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Where the Sky is Born: Living in the Land of the Maya Paperback – October, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Her Mexican adventures will make you turn page after page,and in the end, you'll want to read more." -- Kathy Loretta, Miami Herald/Cancun Edition, October, 2003

"This book leads the reader on an incredible journey to the Yucatan ... will delight anyone who knows and loves Mexico." -- Ron Mader, Planeta.com, October, 2003

From the Back Cover

Imagine running away to the Mexican Caribbean and never coming back.  That dream became reality for author Jeanine Kitchel and her husband who traveled to the Yucatan in 1985 and a decade later, left their Silicon Valley jobs to pursue a relaxed lifestyle in Puerto Morelos, a small fishing village on the Quintana Roo Coast south of Cancun.
Chance inks them with a contractor who offers to build them a beachfront house--and this is where the true story begins--including the Mexican government's seizure of their land by eminent domain, the contractor's financial crisis, and a category-5 hurricane.  After sidestepping disaster on several fronts, they build their home, settle into Mexico, and then travel deep into the heart of the Yucatan to explore the Maya ruins.
Share their dreams, their heartaches, but most of all, see how they cope with buying land, building a house, and retiring in a foreign country.  This evocative tale is a cockeyed love letter to Mexico, their adopted home land.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Enchanted Island Press (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974483907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974483900
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because I visited Puerta Morelos . It seemed like a diary, and was often uninteresting. Not much was written about the actual town and its beauty- more about this couple's poor business and legal decisions. It's hard to feel compassion for their worries- they are retiring at a young age and moving to a coastal paradise, without doing much legal research. The writing is fair at best, too much detail on insignificant issues, no real character development. If it's meant as a memoir, we don't learn much about how this experience affected her and her partner. If it's suppose to be informational I would learn more from a travel brochure. The story could have been made more,interesting with better writing style and more effort.
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If you've been to the area or have some interest in buying a place in Mexico this is probably a good book for you, if not I don't think it would hold much interest. Having been to the Yucatan and Puerto Morelos just about the same time frame as her book covers, it was fun to read how similar her account of discovering places was to our experience.
She also mentions certain aspects of how it has changed but not in very much detail. So someone reading her book might think Puerto Morelos is still the quiet little paradise she discovered in 1984, but in fact it has changed dramatically. It's still a lovely place, but nothing like the undiscovered area she describes. Of course I wouldn't expect her to list the many ways paradise has been lost there, that wasn't the point, and if she did it might hurt the rental market there, undeservedly, but having witnessed this first hand I saw it lacking in that area.
I would liked to read a revised or more updated version about how she fared in Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and Dean in 2007. Puerto Morelos was hit hard in 2007 from what I gather.
Did the luster of her paradise fade? In the back of the book it lists her residence as Hawaii, and Mexico. At what point did she decide to leave and rent out her home? There's no mention of Hawaii in the book. Most people, including her, that do buy there, end up renting out their places, to me the trials and tribulations of that process might also have made an interesting story. So my criticism is more on omission than anything else.
She is obviously tuned into the same wonderful vibe that you could once find there, and still can if you search deeper for it. The corporate mega resorts have really changed the Quinta Roo coast for the worst.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wanted another opinion of moving to Mexico,
Specially of interest to those who wants to move to Mexico.
For those who have moved to the Yucatan nice to find out about the book store in Puerto Morelos.
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Format: Paperback
Where The Sky Is Born: Living In The Land Of The Maya is the personal travel memoir of Jeanine Kitchel and her husband who left the rigid drive of their Silicon Valley jobs in order to pursue a more relaxed life and fulfilling life in Mexico. Despite various conflicts and diverse upsets (including the Mexico government's seizer of their land by eminent domain and a category-5 hurricane), the Kitchels' finally succeeded in building a home, and eventually traveled into the depths of the Yucatan to see Mayan ruins for themselves. Where The Sky Is Born is a genuinely engaging combination travelogue and autobiography of following one's dream "down Mexico way".
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Having recently bought some property in Puerto Aventuras I bought this book to learn about a fellow Gringo's experience in buying and building in Mexico. WOW!!! Not sure I would have bought had I read this first. But she does give an exceptional summary of dreaming of living on the beach in the mid 80s and the number of years and twist and turns it took to accomplish her goal. In addition to all the information on what not to do and on the construction business climate (or lack thereof) in Mexico she provides an entertaining story of achieving her goal. And, while I'm watching a hurricane track onto my property this weekend, she forewarned that this is a constant issue and even gave insight into how potential damage could be avoided.

While not included in the book I must editorialize that the climate in Mexico has changed drastically for foreigners buying ocean front property and one should not be near as worried as in the past. However, it is still a "cowboy" climate where buyers should beware. I have seen property sold where the owners cannot build unbeknownst to them and I've seen zoning issues strangely held up. Values of land on legal documents are rampantly understated to save taxes for the seller to the point of sellers refusing to sell if the buyer doesn't agree to this fraudulent practice. And, finally, do government officials tend to have their hands out for bribes? While I have not seen this I do hear stories. On the positive side, the people of Mexico are quite charming and the influx of a large European population makes for an interesting mix of neighbors.

Maybe the author will update her book for her recent history. I Googled her name and found a bookstore she started and later sold. She is still in Mexico and still loving it. If you want an interesting history of buying property in Mexico that is both entertaining, funny and educational, I strongly recommend this book.
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