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frito

Dec 13, 2009, 6:33 PM

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Pedestrian Friendly?

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I've read that San Cristobal de las Casas has pedestrian only streets in it's center and that's where much, if not most of everything of interest is found. Since Mexican cities tend to be much more pedestrian oriented than car-centric American cities, I'm wondering which are the very best for those who would prefer to do without a vehicle, either walking or using a bike? I would imagine that towns like Guanajuato or Taxco, while very beautiful, would be very strenuous to walk in daily. And Zacatecas's altitude might be hard on older folks too. So I'm thinking that the very best would be compact, with mild temps, and fairly level in town, reasonable altitude. Where most everything needed would be reasonably close, with only an occasional bus or taxi ride to an outlying mall, etc. Does San Cristobal take the prize?



yucatandreamer


Dec 14, 2009, 4:51 AM

Post #2 of 49 (8264 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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I spent last May in San Cristobal and it was cold and rainy very much like Vancouver or Seattle. I loved it but I was escaping daily 108 temperatures here in Yucatan. I spent Christmas a few years ago in San Cristobal and have never been so cold. This mostly was because the inside of the inexpensive hotel was colder than the outside. I would not say that it is a temperate climate. Further the walking streets are geared to the tourist trade in San Cristobal and you find little that you would need in a daily life. They are great for people watching or stopping for an overpriced coffee or ice cream. For daily life you need the mercado or the one pitiful little mall with its Chedraui. It is a fairly long trip to Tuxtla which is the nearest city of any consequence. There are people on this board who like Tuxtla but I think it is one homely place with a lot of traffic.

Personally I could not imagine living full time in San Cristobal de las Casas. It is teeny and almost too cute. It is more of a tourist attraction in the midst of abject poverty than anything else that I can think of. The local mercado, which is a thriving vibrant authentic place, is wonderful. The Chiapan countryside is beautiful, the litttle bitty children chasing you to sell tacky souvenirs is heartbreaking, the shopping for trinkets enjoyable. If I lived without a car in San Cristobal I would go stir crazy very quickly and unless your Spanish and your skill at language learning is excellent you would be quite isolated and on your own. And frankly, you might be quite isolated and on your own anyway.


Gringal

Dec 14, 2009, 6:25 AM

Post #3 of 49 (8249 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Check out the Lake Chapala area. Around 5000ft. elevation, year around sunshine, no freezing winter and villages from Chapala to Jocotopec strung along the lakeside. Hottest months hit the nineties, but mostly springlike weather.
Some of the villages are funkier than others, but all are easy walking (well, yes, there's those cobblestones, though).
Plenty of facilities. Jocotopec is more intensely Mexican; Ajijic more gringoized. The Big City (Guadalajara) is about an hour away, complete with international airport.

There're all fine places to live year around.


frito

Dec 14, 2009, 8:21 AM

Post #4 of 49 (8210 views)

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Re: [yucatandreamer] Pedestrian Friendly?

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I spent last May in San Cristobal and it was cold and rainy very much like Vancouver or Seattle. I loved it but I was escaping daily 108 temperatures here in Yucatan. I spent Christmas a few years ago in San Cristobal and have never been so cold. This mostly was because the inside of the inexpensive hotel was colder than the outside. I would not say that it is a temperate climate. Further the walking streets are geared to the tourist trade in San Cristobal and you find little that you would need in a daily life. They are great for people watching or stopping for an overpriced coffee or ice cream. For daily life you need the mercado or the one pitiful little mall with its Chedraui. It is a fairly long trip to Tuxtla which is the nearest city of any consequence. There are people on this board who like Tuxtla but I think it is one homely place with a lot of traffic.

Personally I could not imagine living full time in San Cristobal de las Casas. It is teeny and almost too cute. It is more of a tourist attraction in the midst of abject poverty than anything else that I can think of. The local mercado, which is a thriving vibrant authentic place, is wonderful. The Chiapan countryside is beautiful, the litttle bitty children chasing you to sell tacky souvenirs is heartbreaking, the shopping for trinkets enjoyable. If I lived without a car in San Cristobal I would go stir crazy very quickly and unless your Spanish and your skill at language learning is excellent you would be quite isolated and on your own. And frankly, you might be quite isolated and on your own anyway.

