The day arrived for the palapas meeting (remember, a palapas is an open air structure, topped with palm leaves and held up by huge logs... very popular in tropical areas). Magazine pictures, along with pics I had taken around the island, all carefully considered and critiqued early in the planning stage, were laid out and the bilingual meeting began. My interpreter was my property manager, as the three other people involved would be speaking spanish. Remember, this is a one story casa with a flat roof, that could be reached by beach facing stairs, installed by a previous owner. There was a short, two inch lip up from the roof and the air conditioning units, as well as the hot water heater sat almost center roof (of course). The entire roof surface was to serve as the floor for a single (quite grand) palapas; however, as discussion progressed, we realized for weight issues and to give me the ambience I wanted by creating two “rooms," a double palapas was agreed on, that would be separated by a flat pergola of sorts.
Design was next on the table. We wanted the large area to have a true Mexican flavor, yet have a sort of ambience where we could retreat to a created space, that offered the laid back lifestyle that we desired. The picturesque view, quite frankly, took care of itself, but furniture placement was key in creating a treasured, warm setting. There would be a dining area and a sitting area (the latter being closest to the expansive views of the caribe) and then between the two palapas, the pergola, while being visually engaging, would effortlessly invite you to king size hammocks for just a bit of sun. The framework design was decided on, the height discussed, our choice of surrounding banisters…and we were ready! This was the largest chunk of pesos spent, for a single project, of the entire renovation. When you are competing with tropical storms and full force hurricanes of the eastern most shore of Mexico, there is only one choice… the strongest and the best.
The wood logs were delivered and the work began. The extremely skillful and competent work crew, were each day a joy to behold. As height increased, so did their daring skill, as I watched them scale the grand logs to the heavens daily. The pictures will tell the story, but please note one miraculous point in the construction. The workers were sawing knots off of the posts, when I heard gasps!!! A cut had revealed a remarkable likeness to the Virgin Mary. They stood with anchored stares at the small miracle they had unearthed. As a reminder of that unexpected find, I nailed the wood piece to one of the supporting logs and each worker wrote their name under it.
Next week we go inside to begin kitchen renovations (or shall I say gutting)!!!
Enjoy the pics of the Perfect Palapas! -E