Easy living


I RECONNECTED  with an old friend recently in San Miguel de Allende. We hadn’t seen one another in 15 years.

Over breakfast he asked me about living in Mexico, what most I liked or disliked about it. After pondering a moment, the first thing out of my mouth was that living in Mexico is easier than living above the Rio Bravo. And cheaper, of course.

This came to my mind again three days ago due to an event that beautifully illustrates what I said.

Walking out to the Honda with the intention of going downtown for a nice café Americano negro and to run a few errands, I discovered the battery was stone dead.

It was the second battery in the seven-year-old car, but I had changed the first battery before it left me stranded.

That same morning I had driven the car to various places with no indication the battery had one foot in the grave. The car cranked immediately with no hesitation.

In the afternoon, however, I was surprised at the secondary effects. The doors opened, but the trunk door wouldn’t. The automatic gear shift would not budge from Park.

Here’s what happened next when the easy and inexpensive elements of Mexican life came into play:

My wife had already driven downtown in her Nissan March. I phoned her and explained the problem. She drove home, first stopping at a garage where a mechanic immediately dropped what he was doing and came with her.

I was not totally convinced at that point that the problem was a dead battery, due to the odd — to me — side effects.

The mechanic determined that it was a dead battery. We three returned to the Nissan, dropped him off at his garage, and continued to a battery store to buy a new one.

We returned to the garage, picked up the mechanic, and the three of us returned to the Hacienda where he installed the new battery. My wife headed to the gym in the Nissan.

The mechanic and I drove the Honda to his garage, where he charged me 50 pesos, about three bucks.

The entire drama lasted about 90 minutes.

14 thoughts on “Easy living

  1. I like this story. To northern ears it must sound complicated. I know I felt that way when the battery was stolen out of my Escape in San Miguel de Allende, and I had to buy a replacement. But I have come to appreciate the service that is always readily at hand here.


    1. Steve: Life is easy here — well, for some of us, those with ready pesos — and things can get done quickly and inexpensively … and so easily.

      I had forgotten about your battery being stolen. If memory serves, you parked out on the street overnight, never a good idea no matter how many people tell you it will be okay.


  2. I’m ambivalent about the ease, Sr. Zapata. When this has happened to me here, I just called AAA, a guy came out in his truck, with a battery, and switched them out. I can say it may have been done in a couple of hours, but not too bad. Of course it cost a wee bit more than three bucks.

    When I came back home after my sojourn in San Miguel I felt like I was getting back to an easier place to live; but then, I didn’t have a car in SMA, and it was all buses or finding a cab or hoofing it.


    1. Angeline: When I lived above the border, I never had anything like AAA, so I solved problems on my own as needed. Of course, AAA just requires a phone call. Then you sit back while the problem is solved.

      As for your finding things something of a challenge during your recent visit to Mexico, I think we’re now comparing apples and Chevrolets. Visiting a foreign country where you’re not familiar with much of anything, of course, is more of a challenge than it is for someone who lives here. When I first moved to Mexico, I found the simplest chores a major headache.

      It’s a matter of learning the ropes and, of course, speaking the language. After leaping over those hurdles, things are quite easy here. I find them far easier than I found them when I lived in the United States.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Apples and Chevrolets for sure. I think if I had stayed at a place closer to Centro I would not have felt so taxed. But I’ll be back, no doubt about that.


  3. I would have to say that the most difficult (irritating) thing for me was dealing with immigration. Getting the FM3 renewed was a pain in the butt. I didn’t drive in Morelia, parked at Walmart and taxiid. In Puerto Escondido, it was a piece of cake, just go to the airport, but in either case, you have no FM3 for a month.


    1. Kris: Not having to renew the annual visa was one of the reasons I became a Mexican citizen in 2005. Before that, renewing the visa could be a big pain or not, depending on which office you did it in. I imagine that has not changed.

      But now, no more visa renewals for me, and that’s really easy.


    2. P.S.: From what I see, lots of foreigners who intend to live in Mexico permanently are antsy about becoming Mexicans for one reason or another. In my opinion, if one’s going to live here permanently, becoming a citizen is a no-brainer, especially since it does not cancel your U.S. citizenship or affect it in any way. I don’t know about Canucks.


      1. Same here, we can have multiple citizenships. We were going to go that route until environmental issues (smoke allergy) caused us to leave. Not to say that we would have stayed forever. We are kind of nomadic. The longest we have lived anywhere is our current location, nine years, but there was still a lot of Mexico I could have seen. That’s life, I have at least one more adventure in me, but I don’t think it will be a total move to a different country.


        1. Kris: Interesting that phrasing. “I have at least one more adventure in me.” It was to have one more adventure, specifically, that compelled me to retire at 55 and move to Mexico. Those were my exact thoughts.

          Best decision of my life.


      2. I was telling a Mexican friend yesterday that I was nearing the time in country when I could apply for citizenship. He beamed with pleasure. I must look into this the next time I’m in our capital city.

        Don Cuevas


        1. Señor Cuevas: Unless they changed the time requirements since I did it a decade back, and that is certainly possible, you’ve long since passed the required years. When I did it, you had to have been here five years or married to a Mexican for 2.5 years. I hit both those at almost the same moment. I know some people hem and haw about the citizenship thing for some reason, but I’ve never encountered a single negative. Not one. Quite the contrary. In short, go for it.

          It’s a whale of a lot of fun.


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