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Tcat

Dec 18, 2005, 12:20 PM

Post #1 of 32 (7057 views)

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Newbie Question

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Greetings to all and thank you for all the great data I have found here so far.

My goal is simple. I want to find a place to rent in TJ for a year so I can better figure out what I am doing.

I'm not ready to retire... The easy access to San Diego airport is an important aspect as I have to travel to locations for my work. (I'm a computer teacher and technical book author).

What I am not clear on is how long it takes and what the cost is for Internet access beyond dial-up speed. Due to my work, without this, I'm cooked. Internet cafe's just don't cut it except for a quick email check. Not sufficent for doing research.

Thanks in Advance.

And yes, My real first name is Tcat.





Rolly


Dec 18, 2005, 2:24 PM

Post #2 of 32 (7045 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Once you have a phone installed (there is no way to estimate how long that will take), having a DSL service from the phone company will take one or two days. The cost for your phone + DSL will be about US$60 per month.

Telmex (the phone company) gives you the modem which has both USB and ethernet connections. I have tried both and find the ethernet is faster on my XP-based computer. I generally get around 440 Kb down and 90 Kb up.

Rolly Pirate


manda405


Dec 18, 2005, 5:28 PM

Post #3 of 32 (7033 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Newbie Question

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Rolly, as has been mentioned many times before, and deserves repeating for our new friend here, you always have the answers. You should start a web site called "Ask Rolly".


What happens down in Mexico...Stays in Mexico.


sfmacaws


Dec 18, 2005, 5:50 PM

Post #4 of 32 (7030 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Even with your explanation, living in Tijuana makes no sense to me. No matter, PM Alex for more info, he's the TJ expert.

Have you thought about somewhere more rational like Guadalajara? Fast internet and international airport with a much nicer commute to it than the one you are looking at.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Marlene / Moderator


Dec 18, 2005, 10:00 PM

Post #5 of 32 (7015 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Newbie Question

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Right you are. It does not necessarily restrict folks who are still working and commuting to being near the border with all the international flights in and out of Mexico these days.

How about Mazatlan where you can sit on the beach, computing and eating shrimp at the same time? A WIFI hot spot is never far away here. (In your case with an RV, you can Park on the beach and compute and eat shrimp at the same time - wait, you are already doing that) International airport 20 minutes away, cable modem hook-up still being done within a week, great pro baseball games when you get tired of surfing (net or beach)


esperanza

Dec 19, 2005, 6:31 AM

Post #6 of 32 (7005 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Although Tijuana isn't known for its colonial charms--far from it--I found it to be a wonderful place to live. I was there for several years. I lived in Colonia Altamira, within walking distance of downtown, and made dear friends there who are still friends today.

In those days, the commute to San Diego was horrendous and it still can be. Lines of cars at the border frequently took two or more hours to cross into California. Today, you can get a SENTRI card for special commuter lanes that helps speed the process of getting into San Ysidro. There are times now when the lines crossing into Mexico can be as long as the lines heading north. And of course weekend and holiday traffic is always numbingly slow. For me, the thought of commuting to and from Tijuana would be the biggest deterrent. However, if your work is done primarily over the Internet, you probably would have little reason to cross regularly at commuter hours.

What you'll discover is that living in Tijuana isn't like living in any town or city in the interior of Mexico--but it's also definitely not like living in the USA. Life just across the border can be an excellent experience of life in Mexico and a wonderful springboard to Mexican retirement.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Gayla

Dec 19, 2005, 9:00 AM

Post #7 of 32 (6991 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Tcat (intresting name!) where are you living right now?

If it's an option, you might also consider starting off by living on the US side of the border in San Ysidro. San Diego is prohibitively expensive these days <sigh>, but the closer you get to the border the more you'll find the rents go down, and most likely you could find month-to-month rentals. You'll be able to get phone service pretty quickly with at least DSL. SBC and Cox offer specials for phone, cable and DSL/high speed connection for about $50/month. The trolley from San Ysidro will get you close enough to the airport that a cab wouldn't cost you an arm and a leg, and traffic at the border crossing(s) is H*LL, even with a SENTRI pass.

