Mexico Connect
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Aug 21, 2006, 11:28 AM

Post #76 of 92 (31634 views)



Re: [Rolly] Introduce yourself

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Kate here, from Cairo Egypt, where I've lived since 1982 and currently work in web communications at the American University. I recently bought a home in La Paz, BCS, and plan to move there in spring 2007. I was born in and grew up near Akron, OH but have been a full-time expat for 27 of my 59 years. (If you count Cambridge, MA as foreign territory, as many US residents apparently do, make that 31/59).

As a former Club Med employee in the '70s, I lived and worked in Greece, Switzerland, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Morocco, and Turkey. Later travels have taken me to numerous countries on all but two continents, South America and Antarctica. I speak fluent French, broken colloquial Arabic, and bits of other languages that sneak into my attempts at Spanish dialogue. This mix 'n' match also works contrariwise (I said "sí" on the phone to my mechanic the other day).

My first visit to Mexico was in July '75 to a Club Med somewhere between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta that I believe no longer exists. My second was in May 2005 to La Paz, first stop on my retirement-scouting itinerary. It was exactly what I was looking for. I loved every moment of my two-week stay despite very limited "survival" Spanish plus being alone and not knowing a soul. Now I'm planning my fifth trip this fall to organize Phase 2 (or is it Phase 5?) of home remodeling. As I try to explain to friends and family, La Paz has nearly all the positive characteristics of Cairo without the negatives. Apart from missing folks here, I don't anticipate major adjustment issues other than logistics of the actual move, which I dread, and organizing my finances. Otherwise, I'm ready for the change and looking forward to it with delight.

My BA is in literature and MA in teaching English as a foreign language, but my work experience and aspirations (if any) lie elsewhere.

I have a rather incongruous love/hate relationship with this forum and others that I'll get over at some point. Mostly it's because my "living in the USA" mindset is stuck somewhere in the mid-'70s. For example, I had to google for a definition of "big-box store".

Saludos desde el Cairo,



Sep 4, 2006, 12:05 PM

Post #77 of 92 (31549 views)



Re: [not_ally] Introduce yourself

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Hello from Amber
experiment with the ALT it and type in a'll be surprised what you get.
...160 á
...130 é
161 í
...162 ó
...163 ú
...173 ¡
168 ¿
...129 ü
64 @
and the list goes on...hope this helps
What we see depends mainly on what we look for. (John Lubbock)


Sep 6, 2006, 7:08 PM

Post #78 of 92 (31462 views)



Re: [blue] Introduce yourself

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Just joined again after a long intermission :)
I just turned sixty-two this August and I am divorced with three grown children doing well and two grandchildren also doing well.

I just retired this January after working for the Federal Gov. for many years. I live now in Kentucky and own a small farm that once was an Amish farm. When I moved here I had no electricity, telephone or central heat. I lived all winter that way staying warm with wood fired stoves and lighting with kerosene lamps. Now I have most of the amenities; indoor plumbing, electricity, telephone, but still heat with wood fired stoves.

Do to my work I lived in Europe for several years and got to visit most of the western countries like Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy (where I got my purse snatched), England and others. I loved every moment of it.

I lived and worked on the border at Nogales USA, for years and then moved for a better job to Virginia.

I have traveled a little in Sonora Mexico and love the little town of Alamos. My Spanish is crude, but I am determined to learn to hold a conversation in Spanish one day. The evening I arrived in Alamos I meet most of the Ex-pats as they were having an inpromptu dinner at my hotel after a cocktail party at one of their houses. I was swept up into their conversations and the feeling of good cheer as we ate beside a large fireplace with a nice warm fire. I felt as though I had been there before and I belonged there somehow.

I plan to make a trip to Lakeside this coming winter to see if that is the place for me. I have heard many nice things about it from people who had visited there.

I like a little adventure in my life, Mexico's culture, its history, and language are facinating. So many of the towns are laid out so well, with plazas, parks and mercados. So much to learn so little time.

Thanks to all for sharing your knowledge and experiences with new comers like me, it is such a blessing.


This is my address for my Mexico blog a work
in progress.


Sep 17, 2006, 2:04 PM

Post #79 of 92 (31353 views)



Re: [Rolly] Introduce yourself

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I'm primarily a lurker on this board. I learn so much more than I can contribute out of my own meager experience.

