A blog about one woman's journey to Merida

Friday, December 21, 2012

Where are the Bald Eagles?

Every winter for the past fifteen years the Bald Eagle population has been increasing here on the Hudson River.

In the 1990's, I volunteered as a docent at Trailside Museums and Zoo at Bear Mountain.  We have one Eagle in captivity there. 

Now before you get your knickers in a bunch, let me explain about the Zoo. 

Trailside was built in the 1920's.  Since that time, the only animals that have been on exhibit have either been injured or "imprinted".   Some, like the coyote and deer, have been raised by well intentioned people and as the animals mature, they lack any ability to survive in the wild.  Some have been shot, like our resident Eagle or struck by vehicles.  All the animals are native to Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks. 

More people visit the Park each year than they do Yellowstone.  The park is located about 50 north of New York City and each weekend, thousands of individuals and families come north for a bit of fresh air.  If you're ever in the area it's worth the trip.  Weekdays are best.  You can also find Bald Eagles farther south, closer to New York City.

When I first started as a docent 20 years ago there were only 7 Bald Eagles that made their way to the Lower Hudson Valley to winter over.  Now there are hundreds that take advantage of the open water, road kill from the railroad tracks that run along the river and thousands of acres of undisturbed parkland. 

About 4 miles south of Bear Mountain is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.  I don't like it, but it does provide a great service.  The power plant is cooled by drawing in water from the Hudson.  This mean that the water in the area doesn't freeze, allow the Eagles to find a source of food they could not find farther north. 

Not my photo...but a typical view!

My home backs up to parkland and each winter I look forward to seeing Eagles every morning perched in an old dead tree behind the house.  They shout at each other or argue over a fish found.  Eagles are extremely vocal and once you know what they sound like, you hear them all around.  (One pet peeve is that they usually use the call of a Red Tailed Hawk in the movies when they show an Eagle...jeez).  The Hudson is a tidal river and the ice floes move past the house at a nice leisurely pace...great for birdwatching.

Unfortunately, that old, dead tree fell during Hurricane Sandy.  The weather has been mild and there's no sign of the frigid weather that drive the Eagles south.  It's almost Christmas.  Where are heck are my Bald Eagles!

Wishing all a peaceful and hopeful New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What to do...what to do?

I'm flying solo down to Merida in January and am wondering what to do when not house hunting.

Here's a list of what I haven't done yet:

Wandered down Paseo de Montejo
Visited a museums or gallery
Been inside a church
Taken a cooking class
Gone to the English Library
Bought fresh flowers
Shopped in an outdoor market
Cooked a meal for friends
Purchased wine

And as for what I've done:

Eaten great street food
People watched
Read a book
Met some interesting people
Fallen more in love with Merida

I think this time I'll take a stroll down Paseo de Montejo.
I'll go into a gallery rather than admire the art through the window.
I will say a prayer in church.
I'll find a market and buy whatever looks good.
I'll buy flowers.
I'll find some wine and purchase several bottles.

Luz en Yucatan, has a communal kitchen.  I'm going to make dinner there and share it with whoever might be hungry at the time. 

And at the end of the day, my heart will dance.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Change of Plans

I'm off to Merida in January.  If I wait for family in March, it may not happen...and I'm ready to move forward. 

The contractor I'm hoping to use on any renovations is working on another property now and is available to look at possible homes with me to give me a "proper education".  I can read everything I can find on the internet about what to look for in a home in Merida but, without seeing it for myself, it's of little use.  I'm a visual person and I need to get up on a roof and see what's going on up there for myself.  With his help, I'll have a less rosy view of what I'm seeing in prospective homes.  It's so easy to get swept away by the romance of it all.

With my miniscule budget I need a better idea of costs and feasibility.

What a different experience it is looking for a home in Merida than here.  This search in Merida has me feeling a bit bewildered and somewhat intimidated.  I hope I make as few mistakes as possible.

Of course, I'll spend the last few days in Chuburna Puerto.  Flamingos Inn is the perfect place to end my time in Mexico.  Peace and quiet will make it easier to digest all the information I'll have to sort out.

I can't wait to get back to Merida!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Searching for a Home in Merida

I've finally gotten my brother and sister-in-law on board with the idea of my moving to Merida.  They're planning to come along when I return to continue my search sometime in March.

While they're not making this purchase with me, they have many opinions about what I should buy.

Their list includes:
Curb appeal
Two bedrooms
Two baths
A renovated Colonial
Safe neighborhood

My list includes:
Outdoor space with possibilities
One bedroom
High ceilings
In Centro

All this with a total budget of $50,000. 

I know that seems like an impossible task and maybe it is, but I'm going to see if it's possible. 

I've been in touch with the couple that built a friend's Bed and Breakfast in Chuburna Puerto and has worked on other homes in Merida.  They've been very straight forward...pointing out difficulties I may encounter but also encouraging me to
look for a property that will work for me.  If I do find any possibilities in March, I'll have them take a look and slap me into reality.

I follow a wonderful blog "Imagine Merida" and the author's most recent post has given me a lot of food for thought.  He talks about his current renovation which has now become almost a complete rebuild...the homes he and his partner saw that they passed on...the modernization of colonial homes in Merida.

As a Realtor, I've got one thing going for me that many buyers don't.  I know what people want in a home is rarely what they need.  You may want it, but unless you're Ina Garten, you don't need a professional kitchen with stainless appliances, two ovens and granite counters.  You may want an enormous Master bedroom with room for a California King and an en suite bath, but most of us spend realitively little time in the bedroom and bath other than for the reason they're there in the first place.  No matter how large the bed, my body still takes up only a certain amount of space. 

I have shown hundreds of homes and can usually see beyond the dirt and disrepair but I'm no structural engineer, electrician or plumber.  I know what I can do and when a professional needs to be called. 

I've owned five homes in my life.  From a tiny condo to a beautiful contemporary mentioned in Architecture Digest (back in the days of my evil ex-husband who had money but no soul).  I've learned that I'm happiest with 1,000 square feet.
All I need to a grill to prepare just about anything (I've even made homemade chocolates on an open fire...no small feat).  I need counter space because I'm a messy cook...a good cook, but a messy one.  And I need a garden.  Green space with comfortable seating.  A dipping pool to cool off in would be nice too (that's the unrealistic side of me rearing it's ugly head).  There are still possibilities in Merida and I'm hoping to find the one that's right for me.

Which brings us back to my family's idea of what they think I need, and what I know I need.  I know they're coming from a good place.  They want the best for me...and I want what works for me.