Mexico City, again

dflrWE ARE HEADING to the nation’s capital next week for a few days. I don’t want to go, but I’m going anyway. It’s a necessity. We have an apartment over there.

My child bride bought it in the late 1990s with the help of her then-employer, the Mexican highway department.

The price was subsidized, and she paid just about $10,000. Now it’s worth about $50,000 due to the neighborhood’s moving significantly upscale even though it’s on the oft-gritty, near northside.

It’s very small and would fit into the Hacienda’s living room. Literally, I measured. But it has two tiny bedrooms (only one has a closet), a living room/dining room space, a minuscule kitchen, a small laundry area on a tiny back balcony, and a bathroom that is so itty-bitty the sink is out in the hallway, not the bathroom.

It was still not paid off when we married, but I paid it off a few years later. When we got married in 2002, she rented the apartment to a coworker and his wife. They stayed there, paying just the measly mortgage payments, until December of 2006 when they bought their own home. We decided not to rent it again.

So in January 2007, we drove over, painted the place in Hacienda colors, bought new furniture and appliances, and planned even more improvements that we have never gotten around to doing. The first couple of years we spent lots of time there, but the visits gradually tapered off to near nothing.

The first few years, we drove there. Yes, I have driven the Hellish streets of Mexico City.  A lot! It is stressful, to put it mildly. The only accident I have had in my years in Mexico happened in Mexico City, a minor fender-bender — but still. I have had my car towed three times in this country. Two of those tows took place in Mexico City.

Finally, around 2011, I decided not to drive there anymore. Now we take buses, and when we are in Mexico City, we get around mostly in taxis but occasionally on the subway, the Metrobus and jitneys called peseros. I prefer taxis, but those experiences depend a lot on the specific cabbie. Sometimes it can be hair-raising.

We once had a cabbie who would just about fall asleep at each red light. I was watching him through his rear-view mirror as I sat in the middle of the back seat. And between red lights, he would floor it till the next corner. We never made it to our destination. We got out, and paid what we owed.

He’s probably dead now, killed in fiery explosion.

* * * *

The Taxis

Taxis had a particularly bad reputation in Mexico City about seven or so years ago. The scuttlebutt was that you hailed one on the street at your peril. Some robberies and worse had occurred.

However, if you stood on any Mexico City street corner, you would spot tens, or hundreds if you stood there a bit longer, of taxis racing by with customers sitting in the back, safe and sound. No blood, no nuttin´.

So we did hail them on the street, and we lived to talk about it. A good system I used whenever possible was to stand on a corner and wait till a cab deposited a customer nearby. My thinking was that if that customer was not murdered, we would not likely be murdered either, and we never were.

But in recent years, the city government appears to have improved and better regulated the taxi system. With some exceptions for special services, all taxis now are painted the same color scheme, not like the rainbows of former years, and all honest cabs have special license plates. Most are honest.

And they use meters. All in all, the system works great.

* * * *

The Deed

We’ve been trying to get the deed to the apartment in our hands for a few years. The place has long been paid off, but getting the deed has to be done in person in Mexico City, where we visit infrequently now, at the office of a special kind of lawyer called a notario.

With the help of a neighbor, who tracked down two of the notarios who do the deeding for our specific location, we will be visiting the office of one of them on Monday. In the World Trade Center.* We have heard through the gossip pipeline that it’s gonna cost us between $2,000-$2,500. That’s U.S. bucks.

But we won’t be paying that on Monday, I imagine. We’re just take one more baby step closer to having the deed one distant day. When we have it, I would love to sell the apartment to avoid ever having to set foot in Mexico City again. Not a fan, amigos.

There are some fascinating things there, but the incredible hassle of merely getting from Point A to Point B via the maniac traffic or jammed subway in that tumultuous city is more than I want to mess with.

You can have it. Actually, for a price, you can have the apartment too. Special price for Moon fans.**

* * * *

* Yes, there is a World Trade Center in Mexico City, and its name is in English. Like the doomed one in New York City, it is very tall. Luckily, the Mohammedan population of Mexico is a fraction of one percent. They don’t much like it here, and that’s fine by me.

** $38,000, furniture, appliances, one parking spot included.

18 thoughts on “Mexico City, again

    1. Carole: It’s a high-rise if you count five floors as a high-rise. We’re on the fourth floor. There are two apartments per floor, and there is no elevator.


  1. Be careful and don’t flaunt your jewelry like your gold presidential Rolex you got at your retirement party, and you will be okay. Tell your wife to leave the furs at home too!


    1. Tancho: I wish I had a Rolex. Actually, we take care when out and about in the capital city. She even leaves her wedding ring here at the Hacienda. Given its monster size, Mexico City is not, I don’t think, all that dangerous at all.


  2. It seems like they were building those apartments a lot. My cousin bought one through the phone company she worked for at a great price and the description is the same. If it wasn’t for the stairs I would be interested. What colonia is it in?


    1. Sylnuss: The colonia is Nueva Industrial Vallejo. It’s part of a large number of identical buildings that stretch about two blocks along Margarita Maza de Juarez between Cien Metros and Vallejo. All were built for employees of the SCT. It was, and still is to a degree, as the colonia name suggests, mostly an industrial area. However, the industry is leaving and modern apartment complexes are going up all over the place. The nearest shopping center, within walking distance, the Plaza Torres, has in just the past few years transformed itself from a pretty mediocre shopping center into a snazzy mall with a Walmart, cineplex, coffee houses, restaurants, etc. Plus, the Metrobus has lengthened along Vallejo almost to our door. It’s just a long block away now. The changes in the past 12 years have been amazing.

      But yep, it’s a four-foor walkup to our front door.


    1. Peter: One or both (I cannot recall clearly) have exhibited interest. But first we have to get our mitts on the deed. Be a great deal for occasional visits and, of course, both are richer than King Midas.


        1. Steve: You might consider dusting off your interest again in the next few months. As for the couches, about the only similarity is the color. Otherwise, not much.


      1. I’ve seen the pictures before, and it looks lovely on the inside. But it’s a bit far out from the center for my purposes. If I ever get a place in DF, it’ll have to be in Roma, Condesa, Zona Rosa, perhaps Coyoacán, or somewhere nearby.

        I think the trick to living successfully in DF is to be very centrally located, and to not have to rely on transportation, save the occasional metro or taxi ride.


        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where we’ve finally landed.


        1. Kim, Actually, considering the size of the city, we’re fairly near downtown, but I get your drift. Of course, in the old chichi areas you cite you’d be hard-pressed to find anything near decent for $38,000. A cardboard box on the sidewalk perhaps.


    1. Don’t be a wuss, Sylnuss. I’m pushing 70, and I bound up those steps, no sweat. By the way, I wrote earlier that it’s on the fifth floor, but it’s only the fourth. I’m in the apartment right now pecking this out on a tablet. Good news is that it appears we will have the deed by year’s end.


      1. I think the trick to living there is to have a strapping young thing who’s willing to deliver the garrafones of water that will be inevitably needed.


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