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not_ally

May 10, 2005, 4:13 PM

Post #1 of 26 (5173 views)

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But some things are pretty close

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It's been one of those days here in LA and I am wishing so hard to be back in SMA - there may be problems but I'll take dog poop and uneven cobblestones over freeway shootings, smog and prohibitive living costs any day of the week. And I like LA!
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage



Bubba

May 11, 2005, 11:52 AM

Post #2 of 26 (5110 views)

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Re: [not_ally] But some things are pretty close

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Not:

You prefer SMA over LA? You prefer the parochial and insular San Miguel small burg over the fabulously beautiful city of LA? OK, here is a deal for you. My house in the Guadalajara area for your place in Pacific Palisades straight up trade. For a view of the ocean I'll throw in my old pickup truck. If, on the other hand, you live in Van Nuys, no deal.


bournemouth

May 11, 2005, 12:11 PM

Post #3 of 26 (5106 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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So Bubba - how long have you lived in San Miguel to have developed such a viewpoint? It does seem somewhat similar to the viewpoint you exhibit from time to time about Ajijic and area. Then I have to wonder if you actually like anywhere or are just a malcontent - and when I do that, I decide in favor of "malcontent with a poor sense of humor"


Bubba

May 11, 2005, 1:07 PM

Post #4 of 26 (5092 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] But some things are pretty close

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Bournemouth:

You sure pegged me. I'm a "malcontent". I do like some places, however. I would really like a luxury apartment in Montparnasse or St. Germain des Pres but only if I could have a villa on the Riviera. On the other hand, a co-op on 5th Avenue with a weekend estate in The Hamptons would be nice. Among places I can afford, however, I'll take Ajijic over the phony San Miguel any day.


Gringal

May 11, 2005, 3:41 PM

Post #5 of 26 (5063 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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I'm waiting with bated breath to hear your answers to the two previous posters' questions: How long did you live in San Miguel and how did you arrive at such a poor opinion of the place? Bad experience there? Do tell !


bournemouth

May 11, 2005, 3:41 PM

Post #6 of 26 (5064 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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Can you then tell us, pleasantly if possible, what it is about San Miguel that makes it phony and what it is about Ajijic that is not phony? No sarcasm or "wit" please, just your honest opinion.


abq

May 11, 2005, 5:51 PM

Post #7 of 26 (5041 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] But some things are pretty close

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Sorry. N. Alley, we've been busted. The chickens running around on your street are really designer aracondas. The vintice fridges lined up in front of my house are really collectors items, carefully placed to look like the typical funky Mexican neighborhood.

Well, at least our town doesn't shut down right after the senior citizen rush hour- about 7 or 8pm.


not_ally

May 11, 2005, 9:24 PM

Post #8 of 26 (5007 views)

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Re: [abq] But some things are pretty close

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Aha, knew those were some special chickens.
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"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage


Chumley

May 12, 2005, 5:03 AM

Post #9 of 26 (4996 views)

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Re: [not_ally] But some things are pretty close

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Everytime I drive through Ajiji I marvel at how they hide the double wide trailer parks behind the gated community walls.


Miguel Palomares


May 12, 2005, 6:10 AM

Post #10 of 26 (4988 views)

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Re: [Chumley] But some things are pretty close

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You guys are funny. Fact of the matter is that Ajijic, with some notable exceptions, is Geriatric Central, and San Miguel, with rare exception, is the PC-artsy-fartsy world of Santa Fe, etc., transported south. Nothing wrong with any of it. They simply are not Mexico, which sometimes is a very good thing for you people. Mexico can be a challenge. Head on out here into the dust and donkeys sometimes.

Bill, you were up bright and early this morning. 5 a.m.! Early birdie gets the worm.
From Tzurumutaro, Michoacan, "The Village of the Darned."
_______________________________________

The nuts and bolts of moving to Mexico:
http://michaeldickson.blogspot.com/
The dark side of living in Mexico:
http://mexicopeeks.blogspot.com/
Scintillating life in a Mexican pueblo:
http://tzurumutaro.blogspot.com/
http://tzurumutaro2.blogspot.com/


abq

May 12, 2005, 6:48 AM

Post #11 of 26 (4978 views)

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Re: [palomares] But some things are pretty close

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I see. An "artsy, fartsy" town is not the real Mexico. My dad's an 89 year old New Mexican and he says Santa Fe was considered pretentous as long as he can remember. Probably was when the city was a part of old Mexico.


Gringal

May 12, 2005, 8:26 AM

Post #12 of 26 (4959 views)

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Re: [palomares] But some things are pretty close

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Dust and donkeys? That sounds even more appealing than the just-dust here that accompanies the art and fart. I guess I'm busted. The heck wth serious challenges; I want an easy life in my old age that stops short of whatever geriatric central is. It's daunting enough to learn Spanish. Besides, the food is great in all those tourist serving establishments. If it's sinful to crave a Reuben sandwich once in a while, I'll do my penance for it and head down to Hecho where they make 'em right.

