Dec 18, 2009, 12:06 PM
Post #39 of 49
Peter, A few comments about how I ended up in Cuernavaca. I first started visiting México in 1974 when I was living in Brownsville, Texas on the Mexican border. There were no narco gangs or high crimes in the border areas in those days.
After I returned to my home state of California, I migrated to Alaska to work on the trans-Alaska pipeline for one year. One year turned out to be several decades. I met my Mexican wife up there in Cordova, Alaska, she was in The US legally with a visa. One of the first things she told me when we discussed marriage was that she didn't want to become an American citizen, and she didn't want to spend the rest of her life in The United States. I told her that I had been to her country, I liked it, and after my retirement we would live in México, so here I am.
My wife Doris' late father was an American from Texas, and she has many relatives that live in The US legally, some of them are US citizens either by birth or naturalization. She also has a couple of aunts and uncles that are Canadian citizens by naturalization. She comes from a truly international family, but she loves her own country most of all. I love my country too, but I have done a lot of traveling in my life, and I don't care where I live as long as I am happy.
After our marriage we made many more visits to México. I had been all over this country before moving here. Doris comes from a very large, middle class family, they live all over México, although México City, DF is her hometown. When we were first married she told me if I wanted to meet her whole family I would need to rent a stadium.
That was a black lie. There isn't a stadium in México big enough to hold her whole family. Whenever we are driving on a trip and we pass by a city or town, she will usually say something like “I have an aunt, uncle, or cousins living here.” When we first moved to Cuernavaca one of the first people we ran into here was one of her cousins, the next person we ran into was an uncle.
When we first moved here we lived in México City in her mothers apartment. It is a privately owned apartment, but there is no parking there. I used to pay $400 Pesos per month for parking in a nearby estacionimiento. I have forgotten the exchange rate then, but $400 Pesos was equal to about $60 or $80 US Dollars then.
We both wanted to move out of México City. It is a wonderful place, but just too huge. Often we would leave our car at home and take a subway. We could get across town in maybe 20 minutes versus 1 ½ or 2 hours in the car, and no parking hassles when we got to our destination. I will say that although I like México City very much, every time I get a chance to not go there now, I take it.
My wife thought I would like Ajijic because of all the English speakers there, I like Ajijic but I never wanted to live there. We both knew about the great climate in Cuernavaca, it is much warmer in the winter here than in México City and of course, she has some relatives here. We moved here about ten years ago. No regrets, it is perfect for us even though very little English is spoken here, I adapted very quickly.
There are very few, almost no, English speakers in any stores, restaurants, government offices, banks etc. here. If an English speaking employee is available, they usually speak English so crudely that they are not understandable. With my crude Spanish, I sometimes resort to the point and grunt method. I never ask for a menu in English in a restaurant. Sometimes if I want to try something new, I will point to something on a menu and say “numero cinco por favor.” They understand that. The proximity to México City is no advantage at all, except that my wife and her mother go there after the first of every month to take care of family business.
We do enjoy going to the beaches on the coasts in the winter only. We are only about 3 or 3 ½ hours from Acapulco by car here, it is our favorite beach city and we have some friends that own a nice Mexican hotel there. We can get a two bedroom suite with a living room/cocineta on a terraza for about $40 US Dollars. Each bedroom has two double beds and a private bath. We can always get reservations no matter how busy they are on any holiday.
It appears to me that many of the people planning to move to México are looking for a perpetual vacation. There is no such thing. Life is life, no matter where you live. One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is to come here in the winter and immediately buy a house because of the nice, warm weather.
On the last trip we made here before my retirement, we went over to Acapulco for a week. When we were getting ready to leave I was putting on long pants for the first time in a week. It was January 4th and it was 84º F. If it was 84º in January, imagine what it is like in August.
Any time a person lives where there are a lot of NOB retirees, prices will always be higher, not much, but measurably higher. There are not many Americans or Canadians in Cuernavaca. I don't discourage anyone from moving here, but I don't encourage them either.
With luck, we will all find our place in México. I have found my place.
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo