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Dmarie

Feb 15, 2011, 10:47 PM

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Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Hi,

My name is Dana and I am leaving for La Paz in 5-6 weeks. My condo will be ready on May 1st. I plan to find a hotel/motel until then. I applied for my passport today. My mother (whom I lived with) recently passed and my kids are grown. I plan to enroll in Spanish classes as soon as I get there. I don't speak/understand any Spanish. I have never been to Mexico and planning this move has been a challenge. I don't know a soul there except for my best friend's mother who lives in Oaxaca part of the year. I currently live in Oregon where it is cold, dark and damp; I moved here almost 20 years without knowing anyone. I packed up the kids (ages 4 and 1) and moved here from CA. The kids are grown and moved back to CA....go figure! I realize this isn't going to be like moving out of state. I guess I have always had a bit of a "wanderer" in me. I'm looking forward to 300 days of sunshine a year. I plan to pack my car full of everything I can and have it hauled from TJ. I will fly with my mom's cat (I promised my mom I would give her a "forever" home) from LAX. I will pack my life into a 99 Camry and 2 suitcases. It has really made me rethink what is really important as far as possessions. I have always wanted to travel and learn a new language, but they were always wishful fantasies before. I am actually going to do this. My brother and kids think I'm crazy (maybe I am) and asked me if I was on my meds, lol! I have to admit it is a little crazy to move out of the country to a place that I have never been but this has taken on a life of its own, and I think I need to have this experience regardless of how it works out.

I was surprised to find out that running the AC can cost a small fortune. I know it might be a little tough to "acclimate" at first. I do medical transcription and can work from anywhere as long as I have a good internet connection (DSL). I don't have a ton of money, but I have saved enough to pay my rent in advance and I will be working while I'm there. I left my brother with enough money to fly me home if it doesn't work out. I worry if it is safe for a woman alone and if I can learn enough Spanish to become a part of my new community. I don't want to sit alone in my condo and be miserable. I want to experience all that Mexico has to offer. Any feedback would be appreciated. I'm sure there are a ton of things I haven't even thought of yet. I would really like to hear what some of you think of La Paz.

Dana



Dreamer Blue

Feb 16, 2011, 7:12 AM

Post #2 of 20 (15989 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Hi Dana,
While I don't live in La Paz, I have spent the winter months there for many years. The first few years it was with my husband but, after his death, I continued to go down by myself. I can assure you that being a single woman is not a problem. There are a lot of us out there!
I would suggest that the first thing you do is join Club Cruceros. It is based at Marina La Paz, just behind the coral colored condos at the end of the Malecon. They have a club house, a library, a notice board and a lot of events where you can meet people. If you have a marine radio (just a hand-held VHF), you can listen in on their net every morning which will tell you about more activities.
The folks at Club Cruceros will have any and all information you need. If you are renting a condo or apartment, I am sure there will be good folks there too and they will be happy to help you settle in. La Paz is a wonderfully friendly community with a rich cultural life.
There are several supermarkets that stock the products you are familiar with, although you should try out the little corner stores too. The more "Mexican" you live, the cheaper you live, and once you get past the unfamiliarity, you will be fine. Get yourself a good english/spanish dictionary and start using it. While many Mexicans speak some english, they will be delighted to hear you try your spanish and they will be very helpful.
You don't say what kind of visa you have but you should set up a bank account as soon as possible. I assume, if you are bringing down your belongings, that you have an FM3? You also need to have Mexican insurance for your vehicle. If you don't have it already, you can buy it online. I use Lewis and Lewis but there are several others. Just Google it.
Once here, apply for IMSS health coverage if you plan to go that way. Make sure you activate it as soon as possible after you have it. If you don't activate it, it expires at the end of 3 years and you will have to start all over again!
Electricity is the most expensive utility in Mexico and if you go over a certain amount, your rate will increase dramatically. Use propane appliances where possible and keep your electricity to a minimum. Coming from Oregon, you are going to need air conditioning in the summer! You can keep that to a minimum too by keeping blinds and curtains drawn, doors closed etc.
To start off with, you will find all kinds of familiar stores: WalMart, Home Depot, Costco, Office Depot, Applebee's, MacDonalds etc. If you don't find one in La Paz, you will find it in Cabo, a couple of hours south. They are great for some things but almost everything they sell can be found cheaper (and often better) in a local store so once you get settled in and have a few words of spanish, go exploring.
Best of luck - you will have a ball.


morgaine7


Feb 16, 2011, 8:42 AM

Post #3 of 20 (15962 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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I sent you a PM, and Dreamer Blue has given you some great suggestions. I've lived in La Paz since May 2007, also as a single woman, and it's fine. My house doesn't have AC, but it's true that it can raise your electric bills quite high if you don't use it sparingly. It's usually needed most between mid-August and mid-October.

You're definitely on the right track by planning to learn Spanish. I can't imagine living here without it! You may find it a challenge at first, especially because people tend to talk at high speed, but it will come. I didn't speak it at all when I arrived but learned to communicate pretty quickly. People are friendly and helpful, and this is a wonderful place to live.