I don't know if there's a PC or any other way to comprehend this huge, diverse country without shutting off your gray matter. Which is the Mexican reality.....tiny villages following the old ways or growing cities with big box stores? Going to Queretaro is a trip through time, from the countryside to the freeways. Donkeys, horses, tiny villages and then the rush of traffic on the freeway to huge modern stores and factories. Friends back in the states suggest the stores are for the influx of Americanos; but in fact they're filled with Mexican shoppers. Whether we like it or not, the world is shrinking at a breakneck pace. In that context, our discussions over whether it is more real in one town or another have little meaning. Now, por favor, pass the sandwich and the world-ending whimper.


(This post was edited by gringal on May 12, 2005, 10:34 AM)


Carol Schmidt


May 12, 2005, 10:33 AM

Post #13 of 26 (4936 views)

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Re: [not_ally] But some things are pretty close

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Which is the "real" United States? Manhattan? The Bronx? Poconos? Cincinnati? Asheville? Bad Axe, Michigan? Denver? Flagstaff? Brownsville? Hattiesburg? Pass Christian? Sun City? Chico? Eugene? Portland? Sequim? Omaha? Dallas? Laguna Beach? Carsonville? Akron? Plainview? Malibu? Des Moines? Death Valley? Key West? Nantucket? Red River? Apache Junction? And which is "best" and for whom?

And who is living like a "real American"? The Hopi architect moved to Sedona or the diabetic alcoholic Hopi on a reservation? Or the Hopi architect getting dialysis on the reservation or the Hopi alcoholic writing a movie in West Hollywood? Red State/Blue State/ city/suburb/rural/Northeast Corridor/Southern California/Tornado Alley/Bible Belt? Hunter C. Thompson or William Buckley or my Aunt Mildred in the double wide? Jackson Pollack or Andrew Wyeth or the guy painting his house?

Who do you want to kick out as not the real thing? Are the 120,000 Mexicans who live in the SMA metro area all phonies too? If you live nine blocks outside of Centro without another gringo in sight are you living the "real" life?

Who and what is phony about the U.S.? Who and what is phony about Mexico? Which glasses and moccasins do you have on at the moment? What side of the elephant are you facing?

Geez, get off the computers and smell some roses. Or the pineapple at Ramirez Market, which is where I'm heading now.

Carol Schmidt


Gringal

May 12, 2005, 10:37 AM

Post #14 of 26 (4934 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] But some things are pretty close

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Amen. Sniff.


Bubba

May 12, 2005, 12:43 PM

Post #15 of 26 (4914 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] But some things are pretty close

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You guys are pretty good. Clever responses. So, you see , I irritated you and your responses were highly entertaining. I actually love San Miguel and there ain't no place on earth phonier than Ajijic. To clean up a French phrase, Ajijic is filled with folks, "Passing gas higher than their anal pores." These people are in competition to be the head tick on the elephant's ass. These clowns have actually defined themselves as Lists "A" and "B". Bubba is somewhere down in the middle of the alphabet.

And, don't make fun of our double-wides. All we did, by the way, was take the wheels off the double wides and rename the Journey's End Mobile Estates Sunset Acres. You'll have to excuse me, the shuffleboard class is meeting at 3:00.


(This post was edited by Bubba on May 12, 2005, 3:21 PM)


Gringal

May 12, 2005, 1:20 PM

Post #16 of 26 (4906 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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Gotta love ya, Bubba. Up in maarvelous Marin they have a place called "Marin Valley Mobile Country Club." "Journey's End Mobile Estates" had a logo of a dead-tired Indian about to fall off his horse. Hard to beat those two.


Bubba

May 12, 2005, 3:02 PM

Post #17 of 26 (4885 views)

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Re: [gringal] But some things are pretty close

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abq & Gringal:

You guys remind me of something interesting from my past. When I was young, I dreamed of living in Santa Fe and Napa. I actually achieved the latter goal and ended up a banker to the wine trade in Napa County and, as with most goals, the achievement thereof was of lesser consequence than the desire to achieve it. So, I had a nice home in the Mayacamas Mountains that separate Napa from Sonoma Counties and worked in Napa and my commute was up the center of the Napa Valley and into the mountains at St. Helena. A marvelous achievement in the planning stages but, as with most things in life, an achievement with a sour aftertaste.

During those days in the mid-1990s, my commute took me from the city of Napa through the prized valley towns of Yountville and Rutherford and St. Helena and nothing could be more pleasant than that.

