roof for 350 USD for a month. There are pics on our Facebook page if you’d like to check it out.

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      •  Looks great.  And that bungied fridge?  Hey, as long as it keep stuff cold, yes? 😉

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        • I think it adds character. LOL

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  7. Lessons all over the place on this trip of yours!  It’s fantastic that people are being so friendly and helpful!  

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    • One thing I’ve seen throughout my travels: Generally speaking people are amazingly friendly and helpful when given a chance. 🙂

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  8. Man, what an adventure in finding a house!  More importantly, what a great cultural lesson for your son!  I can’t wait to take my kids places to see what kinds of deals I can get – and teach them about culture, people, etc too! 🙂

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    • It is pretty awesome. He’s been learning a lot about budget, too. He wanted to rent a scooter and thought $25 USD is no big deal. When I explained that a week’s worth of groceries was about $46, he realized just what a luxury “only 25 dollars!” really can be.

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  9. That is awesome that you found such a great deal on a place!

    Having married into a Colombian family, my mother in law is exactly as you described the lady in your story, she GUSHES over her grandkids (and really, any other kid she meets)

    Looking forward to more photos and more stories from Mexico!

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    • I love that about Latina grandmothers. Poor Tigger just isn’t used to it, though. LOL

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