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margretmaker

Nov 23, 2007, 7:37 AM

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sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Approximately two months ago a family moved into 27 Donato Guerro in downtown Ajijic, a half-block from Lloyds. In the backyard of this property the husband of the family is operating a carpentry business. He has several employees and a considerable number of power tools, including sanders, routers, and table saws. The entire business is operated outside, twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and the sound is deafening. Several of us who live on the block have complained to various governmental agencies in Ajijic and Chapala, but the only answer we have received is that he has a permit to operate a carpentry business at that location, and thus he can do whatever he wants. My question is: does Ajijic have no noise ordinances? Operating a small carpentry shop inside, with few if any power tools and no employees is completely different than running a factory outside with a substantial number of power tools. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.



(This post was edited by margretmaker on Nov 23, 2007, 7:40 AM)



NEOhio1


Nov 23, 2007, 8:55 AM

Post #2 of 49 (23847 views)

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Re: [margretmaker] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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You got your answer. He has a permit to operate a business at that location. It doesn't matter that your idea of a carpentry shop isn't his idea of a carpentry shop. Very little carpentry is done by hand and quietly. He is not under any obligation to consider the needs of the neighborhood while running his business. The noise is undoubtedly annoying. I imagine you got some sympathy and a shoulder shrug from the officials, not that they were dismissing you but its pretty nervy to go complain about noise. He will be outside until it rains, and even then he might tarp the place if he hasn't an inside area to retreat to out of the weather...so you have a decision, stay or go.


esperanza

Nov 23, 2007, 9:16 AM

Post #3 of 49 (23844 views)

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Re: [margretmaker] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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I feel your pain, but the answer is no: there are no noise ordinances in Ajijic covering this sort of thing. Your neighbor has a permit to operate his business and he's exercising his right to do it. A couple of years ago, a wise man (he's also a wise guy, but that's another story) said, "If you want silence, find another country."

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









margretmaker

Nov 23, 2007, 11:00 AM

Post #4 of 49 (23827 views)

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Re: [NEOhio1] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Thank you for your response. Your choice of the word "nervy" is unclear to me. This is not a matter of discomfort this is a level of noise that is damaging. We have a high tolerence for noise levels in an urban environment, in Mexico, and choose it over a suburban setting.


beatricemor

Nov 23, 2007, 7:05 PM

Post #5 of 49 (23781 views)

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Re: [margretmaker] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Margretmaker:

You have a serious problem but the responders, NEOhio and Esperanza are pèrhaps misleading you a bit. I consider both to be friends and intelligent people and NEOhio is my next door neighbor in Ajijic village so what I am about to tell you is anecdotal in nature with an intent to help you if I can rather than criticize them.

Let me tell you a story.

NEOhio lives in a home behind which there is a large field normally used for pastoral and unobtrusive agriculture pursuits. Before NEOhio moved in there the home was owned by a couple from Canada who bought the house in 2000 when the field was devoted to growing corn. In about 2002, the owner of the field rented the property to a small business manufacturing concrete blocks. The renter set up his portable concrete block manufacturing business immediately adjacent to the property in which NEOhio now resides and proceeded to begin his industrial pursuit. Since you don´t know the properties about which I speak, let me inform you that this concrete block manufacturing faciliity was placed a few feet beyond a chain link fence that abutted the swimming pool and a portion of the garden of the house NEOhio now occupies. The concrete block manufacturing facility was an abomination spewing unacceptable levels of noise and collateral filth upon the next door property to the point that the property NEOhio came to occupy a few years later became uninhabitable. The environment was truly destroyed and impossible to tolerate. These people before NEOhio owned the house so escape was impossible. Therefore, they had to resolve the problem as there was no alternative.

They went to Chapala city hall only to find out that there were no ordiinances governing urban property usage in the Tio Domingo colonia (of which we speak) in Ajijic. None. The city told the offended property owners they had no recourse and even scorned them for selfish motives that would deny a local entrepreneur an opportunity to run a concrete block manufacturing facility beneficial to the families of five or more workers earning a living from this endeavor. How could these "pinche gringos" think their lounging by their swimming pool more important than the meager livelihoods gained by locals in pursuit of sustenance.