I was a comparative literature major in college (such a valuable degree!). I was taking lit classes in German and French, but if I wanted to go further with studies in those languages, I needed to spend a year or two studying in Germany or France. Unfortunately, I was financing my own education and I couldn't afford to go. However, I could afford a 6 week immersion course in Mexico. I decided that I wanted the immersion experience, even though Spanish was outside of my field of study. I took an accelerated beginning Spanish course for a year, then I traveled to Xalapa, Veracruz in the summer of 1982 for the immersion course. I also spent a couple weeks in Mexico City and Oaxaca City.

Like another poster, I was blown away by the fact that Mexico is right next door to the U.S., and yet I knew nothing of its amazing culture. I was totally smitten. I experienced a little of everything that summer: fiestas, medianoches, burros, paleta vendors, 2nd class buses, the now defunct train, Mexican time, Mexican color and zest. I also experienced the downside: poverty, the poor pregnant serving girl at one house who cried into the dishwater, giant mounds of dirty suds in a remote mountain stream, people living in cardboard shanty towns surrounding Mexico City drawing bright green water from a ditch that received the effluent from several factories.

Unfortunately, when I returned to the U.S., it was time to get on with life (and repay my student loans.) Not unfortunately, I got on with my life, married, found a job, had a couple kids. I wanted to spend a year or two living outside the U.S., but that never happened. We have a middle class life that is fairly typical for families in our area. Because of that, I decided to take a draw on the kids' inheritance and show them something of the world, so that they would know that there is life outside Springfield, OR. We have been to my husband's ancestral village in Slovakia, to Poland and the Czech Republic. We've also been to Mexico twice, most recently this summer.

I doubt I will end up living in Mexico--we'll probably divide our time between the U.S., Central Europe and Mexico when we retire in less than four years. But we will spend a lot of time there, I fervently hope. Travel represents freedom to me. Mexico is the place where I had my first glorious adventure. I look forward to many more.

In Reply To


Sep 19, 2006, 2:26 PM

Post #80 of 92 (31274 views)



Introducing Myself

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I guess that, after all the lurking I've done and all the useful information I've derived from this forum, it is time for me to introduce myself. My name, as my ID makes no effort to disguise, is Don Merwin. I do not consider myself an old Mexico hand, although I have been visiting s.o.b. for about 30 years and have made trips there more or less annually.

In 1983, my wife Judith and I lived in San Miguel for three months. One of the results of that stay was my meeting John Howells with whom I wrote CHOOSE MEXICO which we are currently updating for a Tenth Edition.

We continue to be proud of that book which we believe has been good both for Mexico and the many retirees it encouraged to move there. The first edition asserted, on the basis of much on-site research and extensive polling of people retired there, that a couple could live comfortably on as little as $400/month. In the book we stated that prices and other information could be quickly outdated and urged readers to seek a newer edition,if the copyright date was more than a few years old. Nevertheless, we still hear from critics who ask how we can be telling people that they can live on $400. Actually, we adjusted that figure upward in the very next edition and continued to do so in each subsequent one until we decided that there is no one size fits all budget figure and ceased endorsing any minimum.

But enough about that and back to me: I started out as writer for Edward R. Murrow, went on to writing speeches for several New York mayors, doing community relations and administration for a variety of health and human service agencies, and, as a health planner, trying to bring some sense to the U.S. health non-system .

After our return from Mexico, my wife and I started Gateway Books, specializing in guides to travel and retirement for over-50 readers. About a dozen years was enough of that and we were happy to find as a purchaser a larger publisher which wanted to to acquire and extend our list.

Judith and I are now enjoying retirement in Oakland, California, held there by our overwhelming desire to spend as much time as possible with our three kids and seven grandchildren. Nevertheless, life would be incomplete without trips to Mexico each year, varying in length from 2 to 4 weeks. We have many friends in San Miguel, despite the attraction of other places such as Oaxaca, we are always drawn there for at least part of our stays.


Sep 19, 2006, 8:15 PM

Post #81 of 92 (31231 views)



Re: [Rolly] Introduce yourself

Hi all,

I don't know why I haven't posted on this thread before now. It's certainly lively and proves my theory that people who would consider uprooting themselves and living in foreign lands and with other cultures make the most interesting and amiable friends and neighbors!

