God bless Mexico

WHEN I STEPPED outside at 8:30 a.m., the thermometer read 58 degrees.

In July.

In the Olden Days, when I lived in Houston, we would sweat buckets all summer, and I would pray for the first arrival of true Autumn, which I defined as a temperature less than 60. It would invariably show up around October 20, and the city would breathe a sigh of relief and elation.

A friend sent this interesting video yesterday. However, I hope all those Gringos and Canucks head to Ajijic instead of to my mountaintop. We already have too many grown men with ponytails and the sort of women they bond with: Birkenstocks, flower halos and armpit hair.

31 thoughts on “God bless Mexico”

  1. Mexico is looking better and better to me! As soon as I button up the loose ends here in USA, I will be looking for a location to spend the last years.

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    1. You can’t beat it, Eric, and one of the good things about the “danger” hysterics put out by the U.S. media and State Department is that it keeps the namby-pambys from coming here, and most Americans these days are namby-pambys.

      Truth is that one is safer in almost all of Mexico than in about any U.S. city, big or small. Don’t tell anyone.

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  2. Well, that was depressing. I don’t mind being old, but I sure don’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of other old people. When I was a kid, I realized that old people stink. Ben Gay, Absorbine Junior and a plethora of other ointments.

    Well, now I am old, and I stink.

    Now, let me tell you about my operation…

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    1. Señor Gill: Keep in mind that the focus of that report was assisted-living facilities. There are plenty of other Gringos in that area who don’t stink.

      And spare me the details of your operation … please.

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  3. I chuckled several times during the piece at some of the patronizing stereotypes that some northerners — including me — use to express their attraction to Mexico. But it is an interesting concept. Like most northern ideas transported south, the concept of assisted living requires a concentration of consumers who seek that service. That limits the number of places where it would be feasible. What I do know is that Mexicans are great at seeing a need and turning it into a business. As for the PBS reporter’s wary warning that the industry is unregulated in Mexico, I say: good! The last thing I want to see is Medicare sticking its grubby paws into the Mexican medical system. If it does, the cost advantage will soon disappear. Who knows? I may check myself into an Ajijic accommodation during my final years. I quite liked the place when we visited in January.

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    1. Steve: Actually, I too have considered the possibility of ending up in one of those places, but it would be highly unlikely unless my child bride somehow checked out earlier than I do. And were I to end up in a facility, I think I would prefer the San Miguel area over Lake Chapala. There are some similar businesses there.

      I’ve only been to Ajijic twice, very briefly, spending the night — just one night — only one time while I’ve been in San Miguel gazillions of times. The sorts of Gringos and Canucks are very different in San Miguel and the Lake Chapala area. There is more of an artsy air to San Miguel while Chapala attracts more of a meat-and-potatoes crowd. At least, that’s the impression I got.

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  4. Out of scientific curiosity, mind you, I Googled photos of that Playboy woman from back in the 1960s. She was mentioned in the video. There is a separate PBS interview just with her.

    She was huge! It’s a great illustration of how beauty concepts have changed over the decades. If you Google photos of Jayne Mansfield, it’s incredible how large the woman was, and I don’t mean boobs. She, like this Playboy woman, was very big from head to toe. And these days, skinny is the trend.

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  5. I can just hear the Hucksters telling them, “It’s cheaper in Mexico.” What you pay a hundred dollars for in Chicago, I can get it for you in Mexico for $92.95″ Wheels turning inside the clients heads, Hmmm, that saves me 7%.

    No, thanks, I guess if you can afford it, it looks OK. But my lifestyle and philosophy are different. Being a borderline outlaw and a survivor of the many crisis situations in Mexico, I have a better understanding of Mexican Cosmovision.

    You can find me down at the market eating a bowl of Mole del Olla. You won’t be able to pick me out of the crowd unless you know me. I have submerged into the culture. Unless you hear me talk. I still have a tinge of accent that gives me away. That’s OK. If I can’t impress them with talent I can dazzle them with bullshit.

    Steve is right. Being around a bunch of wheezing oldtimers will age you. I can just hear them whining and complaining about the roofdogs and fireworks. There’s so many more amazing things to do in Mexico than play dominoes. (I will play dominoes at my comadre’s house though (The winner has to drink two ponies of tequila and the losers one.).

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  6. I’ve just read a comment on a FB link I share with friends in Belize that says one of the resort operators there is going to build an assisted living facility on his property. That is revolutionary in itself, saying such, because there is absolutely no medical infrastructure close by for those needing/wanting to be followed by doctors. Belize is so underdeveloped in that area that anyone growing old and frail in that place might as well just plan to fade away without any safety net options. Nothing against Belize in terms of its beauty, they do speak English (of sorts) but it is a failing nation in most ways deemed important.