The solution was simple and had nothing to do with justice or morality or noise or pollution abatement. The affected neighbors got together and hired a pragmatic attorney who was a buddy of the municipal president and bribes were equitably distributed and that concrete block manufacturing facility is now disturbing the peaceful enjoyment of homeowners along Ocampo street in La Canacinta a couple of kilometers to the west. NEOhio lives in peace and has no idea what the informal neighborhood "association" did for her three years before she knew Ajijic from Shaker Heights. Don´t take advice from those unqualified to dispense it.

What you need to do is learn to play the system. Go find that attorney well placed today and put some bucks in play.


(This post was edited by beatricemor on Nov 23, 2007, 7:15 PM)


NEOhio1


Nov 24, 2007, 7:51 AM

Post #6 of 49 (23735 views)

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Re: [beatricemor] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Oh Bea, I am well aware of the former situation behind our property and how it was resolved. As I am aware that the jack hammers from the next block all last summer were intrusive and you know darn well the birds that roosted in the abandoned former furniture factory trees this past year nearly drove me out of my mind - before I decided to set off cohetes during the day and early evening to run them off, which worked, but drives your dogs crazy for which I am very sorry.

The OP asked about the existence of noise ordinances and there aren't any as you know. Advising the OP to hire counsel and use money is not a bad idea but a person has to know that the chances of sympathetic ears and success are at least within reason.

In August, the local garden club, along with local nurseries and horticulturalists, ordinarily cleans and trims and plants the plaza, few realize this although it is publicized but its one of those events that is a non-event but that costs a lot of money to do. This year they were told no, just give the money. Ajijic Limpio has retrieved their pick-up truck that was being privately used and is trying to pick the trash out from the yard debris on their private property which was being used as a private dump. The limited presence of government workers was noticable earlier this year as is the improved housing situation of several local people.

I just don't think sympathetic ears and success via a hole into which you throw money are what the OP wanted to hear. When they resolved the situation behind this property with cash it was years ago and there was someplace relatively close for the the brickmaker to retreat to - I think it'd cost a lot of money today. A lot. Without a guarantee of success.

Respectfully, she who had a major turkey coma from a wonderful meal


(This post was edited by NEOhio1 on Nov 24, 2007, 7:54 AM)


margretmaker

Nov 24, 2007, 8:14 AM

Post #7 of 49 (23731 views)

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Re: [beatricemor] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Thank you. We are working towards a "creative" solution and appreciate a bit of history on other problems somewhat similar to ours. We are patient and willing to find a way to make this work for everyone.


jsandrock

Nov 24, 2007, 10:37 AM

Post #8 of 49 (23713 views)

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Re: [margretmaker] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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I read all these posts with great interest because I, too, am struggling to adjust to a new family that has moved in within a couple of houses of us that plays their radio VERY loud, night and day, 6 a.m. till midnight (and I'm grateful they turn the bloody music off at midnight). My beautiful garden and the twittering birds and our splashing fountain have to compete with this unrelenting and unwanted background noise, night and day. We also have an evento place nearby that has weekend parties with music so loud that it literally rattles your teeth. We can't have a conversation in our own living room on many occasions when the evento is having a party, the noise is so loud and so obtrusive.

I am resigning myself to sleeping with earplugs and walking around with my MP3 player earphones on all the time; but just for curiosity I have asked a couple of my Mexican friends how THEY manage to adapt to all this unrelenting noise -- I have expressed the opinon to them that I think the worst thing that ever happened to Mexico was amplified sound, and I am one of those who adores Mexican music. But what has been interesting to me is that my Mexican friends have also all said "it's horrible, we can't stand it either" and my query "how do you live with it night and day??" even elicited an uexpected twenty-minute lament even from my maid about the people who live behind her wall and play their stereo and sing and carry on and she and her kids can't sleep, etc. etc. So I'm wondering if THEY can't stand it, what it will take for them to sort of rise up and try to DO something about it? It's obviously not something the gringo community can tackle, except that in absolute sleep-deprived frustration, I have called the cops on the evento once or twice when the music went on till four in the morning (astonishingly, they seem to have come and stopped it). There IS apparently some kind of noise ordinance on the books for Chapala/Ajijic at least for parties which are supposed to stop at midnight.

