Red Rock Fever Strikes Again
Years ago in Sedona, Arizona, Soren and I contracted Red Rock Fever. It’s not fatal, but it can cost you a bundle. We were enchanted with the desert landscape. It was our second visit to Sedona and one afternoon, for reasons we will never know, we got talked into a timeshare. That’s a stupid expression isn’t it? “Talked into,” when you are darn well in control, you’ve knowingly signed the contract and you are committed financially. We should have been committed to the local Sedona loony bin. In a cooler moment, under the desert stars, we acknowledged our terrible mistake. We were both still working like crazy in advertising and would never utilize a timeshare properly. The bigger truth was that I longed to be on the ocean and to fall asleep to the pounding waves. What on earth was I doing buying a timeshare in the desert? Surrounded by golf courses? I detest golf. Soren quickly scrambled and reversed the VISA transaction, paying a US dollar exchange penalty. I always refer to that Sedona debacle as my noon-time $500 dollar US glass of wine. Red Rock Fever would not strike us twice.
Except, it did. Suddenly, 24 days after we landed in Mazatlan, we are signing legal documents to purchase a condo on the ocean. I was sober; no wine, no margaritas. This serious investment is happening with the developer over coffee. I wink at Soren —actually it was more of a twitch —and remind him of our joint promise to live in Mazatlan for one entire year; 24 days does not make a year. We hadn’t completely lost the plot. The condo is overlooking the ocean, and it is in Centro. We missed this divine building on all of our walks, because it doesn’t exist. Ground has not yet been broken.
With much eye rolling, blinking and twitching, we acquire a one- bedroom unit on the 7th floor based on the architect’s drawings. Something else you should never do: buy anything based on drawings, particularly in Mexico, where rules change on an hourly basis. So having committed these two giant mistakes, I hold the door wide open for buyer’s remorse,… but he never shows up. Our Pacific Perch is part of a 40- unit boutique condominium. The most amazing feature is that it is right on the Malecon (the boardwalk, which runs parallel to the ocean) and nothing can ever be built in front of it. That stretch of ocean has only sand, rocks, islands and water. It is illegal to build on the beaches in Centro. At least it is today.
Our evening daydreaming is now a reality. The nightly conversation checklist becomes:
- Canadian owner/ developer, trustworthy/well financed, as buttoned-down as you can get in Mexico √
- in Centro √
- unobstructed view of the ocean, the islands, the night lights of the Golden Zone √
- 24/7 security √
- parking spot for guests √
- large balcony for outdoor living √
- washer/dryer/dishwasher √
- purified water system √
- heated swimming pool √
- air conditioning, internet, satellite √
- easy to rent or sell, if we hate it √
- hurricane shutters, lock and leave √
- only one bathroom, the smallest space we’ve ever occupied which is a nightly heated debate
- I begin calling it the “nursing home special” … Soren is not amused
- A one bedroom is what we can afford √
I agree to stop nattering on about it only being 730 square feet, and begin focusing on how wonderful the location is, the beautiful sunsets and how I will drift off to the pounding surf every night. It is December 2008 with a condo completion date of July 2010. I start compiling mental moving and downsizing lists. Our Toronto space is twice the size of our Mazatlan condo. Say adios to my walk-in closet with shoe racks. This will be our most challenging move in our 20 years together.