Where would I be without my interactive Google map, which last week turned one year old. That’s a full year of personalizing my web map with virtual color-coded pushpins, linked from my browser’s toolbar. This exercise was invaluable in helping get the lay of the land of a place I’ve spent 25 days in. After reducing a series of Yucatan Today maps to shreds, I decided to go high-tech.
Over time, it has grown, now including the Red Light district (note the ! in a red triangle) to the south, the beloved Wayan’e busy taco stand to the north, where the burger-and-shake icon (the icon choice is limited) in Itzimná. There is also every House Hunter house I could locate, and 80 percent of all the se vendes that we’ve been shown in person. Centro is a small place, but it’s easy to get mentally turned around when your real estate agent zips up and down and sideways along one-way streets. Early on we would be marching through a house with no idea where we were in relation to anything. After viewing a home, we’d dash to the nearest corner and look right and left, trying to get our bearings, while the agent quietly fretted about missing our next appointment.
The best part of the map is that every street in the Centro has been photographed by the winding Google Street View car, so I can drag that orange man you see in the upper left, and check out any street — even stroll the block. This is why I even surprised myself when I counted only 25 days of actual, as opposed to virtual, presence in Mérida.
The map keeps alive memories of our first encounters with Mérida properties. Last year seems so long ago — we were babes in the woods. As will happen when you’re exploring new relationships, I had a mad crush on one particular property early on in our search. But in time, as our sophistication grew we started to see fatal flaws, and we realized that some appealing characteristics weren’t as unique as we first thought. We knew we’d have to develop a critical eye to make a smart choice, and not just go all gooey for some pretty exposed beams.
Now that we’ve found a house, I use the house to mark restaurants I want to visit, and I still like to explore neighborhoods, especially when a new property listing appears (yes, I’m already ready to do this again). Or sometimes, I just take a leisurely stroll.