Friday, January 28, 2011

Tranquil in La Ermita

Unfortunately, we do not have a video of this home but you can see the listing on Mexico International Real Estate site,  #002312.  We spotted this home almost a year ago when we first started our quest.  You have to admit the photo looking across that beautiful pool to the covered terrace is inviting. The other attraction was the deep lot (53.5 meters or over 160 ft) with space for building on or having a large garden. Plenty of space for the dogs to romp.

We really liked the large terrace with Mexican tile and triple arches. This renovation is fairly recent and of good quality. The bedrooms as well as the bathrooms are of good size. This home is definitely move-in ready, with only minor modifications needed to suit your tastes. Location is very quiet and a 20 minute or so walk to the central plaza.  Location: La Ermita

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tropic Thunder

When making a list of homes we wanted to see while in Merida, this home was in the top 10, though the name did evoke images of a weird Ben Stiller/Robert Downey Jr. movie by the same name.  It has a very spacious feel with high beamed ceilings and brilliantly shined cement floors. We were told that the old pasta tile floors were in too poor condition to restore, so the owners used a highly polished white cement which was scored to look like huge tiles. At the entrance, just inside the front door to the right, a huge opening  was placed in the ceiling with a small garden of tropical plants below. The 'skylight' was actually a screened opening to keep out insects but not water.  We didn't quite like the idea of one of those afternoon deluges pouring water directly into the living area.  Although I'm sure the garden was designed to drain well, I could not help but worry about that feature. The kitchen was open with a polished cement island, but with only a few small cabinets placed too high on the wall for vertically challenged people to reach (that would be us). The terrace and garden/pool area was very nice, with steps leading up to the pool and a sunning terrace.  A beautiful stone wall runs the entire length of the open living area, which is over 60 ft. Very nice baths with stone features.  Location:  La Mejorada
Have a peek inside....

We saw all of the homes over a period of only two days and these reviews are not in any order.  I'll keep you guessing which ones made the top 3.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some of los colores de Merida

                                          A brightly colored facade in Centro
                                    One of several mansions on Paseo de Montejo

                                                        small hotel in Centro

                                          Pink is popular in Merida ( all shades)

                                  A new restaurant in town (owned by a real Irishman) 

                                              Close-up of one of the bronze figures
                            Santa Ana church (didn't quite get the entire building in this shot)

                                                              Parque Santa Ana

                                         Side view of the Anthropology Museum
                                                                                  more to follow......... 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mid-century modern...

Take a look at this unique and interesting small home designed by a Canadian designer from Vancouver.  This is very unusual for Merida, a city of old colonial facades, but it has generated quite a bit of interest among those looking at real estate here.  We viewed this home yesterday and it is very nice. Not the soaring ceilings of many of the homes, but a truly comfortable living space designed to produce rental income as well as a place for the owners.  Not a bad idea for someone thinking of living here part of the year. The upstairs apartment is completely separate from the main house and has everything you would need in a little over 600 sq. ft. There is a very serene feeling in this space. The second video is without the tour and features the home at night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ki' Xocolatl

We were here for a couple of days before we realized that we had eaten nothing sweet except for fresh fruit that seems to accompany breakfast no matter where you eat.  We remembered seeing a chocolate shop our first night here and started wandering until we found it - a small storefront shop, inviting and air-conditioned, so we went inside and had an expresso doble and purchased a few treats to take back to Casa 64.  Last night walking back from the ADO (ahhh-dee-oh) station down Paseo de Montejo to the Remate (beginning of the boulevard. Remate in my dictionary translates to 'auction', so I'm not sure of the connection) we turned on calle 51 and found one of the small Ponce houses we like.  We continued on a short distance to Parque Santa Lucia, a small but pleasant park, took a few photos of the church and headed for home.  We passed by Ki'Xocolatl ( kee-shoc-o-lot-ul ??) and in we went.  After a couple of very cheap but delicious panuchos (sort of like a tostita, but with shredded turkey and better) we were ready for an expresso and dessert.  I had a triple chocolate brownie with pecan and bitter chocolate sauce and Alan had a brownie made with cinnamon drizzled with white chocolate. Cafe' Americana for me and expresso for Alan.  We purchased some more goodies to bring back to Virginia. The bill added up to ~ $600MX (about $49USD). A bargain ?  No, but this is vacation and we have some extremely delicious chocolate to bring home. And we enjoyed communicating in our broken Spanish and English with Evaline (sp?), the lovely shop lady with a wonderful laugh.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Casa 64

This is what the interior looked like when the house went on the market. The current owner has made some changes, much more minimal, but the architecture is striking and it feels quite spacious.  The lighting at night is beautiful. The plunge pool is about 5 feet deep and is a bit chilly due to recent cooler weather.  Alan made it all the way in, but I couldn't quite manage total submersion. Not bad though, considering we left Norfolk in sub-freezing temperatures.  Currently it is 29 C ( 84 F. ) here! Nice.

