Three weeks in

Hi everyone,

We arrived on the evening of January 30. On the 31st we got moved into our short-term rental, with a three month commitment.  Lovely old colonial home.  We will be moving into a long-term rental at the end of April, another lovely home two blocks from Parque Santiago and its market and two blocks from the Merida English Library.  It is on a nice, quiet street but not far from the action.  We might have to start going to the Tuesday night big band dances at Parque Santiago and join the old Mexican couples on the dance floor 🙂

We would be happy to stay in this house, but the owner is interested in short-term rentals and we want more stability than a month-to-month arrangement after the end of April.  The new house is a three bedroom, three bath with a nice garden and swimming pool.  The owners are USA citizens, who after years on the Gulf Coast nearby and in Mérida (and the Dominican Republic before that) have moved back to the states. The current tenants, who are moving to a north Mérida suburb, were full of praise for them.  We are looking forward to spending multiple years there.

The adjustment so far has been smooth.  I guess one could say we are in the honeymoon period.  My Spanish has proven adequate to what we need to do.  Some of it comes out like my childhood Portuguese, but the two languages are close.  On the 26th I go to immigration to get fingerprinted and to turn in my photos, and shortly thereafter will get my resident temporal card – good for one year with renewals taking it out to four years.

On Friday we went to the US consulate to get an affidavit affirming that the woman I am married to is the same woman with her married name as she was with her maiden name.  Our apostilled marriage license and that affidavit are being translated into Spanish.  After I get my residency permit, she will get hers, being brought into the same status I have.  Until then she is on a 180 day visitante visa.  It should all be done by the end of March or early April.

We have shopped at stores large (WalMart and Soriana) and small (the fruit and veggie stand a few blocks away) and at the mega-sized mercado Lucas Galvez.  I get cold beer at the Cervefrio in the neighborhood, run by the 68 year old Concepcion whose daughter is there with her on Saturday afternoon and Sundays.  Today I asked if it was her sister and they both laughed.  The daughter said her mother married at a very young age :).  There is an good sized store in the next block that supplies a lot of our needs, but does not have, other than cold cuts and cheese, meat, fish or fruits and veggies.  The water guy delivers on Monday, and there is a very civilized three time a week trash pick-up.

We rented a car yesterday for our trip to the consulate, Yucatán Expatriate Services, Costco (pronounced Coastco), and to Walmart, taking advantage of the wheels to stock up some.  Driving has not been difficult and we look forward to buying a car in March or April.

We have had our first company, friends from the Caribbean side of the peninsula and a couple from the US who were vacationing there.  They stayed at a hotel as we are not equipped for 4 overnight guests, but they were over for an afternoon and we went out to eat with them a couple of times.  On Sunday we took them to a state-sponsered artisan shop carrying arts, crafts, foods and clothing made in Yucatán state.  The couple from the States were very astonished and pleased at the lack of hard sell tactics they were used to in the Caribbean tourist zone.

That is about it for now.  I will end with some photos of our short-term rental and our cat, Flea, who is adjusting very well.  He is 18 and seems to think this is an all right retirement home.

One of our lime trees

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Bird of paradise

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Flea

Back in Broadband Land

Hi all,

The Cablemas people were here today to install broadband internet access. I selected the midrange speed. WiFi built into the modem they left for me.

I am going to aim for one blog post a week. It has been an eventful three weeks since we arrived and I guess I have some catching up to do, but it is siesta time. 🙂

Tomorrow we go to the consulate to get an affidavit saying that Kathy is the same person she was before she got married and changed her name. Feb. 26 to the immigration office for fingerprints.

Kathy is in the pool doing her water exercises and I can see her from the back, screened in patio where I am typing this.

1779932_10152240359504233_358870199_nLets see if I can add a photo of the pool from the back of the garden.  Aha, I did it 🙂

The trip to Mérida

The trip down.

On January 28 we had the apartment move out-inspection and we headed to Laurie’s house to spend the night.  Had a good time there, and the following morning we purchased a third large suitcase and Kathy repacked two smaller ones into the big one.  We know have 3 large suitcases each containing between 65 and 70 pounds of stuff,  one carry-on bag (iLugger) with our 21.5” iMac, two backpacks weighing in at close to 20 pounds each and one cat carrier.

We spent the night before the flight with our good friends Dan and Melody.  Dan took us to the airport on Jan. 30, getting us there about 2 1/2 hours before flight time.  We had never flown with our cat before, much less internationally  with him, so we wanted to make sure we had enough time.  We had all kinds of paperwork from our vet, including a form with 5 carbonless carbon copies :).  The airline took a couple of them.  We headed to the United Club after checking in and spent some time there.  Nice environment for an airport.  About an hour before the flight we went to the gate area.  Kathy and I get to board with the first group of passengers due to her legal blindness. Since we flew down first class that did not make a lot of difference. What did make a difference was the Bloody Mary while we were still at the gate.  The shrimp salad and white wine was nice too.  Oh, with the first class tickets we got a higher weight allowance per bag (70 pounds) and two checked bags each – so there was no extra charge for our checked luggage.

Flight took off on time and 4 hours later we were in Houston at the gate for the flight to Mérida, an easy two hour hop.  In Merida we were diverted to the SEGARPA office – among other things they process live animals being brought into the country.  That took about 15 minutes and our vet’s work with the forms was right on target.  Then it was on to customs.  They noticed the big computer bag and asked what was in there.  The customs agent then asked me how much the computer was worth.  I said $1,200 US.  I ended up paying a $35 duty on it.

Our friend Tom Kuhn was there to pick us up and take us to the home he shares with his wife, Debi Kuhn and their 4 dogs – they are fostering one of the dogs.  Flea was happy to get out of the carrier and use the litter box that Debi had provided.  They had also picked up a couple of cans of cat food – something Flea Cat Smith really appreciated.  Tom and Debi are wonderful, hospitable folks, which will come as no surprise to those of you who know them.

The next morning our rental agent meet us there and took us to the house we had rented.  Tom followed with all our gear.  The house – Wow, but that is for the next post. 

It is good have arrived.  

In short, we have been here a week, are getting set up and are doing all right so far.