We discussed with Isabel the question of finding an apartment or some larger, more private living space. Isabel spoke with Juan Martín, who operates a furnished apartment complex on Insurgentes, at the Glorieta del DIF -- not too far from the campus. She arranged for us to meet Juan at the apartments at 7:30pm the same evening, to view the apartments he had available. They are $2500pesos/month, which is the amount of the budget. Isabel also encouraged us to check the newspaper ads and explore any options we could discover. We left Isabel's office at 1pm and immediately had lunch in the campus cafeteria, which was deserted. We then caught a bus at the main campus bus stop to go downtown. It was a bus #10A, and it said on the windshield "UdeC (University of Colima), Rojos, Hospital, Seguros, Centro". It turned out to go around the entire periphery of the city, getting only once within 6 blocks of the center. Unfortunately, we didn't recognize that as the place to get off. We rode it for an hour and a half, all the way around and then back through a quarter of the trip a second time, in order to get off at the point closest to the city center. A cheap ($3pesos each) tour of the city. Downtown we did find the recommended newspaper, and read the ads while resting in the Jardin Libertad. No apartments that looked very likely.
At 7:30pm we were at the apartment building waiting. When Juan had not showed up by 7:45, and one of the residents arrived, we told her we were waiting for Juan for him to show us an apartment. She called him and he agreed to come right over ("10 minutes", which was really 20). Meanwhile, the neighbor (Mari, in apartment 2) invited us in and we sat and chatted until Juan arrived. He showed us #1 (ground floor, roaches), and #5 and #6 (upstairs). We said we picked #6, and would have to wait for Monday for Isabel to conclude the deal. He insisted that we take the keys to #6, so we could get back in without him. We reluctantly accepted the key, with full knowledge that he was free to rent the apartment to anyone who handed him money first.
Saturday, January 18
While we were jogging in the little park, Lois picked up a newspaper classified section (El Diario) that someone had left on a park bench. It turned out to have more interesting apartment ads than the "Ecos de la Costa" newspaper that had been recommended.
Returning mid-afternoon from our visit to Comala, we caught a taxi to the Glorieta del DIF. Went back to apartment #6 to see it in the daylight. We let ourselves in with the key Juan had given us, and discovered that there appeared to be a person living there (various articles laying about), although there was no one there at the time. There was a card with a name written on it, with apartment #6 and the telephone number of the phone on the wall outside the door to #6. We were considerably distressed, figuring that Juan had rented the apartment. So we left the apartment and walked back in the hot sun to Maria's.
.Monday, January 19
We showed Isabel the ads in the newspaper Lois had picked up from the park bench. We had been trying to call the numbers over the weekend, without success. But Isabel was able to get right through on Monday morning. She arranged a noon appointment for us at the real estate office that had placed the most promising ad. We had a delay finding a taxi, so we arrived at 12:08. Neither Elba Areyano nor Armando Portillo were there. We waited 15 minutes, and then Armando arrived. Armando is a very engaging fellow, who worked in Maryland a year or so some time ago. He showed us a couple of apartments in buildings right near the office, and then took us in his old microbus to see the 2 places mentioned before - a 2 bedroom apartment on Calzada Galván and an efficiency downtown on Filomena Medina. We met the 3 women students who are moving out of the Calzada Galván place. We liked it, and, after seeing the other one, we went back to the real estate office where Armando telephoned Isabel and completed plans for renting the Calzada Galván apartment. We are to bring a check with us to the real estate office at 5:15 on Thursday. They'll clean up the place Thursday morning, and we can move in Thursday evening. The apartment (C-2) is on the ground floor, and has lots of charm. Armando promised a bunch of amenities -- dishes, silverware, etc. as well as a weekly cleaning by Irena. The ceiling fan in the living room was broken, according to the current residents; Armando promised repair this week.
We had a very nice chat with Maria de la Paz in the afternoon about moving. She was totally understanding.
Tuesday, January 20
We agreed to get the check from Carina, in Intercambio Academico, on Thursday, to take to Armando Portillo. Also got a recommendation for the National Car Rental near the University. Went by there and spoke with a pleasant young man, who reserved a car for us for Thursday at 4pm, for $530pesos/day (outrageous, but such is car rental in Mexico). We had checked on getting help again from Don Raul Ocampo for the move on Thursday, but he was not available, so we decided to rent a car for 2 days to move our stuff and also to do some running around.
Thursday, January 22
At 2pm, I left the office and ate in the campus cafeteria, then took a bus home. Got there right at 3pm, as promised. We finished packing, and waited for the car to arrive. At 4:10pm, the young man arrived with a car different from the expected Nissan, but OK -- it was a brand new Atos (Dodge). Very tiny, but 4 doors -- and very yellow. Went back to National Rentacar office with him, and tried to help him struggle through a visa card charge procedure. After 30 minutes, we declared it a failure and agreed we'd settle it Saturday afternoon when we return the car. Then we went to the campus to try to get the check for the 1st month's rent at the new apartment -- but the office was not open (before 5pm). I had forgotten to pick up the check during the morning, as planned. Back to Maria's where we loaded a couple more bags, and explained the situation to Maria, who had arrived while we were at the car rental office. Then we went by the campus once more, 5:05, and still the office was closed. So we went to the real estate office, (having a fairly hard time finding it) and explained to them that we didn't have the check, but hoped to bring it later. No problem. We drove to the apartment, had a struggle learning to operate the lock, and then hauled in the bags we had in the car. Next, back to the university where Lois was able finally to get the check. Then to Maria's, to pick up the last load of stuff. Said bye to Maria, with plans to get together as soon as we're settled. By now it was nearly 7pm, but we stopped at the Aurrera market to load up on the essentials -- toilet paper, water, dishwashing stuff, a couple of floor mats, etc. Got back to the apartment, and unloaded, and Lois took on unpacking and getting things organized (especially the refrigerator, which was 90% defrosted complete with large puddles inside and on the floor). The bathroom sink had the cold water turned off at the shutoff under the sink, so I turned it on. I failed to notice that there was a leak at the faucet connection. Shortly there were more puddles on the bathroom floor too. Meanwhile, I drove back to the real estate office to give Armando and Elva the check. They were happy to get it. Armando gave me a few more dishes and utensils. Then I went back by the Aurrera and picked up some sponges for the various puddles and other kitchen items. Back home at about 9pm. Total exhaustion.
But finally we're at home in our own place. Various details to work out --
how to keep the bugs out, ceiling fan is broken, plumbing, and so forth. All
in good time.
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