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redtop316

May 1, 2009, 2:20 PM

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Retiring in Yucatan

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Hola, everyone,
Newbie here...have been lurking, perusing the posts, clicking on links...trying to find info on moving to the Progreso area. I found some posts from 2002, but not much that was current. Are there many ex-pats in that area? I have surmised that the Merida area has quite a few ex-pats, but that it also seems to be too much "big city living" for my taste. Are there affordable small towns in that area? We are looking for a laid back, simple life-style, preferably close to the water.
My companion and I have focused on the Yucatan for several reasons. The two most important are: We are both from Florida and like the fact that it's just a hop, skip, and a jump to Tampa to see the kids. The heat and humidity won't bother us. And we like the fact that we can freight forward our household goods easily (I hope). We are both artist...I'm a potter, he paints. His art supplies are no problemo...mine, however, are another story. Pottery wheels, kilns, clay, glaze chemicals, etc....a thousand pounds and more.
What say you all??? Am I just dreaming?...could this be a reality???
I have really enjoyed all the info, wisdom, and humor found on this forum. A special thanks to Rolly...a wealth of good information, so un-selfishly shared. And Georgia...thank you for the thread about "passing"...my curly red hair and green eyes will never blend! But tell me it isn't true! I need to bring my make-up and heels???
Thanks for any info.
Redtop316 (Cher)



La Isla


May 1, 2009, 3:26 PM

Post #2 of 27 (13026 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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But tell me it isn't true! I need to bring my make-up and heels???
Thanks for any info.
Redtop316 (Cher)


I haven't owned a pair of heels, well ever, and no one seems to care, at least in the D.F. The little bit of subtle make-up I wear would never hardly pass muster here, and again, no one notices or cares. The important thing is to be yourself and learn the language, especially if you fancy living in a smallish town in the Yucatan.

Buena suerte, Marsha


Hound Dog

May 1, 2009, 4:15 PM

Post #3 of 27 (13020 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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OK, Redtop, here goes:

First of all, unless I am mistaken, forget the hop/skip/jump to the west coast of Florida but that is no big deal. In my judgment, you will soon get over that need so the fast return to Florida will soon become extraneous.

We have lived in Mexico for over eight years and have visited most parts of the Yucatan Peninsula many times - at one point with the possible intention of moving there - either to the Merida area, the adjacent Gulf Coast or Southern Quintana Roo near Lake Bacalar. We decided against that peninsula because we are not fond of the excessive heat and humidity thereabouts and we also found the peninsula to be a bit of a scrubby and unscenic flat and undistinguished land except perhaps in the southern part approaching other parts of Southern Mexico and along certain coastal corridors. This limitation you will have to decide for yourself. For us, the best parts of the peninsula are:

Gulf Coastal areas from east of Chicxulub to Isla Holbox. Puerto Progreso in an industrial port with some nice if rundown and overpriced beach houses. Only recommended because of its proximity to Merida which ain´t that nice, frankly. This area east of Progreso is primarily an area of poverty stricken fishing villages facing a hurricane ravaged coast. Extraordinary. Rustic. Woebegotten. Mysterious. Beautiful deserted white beaches and marshlands and aquamarine if somewhat turbid seas. Don´t look for intellectual stimulation here unless your fluent Spanish regional dialect is quite polished and you can converse in and understand the regional humor and insights of rural village folk. If you are not conversant in regional humor you can live there for a million years and never be accepted. There is not a major supermarket nor sophisticated food nor furniture outlet for countless kilometers over back roads that may prove impassable after major hurricanes which are not uncommon.

Perhaps the area around Tulum on the Caribbean or down the coast to Lake Bacalar, fascinating areas of great beauty but also lonely places for Americans where you will be isolated from your previous life. Be prepared for that fact which suits some of us just fine but drives others among us insane.

Interior Yucatan outside of the big city of Merida or the crass Cancun torist commercial strip (not including the city of Cancun itself) is an acquired taste so move there with the alternative to leave when you have had enough.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 1, 2009, 4:18 PM)


RickS


May 1, 2009, 8:17 PM

Post #4 of 27 (12997 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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Try posting on http://yucatantoday.com/en/forum


redtop316

May 1, 2009, 9:16 PM

Post #5 of 27 (12993 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Retiring in Yucatan

