Buyer beware

December 11, 2008

I am usually a pretty positive person.  I won’t and don’t use this blog as a way to grumble publicly about things in Mexico that aggravate me.  But I’ve had a recurring thought that just wouldn’t go away so I thought I’d blog about it.

Here goes:

Some people seem to think that the rules here are the same as the rules where they came from.  Not true.  An acquaintance of ours had an out of scale building being constructed across the street from her, on a hill.  During construction, the front part of the property and part of the street caved in, apparently due to bad construction practices.  It has sat there with decaying caution tape around it for several months now.  Who knows what will happen next?

On a hill near Centro there is a condo under construction that was originally approved for six stories, and after it had most of that construction completed the approval was changed to 11 stories.  This will essentially block the views of a number of neighbors and is probably about 6 stories taller than most of its neighbors.  A picture is above.  (Imagine another 5 stories.)

But both those examples are in neighborhoods with vacant lots begging to be developed.  Even in built up areas there can be challenges.  Imagine how Wayne’s friend felt when all of a sudden a night time taco stand opens next door to her home!

Here’s another choice bit…A park in Centro of one block square.  In the center is a library.  There is a morning cleaning person every day, and a couple of times a month gardeners descend on it and trim and chop it into shape.  There used to be two large barrel garbage cans in this park.  I used them every day to dispose of our dog-do bags as I walked by with the dogs.  Several months ago, the barrels were gone.  The area where the cans used to be is now heaped with garbage bags and trash and the whole park feels sort of slummy despite the best efforts of the people that work there.   One friend said they thought the reason the cans were removed was because households were putting their trash in the park cans in between the Monday-Wednesday-Friday pick ups.  Who knows?

And another:  The city has a very active mosquito patrol.  They go house to house checking water in fountains, distributing bags of powder to put in fountains, and we have felt a real commitment to keeping mosquito populations under control, and hence control dengue.  But down the street from us is an abandoned house with water seeping (but faster than that, really) out the door and down the steps.  The sidewalk is a black sludgy mess.  And if you look in the window-hole (there is no glass remaining) you see a gloppy mess of inch deep water and sludge.  Do you suppose they just walk by that one when they are on our street checking houses?

None of these issues have my blood pressure rising…I am pretty mellow and am able to take note all this in the abstract, and I feel lucky for that.  But thinking about this kind of thing and how you might react yourself would be a good exercise for someone planning a move to Mexico.

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. I may be inoculated for these surprises. The house next door to me has provided me with my share of head shakings. A young man is currently living in the basement. Apparently, the basement was filled with junk. Solution? Put all of the offending junk in the back yard — including an old toilet, piles of newspapers, and what appears to be the remnants of a food supply. My rat sightings have increased. The city shows little interest. I just accept it for what it is.

    1. Ah, the old Mexico saying “If you don’t like what your neighbors are doing, build your wall higher” doesn’t really sink in for some people. That sense of NOB outrage is just a waste of energy. Yes, some of it really sucks but ‘ni modo’ there is nothing you can do anyway so why get upset. I try and tell people this too because I also think it will save them a lot of pain and angst if they realize this before they have thrown their lives out the window and moved here. It is just not for everyone. No shame and no blame, it just doesn’t suit.

    1. Nancy – As I am sure you are aware – I do grumble a bit – but for the enlightenment of others – no blood pressure problems here taking approach aforementioned by Jonna.

      Mexican building practices – that is what it is practice. While practice makes perfect, so they say, they are far from it as of yet.

      I recommend to people that you will be better off buying in an area completely built up or certainly contiguous to your property lines. In this way you will end up with less surprises and at least avoid the all-night taco stand, or mechanics shop, or Auto-Motel.

      I recently wrote a Blog entry about how I now have a deeper respect and understanding for some of the heretofore frustrating building codes in the U.S.

      There are good and bad aspects to all of it – you have touched on one bad one (or a few) in a very lady like manner. 😉

    1. I have to remind myself to enjoy each day as it comes in our just-about-ideal neighborhood, with open space in front and behind us, and a glimpse of the sea. Condos are bound to come along when the economy picks up again. In fact two three-story buildings were in the works only yards from our home but the developers were offered another site in trade and took their plans elsewhere (whew!)

    1. We thought our view from the terrace would be okay….at least in our lifetime. Ha…CFE put up new, and taller electric poles. It happens all the time. People should not come to live in Mexico expecting the USA or expecting to change things. Things do change but they change to Mexican expectations. But it does leave you scratching your head at times.

    1. Hi. The conditions you report in Mazatlan regarding zoning and building codes seem to be the same as here in NYC. It’s now becoming widely publicized how corrupt our building dept. is here. Actually, the concept of corruption seems to have changed as we evolve from a democracy to a corporate welfare state. What used to be corruption is now “pro-business”. You probably could do without all the gory details of a place far away, but here’s a link to a snarky blog that is good on reporting such things amongst other nefarious political doings. Hope it helps to see that corruption is universal wherever it’s not rigorously suppressed. Thanks for your blog, by the way.

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