If you want to see where we started from day 1, I now made a nice little page with all the links to previous posts about the house and Guatemala in general, like the cost of living, travel tips, etc. Check out my Guatemala page.
Well, it sure has been busy around here for the past month. First, as we signed the contracts on the first few plots, and I got a few more serious prospects, I spent a lot of time going back and forth to the land and taking pictures or videos of individual plots when people really wanted to see what they look like.
If you never tried to upload a Youtube video with Guatemalan internet, just imagine that any normal online tasks that takes you 5 minutes can take 10 times more here. It is frustrating, but the good weather more than makes up for it. That is also why this blog will never be a vlog, and why it sounded like I was being interviewed from outer space when Joe had me on the Stacking Benjamins Podcast.
Anyhow, I am proud that we have a cool website with prices, overall map and project description, which is probably one of the most complete sites around. Last time I inquired about a building in Guatemala City, the website had no info, I sent an email asking for prices and sizes, received a brochure with no sizes and no prices, asked again, was asked how many bedrooms I needed, said it depended on the size and price, and never heard back. Thank goodness there is a housing crisis and you can be such a bad vendor clients will come and beg you anyway.
That said, even with a good enough website, you got some real champs asking about prices and sizes and not being content when redirected to a website with all the info. So that’s been taking a good part of my day.
We burned the land down like last year, the fire was pretty impressive as it hadn’t rained in a while, but soon the rain took over and it is already looking green again. That is before the burn
and after the burn:
We were in a rush as one of our buyers was coming back to plan the first construction on the land and we needed to have everything ready, so not only did we clean and weed, we also hired back the Caterpillar who did the roads to flatten them again and cover them with white earth (ballast) to keep them stabilized.
Our “friend” the mayor, after promising to do the same for over a year, finally widened the road that borders our land and sent a truck to pour some ballast as well. We are waiting for the other machine to come and flatten all that but it is great news. In a short year, we have had an asphalt road to go up to the back of our land, electricity brought one block away from our Eastern border when there was just a power line to the South, and now this, bringing a lot of added value to our land.
At home the guest house is going well, and I also got two groups of girlfriends visiting from France, so I took a few weeks off to visit the country with them. It was cool to take a break and go around beautiful Guatemala, but leaving the builders in charge of the new room was a bit stressful. I left lots of written instructions, but even then, you never know. This is the room I asked for, with a bedroom and attached bathroom to the left. I know, I am quite the drawer, and should have been an architect instead of a writer!
Seeing as sometimes when a material was missing at my site they would go to the nearest construction site and borrow it, then replace it back, or so I hope, with the money I gave them, I also assume that my site was the borrowing center while I was away, and proving that 100% was put back, or that no one left at night with a bag of concrete or some construction block is difficult. Let’s say I bought my peace of mind.
So while I was visiting the natural pools of Semuc Champey:
The room was taking shape.
Bathroom foundation, day 10
Bathroom wall, day 12
Stone wall for the room, day 14
Future vue from future window, day 16
Walls from above, day 20
Seen from outside, the room is also partly buried.
This is where the new room is, you can see the old house in the background, and the big room where I currently sleep is on the right, with its roof terrace being a natural hangout for guests.
Which is why I am thinking about moving to the new new room, to live separately from the rest of the complex, and the guest house. The new room could have a roof terrace with a small kitchen, a couple of hammocks or bean bags, and in front of it, its own private mini garden with a table and an L-shaped seating area with pillows.
Something like this
Or like that
Concrete furniture is not that cold once you covered it with comfy mats, and super easy to clean, no animal skeaking under, etc.
As expected, I have been bleeding money, as everyone from the materials company to the contractor wants to get paid in cash, I feel like a millionaire handing out huge stacks of bills several times a week. In total, I am getting a 12sqm room, with a 6sqm bathroom and walk-in closet, a concrete bed, concrete desk, storage cabinets, closet, all finished inside with plumbing and electricity, for $4,500 with the contractor, plus about the same in materials. He is only providing the stones for the stone walls (except the bathroom which is concrete due to the other stone bath being very humid and mouldy), and the wood for the floor, all the rest I am shopping for or having delivered.
Then we need to make a new deal for the roof terrace, the front terrace, and deep trenches to detour the water if it rains a lot.
Working on contract is great as you can go on holidays and if they don’t work it is their problem. I sure hope they do while I am away, so I don’t have to endure the noise and dust like for the first room.