It happened that there was a pretty decent pizza joint in Yountville across the freeway from the veterans' home and I used to stop there daily for some sauce and free pizza slices. The place was usually filled with veterans who had sneaked out and were there for their own drinks and free pizza.

One night as I sat enjoying my free pizza and booze, an old gent in his eighties started talking to me and told me his family had owned many acres of Yountville when it was a hardscrabble farm town long before it became the in place to live. The land and houses were basically worthless for as long as anyone could remember. The town was and is full of modest farmer's dwellings that now go for a million dollars plus to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

He told me that, before the present real estate boom, Yountville was considered the absolutely worst place to be from in the entire valley. He said that being from Yountville was so embarassing that he and his friends as young men in the 1950s used to tell people that they were from Imola.

Now, Imola is the home address of the Napa State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and is in an ugly blue collar section of Southern Napa.

Today, Yountville is on a par with The Hamptons in terms of prestige and wealthy Bay Area weekenders compete to overpay for shacks they cannot modify because the city is determined to remain "rustic".

That old guy was laughing that the wealthy would kill to get into a town that he would have given anything to disclaim. But, you know what? It wasn't that amusing to get your accidental reward when your teeth have fallen out and you're living under Nurse Kratchet's rule at the Yountville Veteran's Home. Life is full of these little jokes.

And, guess what. I was in San Miguel in 1980 and considered buying a nice home in centro for what seemed to me at the time to be an exhorbitant price. I could have afforded it but deferred. The joke's on me.


(This post was edited by Bubba on May 12, 2005, 3:05 PM)


abq

May 12, 2005, 4:20 PM

Post #18 of 26 (4859 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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You still could "do" San Miguel or a place like it. Most of us that live here have no interest in the historic center. Too much noise, tourists and fumes. I just visited a friends house that I know she bought for a song. Beautiful stone and easy walk to all things fun in San Miguel. Complete with a watchful duck that near attacked me as I strolled by. How's that for a "gated community"? Boy that girl has the eye!


Gringal

May 12, 2005, 4:26 PM

Post #19 of 26 (4857 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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And up it still goes. My husband talked me into buying a house last year that is walking distance to Centro if you like a very long hike. He was right. It's already worth more in spite of being beyond paved streets in a neighborhood of brick works in progress. By next year, the hot spot may be an outlying village being referred to as "the Next San Miguel" by the realtors.

Given the demographics and the economy of the U.S. it's evident that we're going to see a huge influx of boomer consumers who lived like mayflies and have an average net worth of less than 50K, a pittance pension and no desire to downsize their lifestyle. Guess where they'll be headed? Maybe building some more of those gated mobile parks would be a good investment. How about Lakeside Estates?


Papirex


May 12, 2005, 7:50 PM

Post #20 of 26 (4825 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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Well Bubba, Iím finally going to write something about Napa, the place of my birth, where I spent the first half of my life. When I was a kid, Napa was a friendly little town of 6,500 People. There wasnít much industry there. The main occupation in the county was agriculture, mostly orchard crops. There were apple, pear, cherry, and plum orchards mostly.

Everybody called the plum trees and orchards prune trees and orchards, because thatís what the plums were destined to become. One of the largest employers was The Napa Valley Prune Growers Association. They had a big plant on Yajome Street behind the Lincoln School.

There were 6 or 8 old wineries that were struggling to get off their backs after the Prohibition years. I think that all of them except The Christian Brothers Winery were owned by Italian families. You could always buy tax free wine from those families, prohibition or no.

In those depression years, almost every family worked in the orchard and grape crops at harvest time. Thatís how we got our school clothes every year. There were no Braceros then. Donít ever tell someone like me that Americans wonít do that kind of work. I know we will, Iíve done it. Our family was lucky; my father was a very well paid accountant throughout the depression. We kids still did that work every year, so did the Doctors and Lawyers kids Ė kids from all families did it, and the mothers too. Almost every year, the start date for the schools was delayed two weeks every September so we could get the prune crop harvested.

By the very late 1960s or early 1970s, the wineries were making a fair comeback. Thatís when everything went to hell there. Moneyed people, primarily from the Bay Area, decided it would be neat to own a vineyard, maybe even a winery and have a country place in Napa. The first thing those SOBs did was to rip out all the orchards. There are few sights on this earth as beautiful as driving up the valley 30 or 40 years ago with most of the trees in bloom in the springtime. Those grapevines look like sagebrush by comparison. By the time you got there, everything had gone completely to hell in Napa County.