Kate


Rolly


Feb 16, 2011, 9:54 AM

Post #4 of 20 (15939 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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In addition to the good advice these ladies have given, there are several other matters you need to consider.
You'll find a lot of useful information here.

Rolly Pirate


mazbook1


Feb 16, 2011, 2:48 PM

Post #5 of 20 (15893 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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And besides Rolly's website, you would do well to check out this book: http://magicmadeinmexico.wordpress.com/

It has tons of good advice about ADAPTING to living in México that just isn't available elsewhere.


Dreamer Blue

Feb 17, 2011, 6:08 AM

Post #6 of 20 (15831 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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I agree with both the last two posts. Rolly's website is a gem and has a ton of excellent information. He is a treasure. Also the book, Magic Made in Mexico is great. I got a copy a couple of weeks ago and it too is excellent. Another one you may want to get is "Driving Baja". If you are driving down for the first time, this one is invaluable and it gives you not only a good overview of Baja but also a basic english-spanish dictionary for buying food and supplies and a list of all the road signs. Not sure if you can get it an Amazon but I got a copy through Trafford.com.


sandykayak


Feb 17, 2011, 11:55 AM

Post #7 of 20 (15791 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Although dated, this book by Karen Blue, who lives in Ajijic, has given much encouragement to many single women who moved SOB...(south of the border).

http://www.amazon.com/...297972453&sr=1-1
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Dmarie

Feb 19, 2011, 2:54 PM

Post #8 of 20 (15694 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Hello everyone,

Thank you for all the good info and kind responses. I found a studio until my condo is ready. Me and the cat will be making the drive from Oregon to La Paz soon after I get my passport. It should be in a couple of weeks. It will be one long drive with the cat.

I was wondering what do you wish you would have brought to La Paz? I'm making my list of things to bring. I don't want to forget things that I might not be able to find there. I'm going to get a Kindle reader so I don't have to bring all of my books, but there must be other things besides a laptop and my own shampoo/soap that I will have a hard time finding there. I know I need cooler clothes. We just had snow slurries yesterday. I can't wait for 300 days of sunshine.

Thanks,

Dana


morgaine7


Feb 19, 2011, 4:55 PM

Post #9 of 20 (15669 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Books in English are hard to find and expensive. Club Cruceros at the marina has an exchange room where you can swap books you've read for unread ones. Limited selection, but it's sure better than nothing.

Music … you won't find many CDs in English. If you download, be sure the site you use will let you do it from here.

US "forever" stamps. Mexican mail is reliable but slow. If you give mail to a traveler, it's so much easier for them if you put a US stamp on it.

Bring clothing if you're hard to fit. There are some cute styles, but I have difficulty finding things that aren't too short (slacks, sweats) or too tight (tops). Items marked XL often fit like small or medium. If you're petite and slim, it shouldn't be as much of a problem. Dress is very casual here, BTW.

Any specialty items for the kitty! Basic stuff is available.

Kate


chicois8

Feb 20, 2011, 12:57 PM

Post #10 of 20 (15615 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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I was surprised to find out that running the AC can cost a small fortune."

I am sure you will have many more surprises moving to a foreign country without a clue, I wish the best for you but many folks that have visited and vacationed in Mexico for years and end up living here do not last long and return to the USA...It is a shame that you could not rent for 6 months before the decision to pack up lock stock and barrel and move from a cooler Oregon climate to a hot La Paz climate...

Again I wish the best for you, if you visit the Mexico branch of the Expat Forum there is a thread going on now about "things you wish you brought to Mexico".......suerte y paz
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California


Dmarie

Feb 20, 2011, 1:02 PM

Post #11 of 20 (15609 views)

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Re: [chicois8] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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I plan to sign a lease for a year. I have given my brother "emergency money" to fly me home before then if it just doesn't work out. I know the summers will be a bit much for me coming from such a cool, damp, climate. Right now, I'm trying to figure out expenses. Any idea how much the deposits are for electricity, dish network and high speed DSL?


chicois8

Feb 20, 2011, 1:11 PM

Post #12 of 20 (15606 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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I plan to sign a lease for a year. I have given my brother "emergency money" to fly me home before then if it just doesn't work out.

So you will abandon your Vehicle in Mexico?

I guess you will be getting the FM3 visa to reside in Mexico over the 180 day tourist card limit and will be getting a "working FM3"?

Do you have the income requirements to obtain an FM3?

Suerte y Paz
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California


Rolly


Feb 20, 2011, 2:37 PM

Post #13 of 20 (15574 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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"how much the deposits are for electricity, dish network and high speed DSL?"

Deposits are not required for electricity and DSL which is furnished by the telephone company.

Dish TV? There is a small deposit for Mexican Dish TV.
Dish TV from the USA is not available in México.

Depending on where your condo is located and the availability of phone lines, installation of your phone/DSL can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. I waited 11 months (not in La Paz). Some friends in anther part of town waited 3 days.

