We live in a block of apartments, part of what was at the time, so I’ve been told, the worlds biggest social housing project. Row after row after row of blocks, each one containing twelve apartments. They’re actually pretty ok, and more importantly seem to have survived all the earthquakes without any great damage.
Of course, living in apartments like these mean you need to have good neighbours. No one wants bad neighbours but when you’re living so literally on top of one another, it’s all the more important. I moved in here four years ago, or just a little more. Above us is a young family. They’re nice enough, and the little kid, Leo, spends quite a lot of time looking out of the window staring at my turtles. He’s a big fan of turtles now.
Across from us is a young chap, his girlfriend and their dad. They’re all very friendly and even let me through their apartment into their garden so I can climb over the wall into my garden. I lock myself out with embarrassing frequency. All the other neighbours are mature and quiet folk. Which is nice. I’m not much of a party animal myself, after all. Those days are long gone.
Right next door was an old lady. Crazy Lady. Harmless enough, but the knocking and banging noises at weird times of day and night were a bit off putting. As were the midnight calls at our front door demanding a bowl of cornflakes. Or painkillers. Or both. Paola always obliged, and received a selection of nutty blessings in exchange. About a year and a half after I arrived, she wandered off somewhere and died. I can’t say I was glad she’d died. But I was glad that the weirdness came to an end. Any annoyances she provided were but minor ones and not that frequent. But no annoyances is better than even the most mild of annoyances.
The house has been empty ever since. Until yesterday, when builders moved in and started some heavy duty work. That must mean new owners, and shortly, new neighbours. They’re stripping everything. Getting rid of all the flooring, plaster, doors, cabling and perhaps even the ghost of Crazy Lady. So now we just await to see what we’re getting. I have my fingers crossed for good neighbours. It is a positive sign that they’re going to the trouble and expense of totally renovating the property. That bodes well. The photo below is of my ‘hood. The church is popular and hosts some fun fiestas. The block on the left is what I call home. The lower ground floor with the slightly different shade of paint, covering repeated graffiti attacks, is Crazy Lady’s former dwelling.