In the beginning, the outsiders made just about every mistake you could possibly make when growing wine grapes, mostly trying for a very high sugar content in the grapes. Some of them finally learned what they were doing, others sold out to people that did know how to grow grapes and make wine. As Iím sure you know as a banker dealing with them, most of the wineries there are now owned by outside corporations. The ones that are still owned by individuals are owned by people that have lived in Napa less than 30 years, not old timers at all. The Robert Mondavi Winery is an exception, he, and his family owned The Charles Krug winery for many years, I donít know if they still own it now. I have read recently that he is about to sell out to outside interests too. Thereís a fairly new winery up at Berryessa that is owned by one of my daughtersí father-in-law though, he is an old time Napan.

I still have some kids and grandkids that live there. Actually, they left the City of Napa and now they all live at Lake Berryessa, except for the really sensible one. She followed me up to Alaska, and she is still there. Years ago, it was an all day of hard driving to get up to Berryessa. Now, it is an easy drive of less than an hour. I like Berryessa, it has a better, dryer climate than Napa does, but when I think about it, I always get a sour feeling.

Before the Army Core of Engineers built the dam that flooded it to form Berryessa Lake, The Berryessa Valley was a beautiful place. It was mostly in orchard crops, mostly pear trees, and cattle ranches. Whatís left of The Campbell Ranch is still at the north end of the valley, where the water didnít reach. Thatís Campbell, as in Campbell Soup. Putah Creek ran through the valley. It was a very pretty creek, sandy beaches, good swimming holes, great places to have picnics, or to go fishing. Not a bad place to hold Turkey Runs on our motorcycles when I was a teen ager either. When that valley was flooded, Napa County lost 70% of its agricultural land valuation for tax purposes. It was a great economic loss.

I think the old timer from Yountville was shining you on. My ex-wifeís Aunt and Uncle lived in Yountville, and owned quite a bit of land there. We spent a lot of time in Yountville in the 1950s. I never met anyone there that was ashamed of the town. It was a village then, just like Oakville and Rutherford were, just a dozen houses and a store and gas station beside the road.

Incidentally, my Grandfather is buried in The Veterans Home Cemetery. He was a Union veteran of The Civil War. One of the battles he was in was at Antietam.
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Bubba

May 12, 2005, 9:09 PM

Post #21 of 26 (4803 views)

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Re: [RexC] But some things are pretty close

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Rex:

I won't dwell on this because it is off the subject ot San Miguel but I thank you for your comments. Based upon my knowledge of the Napa and Sonoma valleys I know you to be a native and the history of the valleys as orchards before the vineyard boom is well known to me. I could talk about this for hours but that really has nothing to do with Mexico so I will shut up before being summarily shut out by the moderator .

Thanks for your observations but don't kid yourself about the veracity of the veteran from Yountville. He was not shining me on although he certainly may have been embellishing his story. I may be a fool but I did not just get off of the rutabaga truck. Whatever; your observations were most astute. I would be honored to make your acquaintance if our paths cross someday.

Bob


Bear

May 13, 2005, 4:57 AM

Post #22 of 26 (4772 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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Yountville has become a thriving, growing concern as of late. When I came to Mexico from St Helena about
1.5 years ago, it was becoming the new Napa Valley hot spot, new world class 5 star, 5 diamond hotel/spa, etc. Property values unbelievable! Once in awhile, I miss it, but not too much. I prefer Mexico.

My stateside address is in Rutherford. The balloons are over it daily.


(This post was edited by frank fundaro on May 13, 2005, 5:01 AM)


Bubba

May 13, 2005, 9:09 AM

Post #23 of 26 (4735 views)

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Re: [frank fundaro] But some things are pretty close

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Frank:

Wherever one chooses to live in Mexico, one is better off than in the Napa Valley which, despite its extraordinary beauty is, by comparison, a grinding bore. That's just the opinion of one guy who chose Lake Chapala over the Northern California Wine Country and has never looked back.


Bear

May 13, 2005, 9:24 AM

Post #24 of 26 (4731 views)

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Re: [Bubba] But some things are pretty close

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Agree. Plus, Bubba, on Social Security & pension I could not afford to live there any more.
Rutherford, St Helena & Yountville are way out of my paltry financial league.


Bubba

May 13, 2005, 9:54 AM

Post #25 of 26 (4726 views)

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Re: [frank fundaro] But some things are pretty close

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Frank:

Those reading these forums and trying to decide where to retire should take your comments seriously. As beautiful as places such as the Napa and Sonoma valleys are, it makes no sense to stay there once you retire even if your home is paid for. Let's pretend my home up there was debt free, which it wasn't:

Annual property taxes there: $5,000+
Here : 150

State Income Tax : 10% mas o menos
Here : Zero

Annual Est. Utility Bill : >$10,000
Here : 4,000 (Heavy usage)

Annual Health Ins. Prem. : >$11,000
Here : 2,000 (Plus way mo bettah health care)

Domestic help : Forget It!
Here : +/- $6,000 Annually

I could go on and on.

Those contemplating the move, take whatever equity you have in your home and run for the border.
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