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Everything posted by barrbower

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. To resolve the mystery...according to a construction foreman at the site, it is going to be a bodega much like Pancho's. Underneath will be unloading and storage. Parking in front. Traffic worse. Alan
  11. I can't think of a Farmacia GDL that has a vacant lot next to it...east or west. Where are you talking about exactly and where did you get that little tidbit? Alan
  12. Much of the problem related to both local hospitals is related to us NOBers trying to use our Medicare supplemental coverage here in Mexico when it is not legal unless you are not living here but are just traveling and have a legitimate emergency. If you do then don't let them bill your insurance. Tell them you don't have insurance and pay with a credit card then submit for reimbursement when you get home. The local practice is to WAY over charge if they think they can collect from US insurance. Those charges might be rejected. The other problem is that much of the time there is not a specialist on staff of even available until the next day. Treat the local hospital more like an "UrgentCare" instead of a real hospital. It is nice to have the facilities here for minor emergencies like sewing a cut and to get tests done like MRI's and even non- emergency surgeries. Alan
  13. Drive over to Tucueca or San Pedro Tesistan and pay attention to the real differences you see. If you are lucky enough to have a little tienda your only employee is likely to be family because most working age folks have left town. There is almost nothing to do there except barely survive. In 1972, when I first arrived in this area, Ajijic was a little fishing village which was mostly supplied by many very small farmers. I'm talking dozens of boats and groups of men pulling in heavy nets which could take hours. There were gringos living here then and it was a much cheaper place to live. A house could be rented for less than 50.00 USD/month. There were about four or five recognizable restaurants, two little hotels, no hospital, ambulance, telephones, television, library, immigration lawyers, car rentals, street lights, banks, clothing stores, malecon, etc. Folks complained a little about the hippie influx bu t most of the gringos were retirees who lived in Chapala. In those days the exchange rate was 12.5 pesos to the USD. Eighteen years later it was 3,000 pesos to the dollar. Prices went up dramatically all over Mexico. Then they removed all the zeros and it became 3 pesos to the dollar. Now twenty eight years later it is about 21 pesos to the dollar. And prices have gone up all over Mexico. If they hadn't dropped the zeros back then it would be 21,000 pesos to the dollar and prices would reflect that accordingly. I don't think gringos living lakeside had much, if anything, to do with any of that. If you think prices are lower in less desirable places because of over tipping or contributing to charities then go visit Patzcuaro or Queretaro or Oaxaca or Merida or even Guadalajara. Prices for housing, restaurants, gasoline, clothing, groceries, etc. will be the same or more than here. What is different is that wages are a little higher here because they can be. Waiters and maids can make good money. Housing is available, as are goods and services, and entertainment options abound. I thought capitalists were in favor of supply and demand and that rising water raises all boats...Places like Amarillo Texas are cheaper than places like Seattle Washington. It has very little to do with any rich folks living in either city who might be big tippers. It has to do with quality of life. Here that quality is relatively high and there is competition for workers many of whom were born here and stay because of that quality of life. I say good for them and good for us. We could not survive any place in the US that has any kind of desirability for us. That isn't true for everybody because there are many happy folks living in Amarillo! Alan
  14. Don't try to convince yourself that being cheap is somehow a good and noble thing. We tip well, pay for services well, donate to charities, provide dispensas to needy families, volunteer at non-profit organizations, and help a couple of families with kids. I have never heard a single person complain that it made them feel bad to get a little extra of our time, money, or energy. I speak Spanish fluently and visit with many folks about many issues including local costs and wages. They all know that many expats do help the local economy and help many individuals. I know of folks who pay for kids (especially girls) to attend school through university. And who help with medical bills. And gift old vehicles. And help with quinceaneras or funerals. I don't ascribe any of that to any social or political system...it's just doing the right thing with the resources we each have at our disposal. All of us have a different capacity to do those things that are needed. If that is being "part of the problem" then I think most of us have been misled about good deeds. As to socialism, it is not like communism. All democratic countries have socialist foundations. Police and fire departments are paid for with taxes collected from everybody even though you might not ever use either one. We paid property taxes for other people's kids to attend public schools. There are a thousand examples of things like that. Officials are elected, they work to decide who needs what where, and services are provided for the entire community. Military, highways, community hospitals, food stamps, CDC, food inspections, waste water treatment, parks, libraries, etc. Some countries provide more services with tax money than others. Things like public transportation, medical care, and higher education. They are all socialism. Unless you want to only pay to have your house fire put out after paying the fire fighters what they think it will cost...or never drive on a freeway or never drink clean water or flush your toilet but if you like all those kinds of things and use them without thinking then you are a socialist. Now if you don't like what your elected officials do with your tax money then vote them out. As to immigration comments, you should know that most folks from south of the US are not just excited to enjoy the fruits that the US democratic socialism would provide, they are just trying to survive and would gladly go anywhere they thought that was possible. Alan