I'm just wondering if there is the chance that Mexicans themselves will at some point say "we need noise ordinances that are enforced" because they themselves get the idea that noise pollution is a reality -- not to mention what hearing music at that volume is doing to their and their kids' hearing.

I am going to just by stock in an earplug manufacturing company for the time being, I guess!


normamc288

Nov 24, 2007, 2:03 PM

Post #9 of 49 (23691 views)

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Re: [margretmaker] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Have you tried talking to the man doing all the noise? It is so frustrating to have all this when all you want is peace and quiet. One of the reasons I am moving to Mexico is to get away from these NOISY neighbors Oh my gosh, what am I getting myself into?

Norma


jsandrock

Nov 24, 2007, 2:36 PM

Post #10 of 49 (23682 views)

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Re: [normamc288] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Well, all I can say is that you would do well to heed the comments of those worthies who have gone before you..."if you want silence, find another country".
The problem with "complaining" to the person responsible for the noise is that they are under no compunction whatsoever to honor your request, there are no ordinances, there is no enforcement. And you fly right in the face of the cultural norm that says -- however much other Mexicans themselves may hate the racket -- that it's basically okay to crank up the volume as loud as you would like.

Plus the last thing you want as a gringo is to have a Mexican neighbor mad at you.

So bring down a good supply of earplugs -- or live in a gated community where there are plenty of covenants and some way -- one hopes -- of enforcing them. As I write this it's 4:30 p.m. and we've been listening, like it or not, to our neighbor's blaring radio nonstop since 7 a.m. this morning, and they are three or four houses away! (and it's Saturday night, thankfully the evento place hasn't even gotten going yet!!)


normamc288

Nov 24, 2007, 5:09 PM

Post #11 of 49 (23664 views)

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Re: [jsandrock] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Hi, I wasn't actually encouraging "complaining" to the neighbor. There are just "ways" of speaking to people. And not right away. Get to know them, greet them each day for a month or so, bring them a cake, and blah, blah, blah. Then you could discuss what they are making and take it from there. My next door neighbor had a horrible yard and I was putting in about $2000.00 worth of plants and trees and when she came outside I offered her about 20 plants, just chit chatting about "stuff" and she was so happy. She came over and helped me dig holes. Her front yard grew so lovely after a month and then I decided to sell my house and needed her place to look nicer due to getting a good appraisal. I very nicely explained that to her, told her how gorgeous her front yard looked, made a joke about all the beer cans in the back yard and the next day those cans were gone. It's not really complaining, it's building rapport with your neighbor. Maybe I am not explaining it right but I don't believe in complaining. Really, this is their country and we are the guests. I lived in Melaque for a few months and the music was so loud, well, not the music, just the booming sound. That is why I left. And that is why I am looking to La Pesca for a quiter space.
Norma


Jerry@Ajijic

Nov 24, 2007, 9:51 PM

Post #12 of 49 (23637 views)

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Re: [normamc288] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Not only is there no sound laws but as far as I know there are no zoning laws, building inspections, etc. It is different here from NOB but even with these differences we love it.


viejogatomalo

Nov 25, 2007, 4:43 AM

Post #13 of 49 (23628 views)

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Re: [normamc288] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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I know we are 'guests' in Mexico, however if I am to be regarded as a guest, then please treat me as one.


Rolly


Nov 25, 2007, 7:27 AM

Post #14 of 49 (23611 views)

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Re: [viejomalogato] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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The government may regard you as a guest, but there is no guarantee that individual citizens will. Some view us as unwelcome guests just like many folks NoB look upon thier Latino neighbors with disdain.

Rolly Pirate


Gringal

Nov 25, 2007, 8:58 AM

Post #15 of 49 (23592 views)

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Re: [Rolly] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Guests, huh? You know the old saying about guests, after three days. "Guests" is just a polite way of putting the fact that we are living here with no right to bellyache about the pre-existing situation.