Cancun to Merida....

Our flight in to Cancun seemed very short- brief stop in Atlanta, then pleasant flight to C. After inquiring about an ADO bus to Merida ( ~ a 4 hour trip), the young man selling the tickets said there was a shuttle leaving in about 30 minutes, so we purchased the tickets and waited, not knowing what to expect. As it turned out, the shuttle was for the Fiesta Americana hotel (which is not where we are staying) and we were the only two passengers. The van would have seated at least 12 or so.  The driver spoke very good English and told us the ride would be ~ 3 1/2 hours. The van was air conditioned and I was actually a little cold. After 2 hours I looked around and found the "off" switch for the passenger section. Much better.  We stopped twice for restroom and a few minutes to stretch our legs. I'm glad we took the shuttle instead of a crowded bus. I regret that we never asked the name of our driver, who told us that he would have been happy to drive us back to Cancun next Sunday but that was his only day off.

I called the rental agent about 30 minutes outside Merida and we all arrived at the same time.  I have no idea what the tip should have been for a 'private' shuttle ride of a little over 3 hours, so I gave him what I believe was a generous tip. I think I will check to see if there is another shuttle from the hotel early Sunday.  The cost was only a few dollars more than the luxury bus and was an hour less travel time.

Stay tuned for a description of Casa 64....


Monday, January 10, 2011

Photos of the Yucatan

Until we can take some of our own shots, there is a Photo Gallery on the Yucatan Living link (under favorite links on the right)  that has some professional quality pics of life in and around Merida. Just click on the link and you will find the photo gallery at the top of the page.  You can see why we named our blog The Colors of Merida.  Enjoy.


P.S. a cool You Tube video from Mexico International Real Estate


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Good reading....

In 2009 I decided to take early retirement from my full-time job in the healthcare profession. The plan was to take several months off relaxing, reading, and perhaps finding a new hobby. Then I would return to work on a part-time basis for another couple of years before full retirement. My employer required a six month break in service in order to be re-hired, so the timing was perfect. Not long after I was home full-time, I saw that episode of House Hunters International featuring Merida and have since spent countless hours browsing web sites, blogs, real estate sites, travel logs... you name it. The neat thing is that Alan came on board with similar enthusiasm. Every few days I would receive an e-mail pointing out a new house for sale that he found on one of the sites. Surfing the web at work!

A couple of months ago, I discovered the blog site Writing from Merida by Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado. I liked her writing style and enjoyed her upbeat vibe.  She was promoting her new book Magic Made in Mexico  -  Live Your Dream in Mexico... Since we would be visiting Merida in a few weeks, I hurriedly ordered the book and I'm glad I did. The book has three parts: her personal  story of traveling to Merida, falling in love, leaving her family and Canada, marrying Jorge, raising a family; then the ABC's -all about adapting to life in Mexico (some reeaallly useful info); and finally an interesting and well written history of Merida, the Yucatan, and Mexico in general.

 If you are new to Merida or traveling there, dreaming of living there, planning to live there or anywhere in Mexico, I recommend getting a copy. I believe that it is available on Kindle, but I prefer the real thing because la cubierta es muy bonita. Available online through Editorial Mazatlan.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pics of the family

These fellows adopted me but I'm NOT giving up my neurotic behavior just to make their lives easier!

That would be Alan,  B.J., John, & Kenya
...and Mr. Jules

Monday, January 3, 2011

My first post...

I'm attempting to set up my very first blog site in order to chronicle my adventures discovering Merida, Yucatan. Merida is a city of almost a million, located in Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula. I first took notice when viewing an episode of House Hunter's International, which featured a couple searching for a renovated colonial home in the historical section of the city known as Centro. My partner and I spent some time in Oaxaca a few years back and loved the people, the ambience, and the colonial homes. Although it was tempting, we decided that Oaxaca was not the place in which to retire.  Intrigued by what I saw of Merida on that episode of HHI, I began an exhaustive search of any and all things Merida. I've learned an awful lot about the city and it's history (the good and the bad) for someone who has never visited. However, in just 12 days we are headed to warm, sunny Merida to give it a thorough looking over, including staying in a fantastic, award-winning renovated colonial home in Centro.  Not cheap, but hey, this is our first real vacation in about 3 years! The relative proximity to Houston (family there) and the fact that we can transport our entire family of dos humans, dos perros, and un gato by vehicle makes the possibility of relocating there a reeeaallly neat idea. (More about driving through Mexico later- not as scary as many may think).  Plus the fact that I have always wanted to become fluent in least better than my two years of study eons ago afforded me.  And then there are those colonial homes! I'll try to post some pics and/or videos later so you can understand this obsessive attraction Alan and I have developed.

So, I hope you will follow my journey and enjoy the postings as much as I have enjoyed reading many Merida bloggers.