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Woof, Dawg! Well needed bite in my bubble...we artistic types are known for our "pie in the sky" pipe dreams. After sharing your post with my companion, we thought...well, maybe Mexico isn't for us and we should look around L.A. (lower Alabama). But post that conversation, I remembered why we considered Mexico to begin with...we both lost our posterior in the stock market and our health insurance. Stock market we can deal with...we have some income. But one catastrophic illness would wipe that out! Can't afford to live in my own country anymore. We're both in our '60's, good health, but you never know. I don't understand why USA is so afraid of socialized medicine! Everything else is...fire dept., police dept, library, public school, etc. What is it that made all of you expats leave the country? I'd really like to know. I want to leave out of need...and I think that's a terrible reason!
Am I naive to search for Utopia? One issue that's a deal breaker...I need to be able to have my pottery equipment shipped there...I need, not want, to do my art. I love the tropics...can't get too hot for me. Lived in Key West for years and never remember complaining about the heat (no air, either). But, Dawg, I have been to Cancun many times...and yes, the countryside is deplorable! You made me remember the little huts we passed, in our air conditioned bus, with the cow and the burro in the one room with the family (although, they did have a TV antenna). I find myself at a crux of a dilemma.
I need some sage input. My head is spinning! I take constructive criticism well, so fire away.
I rarely drink, but tonight may be the exception...in the words of a friend..."I only drink when I see a snake, and therefore, I keep a handy supply of both at hand".
Redtop Cher


Hound Dog

May 1, 2009, 9:51 PM

Post #6 of 27 (12990 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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Look, Redtop:

You sound to me like the kind of U.S. retiree we need down here so I hope you don´t feel I was trying to discourage you. We might have retired in L.A. (Lower Alabama) ourselves except for the fact that we had relatives on my side already living there for whom we have no use at all and then considered France where we have family we really like but the weather there sucks most of the year so our goal is to spend a month or so annually in the summer there while living in the highlands of Mexico the rest of the year and figure that´s enough Europe for anyone. We chose the highlands versus the coasts because of our love of the indescribably wonderful year round climate thereabouts at lvels from around 4,000 to 7,000 feet but that´s just us.

I may have mislead you with my description of the Gulf Coast of the Yucatan which I think is a great place so I guess my describing the place as poverty stricken and isolated and a bit decrepit and mysterious may have lead you to believe that I was disparaging the place. That was not my intent. I am quite fond of places that may seem to have no value to folks in general which is why when my wife and I first got married we lived on a splendid bayou just off of Mobile Bay in a shack we shared with giant cockroaches and river rats and then we moved to Oakland, California which is a pleasant if greatly misunderstood urban zone so, as should be clear at this point, we find tremendous value in places others may avoid and the Yucatan Gulf Coast is right up there at the top of my list.


Hound Dog

May 2, 2009, 8:16 AM

Post #7 of 27 (12966 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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But, Dawg, I have been to Cancun many times...and yes, the countryside is deplorable! You made me remember the little huts we passed, in our air conditioned bus, with the cow and the burro in the one room with the family (although, they did have a TV antenna). I find myself at a crux of a dilemma.
I need some sage input. My head is spinning! I take constructive criticism well, so fire away.
I rarely drink, but tonight may be the exception...in the words of a friend..."I only drink when I see a snake, and therefore, I keep a handy supply of both at hand".

Redtop:

It has taken us a while to realize this but the folks inhabiting the litte one room huts with their cow and burro deep in the Quintana Roo outback may be better off in a number of ways than the folks on the air conditioned bus passing by.

We just returned from spending a week in an ancient indigenous village in Oaxaca State as guests of those folks and, while that village is certainly more prosperous than many settlements in Quntana Roo, I don´t think I would spend a lot of time personally suffering over the poverty you spot in passing in Mexico much of which is not as it seems.

We live about half the year in Chiapas, the poorest state in the Mexican union and have made many indigenous friends there. Many we know work endless hours and are not well-to-do financially to say the least. Appearances may be deceiving however, and that is the lesson of Mexico for us. I don´t wish to sound as if I am oversimplifying things or minimizing the ramifications of poverty but Quintana Roo ain´t Kolkata.




(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 2, 2009, 8:18 AM)


Jim in Cancun / Moderator

May 2, 2009, 10:04 AM

Post #8 of 27 (12950 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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Hi, Redtop.

It is good that you are getting opinions from other people but remember what they say about opinions! Letting other people share their experiences should help you make your own decision but not dictate it.

The more people profess to know, the more likely it is that they don't. I am, of course, the exception! LOL NOT!!! Search other message boards too and get opinions from other expats. Part of the problem here is the lack of a lot of people posting and you are quite specific about the area you want to go to.

I would suggest you
1.- check out the really great "Moving to Mexico" stuff here on http://www.mexconnect.com/en/articles/3144-living-working-retiring-in-mexico-index-page and you will get an experienced, down-to-earth idea of what it is like to move to and live in Mexico. Reading everything on that link should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking of moving to Mexico but I always recommend http://www.mexconnect.com/en/articles/1883-mexico-s-a-breeze especially to start with. Reading all of this info will be invaluable.

