Seeking out another artist/creative for sharing life (and maybe live/work space)


#1

Hey, y’all.

I figure if you’re reading this, you are regular enough to the forums to know a little bit about me…artist/painter and hitchhiking/bicycling traveler.
As I may have mentioned, I’ve been hopping around some over the years (Moldova/Ukraine, Chicago, Wichita, Austin, and now in Tijuana).

Now that I’m in Tijuana - real Tijuana - not the resort towns of Rosarito or Ensenada, I want to find another artist or other creative type to be friends with and join me in this live/work situation I’m trying to create here. I’m flexible about what you do. You could be a writer, glass-blower, whatever. Having a creative friend is my main goal.
I’m not sure I could guess what questions a potential roommate or neighbor might have, but I’ll try to explain fully what my “quest” is.
For the longest time, I’ve been trying to find enough time to be a painter. Not as a hobby aside from work, but actually finding a way to make it something more life-fulfilling. I don’t have any hopes of being remotely rich, but still would like to be able to put a bit of food on my plate and have the freedom to move around the globe sometimes for extended periods in a non-touristy fashion.
One solution is the spacious 2 bedroom apartment I’ve found here in Tijuana, which I’m renting for 220 bucks a month. My hope is to be able to utilize this place as my live/work while I am here, but also as “home base” if I choose to go elsewhere for a bit.
I feel I could deal with a friendly and sincere roommate, but would be fine in helping you find a place of your own if that’s what you prefer (actually, the first floor neighbor has expressed the desire to move in with her boyfriend).

I am finding that one serious issue I’m having is isolation-related depression. I have Tijuana friends and acquaintances, but as most long-term travelers know, cultural differences and language barriers can leave one feeling isolated even in the midst of people.
Add to that the similar situation Vincent Van Gogh felt himself in while in Arles, without many
creative people of similar interest to associate with, which has been a persistent problem for me in some places I’ve lived. Not that I’m actively looking for my Gauguin - I really don’t wish to have an asshole as a companion.

To explain more about myself, I could use the simple statement that my personality closely mirrors the general INFP classification for Briggs-Meyers. I am an idealist, very left-leaning, and rely heavily on intuitive thinking.
Many people (former teachers, friends, romantic partners) point out that I’m quite intelligent, but a fair share (business people - generally salespeople and other pro-capitalists) think I’m rather stupid. Some people have even gone so far as to call me special, but I sometimes wonder if they mean in a Luna Lovegood, needs-a-helmet sort of way.
I try to keep fit by incorporating exercise into my lifestyle, but am not really into sports. I don’t run, but prefer brisk walking or bicycling.
I’m not a club person, and prefer museums to pub crawls, and prefer sharing booths with friends to dancing. I love to observe and people-watch, and love to sit with someone imaginative and invent stories about strangers passing by.

Okay, about living here…
This is Tijuana. You’re definitely not going to find Trump-style living here. Poor construction methods abound, but I’ve seen some apartments that have been upgraded very nicely. Central heat and air is a rarity, and people generally use work-arounds for the weather, siestas on hot days (90°) and sweaters and heavy blankets at night in winter (45°-50°).
About apartments in Tijuana…they’re rarely turn-key, and generally any small repairs are left to the next tenant. Cheap deals can be made for apartments that need more work, as I have done.
The issues with my particular apartment are…stucco that was applied without primer - it’s flaking off and the entire apartment should be repainted. The bathroom is just ugly grey tile with sink plumbing that doesn’t work. A remodel, along with locating the tankless water heater closer to the bathroom (or a second heater) is in order. The four doors and jambs need replacing, and I would like to build an enclosure around the entry stairwell to make the apartment more airtight.
I’ve consuted with a few people, and it would be cheap to do. I’ve always been a DIY kind of person, so I have no issues with remodeling.
The good news is the electricity, water, and propane are cheap. I use about $5 for each utility each month. Another person, bigger fridge, etc. will increase costs, but I still predict low expenses if you’re energy conscious.
Also, each bedroom is at least 200 square feet. The place really is spacious and bright.
If it turns out we both think living here long-term is possible, I think installing a wood-burning stove is a good idea. I really want to poke around and see if there’s decent thrift or junk shops that might have old furnishings to refurbish, too.

I should make it clear, each bedroom is 200 ft square minimum. One is square, one is rectangular (pictured). One shared bathroom with shower, but I wouldn’t mind getting a tub if we agree. There is a pantry/laundry room next to the kitchen, and two living or dining areas, plus that gap over by the stairwell.

Scale: Each floor tile is 11 and 1/4" on each side.


#2

I hope your search goes well. I’ve never been, but I hear the local barbecued iguana is delish!


