Moving to Mexico: Chapter 17
Back in Mexico!
I’m writing this from our home in Tulum. We arrived yesterday and stayed in a nice hotel room at the Sian Ka’an resort at Bahia Principe, the same resort where we have our house.
Since our anniversary had just passed, the fine folks at Sian Ka’an set up our room with romantic gifts, rose petals, and candlelight.
Staying our first night at the hotel has some real benefits:
- It gives us a soft landing when we arrive. We don’t have to do anything that first day (and night) after traveling.
- We have food and drinks because the hotel is all-inclusive. It gives us time to get our rental car and head to the grocery store. *We don’t rent cars at the airport anymore. It’s a long drive and the traffic cops have proven themselves to be greedy and corrupt.
- The hotel shuttles us to and from the airport. Private taxis and even group vans are expensive. A taxi can cost up to $80 to $100 USD. Vans can vary. Check out viprivieramaya.com. They offer “standard” and “deluxe” vehicles (not sure what that means) and it looks like you can go it alone or have up to ten people in your group. They go all over the place, but my airport trip to the resort would cost us $78 round trip and if we ask, they will stock the van with $1.00 Coronas. *Our friends used this service and said it was awesome.
- Bahia Principe is a nice hotel with friendly staff. It has a total of four all-inclusive resorts as well as condos and homes for rent. The total cost for both of us: $335, and that is a lot for one night but since our anniversary was on September 16th we decided to celebrate a little by getting a top-floor suite with a rooftop patio and whirlpool at the exclusive, adults-only resort “Sian Ka’an”; something we have never done in the past. Normally, we would opt for a first or second floor basic room at the “Akumal” resort which would cost as little as $75 per night per person. That is VERY inexpensive when you consider that you each get roundtrip transportation to and from the airport, three meals, all the drinks you want, a nice room, entertainment, WIFI, beaches and the usage of their beautiful hotel.
My property manager promised to have our home prepared and ready for us. He did a fairly good job, too. The house was clean and ready for our arrival. But the process of opening up and closing the house is a big one. The lower units are furnished, and the house is stocked, but there is always something missing.
If anyone tells you that learning Spanish is not necessary to live in the Mayan Riviera, they are telling you a lie. It is extremely useful. Sure, if you’re staying at a resort most people there speak English and are very helpful and kind. But when you need to converse with your Mexican contractor/property manager as to why there is no phone or cable TV installed…and you paid for it…this conversation can be a 9.2 out of 10 level of difficulty. Google Translate on your iPhone helps, but a lot is lost in translation.
After a very frustrating WhatsApp translation session (receive text message, copy, translate on Google Translate, decipher, talk-text my reply into Google Translate, correct errors, copy, paste, and reply) my property manager made it clear to me that he “thought” he had the cable TV installed, but TelMex does not do that. They provide Internet and traditional fixed-line phone service. We had working Internet but no phone and no cable, but our TV is “Smart”, so we streamed services. We don’t need cable. Money saved.
Having lived in the Bahamas for years, this kind of misunderstanding (and quite honestly, a real lack of attention to detail in service) was familiar to me. But I have been back in the States for too long. My patience with this kind of thing faded with my dark, Caribbean tan years ago. I was frustrated. I will need to readjust when we move.
There were a few other things that made my wife’s first stay in our new home a little uncomfortable. The brand-new hot water heaters were not working; the wiring was tripping the fuses, so they kept shutting off. A freakishly heavy rain showed that some of our windows were leaking. One of our new refrigerators was not working, the pool was not clean, and the rooftop spa was empty. A few more difficult WhatsApp text conversations and emails later and my builder had a new punch list of things that needed to be fixed. He began addressing all of them while we were there.
These were the major items. There were some smaller issues that I thought I would tend to myself, so I did not overwhelm him, one of which was a new glass shower door that was scraping the tile floor when it opened. It was early morning and Betty was not yet awake. I decided to fix this before she got up.
The door actually would not completely open, making it impossible to use the shower. My friends were arriving in a few days, so I needed to get this handled. I had some tools, so I loosened the adjustment hinges a bit, but it still dragged. I decided to close it and try again when I heard a loud POP, and the glass door shattered instantly in my hands. The shock of the door, literally bursting into a million shards of glass inches from my face scared me. Immediately, I looked at the tiny cuts on my hands and arms and had a feeling of instant relief.
“Thank God for tempered glass,” I said. I had a few nicks on my forehead and arms, but I was alright. I stared at the huge pile of glass that now needed cleaning, grabbed a broom and squeegee and got to it. My main concern was for Betty. I quickly closed off the area with a few chairs when I noticed the blood dripping from my forehead. I had to get that cleaned up or she would freak out. Odd that I’m bleeding, and my first concern is that she does not get upset, but such is marriage. I wiped myself down, felt for stray shards stuck to my arms and legs and prayed the small pain in my right eye was not glass as I rinsed it for several minutes.
When I was done, I was sweating, but not bleeding or blind. Betty awoke and I gave her one of those stupid looks I am sure I have given her many times when she finds me in some kind of fix. I must have looked like a sweaty ten-year-old, caught in the act.
“Good Morning,” I said. “I had a little accident. But it’s OK.”
“You’re bleeding.” She tended to my forehead. Over the years, she has tended to many such cuts and scrapes. “If Band-Aids were dollar bills.” She said shaking her head.