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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apartment searching

I love our apartment in Cusco. I hope I’ll be able to find a place this nice when I get back to the states. It is a beautifully furnished 2 bed/1 bath/1 huge kitchen place, for about $400 or 1100 soles / month. It’s an unbelievable deal if I was in the states and a bit of luxury spending here in Cusco. It was not easy though.   

I imagine that looking for an apartment is a lot like online dating (I have never done either to date). You read a short blurb, see a picture, and decide whether it is worth it to look more into it. Both require a lot of failures before finally finding the right one. At least in the US both can be accomplished online. You get to see a picture, and make a harmless inquiry by email or phone. It was not so simple in Cusco. Sure, online sites exist, but they’re pretty much all overpriced and targeted exclusively to foreigners. After exhausting shortcuts, the only options left were to buy the classifieds or walk around and look for “se aquila” or “for rent” signs.

There is truly a range of options available. There are of course, the 200 soles / month “house” that is really just one unfurnished room in a courtyard with half a dozen families, with no kitchen and a one shared bathroom among everyone, as well as the $800 beautifully furnished place that is posted on every online website. After several days of searching, even the furnished yet unfinished apartment without even a kitchen of bathroom yet installed started to look good, at least to Kate. In the end, it took about a week, over 30 phone calls, some interpreting from call center owners, and several visits to truly horrendous places I wouldn’t live in if you paid me, but we finally found our home. It was pure luck at that. I was walking to see a listed apartment when I stumbled upon the wonderful place we are living in now. The rest is history. Come to Cusco and see our wonderful place for yourselves!

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