Today was the first day that I went apartment hunting again.
Not entirely knowing if I’m going to return to the US in 1 month or 7 months, I decided to look for a cheaper place that doesn’t require a deposit ideally.
Naturally, places that don’t ask for a deposit tend to be shittier with the landlord being more desperate for anyone to stop by.
However, the house I went to today definitely didn’t seem empty of people.
Quite the opposite.
So, among the areas I am looking to move to, they include the streets closer to the following metro stations: Buenavista, Bosque de Aragon and Refineria.
And today was the first apartment I checked out.
How did it go?
Let’s get to that.
Arriving to Buenavista
So this place happened to be by Buenavista.
They only charge 3,200 pesos or roughly 160 USD a month and don’t ask for a deposit as you can see here.
Given that price and lack of deposit, I obviously can’t have the highest expectations.
Maybe a few cockroaches in the kitchen?
The remains of a few dead prostitutes in the closet a la American Psycho here?
American Psycho -- Yuppie Scum
Perhaps the landlord fucks his cousin in the sink?
So I found the house easily enough.
Once I got there, I found the landlord wasn’t initially responsive to the door knocking and I didn’t have any data on my phone.
So, similar to what I learned to do in another area of the city called Pedregal de Santo Domingo, I began shouting the landlord’s name outside.
It’s funny the dude’s name is Kevin since that is my dad’s name but also the way the name is pronounced in Spanish just sounds silly.
Kevin was nowhere to be found.
Soon enough, some black chick walked around the corner and waved me in.
I opened the door to find a handful of black folks standing inside near the front of the door preparing a big meal from the looks of it.
They all stared at me like I came from another planet.
I asked “is Kevin here?”
The skinny black chick near the end of the hall waved me in and told me that he’s upstairs.
I go up to the second floor to see another black dude in a bathroom washing his face.
“Hola, sabes donde esta Kevin?” I asked.
The dude told me to keep going upstairs.
As I was walking, I was thinking how much of a pain in the ass it would be to take all of my luggage up all of these steps.
Another thing I noticed, in case you haven’t caught on by now, is how many black people lived in this building.
Might sound like a weird observation but it isn’t for Mexico.
You just don’t see this many black people in one spot.
Before I came to this building, I can’t even remember the last black person I saw.
You’d usually see them in touristy areas because they’re either American tourists or Haitians working illegally.
I soon came to realize that it was the latter.
This house was jam packed full of Haitians.
Literally 99% of the people in the building were Haitian from what I could tell.
“So this is where the Haitians live” I thought.
Where did they live in Mexico City all of this time they’ve been here?
I guess this house!
Because the house literally had maybe 35 to 50 people living there from what I could tell?
And, as I said, just about everyone was from Haiti.
The only people who weren’t were the landlord and his wife, a young Mexican looking dude, a German guy and a French guy.
Everyone else? Haiti.
The odd thing about it though or why it’s even worth noting is “how did the landlord get so many Haitian clients?”
You never find a building with so many foreigners of one specific nationality living together anywhere in the city.
So this dude must’ve done his homework on appealing to the Haitian market.
My best guess is it’s just word of mouth maybe.
He did well with a few Haitian folks and they told others in the community.
Given the lack of deposit needed and low rent for a spot that is relatively centric.
At any rate, the few Haitian folks I exchanged words with in the building seemed pretty nice.
In the moment, I thought to myself that “this place could be dope. If you have so many young Haitians in one spot, I imagine they must host some cool parties to enjoy.”
But, on the other hand, I imagined this building to be a potential target for migration authorities someday.
As I wrote here, Mexican migration officials are looking for illegal folks to deport of any nationality.
Stopping people in the street asking for documents, being stricter on how much time to grant tourists and so on.
So I definitely don’t want to get caught up in that.
Not to stereotype but it’s probably the truth…
I’m confident many of the folks in that building were illegal given all of the news about illegal Haitians traveling from South America to Mexico to get into the US as you can see here.
So, wanting to avoid the Mexican migration authorities myself, this was a major red flag for me as to live in this building or not.
At any rate, I soon found Kevin’s door.
Checking Out the Room
Once I got to the top floor, I asked some Haitian couple if they knew were Kevin was.
The woman looked at her man confused not understanding me but the guy understood and knocked on a nearby door where Kevin was.
Kevin soon opened the door.
He was a Mexican that looked to be in his mid 30s.
About my height with a protruding stomach and medium brown skin.
He looked a lot like my old landlord over a year ago in Pedregal de Santo Domingo.
Just a slightly younger looking version of him.
He opened the door with a confused look “si?”
I introduced myself.
“Oh, espera!” he said once recognizing me.
A few minutes later, he opens the door to show me the room.
It looked like the photo he sent me on Whatsapp but about half the size without the mini couch in the picture.
To be honest, the mini couch made me a little more excited for the place.
Would’ve been cool to have one that I could have dates sit down on before trying to fuck.
Still, the bedroom was half the size of that without the mini couch as I said.
Literally didn’t have any room for any of my luggage.