I am 45 and a gay male living in standard-issue American suburbia just outside of Dallas. My partner, Mike, is a few years older than me and thinking much more about retirement than I am at the moment. We don't easily fit into many labels. We consider ourselves progressive in outlook and open to diverse cultures and experiences, but we are also fiercely proud of our conservative Southern upbringings (or maybe that should be, fiercely proud in spite of our conservative Southern upbringings?! - I always get that mixed up). Anyway, we are Arkansas boys and the old saying is still true, 'you can take the boys out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boys.'

We can be boring homebodies with the best of the long time married couples - but are also open to traipsing down unexplored back roads on a whim or celebrating with newly found friends. We love good cuisine and think that good Mexican food is a divine experience. (Tip - if you ever find yourself in Puerto Vallarta, run, crawl or beg your way into El Repollo Rojo - The Red Cabbage. The chiles en nogada are the closest thing to heaven on earth.)

I speak butchered Spanish, which I am striving mightily to improve. I actually have a degree in Spanish from St. Louis University and could speak the language passably when I graduated, but, like all things, it's use it or lose it. I am working hard on using it with the construction crews who are currently helping us remodel our kitchen and den.

Mike and I are keeping an open mind as to retirement and possible new homes in Mexico. We have a list of locations that we have or would like to visit. Most of them are in central Mexico, such as Zacatecas, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Morelia and Puebla. Although we love spending time in Puerto Vallarta too. I think what has attracted us most to Mexico has been the people. Our families and friends NOB look at us like we're crazy when we tell them that we can never find the peace or relaxation that we find as soon as we set foot on Mexican soil.

We genuinely appreciate the wisdom, warmth and humor we have gleaned from reading Mexico Connect. I hope you all appreciate the tremendous wealth of community found here.

Enjoy the ride,

Ken Howard
Carrollton, Texas, USA


Sep 19, 2006, 8:51 PM

Post #82 of 92 (31219 views)



Re: [kenhjr] Introduce yourself

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Welcome Ken, sounds like you will enjoy this place. My mother was proud to be an Arkansan, she was from Magnolia. I can't say I have fond memories of those annual trips in the summer to visit the relatives. I've always been rather grateful to the Japanese for making my birth in California possible.

So, do you like your cornbread sweet or not and with white or yellow cornmeal?

Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán


Sep 19, 2006, 9:52 PM

Post #83 of 92 (31208 views)



Re: [sfmacaws] Introduce yourself

Well, Mike would say, without hesitation, "unsweet."

I would also say, "unsweet," but with the proviso that the buttermilk he insists upon for the cornbread requires a pinch (and if you're from the South, you know what a pinch is, if you're not, it requires a Southern grandmother to show you) of sugar.

We would both say white cornmeal.

Interestingly, we both would insist on white cornmeal for our tortillas, as well. We abhor flour tortillas. But that's probably another thread all of its own.


(This post was edited by kenhjr on Sep 19, 2006, 10:03 PM)


Sep 24, 2006, 1:38 AM

Post #84 of 92 (31090 views)



Re: [kenhjr] Introduce yourself

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This is a great thread, and I have enjoyed reading everyone's story. Me, I'm a 52 year old musician, trumpet player and music teacher, living in Chicago, married 20 years to a mexican woman, Eva, and we are planning on moving to Xalapa in about a year. We just got back from a three week vacation in Veracruz state, and I am applying for a job at the University of Veracruz in Xalapa. I really think there would be a lot of opportunities for me there and we made some valuable connections both in Xalapa and the puerto. I have loved Veracruz for the last ten years when Eva's mom moved there from DF, the music is fantastic, the food is terrific, the ambience unparalleled. We have always agreed that we'd move to Mexico eventually and the time apparently has come. Especially if I get a job we'd leave in a second, but even if I don't it will come to pass soon. I love Xalapa and Veracruz, and music is a very respected career in Mexico, teaching even more so. (Since I am a teacher here in Chicago everyone in Veracruz called me "maestro" which is kind of cool).

Michael McLaughlin "el bolillo ranchero"


Sep 24, 2006, 11:32 AM

Post #85 of 92 (31041 views)



Re: [trpt2345] Introduce yourself

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Here I go with my first post on this board! I have already learned so much from Mexconnect and Rolly's site has become our bible.

My husband, Randy (52) and I (42) are in the process of purchasing a home in Manzanillo. He has never seen it and has never been to Manzanillo. How's that for a leap of faith on his part??

