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barrbower

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Everything posted by barrbower

  1. I guess that a lot more people will walk in at the new location than drove in at the old place. Plus they are a little farther away from the newer SA hospital location. Alan
  2. We drove past the Farmacia Guadalajara, just as you enter Chapala from the west, and it appeared to be closed. Sign was down and no signs of life. Anybody heard what is happening? Closed or maybe just remodeling? It's hard to imagine it would just close due to slow business but I guess it could happen. Alan
  3. A compromise was suggested only because Mexico is generally famous for having lots of laws which are mostly ignored by almost everybody...even those tasked with enforcement. Sometimes a little gain is better than nothing. Mexico is basically a functioning anarchy which mostly works most of the time...almost in spite of itself. I'm generally OK with that and I have, on occasion, committed all of those traffic infractions previously mentioned. Alan
  4. Just because something is a tradition does not mean it has to continue being one. Loud bar music until the sun comes up was "always a tradition" until it wasn't. Killing sea turtles and eating the eggs was a tradition until quite recently. Letting your dogs just roam the streets was a tradition. Getting drunk and beating up your spouse used to be fairly accepted behavior...they are working on making that less traditional. In 1972 I witnessed a hog being slaughtered on the plaza in Ajijic. They don't do that anymore either. Things can change and sometimes for the better. Mexico banned slavery years before the US did. That was the primary reason for the "Texas battle for independence." There was a need for another slave state in the Union which happened just a few short years later. It was also a "tradition" in most countries to prohibit certain people (women, the indigenous, etc.) from voting or holding public office. These last ones are extreme examples but even those well entrenched traditions were changed in the face of public support for just doing the right thing even if some were opposed. The cohetes probably began as a way for the church to prove their version of religious truth was more powerful than the way locals had been worshiping prior to the arrival of Catholic Spaniards. The rockets carry your prayers up to the clouds where our true God lives. The tradition of the church buying, storing, and using cohetes continues to this day. The church is still quite powerful and still holds sway over the indoctrinated population on which they depend. I'd say some kind of compromise is more likely rather than an elimination of the cohetes. Maybe just one day and limit the number. I have never understood the general tolerance of cohetes but I arrived late to the cultural indoctrination. If I live another 70 years maybe I'll get it...Alan
  5. We went to the Chapala malecon to enjoy the recent Mariachi performances which were part of the big regional festival. Wonderful family event. Safe, clean, free, and lots of good music. Great Ajijic band and a couple of others from Bolivia and Peru. Great job by the local municipalidad. It was so much fun that we decided to go the following evening to Jocotepec where it was advertised to be a free event on the plaza which would start at 7:00 pm. We got there at about fifteen after assuming it would actually start a little later than advertised. There was no sign of any stage or musicians present so we asked around and discovered that the festival was actually being held in a municipal auditorium a couple of blocks away...and it was a pay in advance event with reservations required and by 8:30 there were only about twenty folks inside and they were all hanging out by the big bar. Lots of crowded together tables and huge loud speakers and a couple of sketchy hostesses checking the reservation list. Not at all what was promoted in the local press and seemed like nothing we were interested in doing even if we could have gotten in. Seems that the local Joco municipalidad had a very different idea of what the festival was going to be for the local citizenry. Kudos to Chapala for doing it differently! Alan
  6. I only mentioned France and Spain because those two places were the only ones I was familiar with. I'm sure other countries are different. We also used the ATM for Euros and it was quite easy. Fees seemed to vary. You can request a tip be added before they run the card but it was never automatically included in the bill. The big difference in Spain and France seems to be that they pay a living wage to the workers who then don't require tips to survive. Alan
  7. I assume you are soon traveling to Europe. We recently returned from France and Spain. We bought Euros at the airport in Madrid thinking we would need them someplace like cabs or stores or trains. But no. You use your debit or credit card everywhere even to buy a Coke in a small store. It is pretty much a cashless society. Don't go to any great problem to get Euros. We only used them for street performers. They also do not tip in Europe although we did a little just to use up our cash. Alan
  8. Well, it's been three days and a Riberas house alarm is still going strong. According to a neighbor's gardener, the owners live in Guad and seldom come to this house. He pointed out that if a thief was smart this would be the ideal time to break in and steal stuff because the alarm has been sounding for so long we are all used to hearing it. The owners have never given a key to a neighbor who could then enter and either disable the alarm or check to see if there had actually been a burglary. But no...just set the alarm, leave, and let it annoy everybody within a two block radius if it goes off because of a power outage and restart. Same is true of useless car alarms. People set them then go someplace where they can't hear them if they do go off. Besides, a pro thief knows how to quickly disable those alarms if they break in. If you have an alarm on your car and then don't respond, then what good it does I just don't know. Anybody else who hears it only becomes annoyed and otherwise really couldn't care if a loud motorcycle or hard rain sets off your alarm. Just do everybody a favor and DON'T set alarms if there is no system in place to respond to it. Otherwise you just anger those who have to endure the noise while you are sometimes not even in the same town. Use your brain. Alan
