Mexico City Blues

Traveling in style on the elegant ETN line.
Traveling in style on the elegant ETN bus line.

WE RETURNED from Mexico City yesterday. The visit was quite successful, and there were no blues in sight. I just like the title, which I stole from Jack Kerouac’s book of poetry.

The trip had a dual purpose: 1. Tidy up and air out the apartment, which we do at least twice a year. 2. Do something about getting the apartment’s deed since it was paid off more than three years ago.

We succeeded at both. The apartment is tidy, and the deed process is finally in motion. I said in a comment on the previous Mexico City post that we should have the deed by year’s end. That was wrong. It will take up to a full year to get the deed in our hands, we were were told. No matter. It’s in the pipeline at last.

So that gives you plenty of time to save your $38,000 (or whatever our getting $500,000 pesos will require, depending on the exchange rate). Here are some more photos.

The grand view. We’re on the fourth floor.

The place is only about four miles from the Alameda, rapidly reached down one of two avenues, one named Cien Metros and the other Vallejo.

The Metrobus system passes one long block from our apartment, and a subway stop (Instituto del Petróleo) is a bit farther, but not much.

The place comes fully furnished and with a lovely rose carpet, wall to wall, in the living room/dining room area. There’s also a clothes washer.

Living room looking thataway. Two door lead to bedrooms.
Living room looking thataway.  Kitchen to the right.

Two people fit here well for visits. It’s too small for permanent living, to my way of thinking, but some of the neighbors have entire families stacked into one of the units, which are all identical.

The property tax this year was about $30 U.S., so you can see that it’s quite economical. There’s a hookup to Gas Natural, a Mexican company that provides propane to one and all.

I mentioned in the previous Mexico City post that the bathroom is very small, too small to even have the sink inside it.

Instead the sink is in a recessed area just outside. We replaced the humble sink my child bride had lived with for six years with something far more elegant that we purchased at Sears at the Plaza Lindavista. I took a photo, which included me.

A selfie!
A selfie!

This should suffice to inspire you to start saving your pennies or pesos to purchase this great deal in about a year’s time. You’ll have your home away from home in one of the grandest cities on earth.

One thing I do in the nation’s capital, which I rarely do while at home about 225 miles away on the rural mountaintop, is watch the local news on the telly. That was how I learned that our left-wing demagogue, the perennial candidate who goes by his initials AMLO, is starting a new political party.

No other party wants him anymore.

It is called the Moreno Party, which means the Brown People’s Party. Yes, he knows that people are quite quick to vote their race. He likely learned that from Barry. Since 90 percent of Mexicans are brown, it’s not difficult to see what AMLO has on his mind.

Were this turkey to ever win, Mexico City — all of Mexico — would learn what it means to sing the blues. A post about this revolting development will follow. Stay tuned.

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.

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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.