The Gated Community
by Bruce McGovern
Several times, The Doctor in the
little village where my wife was born, and his wife, have invited
us to visit their home in Puebla. They had mentioned the fact that
it was in a ‘gated community.’ That is, it has high walls around
it, and to enter, a person must convince some very suspicious
security people they have a reason to be there. Usually security
will call your house for permission to admit them if they are not
sure. I had visited a gated community in Puebla, but it had
$250,000 homes. So, I paid little attention when he said he lived
in a gated community, assuming it was out of our price range.
My wife and I have gradually over
the last three years begun to think we should live in Puebla,
since it is a direct bus ride to every place we want to go –
Cordoba, rural Puebla, Mexico City, and Texas, therefore the
United States. The rough plan would be to keep our old van in
storage here in Texas, as the Winter Texans often do, with our
traveling needs in it, and when we come to the States, bring it
out and go driving away to visit family wherever they are.
Last week, I told The Doctor and
his wife I had a lot of questions to ask. They didn't mind at all.
In fact, they were all excited at the prospect of having us for
Nice, ample‑sized homes in their
gated community have two or three bedrooms and a nice patio. Rent
for the houses runs about 3,000 pesos a month, a little over $300
USD; to buy one runs around $35,000 USD. Small apartments rent,
and probably sell, for about half that money.
Owner pays water. The renter pays
electricity and telephone, also gas for the roof tank for the gas
stove and water heater. The security charge is almost nominal,
perhaps $10 a month. The Doctor's house has a 5,000 liter cistern,
and the water is on at least 3 days a week, so water would not be
the problem it is for Raul, who gets water only once or twice a
week, and only has a 3,000 liter cistern.
The central bus station is within
walking distance. A supermarket/mall is within two blocks of the
security gate. A combi (microbus) route that can take you across
the city for a few pesos runs in front of the mall. This would be
perfect for my wife, who does not drive, but has a strong desire
to go places.
Security only permits the gas
truck, the garbage truck, the bottled water trucks, the meter
readers, and not much of anyone else in without permission from
the owner/renter. This neighborhood is quiet – no street vendors.
Even the parents take their kid to the large park a few blocks
away, instead of letting them play noisily in the streets.
In 1999, we visited Raul about a
mile from this place, and I already know I like it there.
We have a date to meet them at the
security gate in January. If my wife loves it, well, wish me
And, those who think they'll send
me a mail to find out exactly where this little paradise is
located, no way! In Iowa, we never told where we found morel
mushrooms. No one tells where they catch fish. So, sorry, go find
your own gated community. Someday, if I sign a lease, maybe I'll
share. Maybe not.
However, The Doctor assures me
there are other such gated communities around Puebla, and almost
certainly in other cities as well. So, if you are considering
another community, and this appeals to you, ask locally for such a