#3

You know, I really dont know if that’s a real thing here, but here’s what’s nearby…
There’s a pollo asado guy who sells roast chickens with trimmings and corn tortillas. He also sells flats of eggs and bags of flour tortillas.
There are three supermarkets in the immediate vicinity, and three convenience stores (2 are 24 hrs, one is a bodega). There’s also a meat market and a bread and a pastry shop that makes good donuts, cake, and cheesecake. A 1/4 mile away is a great cheese shop.
Most food is generally half or sometimes less than in the States, but it also follows general tastes. Hot sauce, beans, tortillas are easy to find, but I have yet to find a store that sells Miracle Whip. I have no idea if it’s something to do with Kraft Foods or if people here just don’t like it.
General produce, bread, dairy, dry and canned goods, beer, and liquor (typically tequila or rum) are available.
There are two pizza places nearby, one decent, one horrible. Go a little further, and there’s one that’s on par with Domino’s and Papa John’s.
There are two hamburger/hot dog places. One sells them “torta” style for Mexican tastes, the other sells them artisinally, like a pub - and the guy makes good seasoned french fries. There’s also a sushi/teriyaki place that sells rolls and bowls generally made with chicken or pork.
A few street vendors sell various things like tacos, burros, menudo and tortas. The thing with a torta is it’s sort of like a sandwich (emparedado), but typically a bread roll with refried beans, a mashed hard-boiled egg, or shredded meat.
A bus ride will get you to various plazas where you can find a good Chinese restauraunt (sorry, no dumplings, but take a friend - the servings are huge), bars, and movie theaters.

I also should point out I’ve seen some interesting stuff if one is willing to grab the “collectivo” minivan to other areas of the city. There’s an open-air produce market near downtown, an ice-cream chain that serves soft-serve cones, and plenty of U.S. chains like Chili’s, McDonald’s, Little Ceasar’s, Walmart, and Costco if that’s your thing.

Street vendors are everywhere! I’ve bought from produce vendors, a lady who makes and sells pancakes, a guy who slices and fries potato chips, and a candy vendor I meet every week crossing the bridge to the border who sells me chili lollipops.


#4

Radio, radio…


#5

I want to stress that I’m using bb to try and reach out further and more precisely than I could with my facebook contacts. I grew up in Kansas, and aside from a handful of friends I plan to reach out to personally, most of them just don’t get what I’m trying to do.
If you know anyone in your circles that thinks this would be an interesting adventure, please pass this along.


#6

I used to know folks who’d be up to it but my friends are a bit older now and more settled/risk averse (being old is annoying sometimes) but hope the search works out and I’ll keep it in mind. If you find someone maybe you could have a longer term goal of trying to get an artist colony going. Wonderful things often come out of those and the network effect tends to be of mutual benefit.


#7

Yes, the older I get, the more creative friends I lose to moves and relationships.

I am told there is a growing artist movement here among native Tijuana -ns, ites, istas(?) that’s less about “cheap, sell-it-quick” commerce and more serious in spirit, but I’m still trying to improve my language skills and would like to have a few things made before I approach them.


#8

Wow! That’s a cute place, though it clearly needs a little work. Good luck finding a roomie!

I love that self-portrait, BTW! Beautiful colors!


#9

Sounds like Tijuana can be a solid artist town. Are there legal issues with moving there as an American?


#10

So far, I have not run into any.

As for visa, I have been able to get two 180-day visas back-to-back with no trouble. The 180-day visa is currently about $24.
I intend to apply for the 1 to 4 year temporary residency visa just to be proper about it, but that will take some time. I need to have $1,700 in savings to qualify. One can also get the permanent retirement visa, but that requires $2,000/month in steady income from what info I can gather.
If my friend and I decide to travel some to other countries each year, visas seem to pose less of an issue.

I have applied and qualified for the Sentri pass ($125 for 5 years) to cross the checkpoint with less effort, but it really takes a while until one gets their card. It’s been almost five months for me, because they had to vet my p.o. box after my in-person interview (I cross the border once every two weeks to get my mail).

Crossing the border from here is not extremely difficult on foot, but by car it can take hours.
I can grab the “collectivo” minivan a block away, and be downtown in around 30 minutes, depending on the driver. It’s around a mile walk (downtown ->pedestrian bridge ->plaza ->border walkway ->checkpoint) to the Plaza of the Americas on the north side of the San Ysidro checkpoint. It then takes about 1 hour or a little more to get to downtown San Diego by trolley depending on the time of day.


#11

It doesn’t have to be a roomie, though. I’m more thsn happy to help a new friend find their own place, if desired. Mainly seeking some creative company.


#12

Either way, good luck finding someone. It’s a good offer and certainly seems financially feasible.


#13

Speaking of financially feasible, nobody’s obligated to sign the lease in case they decide they don’t like it here.

I’m even down with letting people visit and stay a while if they want to get a feel for me and Tijuana first.
No rent required, but please, serious inquiries…I don’t want to be somebody’s flophouse.


#14

This sounds awesome and if things were very different, I’d be there like, yesterday. :slight_smile:
Hope you find someone!


#15

I also should point out that most medications don’t require a prescription, and are rather cheap - cheaper than by the border.
I pay around $4.25 for 120 capsules of omeprazole (Prilosec) and $50 for a 124-shot inhaler of Zenhale (equivalent to Advair).
You can consult a physician at the corner (offices often next to many pharmacies) for about $2.50.

There’s quality dentists and opticians/dispensers in most major plazas. I think there’s even a chiropractor here.


#16

Jesus! That’s cheap as hell!


#17

Oh, there’s also a salon and aesthetician a couple of blocks away. She gives me haircuts with razor trims for about $4.50.
I always say “about” because the peso fluctuates. It’s been as low as 17 per dollar, but it was 20 last week.


#18

I think I know where I’ll be retiring


#19

In the wake of the Ghost Ship fire in San Francisco, I also want to stress that a live/work space like that is definitely not the way I want this place to evolve.
I’m something of a Hobbit, and although I enjoy a bit of adventure, I’d prefer this place to be stable, safe, and low-key.


#20

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