I grew up in central Florida, have lived in southern Mississippi, McAllen, TX, Eagle Pass, TX, and Bullhead City, AZ. I've also lived in very cold climates in Connecticut, Kansas, and Colorado. Spent a year in Seattle also. As long as it isn't like Seattle all the time, or gets as cold as Kansas, I'll take it over the boiling hot. Merida sounds like a great place but I scratched it off the list due to year'round hot weather. As a native Floridian I know how thin blood can make temps in the 40's seem very uncomfortable. But the main idea behind my post is to find comparably sized cities that have as good amenities and may be even better for fulltime living. And San Cristobal may be ideal for many of the reasons you cited. It does get tourists, so I won't stick out like a sore thumb. It does have alot of cafes, has a Cinepolis multiplex, has the great Mercado, and a good bookstore, one of the best for English language books in Mexico, although I'm sure that's not saying alot. From what I'm reading there are many cultural events happening. Between all that, the scenery, having wi-fi, a Kindle from Amazon, satellite tv, I think I can stay busy. And I hope to walk at least a few miles every day, which would get very old in heavy traffic, especially with less stringent emissions laws. And I like that my income, such as it is, is being spent in an area where it might do more good. I like the location of Ciudad Victoria, but I think isolation there would be intense, and it's hot too. But I'll definitely look at San Cristobal from your perspective when I visit. Thanks!



frito

Dec 14, 2009, 8:27 AM

Post #5 of 49 (8208 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Check out the Lake Chapala area. Around 5000ft. elevation, year around sunshine, no freezing winter and villages from Chapala to Jocotopec strung along the lakeside. Hottest months hit the nineties, but mostly springlike weather.
Some of the villages are funkier than others, but all are easy walking (well, yes, there's those cobblestones, though).
Plenty of facilities. Jocotopec is more intensely Mexican; Ajijic more gringoized. The Big City (Guadalajara) is about an hour away, complete with international airport.

There're all fine places to live year around.

I've always thought that area sounds nice but I think may be a bit too expensive for me. Same for San Miguel, Cuernavaca, and Puerto Vallarta. Any opinions on San Luis Potosi as a walker's haven(and for a poor gringo?)?



Hound Dog

Dec 14, 2009, 9:42 AM

Post #6 of 49 (8186 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Well, since I live in both San Cristóbal de Las Casas and on Lake Chapala´s north shore, splitting my time about half the year in each, maybe I can help a bit on the question of which place is more pedestrian friendly. We also often visit Merida where we actually intended to move before we chose San Cristóbal instead, primarily because, while we love Merida as a town to visit, we could not tolerate the climate there which we find intolerable most of the time. We also spend a bit of time in Oaxaca City each year so here is Dawg´s personal rating in order of pedestran friendliness:

