Merida, Mexico  March 2013   Pat and I are back in this lovely city.  We are renting a house in the center of the city while we look for a home to purchase.  I think we're just tired of carrying out suitcases around, but also ready for a project.  Having contacted a realtor at Mexico International,  she has shown us several homes in the colonial center of town.  The winner:  a semi-finished home 8 blocks south of the town's main plaza, but still in centro, and away from "gringo gulch" where many expats have homes.  It's a three bedroom, three bath home, approx. 2600 sq. ft. with a huge garden; one of the larger lots in centro.  The house will need a lot of work inside and out, including planting a garden.  Here's some before photos home:


More photos of the home when we purchased it:



We hired a local contractor to do the work.   Unfortunately, the workmanship was inferior, and we had to fire the contractor and redo much of the work.  A painful experience, and much more expensive than we had planned.  It is not an experience we want to repeat!  It's taken us 10 months to finish the work.  We wanted to keep the home minimalistic: easy living and easy cleaning, as well as tropical due to the weather in Merida.  Some of the work we did:  enlarge the pool (adding approx. 20 ft.) to make a 45' lap pool, new roof, tile throughout the home, new kitchen, new bathrooms (in the master bath we removed a shower, moved the toilet and added a double sink vanity....the shower became an outdoor shower that Pat built), add a water heater, remove existing trees in the yard (there must have been over 100 weed trees!) and plant a garden, install yard automatic watering system, build a stone walkway throughout garden, garden wood and concrete benches and concrete shed for garden tools.  Here are photos of the interior house:


Here are some photos of the patio and pool area:


Pat built an outdoor bamboo shower that is heavenly!


Some of our garden plants include heliconia, bamboo, orchids, palm, agave; trees such as plumeria, baalche (native), and fruit such as banana, grapefruit, mandarin, avocado, lime.  Here are some backyard photos:


and of course we love our peaceful Buddha!


In March, we had a family get together in Isla Mujeres, a favorite place of ours.  Armand brought his girlfriend, Ashley, along with Isabelle and her husband Niko.  We stayed at a bed breakfast, Casa Sirena.  It was great to have everyone together, as we all live so far from each other.  The blue ocean waters surrounding the island is stunning; we always love to visit Isla!


Isabelle and I took a trip to visit the Mayan ruins at Uxmal.



On the way back to Merida, we stopped for lunch at the lovely Hacienda Ochil, a former working hemp plantation where hemp rope was made from a certain type of agave.  Now, it has a wonderful restaurant and a museum about its past.





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