Temporary Housing in Punta Mita
We spent the last two days looking for housing (a week, a month, we don't know yet) at local prices despite our clearly gringo appearance.
Actually, we spent the first half day in Puerto Vallarta looking for an accelerator pedal rebuild kit (no luck) and getting a notary to sign off on some docs for a refi of our house in portland. It's nice to finally put the refi to bed as its taken over 3 months and tons of paperwork and we somehow continue our trend of never being in the same state/country when signing loan docs…but this one hurt a bit more when we found out that the US Embassy notary charges $50 per signature. Really? Per signature? For a 20 second job thats done for free in the states?? I checked…and the pen doesn't use gold ink.
We also stop at Wal-mart (despite the fact that we have vowed never to shop here again) because jen needs a blender and i need a trimmer for my beard (which seems to grow crazy fast here). Find our items and get ready to leave but E decides not to start. Haven't had this issue since AZ, but we go through the usual checks. While not visible at a quick glance, our battery terminals had a good deal of corrosion, so we spent 20 minutes cooking in the sun and cleaning the terminals and then E fired right up and we got underway.We drive back north to Anclotes. This is our favorite part of Punta De Mita as it still has an old mexican town feel even if there happens to be a row of gringo restaurants and shops along the water. One stop at a realtor confirms what we thought- we can't afford the condos anywhere around here (despite the fact that high season hasn't arrived yet and 95 of 100condos sit empty). We instead go ask around with the locals- who has an apartment or room for rent, who knows of someone who does, who has a place to park E for free, etc. Obviously this isn't quite the way we were told to search for places to stay…that sounded more like "drive as fast as you can on the toll road, get off and go directly to a large RV park and only stay there if there are a lot of tourists and a big locking gate", but we prefer the human method.
For such a small town, we are amazed how many opportunities arose in only a few introductions and questions. Every person we talked to either knew a place or walked with us down the street to find someone they thought might. We suddenly had viewed a handful of housing possibilities between $200-$650/month. Granted, these aren't luxurious apartments, but rooms at small local hotels and apartment buildings for locals (typically the empty room next to the person we asked about a space). Nothing is quite perfect, so we give it another day and head back to Dean and Yumikos to make them a thank you dinner and head out in the morning.
Back in Anclote, we try our last few ideas without luck and head back to our favorite, an empty office space with no furniture or lights, but an air conditioning unit and amazing view from the rooftop. Turns out the guy renting it is out of town (actually he isn't, but we due to some confusion between he and his brother we were told he was). His nephew, Hobe gives us a walking tour of town (behind the shopping street), shows us a parking lot where we could park for free for the night and then introduces us to a friend with a spare room. We aren't interested in spending cash on a room without a/c, but he does have a patch of grass that looks nice, and so for 35pesos we pull in and have access to the banos for the evening.
In the morning we head down the hill to negotiate terms with Hector about the office space. Hector as always is a shrewd businessman and walks us over to the front table in his restaraunt, looking out over the ocean and places the chairs so that we can all face the sea while we haggle. This guy has a mexican godfather vibe going on that doesn't quite fit his age. After much conversation we strike a deal, and have an actual roof over our heads with an ocean view for about the same thing it cost for one signature at the US Embassy.
By now, all the vendors, restauranteurs and shop owners know us and are asking where we decided to stay…making sure we are settled. We talk with many of them on our walks through town and spend the afternoon prepping our "apartment". Jen scrubs the place from floor to ceiling while i attempt to setup a shower and kitchen using what we have in the bus and parts laying around the building. We finish up just in time to catch a sunset dinner at Hector's place and celebrate our newfound home (and our fourth anniversary) in style- but with the local discount. We share a delicious ahi caught earlier in the day and seared to perfection.
Delicious and muy romantico.