1) Ajijic
2) San Cristóbal de Las Casas
3) Merida
4) Oaxaca City

That was fun but there are a few things to keep in mimd:
The listing assumes that one resides in or near each community´s central core and near cheap public transportation. Where one resides in any of these places is the key to pedestrian friendliness. For instance, I only rate Ajijic at the top because I live in the village in the flats on a local bus line and also because Ajijic has an excellent lakefront that makes for fine strolling. San Cristóbal might be the winner except that it is a difficult place to stroll in during the city´s wet and somewhat chilly summer rainy season when the poorly constructed, impossibly slick sidewalks become very hazardous. As we live in centro next to what another poster calls the city´s mercado and I will refer to as the huge indigenous market, when it comes to shopping for food and grocery items, San Cristóbal wins hands down. We also find it convenient to walk from our home there to the city´s historic plaza known locally as El Jardin and its environs. Since we moved to San Cristóbal, they have opened more pedestrian-only streets in the historic center which makes the city even more attractive. I just can´t get beyond that rainy, cold summer down there where the rainy season is serious business and the sidewalks dangerous and prone to flooding so we spend our summers at Lake Chapala and winters in San Cristóbal. As for weather between these two places; when the weather is good in the winter in San Cristóbal it is splendid - crystal clear air at 7,000 feet and beautiful blue skies after morning valley fogs with mid-day temperatures normally in the 70s or low 80s +in the sun. The climate in San Cristóbal, however, has a tendency to change with clouds rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico. Now, Lake Chapala is the easy winner among my four favorite places when it comes to weather with almost consistently beautiful springlike weather in the 70s and 80s. In fact, I don´t even mind the hot months since we live in an area that stays cooler even during the hot months of April and May. As for the other two cities, Oaxaca is also at around 5,000 feet but it seems to get hotter and dustier than Lakeside so I would personally rate Lakeside´s climate at 5,000 feet as superior and I won´t even rate Merida since it is way too hot and steamy. We spent too much time in Mobile and New Orleans to ever go for steamy, sultry cities again.

All four of the places I listed have different positives and negatives and Lakeside and San Cristóbal are very different places as most of you know. In the final analysis, if it were not for Merida´s awful climate (in our opinions) that would be the place we would be living today somewhere in the historic center within walking distance of the main plaza. Merida and Oaxaca City are both pedestrian friendly big cities and both are mostly flat in their historic centers. Oaxaca, however, is a bit frenetic and noisy with anarchic traffic and one does not wish to tempt fate when crossing the street there where the bus drivers rule.

One other thing. One may not absolutely have to have a car in any of the cities I mentioned. However, if a had no car at all and were judging places to live on the basis of not having one, San Cristóbal would win hands down. When we drive down there from the lake, we park the car in our garage and hardly ever use it except when we drive out of town. Just about any place in the city one would normally visit is in a rather compact area and San Cristóbal, which has a population of about 150,000 people, boasts very cheap taxis (a ride anywher in town in a non-metered taxi is $18 Pesos) and cheap combis are ubiquitous.

Finally, San Cristóbal is now only a 45 minute ride or so from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital, since they opened the new autopista down the mountain. Don´t let the negative opinions of others put you off when it comes to Tuxtla Gutierrez which is a city of between 600,000 and 1,000,000 people. While the traffic can be intimidating if you´re not used to the place, it´s not nearly as bad as Oaxaca traffic and the city is a true tropical boomtown at 1,300 feet with many very good restaurants, good shopping opportunities and a fun tropical ambience. Unlike Oaxaca, where Dawg has had a number of bad restaurant meals, I have never had a bad restaurant meal in Tuxtla.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Dec 14, 2009, 10:06 AM)


Hound Dog

Dec 14, 2009, 9:58 AM

Post #7 of 49 (8181 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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I've always thought that area (Lake Chapala) sounds nice but I think may be a bit too expensive for me. Same for San Miguel, Cuernavaca, and Puerto Vallarta. Any opinions on San Luis Potosi as a walker's haven(and for a poor gringo?)?

San Luis Potosí is a fine walker´s town if you live in the historic center of that large industrial city. The city center has a number of very attractive pedestrian-only boulevards in its core . There is some beautiful colonial architecture in the city center and a number of very nice restaurants and eateries. I really haven´t priced housing there so cannot comment on that. As far as shopping is concerned, I suspect you would need a car or a taxi to go shopping since the city is pretty spread out. The city is a high desert city surrounded by one of the most beautiful deserts I have ever seen but the city is also very spread out so without a car you would be pretty much stuck in your neighborhood.

The cheapest big city I am familiar in Mexico with is Tuxtla Gutierrez where you can rent or buy a nice home fairly cheaply and the city is way nicer than most realize but I wouldn´t live there without a car.


Gringal

Dec 14, 2009, 11:44 AM

Post #8 of 49 (8160 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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The question is: how poor is poor?
Suggest you try going to the online real estate sites of some of the places you are interested in, and you'll probably be surprised at how low the low end is. For instance, in the Lake Chapala area, you can find a nice rental for $400 and under, often including utilities. So....let your fingers do the walking. Good Luck.