Living in San Ysidro also means you can walk across the border and grab a cab into town instead of having to drive across and fight traffic. This would give you an opportunity to explore the city a little on foot and buy you some time in finding a place to live tha fits your needs and requirements. You could also shop at the local stores (many Americans do this), eat at the local places, use the local services, visit the non-tourist parts of town...........basically see if Tijuana is a good fit for you or not. As Esperanza noted, it's not exactly the most charmingly attractive city in Mexico. In fact, it's pretty unattractive, but one thing that it does have going for it is a vibrant cultural arts community. Additionally, a new one-stop, state-of-the-art hospital opened a couple weeks ago and they are hoping to draw at least part of their clientele from NOB.

Essentially, in San Ysidro you get the best of both worlds. The conveneince and infrastructure of San Diego and the proximity to Mexico for exploration and contemplation of your future. The concept of a "border" is pretty blurry between SD and TJ. It's there, it's pourous (in spite of 2 fences and thousands of INS agents), but the economies of both cities are very dependent upon each other. Neither San Ysidro nor Tijuana will would win a beauty contest; they're entwined and pretty much one community these days. Not interested in San Ysidro? Go north 1 or 2 exits on the I-5 and you're in Chula Vista. Better housing, better services but still quick and easy access to Tijuana

(I should add that I'm writing this from America's Finest City - San Diego)


(This post was edited by Gayla on Dec 19, 2005, 9:02 AM)


Tcat

Dec 19, 2005, 8:11 PM

Post #8 of 32 (6954 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Newbie Question

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Wow! What a pile of great support! Let's see if I can answer everyone...

I'm in my 50's and living in Seattle where I have been since Uncle Sam and I parted ways after a small party in S E Asia.

My nickname back then was
Tcat, but I had it changed to match the name the geeks on the Internet knew as Tcat Houser.

I love Seattle and must leave. I have been pretty atheltic all my life and 4 years ago almost bought the farm with an accident on my mtn bike. The winters turn me into the tin man without oil. I have been hanging around Baja Norte for 15 years. While I would rather be further south, I get a lot of calls to teach rather low enrollement classes (translate low pay) at the last minute. So the Grayhound at 30K feet <Southwest> is my friend. Seattle and San Diego both have a great # of connections going out, cheap. When I'm not teaching classes, I write computer books, helping people pass tests.

The connection speeds from Telnor sound rather sucky, but beats smoke signals. I use SunRocket for VoIP. Looking around, I don't think I can find a place in San Yedero under $700, could I? It would also mean becoming a CA resident... WA doesn't have state income taxes....

I do seem to be getting at least 1 week a month of classes in San Diego now, so it makes sense to not be commuting from the elmerald city....

I'll been experimenting with crossing the border on sunday's to get the worst case idea.... (not good, for sure).

Tcat


Gayla

Dec 20, 2005, 10:53 AM

Post #9 of 32 (6933 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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I love Seattle too, but I like San Diego better :-)). It's headed towards 80* today, dry and sunny. Okay, a little too dry, but extremely pleasant for the first day of Winter. Here are a couple of links that you can use to check out the rental situation in SD. The housing market is finally beginning to soften and it's turning into a buyers/rental marekt. I don't know what you could find for $700 in the south county because I don't live close to that area. But I dont' think it's going to be outrageously expensive, there is a lot of Section 8 housing in that area. Also, this is probably not the best time of year to be looking for a rental, wait until after Jan. 1st and the number of listings will probably go up.

www.sdreader.com
www.signonsandiego.com

SignonSanDiego is the web site for the SD Union/Tribune, it is not the best laid out newspaper web site, and not especially user friendly. The link to the classifieds is at the top of the page and not particularly visible.

I suspect there are ways you could keep your WA residency until you decide if and where in Mexico you wanted to move. CA State income tax isn't that invasive and I've gotten a refund for something like the last 8 or 9 years with various levels of income. Since it sounds like you teach, Southwestern Community College is located in Chula Vista, and then there are the 3 San Diego Community College District campuses, plus SDCCD handles all the Adult Ed classes in the city of San Diego at 6 additional locations. I can't speak to Southwestern's needs, but the SDCCD usually does some continuous recruitment for adjunct faculty. And then there is the local branch of the Learning Annex. All ways to have develop some local cash flow so that you don't have to keep commuting back to Seattle thereby interrupting your experiment with TJ and Mexico.