I've heard folks enthusiastically touting their desire to live in the "real" Mexico, so they move into an area where there are lots of people with lots of noise, fiestas, firecrackers, roof dogs, banda music and the works.
Some places are just noisier than others, and it pays to check it out before buying. Of course, if you really want peace and quiet, there are no end of retirement communities in the U.S. where the loudest noise will be your semi-deaf neighbor's TV.

The best advice on this thread is that of trying to cultivate good relations with your neighbors. The most futile is hoping for the law to help you out of your misery.


beatricemor

Nov 25, 2007, 10:14 AM

Post #16 of 49 (23574 views)

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Re: [jsandrock] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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I read all these posts with great interest because I, too, am struggling to adjust to a new family that has moved in within a couple of houses of us that plays their radio VERY loud, night and day, 6 a.m. till midnight (and I'm grateful they turn the bloody music off at midnight). My beautiful garden and the twittering birds and our splashing fountain have to compete with this unrelenting and unwanted background noise, night and day. We also have an evento place nearby that has weekend parties with music so loud that it literally rattles your teeth. We can't have a conversation in our own living room on many occasions when the evento is having a party, the noise is so loud and so obtrusive.

I think your problems with the inconsiderate neighbors and the evento are even worse than, say, a commercial establishment such as an adjacent taller creating noise pollution. This is just my personal experience but I would be very hesitant to approach the neighbors and ask them to turn down the music since they are not obliged to honor your request and are as likely as not to react negatively and turn the volume up even higher. I don´t believe your Mexican neighbors would dare complain to these new neighbors and, in fact, our best friends in Ajijc are a Mexican family living in Upper Ajijic whose next door neighbors have teenage kids who blast loud music all day long every day. I asked them how they could stand it and they just shrugged and said something to the effect that that´s life. To them it is culturally inconceivable that they would confront their neighbors in this fashion no matter how polite their approach. Actually, their solution is to just turn up the volume on their own equipment and the whole street is incredibly noisy with music and children playing all day long. For a foreigner to object to this would take take chutzpah and remember you still have to live as their neighbors.

Good luck to you.

As for the evento, you´re not going to do anything about that except during late night hours.

If anything, it´s quieter around here than in Southern Mexico. In the almost entirely Mexican neighborhood we live in in Chiapas, street noise and music are almost constant during the day although, at night, neighbors generally respect each other´s right to peace and quiet except during the commonplace fiestas and then you can forget it.

I´m sorry I can´t think of any solutions for you but I point out to those contemplating a move to Mexico that even if you move into a quiet neighborhood that doesn´t mean it will stay quiet. You can move into a gated community with strict rules governing noise pollution but everything is a trade-off and many of us dislike these restricted neighborhoods. You can also increase your chances of peace and quiet by moving into a middle class rather than poor neighborhood. There are some very quiet neighborhoods all around Lakeside but when you move in it´s a coin toss.

I suggest (for newcomers):
*Be cautious about where you consider buying above the carretera as in some really fancy neighborhoods, traffic noise can be really bad - especially those engine-braking trucks.
* If you want to be near the plaza with its charming church, be prepared for loud church bells and cohetes and endless noisy fiestas. Believe me, our home in San Cristóbal is so close to our barrio´s plaza and church that the noise has to be heard to be believed when the fiestas are underway. We are helped by thick adobe walls and segmented, closeable quarters surrounding a courtyard in the Spanish style.
* Don´t buy without knowing the proximity of the nearest eventos or nightclubs or other noisy businesses. Remember there are no disclosure laws so the seller doesn´t have to tell you there is an evento next door and is unlikely do do so.
* Be cautious about buying adjacent to vacant land because you have no way of knowing what might go in there in the future from residential subdivions to squatters to noisy, six day a week machine shops. Remember that brick manufacturer I talked about earlier? Well, when we were able to get rid of them, they just moved up the road and re-established themselves next to other homeowners with adjacent vacant land.