I also noticed that, on the inside of the room, there was no way to lock the door from the inside.
Meaning someone could come into the room while I’m sleeping and I can lock it only from the outside when I’m leaving.
I asked to check the bed.
Because, as I wrote here, I unfortunately came across bedbugs in an apartment over a year ago by Centro Historico of Mexico City.
Kevin seemed slightly offended that I wanted to check the bed but said “sure, check it” before then reminding me 10 times that it’s “completely new!”
Which, whenever a Mexican says to me that something is “completely new,” my alarm bells go off.
Like the time I tried buying a phone here months ago with a guy telling me how “completely new” his phone was despite having damages on both side and being sold in a place known for selling stolen phones.
Did the bed look “completely new?”
It looked fine!
I didn’t see any bedbugs (though I was extra worried about that being the case when I realized how this place has dozens of people living in it).
Anyway, while the bed didn’t have bedbugs, it did look like the blankets had been used before.
Not really “completely new” but I didn’t care if it was new or not.
I got my own blankets anyhow.
It did pass the bedbug test though!
And, nicely enough, the room didn’t seem overly hot like many other apartments I’ve seen in Mexico City.
It also didn’t have any windows.
The Rest of the Building
Afterwards, the dude’s wife – a very skinny woman who also looked a lot like the wife of the landlord I had in Pedregal de Santo Domingo – stopped by to say hello.
She seemed a bit shy and closed the door as we continued on.
I asked the dude out of curiosity “who lives here?”
He then started talking about this “German guy we have? Oh and this Mexican guy! He’s from Puebla.”
I could actually see the Mexican guy given his door was open (likely not able to be locked from the inside either).
He had his headphones on and was on his laptop.
Which was reassuring because I had my doubts about how good or bad the wifi must be given all the people who share it.
But I was more curious about the Haitians.
Like how the hell did he get such a monopoly on Haitian clients?
When asked “where is everyone else from?” he looked confused.
Like he pretended to not understand the question.
When I asked again, he then tapped some dude’s door and said “he’s from France!”
I dropped the subject.
As we carried on to see the laundry room, I could hear a lot of people in the building speaking a language I never heard before.
Definitely not Spanish and it didn’t sound like Portuguese.
Obviously not English.
It almost sounded French like?
But I have no idea.
Anyway, near the end of the tour in front of the laundry room, I asked if I could “check the wifi?”
He said “sure!”
So I found the password and checked it out.
It looked like I could get messages on Messenger and Whatsapp but my phone was unable to even access basic websites like Youtube, Google, my own blog or anything else.
Based on that alone, it seemed like the wifi in the building was absolute shit.
While the router that the guy had didn’t look too old or bad, my guess is that the sheer quantity of people living in this building makes it near impossible to use the wifi for most things.
I wouldn’t even be able to do my job and make money.
Anyway, I told the guy that “I’ll get back to him” and walked out the door.
The second I did, the Mexican landlord decided to introduce me to the German guy that he mentioned who was walking out the door behind me.
The Drunk German on a Journey for Costa Rican Love
By this point, the landlord had gone back to his room.
And, as I was about to walk away, the German guy with an open beer in his hand, called me from behind.
This guy was probably about 5 foot tall (literally same height as my sister), a little bit fat, white and seemingly looked like he was in his 50s.
“Where you from?” he asked in English.
After answering, he then asked “oh, you only speak English then, right? No, no other languages?”
He probably assumed that, being an American, I can’t speak other languages.
I respond back in Spanish “no, hablo español.”
The guy had a “deer in the headlights” kind of look as he didn’t understand me.
Before then catching on “oh wait, you do speak Spanish?”
We go from there.
To which the dude tells me that “he needs my help.”
He then begins to explain to me his long story while slurring his words a bit.
The guy was definitely drunk out of his ass.
And I’m just listening while thinking to myself “this could be a very fun adventure.”
What did he need help on?
Well, being honest, it was slightly difficult to know right away.
He started going off about how his "phone was stolen and he needs an AMERICAN phone because he has a Costa Rican wife."
I genuinely didn't understand why he needed an American phone to talk with his Costa Rican wife.
Similar to the rest of our conversation, I had to ask him a few times to clarify.
While slurring his words some more, he then changes course and goes on about the airport and having to go to Costa Rica.
To which then his story made a tiny bit more sense but not really.
According to him, the dude traveled from Frankfurt, Germany to Mexico City because he wants to go to Costa Rica to see his “Costa Rican wife and kids.”
With the plan to be in Mexico City for maybe 10 days more or less before moving south to Costa Rica.
Issues with His Story
Why didn’t he fly directly into Costa Rica?
I don’t know.
And being a middle aged man living in a very cheap place like this while having a beer in the street, I wondered if he’d even have the funds to stop in Mexico City for a bit before going to Costa Rica.
He didn't look like he had much cash on him.
Something about the “stopping in Mexico City” first bit seemed to stick out in my mind as an oddity.
Anyway, his issue is that the staff at the airport can’t understand him!
He wants to buy a ticket to Costa Rica but needs a translator who can speak Spanish.