Tcat

Dec 22, 2005, 10:54 AM

Post #10 of 32 (6894 views)

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Re: [Gayla] Newbie Question

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Excellent links to begin searching. Thanks! I'll be back on the 24th of Jan for another week of exploring after class...


Tcat

Jan 2, 2006, 4:05 AM

Post #11 of 32 (6824 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Most excellent responses that filled in a number of blank spots.

Indeed I could rent/buy on the US side of the border for about the same $ as Baja Norte, for my purposes. And part of my purpose is to get that FM2 converted to being a full Mexician resident. So The "hassle" of border crossing with or without a SENTRI RFID tag is part of the price to pay.

My 'soft landing' is May, with a 'hard landing' of June, 2006.

Any further great insights are most welcome :-) And if not, I wish to thank *everyone* whom responded. It was most valuable input.

Before closing I wish to offer this.

I found

http://www.wordsgalore.com

a great freeware site for learning languages in both audio and video modes. I actually ordered an MP3 player to listen to output generated by the software.... all freeware (not the mp3 player)

HTH
Tcat


Bloviator

Jan 2, 2006, 8:27 AM

Post #12 of 32 (6808 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Newbie Question

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The commute from TJ is worse than ever and getting worse daily. Recently I had to stand in line for almost two hours - or loosely in line as scores of both gringos and Mexicans streamed past crowding in line and "bicycle riders," who had rented bicycles with no wheels "legitimately" walked to the front of the line. Evidently they get some sort of preference.

Driving is not bad midmorning, midweek. I have often gotten across in 15 to 30 minutes. Weekends and Fridays it takes a minimum of two hours in line, crowding and being crowded, trading paint, etc.


toddmc


Jan 2, 2006, 4:03 PM

Post #13 of 32 (6788 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Nice website,
I also posted it to the learning spanish part of the forums for other to share your find.

Thanks Tcat


Todd


Tcat

Jan 17, 2006, 12:29 PM

Post #14 of 32 (6728 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Newbie Question

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I have done some digging on that SENTRI pass thingie... Yes you can (have to?) attach it to a car, but there is a special lane in the walk over section for SENTRI people not using cars. That looks like a 30 second deal.

I'm leaving for San Diego this weekend. How much time I spend in TJ is the real question. I haven't gotten a contract for the class in San Diego ! Southwest tickets I already bought so I could be spending an entire week doing research ;-)

I've been looking around to find out what the peso gets for an apartment too. So far, CraigsList.com seems to be the best place to start getting ideas.

When I get older, I'll go further south. Right now the commute on a bad day to Southwest San Diego from TJ looks better than the best day from Poulsbo WA to SeaTac airport :-)

A car is not in the good idea section. Parking a car at any airport for 2 out of 4 weeks costs more than any other option and only invites a dead battery, etc... A bike would work if San there was a place to "park and lock" a bike at the SD airport. I'll check that out this sunday. The trolley has bike spots....

My target date is no sooner than 1 May, no later than 1 June 2006.

In a related question... It appears I should get an FMT (this weekend) so I can start that 5 year clock for an FM2?
I get no promises for an FM2.... and I should start the clock this weekend and then go for the gold when I have actually moved...

Thanks ALL!
Tcat


Papirex


Jan 17, 2006, 2:57 PM

Post #15 of 32 (6718 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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An FMT does not lead to a FM2. An FMT is only good for a maximum of six months, when it expires you must apply for a new FMT. To get an FM2 you must first have an FM3 for 5 years. To get an FM3 you must prove an income, among other things. Requirements for the various forms of visas have been discussed many times on these forums. Do a search and you will find a lot of info.

Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Tcat

Jan 22, 2006, 4:25 AM

Post #16 of 32 (6655 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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Thanks much. I have found a bit of confusion. It appeared I could apply for an FM2 right from a FMT (but need the FMT first of course).

