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Retiring to Mexico not a halfway proposition

by Ron Walker

“Ron, I have a friend who is looking to retire in Mexico and I know that you and your “lovely” have been there several times. Why don’t you give him your thoughts on it? In any event, it should be a good read.” It’s my cousin Ed writing.

Orllyene and I were in San Miguel de Allende for four months several years ago. It was an earned adventure. My job had been abolished.

We rented a “casita” and settled into a winsome visit. I would walk for blocks and blocks through humble residences, cross through a park to a bakery in a restored monastery. My goal: a cappuccino, a homemade pastry, and the sounds of a well strummed guitar.

Sufficiently energized I continued on to an open-air market, with great mounds of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, potatoes, and nearby a bleating sheep, a squealing piglet, squawking chickens. No one took notice of the Norte Americano, and I did my best to be invisible.

Life was perfect except for one thing. Our social life. We drifted in with the expatriate crowd. We were invited to a different dinner party every night of the week. If it had been a gathering of people who wanted to share life experiences, it would have been fine, but as it turned out, they liked to drink more than were content with.

It occurs to me, that cousin Ed’s friend might be a golfer. Guadalajara is a center for Gated golf communities. From Lake Chapala (largest lake in Mexico) to the artist colony of Ajijijic (an Ojai replica, on a budget) Golf Clubs were everywhere. Ed’s friend could join a Golf Club hire a gardener, have a maid and still have enough pesos to shop like a fiend. I must mention Tlaquepaque, an artist’s Mecca for glass work, dishware and furniture.

Ed, suggest to your friend that he go to the library and get their latest copy of “Where to Retire in Mexico.” He’ll find the immigration and customs jargon he’ll need.

Most of all, tell him to not listen to people who tell you, “you will be bludgeoned to death the instant you cross the border.” I take that back, if you hover on either side of the U.S./Mexico border within a 20-mile radius, it’s likely grievous harm will come to you. The deeper you go into Mexico the more love and generosity you feel.

Then, take a break and do some sight-seeing. Find a cozy room in Alamos (barely 200 miles south of Arizona) and see why savvy gringos migrate there each winter. Next, fly to Acapulco, from there a public bus to Rincon de Guyabitos (42 miles north). Find a small hotel on the ocean and discover the Mexican Riviera.

For a world class train ride, board the “Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad” and revel in the glories of the Copper Canyon. Stay the night at Creel (8,000ft.) and take an 8 hour trip down a dusty road to the old mining town of Batopilas where the Tarahumara Indians are still clinging to a culture that has remained for centuries.

My friend, proceed cautiously, but do it with verve. We have natural and cultural treasures close by.

Ron Walker can be reached at walkover@gmx.com