2.- Ask just some general questions at other expat boards like a couple of Cancun and Riviera Maya ones:
http://www.mexconnect.com/en/articles/1883-mexico-s-a-breeze
and
http://www.cancunassist.com/newforum/viewposts.cfm
where you will find people who live in these areas who can give even more common-sense tips based on their experience.

Hope this helps.
jim


S & C

May 2, 2009, 12:01 PM

Post #9 of 27 (12933 views)

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Re: [Jim in Cancun] Retiring in Yucatan

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I agree with much of what the "dawg" has said as well as with Jim.
I live half the year on the beach just north of Tulum and really enjoy it. This area is growing fast and property is now out of the reach of many but there are still good buys if you want to live in town or even out a few kilometers on the road to Coba.

I was not at all enamoured with the gulf coast. It has quite a lot of US and Canadians buying and moving there and again it is now out of reach for some people.

Your best bet is to spend some time down here and travel around to see where you might want to settle.
A lot of people like the inland mountainous areas for their climate, culture and beauty. We chose the coast because that is what we like best.

Keep looking into things and good luck,
Stan


mcm

May 2, 2009, 12:13 PM

Post #10 of 27 (12930 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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There's a wealth of on-the-spot information in the Yolisto site -- a community site, including forum, that focuses on northwest Yucatan, especially coastal areas (www.yolisto.com). You will find answers to many of your questions, since many of the posters actually live in the area.
Merida Insider (www.meridainsider.com) is another source (the site was just resurrected after a major hacking incident).

One thought -- Tampa may appear to be a hop-skip-jump from Yucatan, but direct flights to the US are limited to a Continental flight between Merida-Houston, at the moment. There are more direct flights to-from Cancun, if you decide on the Caribbean coast.

Also -- there are options other than Centro Merida (big city living) or the Gulf Coast -- there are many neighborhoods in Merida outside of Centro, and many smaller settlements (comisarias) outside the city proper, but still within easy driving distance, and on city bus routes.


(This post was edited by mcm on May 2, 2009, 12:20 PM)


raferguson


May 2, 2009, 2:36 PM

Post #11 of 27 (12911 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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No one has mentioned my favorite town in the Yucatan, Valladolid. Not a big city, peaceful, far enough inland that the hurricanes are not a huge threat, lots of history. The town has a very nice, small town feel, but is big enough to have all the services. Very few gringos.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


redtop316

May 2, 2009, 2:45 PM

Post #12 of 27 (12912 views)

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Re: Retiring in Yucatan

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Wow! You guys are great! I don't feel so alone now in this endeavour. My thanks to all of you. Keep the info coming if you're so inclined. Hound dog...you seem to be the voice of reason on this forum. I appreciate your candor. Marsha...glad to know I can enjoy a casual lifestyle...I'll only bring one pair of heels for those special nights with my guy! I am taking spanish classes and practice on my dogs...yo tengo pequina perra...is that correct? And uh...where's DF? RickS & Jim in Cancun...thanks for the links. Very helpful. S & C...We are planning a trip to look around. We were coming down the middle of May, but need to see what goes on with the Swine flu. MCM...I have found out that we can get a flight to Cancun (direct from Orlando) for $138.00 US and then take the bus to Merida. Thanks for the link to Yolisto forum...just what I needed, although I could have done without the picture of the scorpion!
Buenas tardes, ya'll
Redtop Cher


Jim in Cancun / Moderator

May 2, 2009, 3:19 PM

Post #13 of 27 (12906 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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Mexico Distrito Federal (like Washington D.C.)=Mexico DF or just DF. You should also know that when you are in Mexico and say "Mexico" you are referring to DF and not the country. Example: If you are in Merida and someone says they are going to Mexico, it means DF.

As far as "yo tengo pequina perra" I would say "tengo una perrita".


raferguson


May 2, 2009, 10:03 PM

Post #14 of 27 (12875 views)

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Re: [Jim in Cancun] Retiring in Yucatan

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It is very confusing, because depending on the context, Mexico could have many different meanings.

1. Country of Mexico
2. Mexico city metropolitan area.
3. The federal district (DF)
4. The state of Mexico, much of which is a suburb of the federal district.