Rolly


Dec 14, 2009, 12:13 PM

Post #9 of 49 (8149 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Pedestrian Friendly?

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$400 dollars or pesos?

Rolly Pirate


Hound Dog

Dec 14, 2009, 1:00 PM

Post #10 of 49 (8136 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Pedestrian Friendly?

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The question is: how poor is poor?
Suggest you try going to the online real estate sites of some of the places you are interested in, and you'll probably be surprised at how low the low end is. For instance, in the Lake Chapala area, you can find a nice rental for $400 and under, often including utilities. So....let your fingers do the walking. Good Luck.


An interesting point, Gringal but allow me to complicate things further. In cities such as San Cristóbal de Las Casas, it is not customary to even use real estate agents and/or property management people to sell ot rent a home. If you use a real estate agent in a town like San Cristóbal or seek to purchase or rent property over the internet you will pay a substantial premium for any property for which you contract. The only rational way to purchase or rent long term a property in a city such as San Cristóbal is to physically go the the place, find a temporary rental in which to live and pound the pavement. This is what my wife did in 2005/06 to find a purchasing opportunity and it took her months to identify an attractive buy. She speaks Spanish. If you don´t speak Spanish in a town like that, your task is further complicated.

People in truly Mexican cities and towns with limited foreign influence do not typically use real estate agents or internet advertisements to buy or rent a home so if you go that route, I promise you you will be assessed a heavy "gringo tax" for closing the contract. Even if you pound the pavement you will pay some foreigner´s opportunity tax and that is a given. No way around it unless you use a front man you trust implicitly.

What kind of difference am I talking about even if you are a good negotiator? Well, I can tell you that the home we refurbished from a basic ruin in that city´s historic center - but not classified an historic colonial structure - would sell, according to Mexican friends in the business down there, for a good 75% more to a foreigner than a Mexican and we could have made a profit selling to a local Mexican buyer. Now, folks, I am talking about the foreigner who goes down there and pounds the pavement. God help the person who buys on the internet.

Here is what is beautiful about this. It is a win-win for all concerned. The Mexican seller gets far more than s/he thought s/he would for the property and the foreign buyer from a place such as the U.S. gets a deal s/he couldn´t dream of getting for a like property in the U.S. Everybody leaves smiling. Even with the current slump in U.S. real estate values this is true because no matter what you pay for the property, you win. I, of course, won´t tell you what we invested in our San Cristóbal property except that it was a modest investment but I will tell you this; the investment was in the low six figures as is the incremental value today on the market. In the U.S. we would probably pay several thousand dollars a year in property taxes and in San Cristóbal the annual property tax we pay is the equivalent of $25USD. And, I might add; the municipal services we purchase annually in Chiapas for $25USD are at least as good (actually better) as the services we paid for in Sonoma County, California, the year before we left there in 2000, for $5,000USD.

All this having been said, we did not move to Chiapas to save money but because it is a fabulous place both physically and culturally. Incredibly beautiful, endlessly interesting for its diverse culture and edgy enough to keep you alert and entertained. A fine place.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Dec 14, 2009, 4:10 PM)


frito

Dec 14, 2009, 7:06 PM

Post #11 of 49 (8073 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Can't ask for better info than that! I think San Cristobal is what I'm looking for. I had been looking at Xela, Antigua, and Panajachel but the safety issue in Guatemala made me leary. Kept seeing references to San Cristobal while researching them, finally got curious. Was expecting a Zapatista powderkeg waiting to go off but it looks like that's no longer an issue other than a way to sell souvenirs. Thanks again!


Peter


Dec 15, 2009, 2:30 PM

Post #12 of 49 (8026 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Those of of who live in Morelia always have good things to say about living here, the weather, cultural activities, easy walking access to everything if you live in the Centro. But we don't generally encourage anyone to come here to stay, we like things just as they are. 'Nuff said.