  9. We live in a simple house and have lots of LED bulbs, TV's, fans, computers, etc. The small coto where we live has a pool and we pay 1/8 of that out of our HOA fees. Our two month bill runs about 450 pesos (some periods as low as 300 and some as high as 600) so we would never get our investment back for solar. At 7.50 to 15.00 usd per month, it seems quite fair after paying 200/month in Colorado in summer months and same for gas in winter months. Many folks who are installing solar systems count on recouping costs only when they sell the house which we are not planning to do. Alan
  10. Hey MC, if you are talking about the leaf mold "blight" it is hard to find one that won't get it. A diluted bleach/dish soap solution sprayed on the leaves will control it. Spay as soon as you see any black spots. The leaves will still show black spots but the mold will be dead. That also will kill aphids. Alan
  11. Is there nothing new and controversial happening in our little corner of the world? This web board is more boring than ever. Please, somebody, say something crazy...hopefully with some truth to it but I'd take anything if it was remotely interesting. Don't make me start an unfounded rumor! Alan
  12. Not really a second location but the "original" location is still there on the west side. Owners of the new store stress that they have nothing to do with the older store and the staff, products, size, etc. of the new store reflect an entirely different approach to the paint business. Obviously a independently owned franchise store much like a Truper hardware store. Alan
  13. Nope, it's in Riberas del Pilar at the intersection of San Luis and the highway on the mountain side. Across from the Templo del Pilar, Ladron's vet clinic, and Friends of the Animals store. By the way, it is Sherwin Williams not Sherman. Alan
  14. There is a guy at the Ajijic tianguis who always has a selection of them. Alan
  15. Large projects might change ownership multiple times before they get completed due to funky financing. Many projects always have a slightly unfinished look to them (like rebar sticking up) because, if still unfinished, I've been told the taxes are lower. It can be hard to tell if a place is under construction or so old that it's falling down...they look similar. Alan
  16. Carry the card in your vehicle as proof of registration. They say the card will be replaced after a few years but you still have to pay to renew it every year and carry that receipt in you vehicle as well. Cops can no longer spot an expired sticker or stop you for not having a sticker visible but proof of payment for registration is required if you get stopped for anything else. Alan
  17. Generally speaking, folks around here who complain about costs going up are in a bit of a bubble. Costs are going up everywhere...simple as that. You can now sell your home in anyplace in the US or Canada for probably four times what you paid for it just a few years ago. That's good but the home you could have bought in this area five years ago now costs double that amount. As to the costs for basics here , it is the same as anyplace else in Mexico. Less that at beach resorts and more than less desirable places. Just like in our home state of Colorado. You can sell your home in Boulder for over a million and buy a similar place in Sterling for about 1/3rd of that...but then what do you have? A home in a town that has very little appeal for the average person from Boulder. Same around here. Even a town like Jocotepec, which is only thirty minutes from Chapala, has very few rentals and very few amenities compared to Ajijic, San Antonio, or Chapala. As a result some things are a little cheaper. Workers, if you can find them, will work for less. A home to buy in Joco proper will be a little less if you can find one. But things like utilities, gas, taxes, clothes, restaurants, building materials, etc. are the same cost and choices are fewer. What we consider to be the biggest impact on quality of life is the increase in traffic. Some (maybe most) of the increase in traffic is being driven by folks from Guadalajara who have begun to buy weekend homes, just visit for weekends, or have moved here permanently. Bad traffic here is nothing like the real city traffic and since Guadalajara is spreading south at an amazing rate, folks can live here and get to many places in the city easier than driving across town in Guad. And like everywhere, folks can now work from home in many cases so many are doing just that...even gringos, who are not the traditional retirees, are coming here because of that ability. Still an amazing place and you'll find people here who have lived in San Miguel de Allende, coastal resorts, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, on boats, etc. There must be a reason. Alan
  18. I agree as to the need to get it done. There are probably more homes lakeside that don't save sanitary sewers connected than those that do. Very few water treatment plants and homes are close together so not much room for leach fields. That means not infrequent septic tank pumping. For that reason there are many homes that run gray water from washing machines, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, etc. right out on the street. That adds to pot hole problems, mosquito problems, bad smell from stagnant water, and just looks bad. I just don't think that the proposed solution is ever going to fly. Come up with a better funding method, a better logistical plan, more details for individual homeowners based on their particular situations, and have a public vote before proceeding. If the streets are torn up anyway just go ahead and fix the potholes, street transitions, and rainwater drainage issues and maybe even the fresh water supply pipes. Alan