However, the last three all are in the same area, so when you see a sign with an arrow that just says "Mexico", you know that you are headed for the Mexico City area.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


La Isla


May 2, 2009, 10:11 PM

Post #15 of 27 (12874 views)

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Re: [Jim in Cancun] Retiring in Yucatan

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Mexico Distrito Federal (like Washington D.C.)=Mexico DF or just DF. You should also know that when you are in Mexico and say "Mexico" you are referring to DF and not the country. Example: If you are in Merida and someone says they are going to Mexico, it means DF.

As far as "yo tengo pequina perra" I would say "tengo una perrita".


In Spanish you say, "el D.F.", so in English I say "the D.F.".

I agree with Jim that "tengo una perrita" is the best translation; to indicate something or someone is little, when you mean affection as well as size, it's very common to add a diminutive suffix like "ito" or "ita" instead of using a word that means small, such as "pequeño" or "chico".

Good luck with your plans, and keep your questions coming!


Papirex


May 3, 2009, 11:00 AM

Post #16 of 27 (12841 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Retiring in Yucatan

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“Calling México City the “D.F.” is kind of a misnomer and it will mark you as an outsider in, or near the city. Not all of México City is in the D.F., The city has grown out and some of it is in México State. My wife is from Mexico City, D.F., and while we have relatives all over The Republic, many of them live in México City. At least two of her aunts live in sections of the city that are not in the D.F., but are in México State.


Certainly calling México City the D.F. Will not confuse anyone, but it is not usual in the city, or the closer you are to it. None of my wife's family or my wife ever refer to México City as the “D.F.”, but just as “México.” We used to live there and I never once heard any resident call it the D.F., newcomers, sometimes, permanent long time residents, never. México should be pronounced as though it had a heavy English letter H in the center instead of an X, thus: Meh hico. The original Spanish spelling of the name is: Mejico. The Spanish J is usually pronounced like a heavy, throaty English letter H.


I pronounce it that way myself, I never say México City, or the D.F. It seems a little strange to type México City instead of simply México when referring to México, the city, but I know that many readers do not live in this country or near México, the city. My wife and her mother go to México City once per month to pay bills and take care of family business. If someone calls for her on the phone, or rings the doorbell, I simply say “Doris es en México, regreso Lunes, Martes, etc. (will return Monday, Tuesday, etc.)


Richard Ferguson is right, on the few occasions that you see a road sign that simply says “México”, it indicates the direction to México City.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Hound Dog

May 3, 2009, 1:38 PM

Post #17 of 27 (12828 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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Redtop:

I regret that your post regarding retiring in Yucatan got diverted into some banal semi-intellectual discourse among cloistered word-monks of how sophisticated people refer to the anarchistic megalopolis commonly referred to about the world as Mexico City which, of course, has nothing to do with anything and much less your inquiry regarding the Yucatan Peninsula which is as removed from the Mexico City conurbation as Oughagadougou is from Beijing.

[edited by TB to remove irrelevance]


(This post was edited by tonyburton on May 3, 2009, 3:56 PM)


Hound Dog

May 3, 2009, 5:27 PM

Post #18 of 27 (12802 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Retiring in Yucatan

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Edited by TB to remove irrelevance

How disrespectful can one get.

Actually, my wife has been telling me I´m irrelevant for 38 years and the problem I have with that is that I tend to agree with her.

I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode where the the guy fires Kramer and Kramer says, "You can´t fire me because I don´t really work here ." and the guy says, "That´s what makes this so difficult."

Dawg is on the floor.




(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 3, 2009, 5:33 PM)


Hound Dog

May 3, 2009, 6:02 PM

Post #19 of 27 (12793 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Retiring in Yucatan

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I am quite fond of the Yucatan Peninsula and, therefore, have spent way too much time driving about that place and probably would have moved to some place on that peninsula if it were not for the fact that my wife, after having spent two years in Mobile after having been raised in Paris, has decided that she does not desire a life centered on mildew and humidity and corner-dwelling poisonous spiders and tree roaches and seriously dangerous snakes and giant river rats and moss brained natives walking around going "Howyudoin`" when they don´t really, in fact, care how the hell you are doing but in five minutes would consign you to the mud-pits of Mobile Bay to become crocodile food and here is what I have to tell you folks. When we were kids and swimming along the shores of the Santa Rosa Sound near Fort Walton Beach during the August season they told us that the sea was full of dangerous "Man of War" jelly fish and other despicable sea creatures who migrated up from the Yucatan Peninsula during the hot season and intended to sting us to death and I have never forgotten those warnings and now all those people are dead even though they were never even once stung senseless by those Yucatan monsters and that is the fate of us all.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 3, 2009, 6:07 PM)


redtop316

May 4, 2009, 11:18 AM

Post #20 of 27 (12756 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Retiring in Yucatan