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  7. I was in the assisted living business in Florida, for 10 years, back in the 1990s. I wish the entrepreneurs at Lake Chapala the best of luck. It should be very successful given the huge price differential between Mexico and the USA. It is a much better alternative than going to a nursing home.

    I prefer aging in place in my own home in Mexico with my own caregiver if necessary. I don’t have a need to be around other gringos, but many people do. Different strokes for different folks.

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  8. God bless Mexico, indeed. Thanks for the distinction between Ajijic and San Miguel (meat and potatoes/artsy). I honeymooned there 46 years ago, and you got to guess it’s changed just a bit. San Miguel would be my choice anyway, now, but not to live in a “home”. I’d want my own place with a Mexican helper as needed. Living with a group of gringos would not be my cup of atole.

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    1. Angeline: I’m not much of a social animal, to put it mildly, and I spend 99 percent of my time mostly with my wife but now and then with other relatives. This has been going on now for 13 years or so. I have become keenly aware of the immense differences between them and us. These huge differences are the main cause that so many Americans who move down here never really have Mexican friends even though, it seems, many think their maids and gardeners are their good pals.

      The mindset is so different. I feel a sort of discombobulation when I spend much time with Gringos nowadays, yet I still do not connect with Mexicans. All of which leaves me the odd man out. I imagine this will never change.

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      1. Well, I liked your reply, but not the part of being odd man out. At least you don’t surround yourself with Gringos (no offense to them), but you moved to Mexico, not to another part of the USA, so I salute you for that. I am Mexican-American, spent a lot of time in Mexico when I was growing up, and lived there a couple of years then too. I’ve been back only recently a couple of times on vacation, and dream about living there, somewhere. I have to wonder how I would fit in permanently. I am never mistaken for anything other than Mexican (I’m one of the light-skinned ones) when I’ve been there of late, and that always makes me happy.

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  9. I have heard someone is planning to put an assisted-living home on our seldom used grass landing field.

    Most questions I have from NOB friends are about health care and assisted-living facilities. I can hire a full time ER nurse in Mexico for a lot less than assisted-living care NOB with bed pan changers. I also don’t need to be hooked up to IVs trying to extend my life. But, of course, that won’t be an option NOB when all the baby boomers hit the system.

    Let us pray that Medicare doesn’t come this way and ruin it with rules and regulations($$$$$)!

    BTW, your new haircut is the latest style NOB.

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    1. Patzman: If they put an old-folks home over on the airstrip, it will be close enough for me to walk home for lunch, maybe spend the night here. I wonder how much it will cost.

      As for the haircut, that photo on The Satellite Moon, of course, was taken 18 years ago, so if it’s the latest style in the U.S., clearly I started it. I have long been a trend-setter.

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  10. Way too many people have way too much fun for my liking. I think SMA or Chapala is the best place for them. If they came here they leave after awhile, as has happened.
    Good, I say.

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  11. I think word is getting out. Frankly, most Americans haven’t saved a dime for retirement, or maybe they’ve saved a piddly ten grand, and that’s it. Those people want to retire too, and with Social Security their only income, what else are they going to do? Even in the backwoods of Arkansas, you are still touched by the high cost of living in the USA. In a place like Boston, there’s no way you could retire on Social Security alone, even if you owned your own place.

    But a thousand a month to live in assisted living in Ajijic? That sounds too cheap to be true, even for Mexico.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we have long thought that building an assisted living facility for Gringos in Mexico could be a good business.

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  12. We used to live in the backwoods of northern Arkansas. In its way, it was preparation for living on this isolated Mexican rancho where we’ve now been for almost 10 years.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

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  13. I saw the video the other day…most of us who have lived here for any length of time know that health care is the best. The Mexican people also have great respect for their elders…as opposed to discarding them as the US does. I have thought about this subject often, as have most of us in our age bracket, and came to the realization that I will likely be able to stay in my own home with a private nurse for $1000 USD or less per month.

    We go down to Ajijic/Chapala on occasion…don’t like the vibes…it’s like someone picked up a Canadian or American town and plopped it in the middle of Mexico! Anyway…here’s hoping that none of us have to make this decision anytime soon…have a good weekend!

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    1. Charles: Hiring a private nurse? I assume my child bride will do that for me if necessary, and your child groom too, no?

      Great word to use, vibes, for that Gringo haven, and the same goes for San Miguel, I think. If you live in Mexico, it can be pretty shocking showing up there. But it can be fun for a day or two.

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