We have been married for 23 years and have 2 daughters ages 22 and 19. One just graduated from college with a Spanish/business major and the other is in college, also a Spanish major. We fell in love with Mexico after taking several vacations there. We wanted something on the west coast, and as much as we love PV and Zihua, they were a little too pricey and a little too touristy for us. My oldest daughter and I took a trip to Manzanillo this past August, just to look around and see what the housing market was like. We ended up finding exactly what we wanted and now have an offer pending. Every hour or so I have an internal freak out when I think about what we've done!

We are both originally from Minnesota but have been in Green Bay, Wisconsin for 10 years. Hubby has also lived in Los Angeles and New Zealand, but that was before he met me and settled down!
Randy was a radio announcer for 30 years and now sells advertising for a TV station as well as running his on on-line radio station ( I have been the store director for a large supermarket for the past 10 years, but have been in retail/customer service my whole life. We have worked hard and saved well and one day just said- let's move to Mexico! We haven't decided when or how, but as the temperature starts dropping here in Green Bay, I think it might be sooner than later. I hate that it is cold here so many months of the year and overly air-conditioned during the only hot days we get. I want to live near swimmable water and a beach you can enjoy.

Friends and family are divided into two camps- one group says we're crazy and gives us all their fears about Mexico. The other group wants to go with us and are jealous that they aren't doing the same thing.

I have enjoyed reading this board- it is helping me understand what we are getting into. I'm sure you will be hearing alot from me in the future. Thank you for having this forum available.
Follow my blog:

(This post was edited by karfest on Sep 24, 2006, 11:50 AM)


Oct 5, 2006, 3:59 PM

Post #86 of 92 (30933 views)



Re: [Rolly] Introduce yourself

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I didn't have much of a chance to lurk. So if you want to know about me you'll have to go to the places where the newbies go. I let most of it hang out there because it was a practice forum.
I don't have any sexy face shots to offer (even if I did I don't have any way to post them) so about the only way you can see me is to google on "Sierramel". I'm spread all over the internet from all the years I spent using my llamas guiding tourists through the central Sierra Nevadas. There's also some older ones from when I was still backpacking.
This will sound more like a personal ad, but you asked for it......

I'm 55, short, and blond. I can sit on my braid. If I want to. Sometimes I do just because gravity sucks. I wear trifocals. I clean up pretty nice. When I'm in shape I can still hike 12 mile days in 10,000 to 12,000 foot terrain.
I have a husband, but he's not interested in Mexico at all. And I'm not interested in staying where it can get to 20 below zero in the winter - about 75 miles due north of Mt. Whitney- and he's not interested in giving up telemark skiing. We're not sure either one of us wants to live in the same house with each other anymore. I've spent 26 years living in a small ski resort 2 hours from the nearest "large" town Carson City, Nevada.
Small towns, big counties, large mountians.
He's not looking for a date - neither am I.

So, here I am at Mexconnect, living with a Widowed cousin in The Valley(!).
I decided I wanted to work on a road and car camping trip to some place in Mexico in my 4X4. And with any luck, before I keel over. It might be nice to live there in another year.

Is there a format somewhere around here that matches passengers up to rides? Yes, I know about hooking up online with strangers. My mama taught me about strangers when I was 6, and I've met a lot of people through forums geared towards particular subjects. But that was for backpacking, and this is for Mexico.

I lived in Acapulco for several months with my 1st husband, and his buddy when I was 20 and they were 22 in '69/'70. The two of them had lived in Acapulco before I met them, after they arrived in California.
We drove down through Nuevo Laredo in a '54 chevy. They had the prior experience, and I was along for the adventure. We came back by bus through TJ.

I really liked the place although I know Acapulco is not what it was when I was there:
The bullfights, the beaches, the Zona Roja (what fun!), the little old guy in a loincloth who used to dive for oysters out in front of the Hilton and sell them by the plate to the rich folks. Rum and Yoli, at a street corner table on the main drag. Living a one 1 room, 2 bed walk-up (Amueblados Sevedra) with a bathroom, hot and cold running lizards on the ceiling, and dinner included (mussels and rice) - all for $65 us a month. The palm trees, the Canadians, us riding around in the mexican local buses.

Times change though.
It seems, from all my reading, that places around Lake Chapala, like Ajijic would be more to my liking these days. I've collected books up to my eyeballs about camping in Mexico, living and retiring in Mexico. I've read them to death. I have maps, and plotted routes. I've been warned about hurricane damage, bandits, the elections. I've been given advice as to where to go and why or why not to go there or that way.

