The mechanic is
a young guy, does good electrical work, and really tries hard to please.
Finding a good ‘all-round’ mechanic is very difficult.
I needed some work done on the Landcruiser.
Tune up, new plugs,
rotor, etc., alternator rebuilt, new bolt, some electrical work, changed
out one battery and charged another. All this a little over 3 hours. The
parts were fairly expensive (but not by U.S. standards) and the labor was
less than $19.
Crime - I’ve
written about this in the past, but I’ll touch on this subject again. Yes,
there is crime.
some robberies. However, in our neighborhood we might walk the 5 blocks
to the all-night Pharmacy for a bottle of milk at midnight without fear.
There are places we won’t go even in the daytime, much less at night, and
some areas we don’t even drive through after dark. It’s not necessary to
go to these areas, and if you do go for drugs or ‘whatever’, you probably
will risk being robbed.
a house or apartment is sometimes time consuming, frustrating, but usually
affordable, depending on your requirements. As an example, I am remodeling
a 1 bedroom apartment with additional sleeping loft over half the living
room, full kitchen, and bath. When I bought it a couple of months ago the
utilities weren’t on so I couldn’t check everything out as well as I usually
do. The apartment is in a nice older building with only 10 apartments and
a pool. Only 2 of the apartments are occupied on a permanent basis, the
rest are vacation units.
is located in an exclusive area close to shopping, restaurants, medical
offices and just about everything necessary is within walking distance
- and there are no other small apartment buildings in this area. It was
a fair price, especially for income property in the Play El Angel area,
and I knew it wouldn’t be on the market long. Amazingly enough, the owner
did not raise the price when I showed an interest in buying - raising the
price happens a lot here! After all the papers were signed, notarized,
stamped, etc., the apartment was all ours! Next step, hire my construction
I used the
same crew that remodeled my rental condo at the Marbella Mar Hotel. They
did an excellent job there, paid attention to details - that’s hard to
on the utilities.
Then the fun
plumbing leaked through the floor into the apartment below. Cracked pipes
and leaks everywhere. Tear up all the floor tile, remove the cement floor
and install all new plumbing and drains. To do this the cabinets and counter
top in the bathroom had to be removed, and of course the formica cracked
and had to be replaced. Then the kitchen pipes also leaked so we ended
up putting new plumbing throughout. Discovered the countertop in the kitchen
was rotten underneath from another water leak, so replace that - new wood
trim and ceramic tile.
I had already
planned to replace the old air conditioners with new split units, but the
president of the “condo association” informed me that I couldn’t mount
the compressor units on the exterior - despite the fact that there were
already exterior units on some of the other apartments. (Note: the former
owner ‘lost’ the condo rules, and I didn’t insist on a copy.)
the association president there would be a meeting sometime in the future
to demand that the other exterior units be moved, but since this is Manana
Land, this could happen tomorrow or decades down the road. Long story short...changed
the location of the air conditioner units. Construction is just about
finished, except for touch-up painting and furnishing and the apartment
should be ready in time for Christmas Season rental, and I will be posting
photos and more information on my website www.retirecaribbean.com.
Even with all
the additional work, it was still much, much cheaper than doing a similar
remodel in the U.S., and didn’t take all that much time from start to finish
after all. Not having learned my lesson, I’m also remodeling/renovating
a large 4 bedroom (6 if you include the servant’s quarters) 5 bath house
w/pool in the same neighborhood. It should be finished in time for Holiday
rental too. I’ll write more about this job next time, and as the bartender
in the movie “Irma La Dulce” was fond of saying...”but that’s another story!”
Margarita Island - Scott Boswell
For more information
about living and working on a Caribbean island at a pace that won’t kill
you before your time, check out my website www.retirecaribbean.com
Scott Click Here
is the first article Scott wrote for the magazine: