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Friday, March 28, 2014

My landlord's new Mexican apartment.....

When I think of apartment buildings in Canada, I think of one lone building that has anywhere from 10 to a few hundred apartments located withing the building.  We don't call them a house or a condo, they are in one building and they are apartments.

My landlord and his brother recently purchased apartments in a newly built residential area in south Cuernavaca.  We first drove there a few weeks ago, and I couldn't believe what I saw.  The number of apartment buildings in this neighborhood, which must have been roughly three or four miles square, was so large that I couldn't count them all.  Raul told me that there were over 40,000 apartments located in these two or three distinct neighborhoods.  To view this was absolutely mind boggling.

We first visited his brothers new apartment which was located in Building D (1 of 16) on the 5th Floor (top) of the building.  His apartment was the standard two bedroom apartment, but because it was on the top floor, it had very high ceilings that angled up to the peak of the roof.  It looked really nice, but the highest parts would be difficult to paint.  The apartments were all finished with cement only, and we had to be careful not to brush up against the walls or we would be covered in dust.

The bathroom was tiny, and was the only room that looked even remotely finished.  It had tiles on the walls and floor of the shower stall, a toilet and sink.  There was a stainless steel sink and water dispenser in the kitchen; and the laundry room contained a cement sink and a hot water tank.  These apartments are relatively cheap by Mexican standards, but are so far out of the city that they would never pay for themselves if you decided to rent them, if you could even find a tenant.

The city is currently building a series of bridges to these new residential areas, and the airport located on the far side.  Once this is built, the drive to the neighborhood will be faster and safer.  Currently the drive to the apartments is through some quite dangerous areas. Raul's brother Juan is currently having his apartment (they call them houses here) painted and new tile flooring installed.  I have driven the workers back and forth a few times now, and am starting to remember where most of the speed bumps (topes) are located.

Before beginning the inside painting and construction, however, Juan had to make sure his home was secure.  Even though he was on the 5th Floor, he had square metal grates built and installed on the outsides of all the windows.  The front door also had a solid metal outside grate installed.  Re-bar was installed around all the openings and the metal grates were then welded to them.   He also had to purchase a gas tank for the hot water, and then exchange the new tank for a filled one.  To secure the new tank, he had a metal security system welded into the outside gas area and attached his tank to it with a chain and lock (within a week, the chain and lock were stolen - but not the 1000 peso tank).

The first day driving to the site, we had to give the workers a ride.  They were waiting on the street outside our neighborhood security gate and were quite surprised to be getting a ride in a car being driven by a Canadian.  We dropped the workers off at the apartment and I couldn't believe all the tile and paint inside.  We left the workers and drove a few blocks to Raul's apartment to get his windows and doors measured for his steel grates.

We then returned home to do our daily stuff and returned about 6 PM to pick them up.  On this first day, a coat of protector was applied to all the walls, the first coat of paint, and most of the second coat.  I guess paying by the job rather than by the hour is the way to go for projects like this.