Oscar2

Dec 15, 2009, 3:39 PM

Post #13 of 49 (8015 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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The climate in Morelia, while the wife and I were there for about two weeks through most of November was wonderful. Pedestrian friendly is the operating word. Why, because the sidewalks in El Centro are four lane highways, like I’ve rarely seen in 8 other big cities traveled. It’s cosmopolitan in flavor and has an antiquated beauty you can feel larger than life itself.

More important, getting around town, transportation is dirt cheap and accommodating. Taxis are all over the place and they don’t try and stick you like in some other cities, which I won’t mention. Accommodations, when searched are very reasonable and restaurants are all over the place. Needless to say, I will go back.

There are other cities which didn’t provide what I needed or looked for but I’m not one to disparage/trash these cities nor try to negatively impact their tourist trade, it wouldn’t be fair to newbie’s visiting MC nor the good people of that city.

I will support the honesty of Peter and the sense of where he is coming from because I just returned from a two week stay there and not only did the weather open its arms but so did some of the people I met there.



The photo shows how these large sidewalks seem small when dwarfed buy large structures that have been there for ages. It’s a proud city that somehow speaks to you when you actually spend some time with it.


(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Dec 15, 2009, 3:45 PM)
Attachments: A small piece of Morelia-1.jpg (136 KB)


tashby


Dec 15, 2009, 3:45 PM

Post #14 of 49 (8009 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Querétaro should be on the list, too.


frito

Dec 15, 2009, 4:08 PM

Post #15 of 49 (7997 views)

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Re: [Peter] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Your reply made me laugh! Don't worry, I'll keep to where the riff raff are tolerated, although other than being poor I'm pretty normal, in a boring kind of way. :)


Hound Dog

Dec 15, 2009, 6:22 PM

Post #16 of 49 (7979 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Your reply made me laugh! Don't worry, I'll keep to where the riff raff are tolerated, although other than being poor I'm pretty normal, in a boring kind of way. :)

Frito:

You sound like someone who perceives civic boosterism rather quickly and for that I commend you. Neither Morelia nor Queretaro even remotely fulfill the characteristics of towns you seek. Both of those cities have splendid historic centers but those districts are not practical as residential enclaves inviting daily pedestrian activities among residents. Both cities have beautiful colonial plazas but the cities themselves are spread widely over rolling hills not inviting to residents prone to strolling in leafy neighborhoods within reasonable distance from those pompous plazas. Aim for smaller, more compact urban areas or cities with a more human touch. You could live in Morelia or Queretaro amidst hundreds of thousands of other people and be more isolated than if you were living in a bubble.

By the way, we considered Queretaro as a place to settle although Morelia was never in the running or in the least bit considered. As it turned out, Queretaro is a bit of an expensive place to live and has a personality reminiscent of Fresno.
Morelia, as Guadalajara and Puebla, which are much nicer cities, has a "second city" syndrome. That´s why you always hear from denizens about their "fabulous" symphony orchestra and great cultural advantages.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Dec 15, 2009, 6:33 PM)


Peter


Dec 16, 2009, 8:02 AM

Post #17 of 49 (7925 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Your reply made me laugh! Don't worry, I'll keep to where the riff raff are tolerated, although other than being poor I'm pretty normal, in a boring kind of way. :)

Frito:

You sound like someone who perceives civic boosterism rather quickly and for that I commend you. Neither Morelia nor Queretaro even remotely fulfill the characteristics of towns you seek. Both of those cities have splendid historic centers but those districts are not practical as residential enclaves inviting daily pedestrian activities among residents. Both cities have beautiful colonial plazas but the cities themselves are spread widely over rolling hills not inviting to residents prone to strolling in leafy neighborhoods within reasonable distance from those pompous plazas.


__________

Don't worry, I'm rather poor and boring myself, even a bit of riff-raff but find I'm fairly well tolerated here. I see I've attracted an ankle-biter with a Sonoma County pedigree. As I'm just a mutt from Vallejo my standards should be expected to be somewhat lower.