Well today I go look at http://tijuana.craigslist.org/apa/117552059.html

I am ready to say "Si" if I like what I see. I'm a bit nervous and excited about making the jump. I didn't even know about the Otay Mesa area. I suspect Customs crossings to be eaiser (shorter).


Esteban

Jan 22, 2006, 8:17 AM

Post #17 of 32 (6642 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Newbie Question

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You can apply for an FM-2 anytime you want. However, I don't think you have a chance in hell of getting it. Now maybe, if you work for the CIA or have some ultra high connections, you might get the FM-2 but in reality, it ain't goin to happen. If your goal is to obtain citizenship, you have to live here 5 years. That's easily done with the FM-3...the normal way to start your journey.


Tcat

Jan 22, 2006, 7:58 PM

Post #18 of 32 (6620 views)

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Re: [Esteban] Newbie Question

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LOL! Thanks. I'll start with the FMT saturday (actually walked into the office today and looked at the Huge Blow Up version hung on the wall at the border crossing in TJ. That will get me "walking papers" enough to go find a place.

Bad news on the place I posted about.

It was everything I could have wanted, except for that old real estate thing, location, location, location.

I had thought the Otay Mesa border crossing would work well. Not without a car.
And in my buz, owning a car in NYC to park it at JFK airport during the week would make more sense.

So I used part of today (sunday) to collect phone numbers of places not on craigslist ;-)

Back to teaching for the work week. Have more to report after the weekend (or from my favorate internet cafe in TJ).... I mentioned it on my blog which you can find from my website, http://tcat.net

Thanks all,
Tcat


alex .

Jan 23, 2006, 6:25 AM

Post #19 of 32 (6609 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Bus Route 905

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connects to Otay, does it not? Likewise, there is an airport bus from the trolley stop downtown San Diego to the airport.
http://www.sdcommute.com/...ation/routes/905.asp


Tcat

Jan 26, 2006, 11:12 AM

Post #20 of 32 (6562 views)

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Re: [alex .] Bus Route 905

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Yes indeed the 905 runs monday to friday. And I saw how it is almost impossible to walk up from "main street" to the Otay crossing.

It really seems like that part of TJ is for people with cars.

I was orgionally encouraged by the 905 map...


Tcat

Feb 4, 2006, 5:15 PM

Post #21 of 32 (6499 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Bus Route 905

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Answering my own reply to keep this thread up to date.

My orgional cab driver didn't know and didn't have the courage to say he didn't know or was working from
3rd party and/or dated knowledge....

People DO walk across Otay Mesa crossing. Bikes do go to the head of the line!

For me, Otay Mesa is looking pretty good.

Route taxi is 75 MN (call it a buck with a tip)
Bus is one block away on Rev. Ave. and is 55 MN

Timing was almost equal...

I found a place I really liked out there. The owner of the 5 plex lives there and was willing to be hired to take out trash, take my pesos to pay my bills while he is paying his, etc.

The biggest challange is figuring out Internet between Telnor and Cablemas... I am tempted to order both and put a load balancing router between the two of them so I have access with my VoIP at near 100% up time.


sfmacaws


Feb 4, 2006, 6:37 PM

Post #22 of 32 (6494 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Bus Route 905

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Only one quibble, 75 pesos is more like 7.5 bucks, not one.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Tcat

Feb 5, 2006, 6:58 AM

Post #23 of 32 (6478 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Bus Route 905

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gotta "love" laptop keyboards. I missed the .

so in USD it was $0.55 and $0.75 or 5.5 NM and 7.5 NM and I told the cab to keep the change for an even 1 USD.


alex .

Feb 8, 2006, 6:29 AM

Post #24 of 32 (6430 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Bus Route 905

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Tipping taxi drivers is an American custom. Unless the driver is unloading a bunch of big suitcases for you at the airport or bus station it is not expected. Of course, the taxistas KNOW its an American custom and will ask for it from gringos. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Alex


(This post was edited by alex . on Feb 8, 2006, 6:30 AM)


alex .

Feb 8, 2006, 6:35 AM

Post #25 of 32 (6428 views)

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Re: [Tcat] Bus Route 905

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Cablemas service is unreliable for an unexpected reason: while you are absent your neighbor who has not subscribed, but has a converter box, will move your cable connection to his.
Alex
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