I forgot to mention I have a sense of humor that sometimes doesn't translate well in this format.

What was it you wanted to know?


Oct 5, 2006, 8:07 PM

Post #87 of 92 (30898 views)



Re: [melsie] Introduce yourself

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Wonderful post, Mel! I grew nostalgic for the High Country while viewing the Sierra photos. Great butt shots, too! Would you do that now? I certainly wouldn't, but then my butt's got a few more years on it. You go, Girl! Hope to run into you down Mejico Way one of these days.

No hay rosas sin espinas . . .


Nov 8, 2006, 8:24 PM

Post #88 of 92 (30743 views)



Re: [brianbrian] Introduce yourself

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Here are some photos of my place:

Edited to make the link clickable -- rb

(This post was edited by Rolly on Nov 8, 2006, 8:57 PM)


Nov 9, 2006, 11:55 AM

Post #89 of 92 (30661 views)



Re: [brianbrian] Introduce yourself

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Brian, you have created a very beautiful hermitage in the woods. The gardens are charming. The interiors are expansive yet warm and inviting. Did you do all this work by yourself? I must say you are not entirely a hermit, as you appear to have a number of furry 4 legged friends sharing your life. All of them look exceedingly well cared for....

Good luck in finding those worthy of sharing your journey...


Nov 9, 2006, 3:49 PM

Post #90 of 92 (30620 views)



Re: [bfwpdx] Introduce yourself

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Thanks! I like it.
I do have 11 dogs and 6 cats.... but they don't match human contact.
I do have some visitors, though I am alone 95% of the time.

Some of my visitors are pictured here:


Jan 27, 2007, 10:21 AM

Post #91 of 92 (30428 views)



Re: [Rolly] Introduce yourself

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To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit star-struck by proxy. I have enjoyed Rolly's picturs and food porn for years. I can't think of a website that I have enjoyed more than Doña Martha's kitchen. And each and every time I say her name in my head, it is "Doña MarTa". Can you verify that she actually has that "h" in there? And why? It is so foreign to my Argentine-Spanish (they call it Castellano there) tongue. But I'm neither Argentine nor Spanish nor do I have a drop of any latin blood; I simply learned Spanish on the streets, provinces, busses, trains, hostels, semi-truck cabs, boats and airplanes (have you ever hitched a ride on a private plane?) from my years as a mochillera in southern South America. I landed in Argentina, so there the accent me pegó.

I'm 46, partnered to Jamie, who is 2 years younger, and we have 4 wonderful children, Jesse at 12, Pike at 10, Sissy/Caroline at 7 and Ellen at 5. We started travelling in 2004 when we cashed out of the Bay Area housing frenzy and I tricked Jamie into a 3 month "vacation" in Baja. After 3 months in Baja we headed to the mainland and exited some 6 months later. We managed that by not getting FMT's and getting our vehicle permit until La Paz (3 months into the trip). We spent most of 2005 travelling from Los Mochis to PaaMul (where Jamie got typhoid) and then up into the highlands. We exited via Saltillo and Ciudad Acuña. By then, I had given Jamie a bit of the travelling bug and he signed on for another year. This year we had to convince only Pike; the rest are loving travel. We can get edgy with six people in 300sq ft of space, but then all of the US and Mexico is our livingroom so that helps. Except when it is rainy and gloomy and yuccky like the East coast. But the kids are loathe to leave, and after being in the Same Place for TWO WEEKS (well, we're going on three) it seems almost insurmountable to pack up and leave. I've heard it can be done though. We're headed for the Carribean this year (missed it last year) and then to Oaxaca (which we've been trying to get to for 3 years) and San Cristoból. But we may get waylaid by Merida. The cost of fixers in that town, with the culture and beautiful bones of the homes and the history just might keep us there. We thought we'd get waylaid in the coffee (our drug of choice) country of Veracruz but we might be wrong.

Our problem in Mexico is not finding a place we want to settle; it is that we find we want to settle EVERYWHERE.

I'm not really sure I introduced myself. But if nothing else, I'm happy to be in the greatness of Rolly. Any chance you're going to restart your series with Doña Martha? That series is absolute food porn.

Hell's Half Acre



Oct 5, 2010, 12:05 PM

Post #92 of 92 (29669 views)



Re: [Rolly] Introduce yourself

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Rolly Pirate
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