I live near a bosque with acres filled with tree-lined, criss-crossed sidewalks with playgrounds and sidewalk vendors about two blocks down from me so I've never felt a lack of those leafy neighborhoods, though I have to pass in front of Plaza Morelos to get to it.

I'm kind of on the edge of downtown, I have to step around some other tiny little park that has nothing more than a bust of some educator, who I can't think of his name or why he's so important, then cross the street to actually be in the Centro. At that point I'd be standing in front of some other little park with a fountain and have to decide to turn left and go through Plaza Morelos with his huge horse-mounted statue in middle of everything to go toward that bosque, or go straight, down some long-assed pedestrian-only calzada, again with those leafy trees alongside, just to get to the even bigger Las Tarascas fountain at the head of another of those danged pompous plazas I'd have to cross just to get to the downtown shopping areas.

It's a lot of walking without much change of elevation, miles worth, to try to get to all those darn plazas and the rest of our grand cultural advantages like Morelia's own version of the Philadelphia Phreakin' Philharmonic, but Houndog is right, I can see those homes on top of those rolling hills all around me where those folks are probably sipping margaritas and looking down at where I live among these blasted historic centers, glad they are not lost amidst the thousands strolling the streets, like myself, wondering if it's worth it, the declining dollar that if it gets much worse I could find myself paying almost $200 a month to live in this second city hell hole.

So sorry I got carried away with my civic boosterism in that earlier post, this town is just not a good fit for everyone. I'll have to just stick to something like, Morelia: Love it or Shove it!


(This post was edited by Peter on Dec 16, 2009, 8:19 AM)


Hound Dog

Dec 16, 2009, 10:33 AM

Post #18 of 49 (7895 views)

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Re: [Peter] Pedestrian Friendly?

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The more you scratch that itch the more it itches, Peter.

The inquiry was which urban zone in Mexico provides the most pedestrian friendly access. You have needlessly expanded the goal of the inquriy.


Oscar2

Dec 16, 2009, 11:11 AM

Post #19 of 49 (7879 views)

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Quote
Neither Morelia nor Queretaro even remotely fulfill the characteristics of towns you seek.



If you listen to this guys recommendations prepare yourself because in close to 5 years of listening to his verbosity, he has condemned Ajijic as being the worse city, in Mexico with a cesspool the crazies in his community like to believe is a lake. He’s very good at denigrating, antagonizing, condemning, destroying, and trashing anything at will pending what side of his rumpled bed he falls out of and more. Don’t take my word for it, just check out his posts about Ajijic a couple of years back and let it speak for itself.

What is puzzling and even a bit imbecilic is after all that condemnation, he now turns right around, posts it as number one on his best city list, which now sounds like he’s trying to sell Ajijic. He’s mentioned time and time again he’d like to get the hell out of there, perhaps he’s changing his tune conveniently to dump the place on some none suspecting buyer. You’ll never know what’s happening with this guy, he vacillates every which direction and to keep up with him, well, forget it, he’s a paragon of contradictions which I find totally exhausting.

Please excuse my forwardness but when someone denigrates a city, he indirectly includes the good folks that live their and possible visitors that may elect to visit when they read his posts on MC. I wouldn’t normally talk about someone like this unless they are unconscionably being malicious and harming a whole city with a mouth that has only driven buy, not stayed in Morelia, and only stopped long enough to gas-up…… sheeesh

We here at MC who have been around a few semesters, some of us unfortunately cope, because when he’s not antagonizing, denigrating and more, he can put down some good stuff but like a big spoiled kid, he can, and is a bully who trollistically thrives on dominating the forum. He has been barred for life from other forums and he still can’t fathom why…... go figure.


Peter


Dec 16, 2009, 11:56 AM

Post #20 of 49 (7861 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Pedestrian Friendly?

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My normal impulse for such inquiries is not to respond but as I'm seeing another year about to pass with my car and motorcycle both getting older and having more cobwebs than miles and my Hush Puppies in need of a retread I had a fleeting urge to make mention of this town where I've deposited that shoe leather, or neoprene as the case may be.

