I’m in love with the little house we found just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in the sleepy town of Bucerias.  It’s a simple Mexican style compound with three bedrooms, a walled and gated yard (as is customary here) and two little extra houses on the property, which our landlord Pablo calls the “bodegas”.  One is used for laundry, the other storage.  Overall it’s an over 5,000 square foot property (the house is just about 1500 square feet or so) with fruit trees and flowering bushes.

I love the flowers.  They spill over the brick walls and add a fuchsia wall of color to that side of the house.  An older couple lived here before us and they took extremely good care of the garden.

These orange flowers open for a few hours a day, but mostly they are closed, waiting for the right conditions.

Some of the walls are hand-painted and there’s plenty of space for an outdoor room if we get organized enough to buy some furniture for it.

I need to write an entire love letter to the produce of Mexico, which I’ve devoured in bulk since arriving.  One of my first purchases was this fruit bowl, which I fill every 3-4 days with mangos, three different kinds of oranges, avocados, limes, apples, pears, kiwi, guava, and whatever else I can find.  There’s one variety of apple that tastes like candy.  We also eat a full watermelon every week (Cole polishes off most of it) and I’ve had 2 fruit smoothies everyday since arriving.  I have a massive sweet tooth right now, but smoothies with milk and fat-free yogurt has been my compromise.

There’s Jack!  He has his doggie bed from home, but usually he moves from room to room with the family, sleeping wherever we happen to be hanging out.

This area is all within the walled gates, so there’s lots of room for the dogs and Cole.  I’m planning on turning that patio into a second living space for us, maybe with some comfy chairs I find on Craigslist.

I think this is jackfruit.  The landlord didn’t know the name of it, and they are smaller than what we would see in Asia, but most of the fruit trees on this property (including the cherry tree and the now removed mango trees) have struggled to actually produce fruit, so we’ll see if they get big enough.  They smell amazing though, it fills the air with this light sticky-sweet aroma that takes me right back to Thailand.

We dry our clothes on the line.  That’s the cherry tree in the background, and it should bloom in May.

The house is called Casa de Ollas de Frijoles, or The Beanpot House.  That’s because of these little beanpots placed at intervals around the gate.

Everyday I go visit the flowers.

The weather is in the high seventies, which feels just a little cool to me in the morning, and we’re in the middle of winter here, so it’ll just get warmer.

The view from my backyard.

Here is one of the bodegas, it has a laundry room and it’s own full bath.

The owner’s wife loves doves.  This was their first house together.  They now live in a larger house just across town.

It’s old school Mexico.  If you go to Puerto Vallarta, you get this very modern, cool, and slightly touristy edge, then you come up north, cross over into our neighborhood and from one side of the highway to the other, it all completely changes.  All of our neighbors are Mexican, there’s music always playing (which I love, super sappy Mexican ballads playing all day, it’s atmospheric and sweet) and someone is always driving by trying to sell you gas, water, frijoles, tortillas, or whatever — and if you are out of gas you have to run outside and flag down the guy to buy some.  The prices are written on the side of his truck and he swaps out your old tank (we have several, one for the kitchen, two for the water heaters) and off he goes.

This is our street (our house is on the right, that’s our wall with the flowers).  On the other side there are two horses which are usually “parked” on the side of the road, munching on hay.  There’s about two dozen dogs, and they get all yippy if you walk past, but mostly they’re quiet.  It’s a dusty, sleepy part of town.

The old man across the street puts out a chair everyday and just sits there until dark.  His daughter has been coming over to help us clean three times a week.  The house is ours for the year, and because someone always asks, it’s $460/mo and we just had a phone line and internet put in, so that’s it, it’s feels official.  This is our Beanpot House for this year, maybe next, and when we visit Asia later in the year, the dogs will stay behind and keep our beds warm.