Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This is perhaps my shortest post but I think it says a great deal about the culture of Mexico.  First, the story.    We recently sold property in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán and in the final stages of the  sale there was a brief,  but possibly threatening, debate over the legal description of the property.  There was an inconsistency about whether the house was in the second block or the third block.   I of course had not noticed this problem when we made the original purchase and I assume the inconsistency was there for 100 years or more.   The inconsistency may flow from the fact that the numbering on our street is not sequential.  Guests often think it should be with other houses bearing a number in the 50s, that is in the second block.  But in fact our number, 53, is in the third block.   This problem was worked out without stalling the sale but as they read the escritura (the title) aloud for all assembled,  I noticed that they defined the property in geographical terms (a much older version of the GPS points) but they also described it in terms of our neighbors, referring by name to the families on either side and across the street.

We tend to think of our property only in physical terms, but here the property was described in social terms - it is located between Señora Mendoza and Señor Valencia and Señora Gomez is across the street.   We don’t just live in a physical space but also a social space.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this beautiful, insightful description of the cultural reality. BTW - Felicidades on the sale!