This morning, I lifted up some mail that was left on the kitchen counter and found an ant swarm (or what do you call a bunch of ants, a gaggle? a cluster? a pride? a brood?) hiding under the envelopes. Then, as I was tossing some of the paper in the garbage, I spied a lone coffee bean on another counter. Picking it up, I sensed the coffee bean squirm a little. I released it, and it jumped up in the air about an inch. No, it wasn’t a Mexican jumping bean, it was some weird bug that I’ve never seen before. Turning around, I then saw a small spider dangling from my range hood.
If only this paragraph were describing my morning in Yucatán. This happened in Connecticut, USA, on a crisp late-spring morning, in a climate I’ve grown up in. It was nature’s fair warning that in two weeks, when we’re in our rental house in the tropics during rainy season, we can’t toddle off to bed without the kitchen in complete wipedown mode. The tradeoff for this relative self-sufficiency is to finally experience living on our own, in a house, and on our very own street. Is this something we should have done before buying? The conventional advice would suggest as much, but anyway…
This will be our sixth trip to Mérida, and the first one without the luxury and services of a guesthouse or hotel. We’ll be “playing house” in a modest rental that’s right next door to our Casa Nana. The house has one neighbor with a yardful of bugs … that would be our property. We’ll be our own lousy neighbor. The photo of ants (above) actually looks like something we saw on our property: cutter ants marching on a wire as though they were in a parade. I’m hoping to see that the soupy dirt path, created by a small leak behind the kitchen, has dried up. I’m sure the jungle out back will be even thicker, though. For now, the property managers are just paying the bills and checking for any catastrophic damage. What grows will grow.
The purpose of our trip, other than enjoyment, is to meet with the architects. We have completed Phase I, the layout. Phase 2 will build on that, including furniture planning, electrical plans and addressing the landscape. The architects couldn’t be more agreeable, and their portfolio of houses and haciendas instills confidence. You know how some people, especially creative people, have a way of condescending that makes you feel stupid? These guys are the opposite. They treat my dumb questions seriously and respectfully. Still, we need to ask intelligent questions and sometimes under pressure my brain will freeze. There are so many rooms and areas in the house, and I keep focusing on the master bedroom, backyard and terrace. I’ve barely wrapped my head around the central courtyard or kitchen. I have to expand my focus.
So I’m making lists: lists of questions for the architects, lists of restaurants I don’t want to miss (La Pigua, for one; the new Manjar Blanco for another), and lists of places to see, like the gulf (finally). We’re clearly not in a position to actually relax in Yucatán just yet.