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  1. Just a note to those interested in renting an inexpensive apartment in a good area... Do not rent the upstairs apartment at Zaragoza 317, Chapala Centro. At first impression, it is a pretty apartment, light & airy. Yes, it is just a couple blocks from the malecon. Yes, just a couple blocks from the mercado. Yes, just a couple blocks from bus stops. Yes, across the street from a fabulous coffee shop - Buenos Ayres, which makes the BEST empanadas in town... but... NO, your toilet won't flush unless YOU buy the acid for treatment every month. NO, there's no way to close the bathroom window in winter unless you make yourself a plastic window... NO, you cannot take for granted that the electric will work. You will find yourself making your coffee & juice on the bathroom floor. NO, there are not screens throughout; interestingly, the doors must be open for you to breathe at night... No, there are no curtains for privacy & people rooftops away can see directly into your bathroom. Yes, you will find yourself hearing that the washing machine works fine & is included in the rent. Yes, within a week you will complain of the golf-ball size lumps of lint that you are finding on your clothes. Ah, then you will find out that all maintenance on said machine is up to YOU to pay for... if desired. So, you will stop using it when you notice your laundry greying, and will begin humping it all to the lavanderia on the next block. There are no filters on the tinacos and they were never cleaned the 6 months I was there. The water will be interrupted many times by the lines clogging up - they were given an acid treatment and "a good banging" last February. Ditto, the water heater, after it quit working and I asked the handyman to take it down & clean it out. We got about 20kg of sand out of it. No idea how it could function at all like that... and eventually did not. It's still working now, but mid-April started sounding like the "thumper" barrel from my grandad's still... Relax about the annoying black sh&t (flakes) that are in the water. You won't notice until you go to soak your veggies. Leaves a delta of nastiness in the basin. You can take a shower if you manually manipulate the holes on the showerhead before... we don't talk about the drain. Bathroom water smells like rotten eggs, so you'll brush your teeth in the kitchen. Mosquitos enter thru the 3" pvc pipe that serves as a roof vent for the shower. Geckos love it - you'll find them in your dishes, oven, dresser = but generally only at night. They DO eat bugs and they don't make much noise like Cambodian geckos. You might never know they're there but for their little turds they hang on the walls & sometimes the dishes. You will find yourself annoyed; as the electrician is fixing things, he will point out that the landlady refuses to pay for another switchplate, and so you will use only the top plug-in, as the bottom one is burned out. You will buy new burners for the stove, because the old rusty ones keep exploding and are useless. You will search for the source of whatever drip is depositing brown stains on the floor beneath the fridge. You will tire of the parties when the music doesn't go off until 5AM, but more annoying are the drunken screeches of the proprietress. When you finally reach your limit and find your new house, you will hear, "Oh, but of course I will return your deposit." You will hear this 3 or 4 times after giving your 30-day notice. By this time, if lies don't set well with you, you should have learned. But if you're a slow learner, you'll go back when she says, "The new tenants are coming tomorrow and I will have the money to give you the rest of your deposit." You will go back a few times trying to catch her home or, if before noon, hoping to catch her up. Finally, you will have a face-to-face and she will give you some excuse for why she will not return your deposit. If you were smart, you didn't pay the last month's rent (using deposit in lieu of rent) and she owes you only one week - $1125 pesos. If you weren't, she'll keep the whole $4,500 pesos. Just a word to those who don't want trouble. Heads up. This apartment DOES appear on Rony's list, but as he, himself, says, "Well, she's not much on making repairs."
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