Thursday, May 21, 2015

XVII. Casa de Luz

House of Light

Our Casa de Luz has a balcony overlooking Calle Constitución,
right on the parade route. We imagine morning coffee taken
here as we watch the street come to life.
GRACIAS A DIOS!  Today we sign the lease for the dwelling where we will live for the next year. Tomorrow we move in! In Roma Realty’s online listing it has the bland name of “Smith”, referring to its gringo owner back stateside, or maybe province-side since he might well be Canadian. We're re-naming it Casa de Luz—House of Light.

It has every one of the most important things on last summer’s original wish list: 

La Mestiza is one of two colorful art
galleries directly across the street. 
Location—a block and a half from both the plaza in one direction, and ex-pat’s resource center and gardens in the other. Two blocks from the beautiful lakeside malecón. Check! And it’s on the parade route so we can look down from our balcony (Check!), with an active (but not too) and varied street life. Double check!

Lots of Light—big, arched windows with finely crafted steel window panes fill most of one wall in
Looking into the main room from streetside balcony door
the great room, facing the morning sun. French doors of the same style open north and south onto balconies. Big glass bricks for skylight in the office. Check! Screens for mosquito season. Check again! 

The right size—not too big and not too little, with an extra bathroom and room for guests (!) and office in addition to the usual complement. Check!

Attractive interior and furnishings—It looks great—Smith has good taste! Or, at least, we share the same taste. Check!  (And there are no weird smells)

Good water pressure—we’re talking about showers we can live with, and since our funky—but it has a good garden—hotel is woefully lacking in this regard, I made sure to test Smith. Check!

Workable kitchen came well-equipped; another counter is
off to the right for coffeemaker and food processor. I
can wash dishes and watch the street action.
Workable kitchen—A big check here. The classic U-shape with all the mod-cons, plentiful cupboards and tiled counter. New combo washer/dryer in the corner and its own little french door to the front balcony. Double check!!

Anyway, the important thing is that as soon as we walked in past the winding garden path, sculptures and wall mural, we knew it was right. 

Eduardo, our friendly rental agent, has been dealing the past couple of days with the money-grubbing Smith who wanted more than the original listing price (?!). There was a hairy period there while we waited through negotiations, ending with a little give and a little take. We’re still within budget of 1/4 of our monthly income for the rent plus utilities.

LESSON: We made a list of what we wanted, what our budget was, and we stuck to it. We followed the rental market for nearly a year online and developed lines of communication with several rental agents, so we knew what was available. We came to realize, however, that no deal was going down until we had our sandals on the ground.

Now, it’s off—like Don Quixote—to deal with our customs snafu, and see what lesson we can draw from that experience.

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