This week marks my fourth month here in Guatemala. Since I was bitten by the travel bug back in 2003, I haven’t spent a lot of four months periods in a same country. There was a round the world trip until 2004, then I lived in Guatemala 2004-2006 but was always exploring the region, going back to Europe, and even took a trip to Argentina, then I was back to Europe living in Barcelona and the UK, where I would go at least every month out of the country, and Morocco in 2010, I went back to France every six weeks or so. In 2011 and 2012, I took a 6 months motorcycle trip to the US and Europe respectively. I know, you are as tired as I am after reading that.
And it feels good to be home. Like I explained last week, it feels even better that this is a paid for home. Anyway, back to the house progress and what has been going on around here.
So it’s Friday, let’s buy… a car? That is how last Friday begun. A guy came over, to offer his car for sale. He had a boat to sell too. We bought both. Ouch. He offered another piece of land. As a real estate junkie, I had to force myself to say no. If you want a parcel by the lake and be my neighbor from 4 miles away let me know.
Back to the car, I only owned one for about a year in my life and was happy sharing BF’s car, but it really was a thirsty SUV and we didn’t need that big a car to go grocery shopping and move around here. The plan was to buy either a 4 wheels motorcycle so we could drive around the 90 acres development land, or a small jeep, like a Suzuki Samurai. We got one from 1998 for $3,000. Cars are expensive here due to customs, but this model is very common in the region so we are hoping to save on maintenance. You should see the repair shops in Guatemala, especially in the North, 300 miles away from Guatemala City, they really get creative when spares take time to ship or are simply unavailable.
I was not ready to buy a car just yet. I would prefer to put my cash on the land, then sell some plots, then buy some stuff but once more, I picked my money battles and to make BF happy we got some wheels. And a small boat, that we already had a motor for. The previous owner sold us some stuff, like a wardrobe, that motor and more pieces of furniture, but he left a cattle scale on the land that we sold for the same price, just under $2,000. So the motor was technically free. Again, I didn’t want to drop $1,000 on a boat just now but it is nice to have it and we can go shopping by boat too, there is a mall that has a deck and you can leave your boat there while you are at the supermarket.
Now that we are $3K poorer (I consider a car a sunk cost, not a part of my net worth), we weren’t about to skimp on the house, right? Here is what we got done over the past few weeks.
The bathroom is almost done. the sink is sitting majestically on a flat lake stone the builders found. Once they got over the fact that we were weird to want to build with stones, something you don’t really do here, they got really found of it and are being darling helping us find some really cool stones. It is more work for them to carry bigger stones but they happily do it to please us.
The rest of the bathroom is ready with the toilet, the shower is to your back, and to the right is a smaller than expected walk in closet that will have further shelving. We also ordered a big mirror for the sink.
The concrete bed everyone hated last time has been covered in white concrete, the bedside tables are also permanent concrete ones. On the floor we put some wooden disks, and the fillings were supposed to be beige, another lost battle of mine, the floor ended up brownish (still drying to get the permanent color)
BF says the Flintstones would happily live here, and the floor looks like their clothes.
With a rooftop terrace that takes all the footprint of the room and bath, having a terrace at room level was not a must, nonetheless we built a small one, again, red paint won the fight, the red part would allow us to sit and the lower part to the right is the water evacuation, in case of heavy rain, all the water goes there and is redirected to the lake to avoid landslides.
On the upper floor, we had to close part of the terrace, and used a traditional technique to put wooden sticks in two lines, then fill the space between them with stones.
That part will give privacy to the two bedrooms in the main house.
And that one will give privacy to the neighbor if he decides to build. The top is the skylight from the shower.
I have lost track of the accounts since BF has taken over, we are just over $10K now, which is not to bad for almost two full levels or 40sqm each.
The electricity work is finished too, BF took care of that and did a fantastic job learning about three way switches so we can turn the lights on upstairs and off downstairs.
We also got an AC unit fitted, in case all the stone cave thing is not enough, I don’t like AC, did I really loose three battles in one week??
That is what you get when you spend the whole day blogging and swimming!