Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Busy Day

Yesterday we spent much of the day looking at apartments for Kris. After several attempts, we were finally able to get the key to look at the tiny house next to the pizza place at the bottom of our hill. Kris liked that it was so near our house, but it was also right by the road - lots of road noise. It was cute, but very small, lacked an oven, air-conditioner, or much furniture. 

I saw a new ad for an apartment on one of the forums that sounded perfect for Kris. We went there next. The property manager, Guillermo, met us on the road to guide us. The road was dreadful with huge, nearly-lose-your-car potholes full of water, lots of mud. Lots of twists and turns. It turns out that the house is connected to the big boat dock that is now part of our friend Colin's boat club on Mangrove Bight. We had been here before, but never inside the house.

The apartment was on the ground floor of this three story building and was obviously being used by the security guard. One thing that sounded good about this place was the security: five security cameras in operation and a 24-hour watchman. We prefer the watchman to be outside, watching. He must get bored doing that; he had quite the stash of movies and a DVD player inside, food in the fridge, clothes in the closet, wet towel draped over a chair, a book on the bed. But, we were told, he doesn't live there. Good to know. More good and bad points: Kris loves to fish and would be able to fish right from the dock. She also loves to swim but was advised NOT to swim in that bight. We got the impression that some of the islanders houses on the bight just might be dumping raw sewage into the water. Ugh. It's called Mangrove bight for a good reason; it is surrounded by mangroves and during the rainy season, becomes quite swampy, and smelly. He told us the mosquitos can be pretty bad. Kris wasn't too enthused.

We learned that the owner had a second apartment for rent on the road to West Bay, but Guillermo insisted that the boat club was a better, safer place for Kris. We decided to drive over there and look at the location anyway, liked what we saw, so we called Guillermo and asked to see inside. The watchman came up and let us in the locked gate. It does set beside a busy road, but it is built on the side of a steep hill going down the hill, so it was actually pretty quiet. Wow! What a difference. Beautiful carved and painted entry doors with huge carved Chinese figures standing beside the doors. Much bigger place, much nicer. Huge kitchen with enormous, commercial size double refrigerator/freezers and restaurant size stove with an oven, a separate ice-maker. Very nice. Built on two levels with circular stairs inside.  Larger rooms, lots of windows, surrounded by decks on both levels, more furniture. Beautiful wood floors with inlaid designs on the main floor, tile floors on the lower bedroom level. Lots of interesting built-ins. Kris liked it very much. And the price? Exactly the same as the other apartment. $600/month!
The security guard lives in his own tiny house at the top of the hill beside the locked gates and seemed to be a very pleasant young man.  Kris called Guillermo and said she would take it. On the way out, the guard gave me a cutting from the gorgeous purple bougainvillea growing over the fence.

We had invited Bob and Debi for dinner, so we went home to start preparations. Kris made a great chocolate cake for dessert. We had a lovely evening, visiting with friends, sharing our day's events.

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