Rolly Pirate


leeza

Feb 20, 2011, 2:40 PM

Post #14 of 20 (15570 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Hi Dana,

I am hoping you will post how it goes for you. My husband and I are thinking about retiring to La Paz in about 3 years and would appreciate any info.
Good Luck


Dmarie

Feb 20, 2011, 3:07 PM

Post #15 of 20 (15548 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Hi Rolly,

Thanks for the scoop about the power company and internet. It would be a "deal breaker" if I can't get internet for 11 months! My work demands an internet connection. Not negotiable. I might have the owner of the condo install it now so it will be working when I get there. I've heard that the internet providers can give you a limit and if you go over they shut you off. I have tried to look at the plans but can't seem to understand most of what I'm reading. I'm tenatively planning on leaving the end of March. I was thinking about getting Dish Network Satellite so I can get ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. Although I plan to watch the Spanish novelas to work on my Spanish. It all depends on the cost and deposit. I'm trying to live frugally and save.

http://www.bajasatellite.com/...s-in-baja-mexico.asp

I don't plan to abandon my car in Mexico if it doesn't work out. My brother and son will come down and get it along with my things. I am pretty optimistic though. I joined a yahoo group of expats in La Paz and have gotten a lot of great info. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life and it sounds pretty exciting. I don't plan to sit in the condo, in my nightgown, drinking tequila, complaining of how lonely I am, lol!! I'm enrolling in Spanish classes as soon as I get there and should have the Rosetta Stone Spanish classes before then. I've been looking into volunteer work too. I hear the sunsets on the malecon are beautiful.

We had snow/sludge/flurries that didn't stick the other day. I'm really looking forward to blue skies. It is cold and damp here most of the year.

Dana


Dmarie

Feb 20, 2011, 3:22 PM

Post #16 of 20 (15545 views)

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Re: [leeza] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Hi Leeza,

I would be happy to share my experience with you. I'm thinking of starting an online journal to document the up and downs of my new life. I'm sure it won't all be puppies and rainbows, lol! The thing that concerns me the most is the heat. There will be a pool where I am moving so I plan to take advantage of that and to get a lot of fans. The unit has AC but I'm going to try and refrain from using it 24/7.

I hope I can pick up the language quickly. I think that will make the biggest difference in my experience. I imagine it will be frustrating at first trying to communicate and only speaking gibberish.

Dana


Rolly


Feb 20, 2011, 4:16 PM

Post #17 of 20 (15532 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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I should have said "Dish TV from the USA is not available legally in México."
Proceed with caution.

Rolly Pirate


morgaine7


Feb 20, 2011, 5:18 PM

Post #18 of 20 (15511 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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My phone and internet service is with Telmex. I paid 1,243 pesos (~$100USD) in 2007 to set it up. I believe it was a connection/installation fee, not a deposit. The phone was connected the next day, but the internet took 2-3 days, as I recall. There's a choice of three packages, with various internet speeds, free or low-rate long distance calls, etc. I have the middle one, and it's fine. To the best of my knowledge, there's no limit to the amount of time you can spend online. Since you're renting, the owners should be able to tell you what needs to be done about the utilities. If your stove and water heater are gas (most people's are), you'll need propane, too.

I don't have TV and just use the internet for news, but a friend has Dish and I'll ask about it when I see her tomorrow. I'm sure hers is legal. She has said that what she gets in English is limited, so don't expect too much.

Kate


Rolly


Feb 20, 2011, 5:28 PM

Post #19 of 20 (15506 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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Dish has a Mexican service that is legal. As you friend said, English language programming is limited.
The regular USA Dish service can be recieved in parts of México, but it is not legal.
If Dish finds out you are using their servic in México, they will cut you off.

Rolly Pirate


BajaDean

Apr 10, 2011, 12:31 PM

Post #20 of 20 (14118 views)

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Re: [Dmarie] Newbie moving to La Paz.

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You have one thing wrong here... more like 362 days of sunshine a year. I live 30 miles south of lapaz. you will be in sun paradise, welcome.

the heat is not as bad as some places because the humidity is not like florida, houston and so on causing the so called misery index here. as one person noted mid aug to mid October are the hot ones. I was in Mazatlan last season in September and those coastal areas are unbearable vs LaPaz. Note, I was living in Vegas for the summers and find the 110 degrees of that area easier to deal with than the florida humid ones. I think LaPaz is a more comfortable one than either of those.

Because of the construction here, very rare to find an insulated rental. If you have not left yet, a person on the local LaPaz forum yahoo, that you may have joined found a wonderful product that could save you a chunk of change in AC for the long term. She now turns off her ac at night. It is a bed top that has coils in it and circulate chilled water under you. There is also one from Japan that I found, it blows air under you that should increase the comfort level too.

here is a link to the page I have her comments copied to and a link to the other Japanese bed.

http://la-ventana.forumotion.com/...w-coverings-beds#386


(This post was edited by Rolly on Apr 10, 2011, 2:58 PM)
 
 
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