Finally, while we live in a middle class neighborhood at Lakeside with a mix of relatively affluent foreign and Mexican homeowners, in Chiapas we live in a crowded Mexican neighborhood mostly populated by lower middle class residents. In the Ajijic neighborhood there is general agreement that neighbors value peaceful surroundings. In Chiapas, there is nothing to be done about the noise so one doesn´t worry about it thereby gaining a certain serenity and this is not unique to Mexico. When we lived way back in the woods in Northern California, the least noise would disturb us and when we moved to a hill overlooking Chinatown in San Francisco, the constant urban racket was actually rather soothing sort of like white noise. This was not a neighbor´s blasting radio, however.

For newcomers, I say, be careful where you buy and be sure what you are looking for. That, unfortunately, cannot assure you you will not have some bad luck once you move in. Maybe it´s best to rent and, if you find your neighbors unbearable, you can move.


Gringal

Nov 25, 2007, 11:38 AM

Post #17 of 49 (23559 views)

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Re: [beatricemor] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Hi there. So nice to have you back. Ought to liven things up a bit.
On topic: folks I know live above the Carretera and would attest to the fact that the jake brake problem can be hard to bear. I think that the prevailing winds just drove the village noise up the hills.


jsandrock

Nov 25, 2007, 6:48 PM

Post #18 of 49 (23522 views)

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Re: [beatricemor] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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It's so interesting to have all your comments -- we of course realized when we opted out of the gated community and into a Mexican neighborhood that we might be opting IN for some noise. Cohetes, banda music, processions, all that is part of the culture we love; it's just the sort of mindless turning on of a radio at 6 in the morning and letting it just PLAY at a volume loud enough to wake the dead until midnight that give me pause. But all of you are right, I haven't any right to complain -- and I really wasn't planning on taking any action - I am sure that you are right, I would just rile them up more. My post originally was just pondering why it is that Mexicans, who seem to hate the excessive racket as much as we do, seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

I am just going to have to live with it, I guess!

The jake brake thing is awful, too -- we are a block BELOW the carretera and we hear it all the time.

I think the idea of learning to live with it, in some sort of zen fashion, is probably really a good idea. White noise. I'm going to try to learn to love it!


macmember

Nov 25, 2007, 8:29 PM

Post #19 of 49 (23505 views)

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Re: [jsandrock] sound ordinance in ajijic?

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Wonder how much money per week it would cost to pay the Family to NOT play the Music? I can invision paying the Head of the Family a weekly bribe to tell the kid to keep it where I could not hear it. It might be cheaper to pay the Kid directly.

If it were me, I would try it. Figure out how much your Sanity is worth.


Georgia


Nov 28, 2007, 2:42 PM

Post #20 of 49 (23405 views)

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Re: [macmember] sound ordinance and La Casa de Irritacion

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My husband and I are blessed with a "casa tomada" next door: that is, the house has been taken over by people who are not the owners. Ah, what fun! The owners periodically appear and kick their sorry asses out. Two or three days later the squatters re-emerge and Saturday night at the fights begins anew. My gardener finds this amusing and entertaining. I once came within a minute of calling the police when gorilla man started hitting his girlfriend with a stick while their children watched in horror. His brothers came in and the fight ended. Then there are the times they rent out the yard to jovenes for unchaperoned parties that last all night long and the illegal electronic games arcade they have installed. But I digress.... they apparently were doing all of this on our electricity which they had tapped in to. And can you believe it? CFE does not care. Imagine! Solution (it was expensive, but it worked): we installed our own transformer and are hooked up to the high power lines. They will barbecue themselves if they attempt to tap into that line. Now that they have to pay their own way the noise has subsided considerably. We have finally located the rightful owner and shall begin lengthy negotiations to obtain ownership of the "casa de irritacion". Should that happy day arrive, we will raze it, put up a 20' high rock wall with razor wire on the top and grow turnips.

But, other than that, everything is aok. I own a white noise machine and a jar of earplugs and a case of tequila. Life is good.


Rolly


Nov 28, 2007, 2:54 PM

Post #21 of 49 (23401 views)

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Re: [Georgia] sound ordinance and La Casa de Irritacion

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"...and grow turnips."

