Go to the market, get weekly groceries, all organic: $45. Check. Go to bakery. (It’s a given at this point.) Get a fish taco (finally). Check. Go for a ‘Mayan’ massage—basically a hippy-dippy-chakra-balancing-my-heart-centre-hurts-and-my-legs-are-unshaven-prickly-incence-burning session. Nonetheless, afterwards, I feel pretty good even if my fourth chakra still sucks.
Bus to Mega store for organic vino and razor replacement heads. (No replacements in stock, too cheap environmentally-friendly to buy a new razor; instead, decide that I’m saving the earth one leg whisker at a time by staying hippy-dippy natural.)
Go to Irish pub in full-length dress. Flee thinks I’m overdressed, but I’m just trying to cover my damn grassy gams! Plus, I am in flip flops and ponytail, which makes anything casual.
Buy a hat. Pay too much because Flee exclaims what a great deal it is ($15), which it really is. But we’re in Mexico and I’m an ex-realtor, so both parties in this good deal for me transaction are expecting negotiations!
Me to Flee: I sure miss the rain in Canada, eh. (This is a code we came up with during money talk with the contractors, which means Flee is to shush because her uber-innocent-trust-all-attitude is going to have us paying Paris prices for a second-rate place in this third world Mexican paradise.)
But it’s too late, so I buy the damn hat. Note: I do love the hat. Note 2: I’m also glad the hombre who sold it to me with the so-not-starving shit-locker (belly) can feed his family today.
Having the casa to myself for the day, I spend all day in PJs writing. I do brush and floss.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:
No idea. Where do the days go? Meet UK couple and their son from Vancouver, B.C., give them this website. (Maybe a bad idea.)
Farmers’ market, sideways looks from UK family—and I always thought the British were secretly naughty, hmph.
Attempt to make appointment with another realtor to view properties before I leave. The first one never contacted me, probably because he’s a veteran professional and knows I’m a tire-kicker. I’m losing motivation fast here; it’s an on-Mexican-time thing.
Meet a Vancouver developer, ask a lot of questions (as well as provide suggestions for best land use) about his condo project here in Sayulita. With raised eyebrow, he says suspiciously, You’re very well versed about real estate for a relationship writer.
Take bus to Bucerias for meeting with lawyer: $27—Canadian! Check. It would be best if you can get dual citizenship¹. Lunch at Greek restaurant. Spanokopita. (Flambéed cheese!) Note to self: Pooping is highly overrated. Wait at (unmarked) bus stop on side of road. Manage to get back to Sayulita sola. Feel victorious!
Dinner at Tropical House with the Flee Family and Michael (the owner) from Texas. Flee abandons me with Michael and his Mexican posse. Jesus gets drunk and tries to touch my hair. Jesus is a Spanish-speaking (only), married Mexican man from Puerto Vallarta. I repeat my mantra, I’m off the market and you’re married, while wagging my finger at him like he’s a misbehaving toddler. Though he doesn’t understand English, he does comprende finger waving and furrowed eyebrows. Ayayaya.
While Flee is swim suit shopping with Mini Flee, I take advantage of the vacant vacation rental and write my heart out. (Though the words don’t have much heart. But, whatever. I needn’t be brilliant every damn day.)
View land and walk-by sightings of houses with Manuel, realtor extraordinaire! That is if extraordinaire means rookie with no sales under his woven leather belt.
I tell him, Manuel, if a prospective buyer seems interested in a house, you need to ask them, ‘Can you see yourself living here?’
He’s enthusiastically nodding, Thas a good one.
I give him another gem, Also, you can ask them—depending on if the furniture is included or not—’How would you arrange your furniture?’ or ‘Would you want to include the furniture?’
He’s jotting notes on the loose sheets of recycled paper he’s brought with him as we traverse the dusty roads on foot and in flip-flops.
At the end of the day, I’ve seen 14,000 properties and have four blisters. Of course, the one I like the best is the one of which I said, No way, I don’t even want to see that one. See, buyers are liars! But it is Ejido land. (Kind of like ALR/Agricultural Land Reserve in Canada or native land in USA.) Only a Mexican citizen can buy it outright without risk. This is good because otherwise I’d have a property in Mexico, y’all! As is, I need to get my dual citizenship to buy it or any other Ejido land.
There are benefits to buying Ejido land! Lower prices, lower taxes and the ability to regularize it, which means regular title, and that means I can sell it to you gringos (which actually means American, which technically means North American but in Mexico means US Citizen—but I mean you people up north of the border including Canada and the Latin-looking born there without Mexican citizenship!) Where was I? Oh yeah, I can flip property and make moola! But I have to wait as citizenship is not a guaranteed process. Eh, shrug.
After I review the income/expense statements of several investment properties, I determine that the best way to make a living off real estate in Sayulita is either a casa con casita (house with mini house) or building and flipping. The latter may have me flipping out on lagging Mexican contractors, however, so all must be reconsidered. All this for the Mexican butter? I can probably buy an investment in Edmonton at a better overall return and ship myself the damn butter. But then I’d still be in the cold. Shitballs.