  19. There was a Chapala government sponsored meeting yesterday which was to discuss the sewer issue in Riberas. Lots of officials from San Antonio, Chapala, SIMAPA, etc. and lots of glad-handing. I think about 150 folks in attendance all hoping, but not really expecting, a real plan could be the result. The property owners would have to pay one half of the cost in advance and within forty days before construction could begin. Fees based on property size. Plans call for a water treatment plant near the lake probably near San Lucas or San Mateo streets. Plans call for all of the streets to be torn up at the same time so the project can be completed in six months (?.) No plans to do water pipe delivery improvements, pot hole repairs, or rainwater runoff improvements. No mention of improving transitions between the highway and local streets. No mention of how folks who have septic tanks in backyards or under the house are going to get tied into the pipes in the streets. I'm guessing at their own expense and inconvenience. Basically it seemed to me to be a political ploy so they can say they tried to do the right thing. A better plan would be start with a treatment plant and connect the blocks nearest to the plant first, get things working correctly, and expand out from there so street access is not so adversely affected. Paying for it could come from a state fund, since Guadalajara draws water from the lake, or federal fund since the lake and it's shore are federal properties. Even if residents were to pay part, it should be a special assessment added to the annual property taxes over a period of years with an end date based on projected revenues from the increase. Lastly, residents should have a vote before anything that expensive and intrusive is begun. NOBODY trusts the local government to get the job done by residents paying in advance. Neither do we expect it to be done in a timely manner. Nobody expects it to work correctly when (if) completed. Nobody thinks the government will respond when complaints about these issues are voiced. This is just based on previous experience with local government entities. Alan
  20. I was not aware that any kind of deposit insurance is available. Even though it doesn't cover a large amount, it is better than nothing! I'm sure making a claim and then collecting is far from easy but I also think there are really not that many problems with lost deposits. Anyway, thanks for the heads up. Alan
  21. Most New Balance shoes, except for sandals, have the Mexican size in cm as well as the US size on the underside of the shoe tongue. Mine are 10 and 28. There are instances where 1/2 sizes are not available (for instance in either 9 1/2 or 27 1/2 for instance. Just not as common here i guess. But if you find a cm size in a New Balance shoe you currently have try ordering that size again in cm and it should work. There is a variance in sizes between brands so it becomes a bit more of a crap shoot if you don't have a shoe to go by. Alan
  22. IMHO the current Mexican admin is no worse that all which have come before when it comes to stability. Many opinions here are based on whether those in power tend to lean left or right to coincide with leanings of authors. I will offer to agree with Tom's recent post about how to handle money here. Leave all but a little in a savings account in your bank back in Canada or US. Peso accounts do offer better interest rates but that's because the peso is not very stable. I lived here in 1972 when the rate was 12.5 pesos to one dollar and twenty years later it was 3,000 P to $. The in '94 the government removed three zeros and it went to 3P to $ overnight. Now it's about 20P to $ and has been that for about four years (under current prez.) Just bring a debit card and use ATM's and many NOB banks even refund fees to your account. Have credit card for online and major purchases and pay off charges at the end of the month. Don't keep lots of money in debit card checking account to limit chances of theft if card is lost or stolen. Move your money from savings to checking as needed. There is no government insurance for losses incurred at any Mexican bank and there have been stories of folks who just lost funds because of account inactivity. Alan
  23. I also have found New Balance is the only brand that has a good selection (for really wide feet) of shoes that are comfortable for me. I have bought so many through the years that I'm comfortable buying them online. I just go on Amazon Mexico and have them delivered in just a few days. I checked the store in Guad and they had nothing in stock of my size so be sure to check before heading into the city. Their prices were basically the same as online. I did find that online prices can vary according to size based (I think) on popularity and availability... Alan
  24. Most (possibly all) of the "standing gray water" in Riberas is not the fault of the water table but the allowed process of connecting the washing machine and dishwasher to a simple gravity drain to the street. It is a mess and can start to smell funky if left standing. It also eventually ends up in the lake. The thinking seems to be that the actual septic tanks will then need to be pumped less often. None of them have a leach field as there is not room to do that in most cases. The advantage Riberas has is that since it is mostly lower in elevation the wells that service it almost never run out of water. Many subdivisions (like Los Cumbres) that are way up the hill, are still not able to drill a well because there is not enough mountain ground water up that high. They bring in water trucks to fill the aljibes. Generally all wells around here have sandy water and everybody has a system in place to deal with it. Some cotos and fracs have their own wells and do a little filtering before delivery to homes some don't. During the dry months you'll notice more water issues as well levels drop. One of the many charms of small town Mexican life that some folks aren't inclined to deal with. Alan
  25. Upstairs could be a restaurant like Pancho's has. I'm not sure there will be steps to get to the main floor. Basement level isn't for customers. Also have to think that not everything here is designed for the senior gringos. We get to choose where we spend money and the owners get to choose how they design and build. I never understood why most of the new homes (condos and singles) seem to have two levels. I know land is expensive but costs could be recouped by charging a little more for homes on one level that were built with the relatively wealthy expats in mind. I mean, senior locals don't like stairs either! Alan
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