Good idea, said Scarlett O'Hara.

Rolly Pirate


beatricemor

Nov 28, 2007, 6:06 PM

Post #22 of 49 (23372 views)

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Re: [Georgia] sound ordinance and La Casa de Irritacion

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I am under strict rule by mi jefa not to post here ´cause´I have been banned from the "fora"" but Georgia´s post was so entertaiining I had to respond. The lively squatters creating local color next to her in the "rustic" village she chose as a home in an enchanted burb of Jocotepec are the essence of rural Mexico. I know where Georgia lives and it is a most pleasant place with extraordinary charm. On the other hand, her neighbors would be great fodder for a gattling gun. Would that our fantasies could be brought to reality without social recompense.

And, I love turnips, decent of which do exist in Jalisco.


(This post was edited by beatricemor on Nov 28, 2007, 6:10 PM)


Georgia


Nov 28, 2007, 6:41 PM

Post #23 of 49 (23359 views)

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Re: [beatricemor] sound ordinance and La Casa de Irritacion

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Oh, you would so have enjoyed the night all the brothers decided to have a real donneybrook ... or whatever they call that here ... our gardener's son was called on to intervene and break them up, his little son, clutching his father's leg, begged him not to go for fear he would end up fatherless. The whole neighborhood attended the fray. One old man who lives on the corner raised his fist and should, "Dejalos matarse, entonces el barrio estara libre de este escandalo" (Let them kill one another so the neighborhood will be free of this scandal.)* It was, indeed, spectacular. In fact, it trumped "Desperate Housewives" for entertainment that night.

I saved a frew kwh and my electric bill was 2 pesos lower that month.

Anytime you're bored with the weekend, c'mon over. The entertainment is free!
*He actually had a few other lively words added to all of this, but some of you may speak Spanish and I wouldn't wish to give scandal.


beatricemor

Nov 29, 2007, 6:57 AM

Post #24 of 49 (23315 views)

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Re: [Georgia] sound ordinance and La Casa de Irritacion

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Georgia:

I have found this story enjoyable and Mexican to its soul. I am reminded that in the thoroughly mestizo/indigenous barrio of El Cerrillo in San Cristóbal where we just finished remodeling an old home for our new residence, the neighbors were pleased that we had undertaken that refurbishment as they had been annoyed for some time by the fact that some exiled whores from Chamula had set up shop at the nearby corner and were attracting a raucous to say nothing of bibulous crowd of indigenous Johns who were becoming a local nuisance and the "urban renewal" project provided a neighborhood "civil committee" opportunity to upgrade the street with the figurative use of tar and feathers. The whores were nice enough if rather unattractive women simply seeking tortillas for the table but their clientele arriving from a nearby favela were somewhat lacking in social grace and tended to catnap in the street.

As an attorney, you must know that if you fried those next-door rascals in suburban Jocotepec with that new transformer in the U.S. despite their illegal actions, they would take you for your shorts. Mexico can be refreshing in the way locals resolve local issues, no?


jerezano

Nov 29, 2007, 7:54 AM

Post #25 of 49 (23304 views)

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Re: [Georgia] sound ordinance and La Casa de Irritacion

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Hello Georgia:

TURNIPS¡ Please sign me up as a customer, and don't forget Bubba on another forum. He would probably even send his own truck up from San Cristóbal de las Casas.

But I wonder. How will you get those squatters out so that you can raze the building? And why doesn't the present owner do exactly what you are planning to do? And while CFE might not be interested in electricity theft, isn't there something you could do through the legal system to try to recover your money? If nothing else the pleito might cause those squatters enough problems to discourage the theft.

If I were they, I would buy my own transformer and connect to your line like they did in the past. Any electrician could do it for them at very little cost.

Interesting situation. Nothing I have encountered in México until this time presents such a bare-faced, open defiance of all laws and regulations. Your squatters must be interesting people. Have you met them? What are they like? Our hippie friends of the 1960's or normal people who are rebelious?

Perhaps you should make a psychological study and report.

Adiós. jerezano.
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