Mini Flee wakes up faint and feeble. I’m still in bed when Flee knocks on my door to tell me. She’s already got her flippies on and is out the door. The kindly neighbour drives the Flees to the hospital in the next town over, San Pancho, and then comes back to get me. (Note to readers: No emergency clinic in Sayulita.)
Blood tests are done. It could be a virus, it could be dehydration. Silver-lining to this story: Cute doctor! Note to self: Mexican medical is muy barrato (very inexpensive)—a full day in Emerg, private room and a pile of blood tests: $150USD—and worth a trip to the ER if my future Mexican husband is on shift. Bam! But just kidding, because I don’t need to marry a Mexi to stay here, even if I don’t get dual citizenship. And! The money I’d save living here would make up for losing the stellar Canadian medical system [with ridiculous wait times]—Ha!)
Doc says it’ll be another 3–4 hours before the Flee’s can leave, so I go to an Italian Cafe/Wine Bar in San Pancho—Cafe Arte, email Flee’s mom, eat artisan pizza, drink mineral water, listen to classical music, and write. I should probably feel guilty because the Flee’s are in a stark hospital room beside a squealing infant who was stung by a scorpion, and I feel like I’m in a quaint, cobblestoned villa in Italy, but she is with Hot Doc so forget that shit! I’m staying outta their way. (Yeah, now who feels bad? Uh-huh.)
By the end of the excursion, Mini Flee is fine, but her mom is wiped out. She recovers. Flee has lost two valuable days of school work. Mini skipped school Monday as well, feeling ill. Second note to self: Single motherhood, not always a bag of jellybeans!
I decide to give her space to collapse by taking a stroll to town via beach, sand and sea to recharge my soul (and exfoliate my soles). I meet up with Miguel, tell him about my house hunting; he offers a better price for you today on the one he showed me.
Make an offer, he tells me.
Yesterday, it was the best deal in the State of Nayarit, and today it’s on sale. Raised eyebrow.
I stop at Paninos bakery then drop in on the Vancouver (B.C.) developer to give him design ideas about ways to increase the value, which is a bloody stupid idea because I’m driving the price up for me. Walk back home via beach, get naked (gratuitous mention, I know), get in shower, notice Scary B-Movie Spider on the ceiling near me! (Insert scary, shrieking B-movie music here.) Lather and rinse while keeping eyes wide open, soap-burned and laser-beamed on the upside-down creepy ceiling crawler. It’s missing a leg! (Dub more music here. Relevance: Even if it doesn’t purposefully lunge on me, it could ostensibly fall on my head at any moment!) Grab towel, cover head, dart under it, exit bathroom, close door, barricade bottom with towel, and (half-)sleep with light on. Let us all note that this spidey specimen may have been hiding under the sink, bed, in the closet or any number of other sneaky spidey hiding places in my room the whole time I’ve been here, but I didn’t know that before!
Wake up with a bug bite on my butt. W. T. F.? It’s not itchy so it wasn’t a mosquito. Worry the sneaky-spidey bastard escaped only to inject my cheek with its poisonous venom because it’s all full of self-hate for only having seven legs. Fuck you illy-adjusted arachnid, get an insect shrink and leave my ass alone! War it is. (Except it’s too hot, so it’s really not; I’ll just barricade the door again.)
The days are becoming a hazy daze now … No idea where the rest of this one went, maybe I looked at another 245 properties for sale. The sheer number of listings is cause for suspicion of the vibrant local economy.
That evening I do vividly recall: another sleepless night watching for the Houdini spider that disappeared it’s big, hairy ass somewhere in my bathroom all day long only to reappear just before I ‘planned to’ go to sleep. Oh, so now you’re playing mind games.
Take advantage of wakeful wee hours by packing suitcases.
View one more property for [me] to see, a crumbling triplex on a sandy shifting cliff, the last earth quake evidenced by its expansive cracks in an earthen foundation. First thought: Let’s see, at this price ($165K USD) I could make bank … at least until it collapses down the embankment.
Second thought: On second thought …
Return to Yah-Yah Sayulita Cafe, the place from which I commenced this travel journal. Feel nostalgic. Write this.
Return to my home and native land. Oh Canada, land of the free—and freezing! It’s cold here. Eh.
What have I (re)learned? You can fool some of the gringos some of the time, but at some point someone’s going to get poked in the arse. And not in a good way.
Homework: Watch out for sly spiders, scorpions and Spics².
¹I later learned that because I’m only half Mexican, my dad being a Danish-decent Canadian, I may not qualify to take your money by buying and flipping Ejido (native) land. Hey, people, you lose, too; you would have liked that land!
²I can say Spic because I’m half Mexican, just like I know a First Nations guy who calls himself a wagon burner. It’s only funny until someone loses an eye. Or their home and native land. Damn it.
For my newest article on Elephant Journal, please click here: Why We Should Stop Shoulding on People, And How to Stop! (Even if you still want to should on someone, click anyway, it helps me out! Thanks, you!)