While some visitors speak enthusiastically of their visit here many of the residents prefer to keep rather tight-lipped perhaps wishing not to disturb the balance that keeps this place somewhat of a private paradise they selfishly wish to keep to themselves. To some extent I'm willing to share but don't make a practice of shouting about it, too loudly.

It seems many that come here to stay find homes up in the hills overlooking the city or off in more exclusive neighborhoods impossibly far to put to foot and arrive easily to those places that hold some real charm. It therefore should be no great mystery to me why some folks come to an entirely different perspective about life here. Excessively hilly and tree-barren has not been my experience at all. I felt compelled to respond. It also begs the question, did someone piddle on your Birkenstocks here?


(This post was edited by Peter on Dec 16, 2009, 12:01 PM)


frito

Dec 16, 2009, 5:48 PM

Post #21 of 49 (7804 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Well gee guys, didn't mean to start a shootin'match! In fairness to Hound Dog he was only listing Ajijic number one in terms of being pedestrian friendly. I remember reading here back in the 90's and Jennifer Rose was very positive about Morelia. Thanks Peter, will check it out. It may be bigger than I'd prefer but won't know until I visit. One thing I really like about Mexico is there's literally something for everyone. Many countries I've researched often only have one or two cities that I'd be interested in. I enjoy road trips, and living in some countries would require leaving the country to travel safely and find anything of interest.


mevale

Dec 16, 2009, 8:28 PM

Post #22 of 49 (7769 views)

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Quote
Neither Morelia nor Queretaro even remotely fulfill the characteristics of towns you seek.




We here at MC who have been around a few semesters, some of us unfortunately cope, because when he’s not antagonizing, denigrating and more, he can put down some good stuff but like a big spoiled kid, he can, and is a bully who trollistically thrives on dominating the forum. He has been barred for life from other forums and he still can’t fathom why…... go figure.


Hell Oscar, do as I do and just ignore his posts. I'll read some of the shorter ones, but when he starts out with those faux-Faulkner seven hundred word run-on sentences, I click my way out as fast as I can. Besides, I already know the two endings of the longer posts....we either end up with (number one), some stale, re-fried stories about being a young man in Alabama, or (number two), how the same boy ends up on the mean streets of the San Francisco banking world pullin' fast ones on them there city boys. The shark was jumped many years and thousands of postings ago.


ken_in_dfw

Dec 16, 2009, 9:05 PM

Post #23 of 49 (7750 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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One thing I really like about Mexico is there's literally something for everyone.


Completely agree with that, Frito. I've checked out most of the Latin American countries. And although some of them have some pretty fantastic assets, I haven't found any that match México for pure range of culture, geography, history and experiences.


Vichil

Dec 17, 2009, 8:39 AM

Post #24 of 49 (7697 views)

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Re: [frito] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Hi

The main streets of the center are being transformed into pedestrian streets only, so the two main axes of the historical center are for pedestrians only. They have quite a few retaurants (Calle Real De Guadalupe) and tourist shops. We walk them to go from point A to point B through town and most people who live in the historical center do the same. If you want to see or find someone it is where you go in the evening as many locals stroll the area and have coffee or hot chocolate and cakes there in the evening.

The main shopping is not done there. We do all of our shopping at the Municipal Market and go to Tuxtla´s Plaza Crystal when we want something upscale. There is not much need to go to Tuxtla for eveyday things as you can find pretty much anything in the area surrounding the Municipal market. ( You can walk there or take a combi)

The first year I lived there I walked everywhere I needed to go and used combis and buses to go pretty much everywhere I wanted to go. One time I hired a driver to take me to a place that was extremely remote but that is about it. We live there 6 months of the year and rarely use a car. The only time we use a car is to take trips to explore far away areas. When in town we walk and use cabs , for less then 20 pesos a ride you can go anywhere in the city and they are plentyful.