Which, being fair, I do think my ability to speak Spanish was what got his attention.
He did seem focused on that and in need of a Spanish speaker.
But why did he need me to translate for him?
You can easily find someone in Mexico City working for the airlines who speaks English.
Granted, his English wasn’t perfect as I asked him a few times to repeat himself as I did have difficulty getting what he wanted from me exactly.
It took me a tiny bit to realize he wants a translator.
Though, on the flip side, he was seemingly very drunk as I said so maybe that fucked up his English skills.
Though I do like to think my Spanish is better when drunk. I become a master at singing reggaeton viejo oddly enough.
Anyway, I feel like the dude had enough English to handle it himself.
And is there really nobody who can speak German at the airport or can’t he use Google Translate?
Finally, he’s only buying a ticket.
It’s not like he needs to explain a medical operation to a group of civilians like drunk Doug Stanhope here.
Doug Stanhope -- drunken paramedic
Funny video by the way!
Anyway, his whole story and extremely worried demeanor was setting off alarm bells in my head.
While he offered to “pay for the taxi and buy me dinner afterwards,” there was something obviously off about this dude.
In the moment, I was getting the feeling that this dude wanted to scam me somehow.
Holes in his story, him coming across like a poor alcoholic and his demeanor all set alarm bells in my head.
Though, thinking about it, I'm not sure how he would've scammed me if I went along with helping him.
How do you scam someone by having them tag along with you to an airport to translate that he needs a ticket to Costa Rica?
My best guess is that the dude would either pressure the living fuck out of me to buy his ticket to Costa Rica by “realizing” only then at the airport that his expired debit card won’t work.
To which he can go “oh please, good sir! I promise I will pay you back!”
Either that or the dude would get a taxi for us and, once the taxi arrived to the airport, he would jump out and ditch making me cover the 15 dollar charge?
Those are my best guesses as to what his scam was going to be.
Because his story of “nobody speaks English at the airport to help me do a simple thing like buy a ticket” isn’t very credible.
Now that I think about it – couldn’t he just buy his ticket online where there’d be a German translation?
So his story even makes less sense.
Back to the German Guy
Anyway, I asked the dude finally “what is this building like? Is it fun to live in? Any problems?"
And he goes “oh yes! We have plenty of cool parties! It’s mostly Haitians who live here and they have fun every Sunday.”
By then, the conversation ended after he then asked me “you’ll be here next Thursday right to help me at the airport?”
I nodded (the nod was a lie).
Right before going our own way, he asks me for my name.
I ask him for his.
Supposedly, his name is Kie or Kye? That’s what it sounded like. Never heard that name before.
And that was it.
He went the opposite direction of me with beer in hand and I went back to Buenavista metro station.
Did I find a good apartment today?
But I did get an interesting story about a dude and his “Costa Rican wife and kids.”
I should’ve asked for details on that – how did he meet her? Are they his kids? Why did he leave Costa Rica?
Because regardless of if this dude is lying out of his ass or not, I'd either get a cool but very confusing fictional story or I'd get a crazy illogical story that is somehow true.
All around entertainment though.
But other thoughts crossed my mind also.
First, I can't be the one to judge, right?
I like my fair share of alcohol also.
Still, the older I get, the scarier this type of foreigner comes across to me.
There's sometimes that lingering reminder in my head that goes "if you don't get your shit together, you'll end up 50 like this dude asking for help to get to Costa Rica also while drunk every day."
A sight of a young man in his 20s always drinking? Not too scary.
A middle aged man still at it? OK, you convinced me to put down the bottle for a night.
Anyone like water?
Still, I'm not that worried about it but, as I said, the sight of any older man seemingly in the dumps does, in a non-condescending way, provoke you into being more conscious of your life decisions now to not fuck up the future.
But who knows how he ended up here.
As I sometimes say, Latin America attracts its fair share of folks like that.
It's an irony too.
Latin America wants to attract better foreigners but it continually gets this type because the appeal of "low cost of living and easy Latinas" seems to attract a particular type of man.
No surprise there, huh?
Though, if we’re being honest, I got higher standards than Costa Rican gals.
I like Bolivians.
Outside of that initial thought though, there was a part of me that did find curiosity in going down this rabbit hole with the dude.
Maybe he does genuinely just need a translator?
And, instead of a restaurant, he thanks me by buying me some cocaine to snort off a hot Russian gal's ass?
Sounds like a good time!
While I'm more conscious of making more sound decisions as I get older, I wouldn't mind just a good night partying!
And, even if there's no Russian gals involved, there's always a part of me that does like to entertain stupid shit.
Especially if I got free time.
Just to see where the fuck the story ends.
Though, on the flip side, I also worry that hanging out with him could get me deported somehow.
As I said, Mexico is deporting foreigners these days and so I'm a little more cautious about not sticking out like a sore thumb to migration officials.
You can guess as to what his plan was.
I contemplated a few ideas but I’m not quite sure.
Was his story legit or was he hoping to get something out of me?
I imagine it wasn't overly complicated if he happened to have something else in mind.
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Thanks for reading.