Living  |  See all articles tagged question retiring or in region Chapala Ajijic, Jalisco

Mexico: sex, schools and automobiles

Karen Blue

Dear Blue:


"Is there a Spanish Language school in Ajijic?" LK

There are no Spanish Language Schools in Chapala or Ajijic. There are several in Guadalajara and in other major Mexican cities. I recommend the Spanish Language School in Guadalajara. They have 5-hour per day intensive language programs with very small classes and excellent instructors.

They can help you with accommodations. You might try living with a Mexican family for a total immersion experience. It actually costs less than simply staying in a hotel or B&B and you learn Spanish! I did that for four weeks last June while my house was being remodeled. It was a wonderful experience. There are several good tutors available Lakeside and various Spanish classes are offered through the American Legion, the Lake Chapala Society and private instructors.


Dear Blue:

"Does one still have to register [their car] at the border every year as a condition of the FM3 renewal?" A&TR

No. Recently, a law was changed (or reinterpreted) which allows you to keep your car here as long as your FM3 visa is current. So, as long as I renew my FM3 annually, my car kind of tags along for the ride. Thank god. I promised I'd never make that round trip between California and Guadalajara again -- let alone annually.

Dear Blue:

"You mentioned Mazda car parts? Are you saying, don't bring my 626 if we do move there?" TS

I brought my Mazda MX6 with me. Mistake. I can't get parts for it either Lakeside or in Guadalajara; so I bring them down when I come or beg my friends to bring filters, etc. when they visit. The mechanics down here are absolute geniuses. Mazda quoted me almost $200 to replace my side-view mirrors last month, and I had them fixed down here for only $4.00. My Mazda is also too low for the many topes (speed bumps) on the roads. And, of course, there's no market for selling it here.

My advice is to get a Ford, GM, Volkswagon or Nissan if you bring your car down. You don't need a four-wheel drive, but it's nice to have a high-riding vehicle and one that's not too wide or too long. If you do bring your Mazda down, make sure to purchase the big repair manual that comes with that particular model. With that, and the appropriate parts, the mechanics can do almost anything.

I wouldn't buy a new car down here because the taxes are outrageous. If you want a new car, get one in the states and bring it down. Be aware though, that it's next to impossible to avoid your car getting dinged or scratched here; on the other hand, it's very inexpensive to get it fixed.

Dear Blue:

"Is there any advantage to having an American plated car over a Mexican plated car? What about car insurance?" LM

Good question. There are lots of different opinions on this one. My car insurance is much cheaper because I have American plates than it would be with Mexican plates. Go figure.

If your American plates expire here, no one cares, unless you drive back into the States. If your Mexican plates expire, they care. Some folks say that with foreign plates, you may be hassled more by the police , but I don't believe it. Well . . . they did take my plates away completely for a parking ticket, but that's another very long story.

The Single Life (This is the sex part!)

Dear Blue:

"What's life like for single women there?" DM

Ah, so now we really get to the woman's perspective. Well, first of all, if you're coming down here looking for a man... don't. There's a local saying that applies, "If the men aren't married, they're either gay, ninety or gone by Sunday." That being said, life is pretty nice for single women down here. It's safe. My social life is much better than it was in California where everyone was so busy with their careers that they had no time for anything else. My friends include couples, gay and straight men and women, Mexicans and Gringos. People are looking for comaraderie so it's easy to meet new friends. And, there are so many activities, that you really have to choose to be alone.

Yes, of course, people still do find each other and I've even heard of a couple of marriages; but, ladies, you should have better reasons for coming here than trying to find a man. On the other hand, if you're a man reading this who is straight, under seventy, and single, you'll have a harvest of ladies to choose from!

And finally,

Dear Blue:

"I just found your articles for June and July. What a great job! That's all really... just wanted to thank you for your effort." RF

This is one of many examples of the kind words I've received which makes this column fun for me.

Thank you.

Published or Updated on: September 1, 1997 by Karen Blue © 1997
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