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Hound Dog...
Having lived in Florida for over 30 years, I am well aware of the beasties and uglies (corner-dwelling spiders, poisonous snakes, moss-brained locals,etc) that I will also find in the Yucatan. I've been bit by a scorpion...I lived. I've been stung by Man-o-War, twice...I lived. I've seen roaches big enough to stand flat-footed and do bad things to dogs. I can deal. Hell, even lived next to a pig farm once...now that's a treat to the olfactory senses! Hurricanes? I'll take them any day over the quakes I felt while living in Hayward, Ca. I lived ON the Hayward Fault...literally. Then young & dumb, brand new to Ca.,I couldn't believe my good fortune to find such a nice farm house for so little rent but also not understanding the implications of the dried up creek bed five foot from the back of my house...Yup, THE fault. My faith in terra firma was squashed. With hurricanes, at least you get some warning...they do have warning systems in place, don't they? How often do they take a direct hit on that coast? Can't be much worse than Florida, right? Especially since they don't have those hurricane magnets called trailer parks. I don't plan on buying a house for a while, so if one hits, what the hell...it's a rental.
Redtop


cookj5

May 4, 2009, 2:45 PM

Post #21 of 27 (12736 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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Redtop- Why restrict yourself to Yucatan/Quintana Roo? If you like beach and hot/sweaty weather, take a look at Mexico's west coast. There are hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, secluded coves, big beach cities like Puerta Vallarta, and small funky beach towns like Melaque. Unlike Yucatan/Quintana Roo, the beaches (at least in the southern half) are backed up by dramatic coast range mountains with hiking and waterfalls etc. One of my favorites is Manzanillo, a busy seaport which is also a low-key resort town, with smaller, quieter beach towns north and south. Just over the coast range is Colima, a very modern and very clean small city that is surrounded with villages producing wonderful folk art. Further inland is Guadalajara, a large, very old, and still beautiful colonial city. All great places to visit and explore when you are a west coast beachie.

Another thought: you and your partner are both artists. I don't know about the artist community in the Yucatan/Quit. area, but the Lake Chapala area about 30 miles south of Guadalajara has more artists than sticks to shake at them. Same for San Miguel Allende in Guanajuato state. Neither are beach areas (Lake Chapala might qualify) but your day to day life might be enhanced by association with folks of similar mind. And much more likelyhood of getting the art supplies you need.


roni_smith


May 4, 2009, 4:29 PM

Post #22 of 27 (12725 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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There are many expats who live in Progreso and neighboring coastal towns. They have been having monthly social events for some time.
------
Planning for Mexico Move Blog



Ponkito

May 5, 2009, 12:02 AM

Post #23 of 27 (12701 views)

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Re: [roni_smith] Retiring in Yucatan

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Quote
Calling México City theD.F. is kind of a misnomer


Quite right. Those in the know refer to it as the "DeFectuoso"


(This post was edited by Ponkito on May 5, 2009, 12:03 AM)


sandykayak


May 5, 2009, 9:34 AM

Post #24 of 27 (12672 views)

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Re: [redtop316] Retiring in Yucatan

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When I read redtop's retort (look at all those "r"s!) to the dawg, I thought, "She'll fit in just fine!"

Cher, can't make out where you are living right now? I'm in Miami (FL).

She specifically mentions the east coast of Mexico because it's closer to family in Tampa. They also believe that the cost of transporting their personal items will be a lot cheaper. Hmmmm the Yucatan Express never DID get back into service again, did it? Last time I checked (3 or so years ago), they were waiting for certain ports (Progreso was one, I believe) too be deepened.

Sounds as if you need to take an extended vacation and check things out. You might want to check out Xalapa (north of Veracruz) ..I've never been there, but have read quite a bit. I believe El Gringo Jalapeño has a website...and it might be on my list of URLs.

Being close to a large town or city can help stave off feelings of being isolated. Plus, puts you nearer airports in case you need to rush home for a family emergency.

If you (or anyone else) cares to email me directly from their emails, i'll be happy to forward a long list of URLs from my own research.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


redtop316

May 5, 2009, 11:08 AM

Post #25 of 27 (12666 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Retiring in Yucatan

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Oh no, Sandy! I was not aware that the Yucatan Express was no longer in service. Oh well...back to the drawing board. That's the problem I'm running into...outdated info on the web.
Thanks for the tips on other towns to check out when we visit.
I'm just north of Tampa, and my companion is in the Orlando area.
Would love to have you send me some URLs: cgauvin001@hotmail.com
Have a good week, all. I'm off to Virginia for the week and won't have access to a 'puter. I'll respond back to any messages when I return home.
Redtop
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