There are quite a few small events going on pretty much all year round and some nice concerts and musical events. They have two to three cinematecas where you can get a room and have private a viewing of any film you like for about 20 pesos a person. There is a movie house at the Chedraui Mall playing whatever is playing in Tuxtla..There are quite a few mini book fairs and art shows and gatherings at houses here and there.

We never get bored while there so whether something is going on or not depends on what you like to do and what you know and who knows you. (I am not speaking of the foreign population).

There is a small group of expats who get together on and off as well .

The climate is cooler then Ajijic more like Patzcuaro. The weather will change greatly during the day from cloudy to sunny to foggy to rainy not necessaraly in that order.

My least favorite month is May as it is usualy cold and rainy but you can always go to Tuxtla if you want warm and humid... I would rather turn on the propane wall heaters or make a nice fire in the fireplace. The warmer months are March and April.
November, December and January are cold and usually dry, uncomfortable if you do not have a fireplace at night and in the morning. The rest of the winter varies but when the sun is shining which is oten the sun is very hot. you can be freezing when walking in the shade and too hot when walking in the sun while walking on the streets.

In the summer the rains come early afternoon and bring in cool weather afterwards. July can have two or three weeks without rain but not always.

The only constant in the weather down there is change so be ready for everything except great heat. I love the early mornings in the winter with frost and brisk air with bright blue skyies, it all depends on what you like.

Unless you have a physical condition the altitude does not affect you much after the first few weeks, we walk a tremendous amount while we are there and got used to the altitude very quickly, it all depends on the people.

Guanajuato is a wonderful town but I remember being there in February with very cold weather and pouring rain so there is no perfect climate anywhere. Zacatecas is known for its freezing cold winds and so on. As far as the altitudeis concerned, go whereever for a couple of month and you will find out how it affects you.

The good part about San Cristobal is that the town is in a valley so the whole place is flat except for 3 hills where you do not have to climb. I live on one of them and I found a way to go there without going through the steep part too so that is no problem.

Two things about the walking ouside of the pedestrian areas, the sidewalks are narrow and vey slippery when wet as they are made out of very worn laja.

Many young people and workers ride bikes in San Cristobal. The parking is problematic so walking or biking (if you have the nerve) is the better option.

One necessary skill if you want to really enjoy life down there is understanding and speaking Spanish or you will cut yourself from a lot of activities.


(This post was edited by Vichil on Dec 17, 2009, 9:19 AM)


Vichil

Dec 17, 2009, 8:57 AM

Post #25 of 49 (7689 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Pedestrian Friendly?

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Gringal

How poor is poor?

Good questions, I find out that my housekeeper in Ajijic is way worse off than many indigenous living around San Cristobal. Many of the indigenous still live like they have lived for centuries and have a roof over their head, a piece of land with their milpa that supplies a lot of their needs, chickens, ducks ad so on. Some get remitances from relatives in the US and aid from the government as they show no income, no jobs etc.. Whatever cash they get is unaccounted for so it is very difficult to evaluate how much cash they have or need. I can tell you that many indigenous who come to sell their goods to the market come in their pickups and that often I have found myself the only person on a combi full of indigenous women without a cel phone.

I really believe that some of the locals in Ajijic do not have it as good as some of the poor people selling on the street in San Cristobal.

I used to go to an internet cafe in San Cristobal teaming with small kids who went there to spend the money they had earned shining shoes and selling chicklets. It was pretty strange being surrounded with small kids speaking and fighting in Tzotzil while playing computer games. I have yet to run into that kind of crowd in AJijic.

My neighbor is a midwife and her son is a gynecologist and their fees are higher than the hospitals around, yet the place is full at all times with women from Zinacantan who come and have their babies there. Many of the mestizo women cannot afford the place..who is poor in the neighborhood?

Just because kids are selling on the street does not mean they are starving at home do not be fooled by this. Sometimes they are but many times they are not.

I am not trying to say that Chiapas is not poor but many times things are not as they appear to be.


(This post was edited by Vichil on Dec 17, 2009, 9:24 AM)
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