  15. Our CFE bills run between 300 and 500 pesos for two months. That's 7.50 and 12.50 dollars per month. Not worth it for us to go solar. I don't think a single unexplained jump of 300 pesos that Sunnyvmex experienced is enough to justify spending money for solar panels for now. Just try to have it explained and wait and see what happens on the next billing cycle. If you decide to sell a home then much of what you invested in solar is probably going to come back to you. If you're not planning to sell then I'm not sure how big the bills would have to be for the investment in solar to finally pay off. Alan
  16. Why do you think Medicare is not legally available in Mexico except for emergencies by travelers only? And then only if you have part B&C. They could save billions by allowing other countries to provide goods and services to US citizens who live abroad or even who travel for dental and medical tourism. It isn't just because there could be fraudulent overcharging because that problem is huge in the US system already. It isn't because it is assumed that medical training or care here is inferior. Medical school here followed by the required training in the US is approved by the AMA. Lots of US doctors go to schools overseas where it is cheaper. Why is it so hard to purchase and import prescription drugs from countries where they are much cheaper? Why is it so hard to find a doctor who will accept new Medicare patients? Why does a stay in a hospital room cost more than the presidential suite at a fancy hotel? I'm not talking about food, meds, exams, treatments, or anything else except the bed and the room it's in. Why do insurance companies have so many exclusions for medical issues like vein surgery, foot problems, TMJ, congenital disorders, pregnancy treatment, eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental surgeries or treatments, etc.? Are those not medical issues? If I can't chew my food, walk normally, hear people talk, see to drive, or was born with a defect or condition that required continuous care, am I not needing some help? The whole thing stinks of corruption and mismanagement on a level that shows me that the "well entrenched" who profit from the crappy system do not ever want it to change for the betterment of society at large. Angry and frustrated? Yes and for that and many other reasons I'm not going back. Alan
  17. There is no free medical care or free public education or free public transportation or free lunch. Folks pay for those things their entire working, and post working, lives in taxes. Everybody knows that and everybody knows that the tax structures are designed to benefit most the very wealthy and greedy corps who sometimes outsource needed jobs in order to get a little more profit. Insurance companies and pharma companies have lots of lobbyists and rules are obviously tilted in their favor. Rich people invest in those kinds of companies because they, miraculously, never lose money. Those of us who make up the majority of the population pay the most and get the least...and that is by design. It ain't changin' in my lifetime. Alan
  18. We had Seguro Popular for several years but have not signed up with the new and "improved" AMLO version. We'll probably take a look at it in the future once they seem to have kinks worked out. The national programs seem to work pretty well as long as you meet the criteria. My heart issue was an emergency although I as having no symptoms that were noticeable to me. So I would have been on a waiting list at Seguro Popular. My GP noticed a problem, next day I saw a cardiologist, next day I had a stent placed in the widow maker 90% blocked artery, and it cost 7,500 USD. I could have gone the Seguro Popular route but I would probably have died before getting anything done. I also had the medicated stent placed instead of the cheaper ones that are used at SP. I think as long as you consider the national plans an option and if you can make the details work for you, then great. For many poor folks that is the only option and it's great to have that. Alan
  19. You might try the non skid tape which I have had on the outdoor stairs at our house for four years and it looks and feels like the day I put it down. Rolls of different kinds are available on line. Sand mixed with epoxy might work but with anything else it will wear away quickly. Alan
  20. I just drove east through the gauntlet at 10:30 this morning and west bound traffic was stopped back to Mirasol and pretty much bumper to bumper back to the middle of Riberas. You know when the lights are not on or just blinking yellow the traffic moves much better and there do not seem to be accidents. I think this is because everybody is really watching for other cars and being polite to let folks in. Something to be said for not over thinking a problem. Alan
  21. Something else to consider when talking about medical insurance (it's not health insurance) is that based on age and current health issues one might not qualify for coverage at any price. Me, for instance. I had a stent placed at age 65 and I was then unable to secure any kind of private coverage at any cost...even if excluding heart issues. You have to know that if, on average, medical insurance was a good deal for the customer, they would not sell it to you. My wife got coverage at age 61 with a very high deductible and after one year it went up over 20% because she was a year older. We were told that in the near future they would cancel due to her age. We beat them to it by cancelling them. She is perfect health so we've just been banking what would have been payments to the provider and are hoping for the best. Just like most folks in the world. You can't cover for any and all possibilities. Life just doesn't work that way. Alan
  22. Yeah, that will speed things along nicely...Let's just put a light at every single intersection! I've seen a transito cop sitting at the not to be used WalMart entrance for the last couple of days. Seems to be ticketing those who try to enter what is obviously supposed to be an entrance. You can fix ignorant but you can't fix stupid. Not sure if Jalisco has civil engineers or traffic engineers but if they do, then, well, stupid... I guess. Alan
  23. Most think it's better to bank the money monthly and pay out of pocket for medical needs when they arise. Be aware that Medicare is not legally available here for those who live here full time. If you are visiting, have parts B&C, and have an actual emergency then you could be covered. Better to pay with a credit card and then get reimbursed from Medicare because the hospital will charge many times more if they bill directly to Medicare or other private insurance carrier. If the bill gets rejected for any reason you could be liable for the larger bill. This is true no matter what local providers might tell you in local ads seen in newspapers. Many commit fraud and many have been caught. Alan
  24. Shaw is old tech and I think all sat TV along with cable will soon be gone. Internet streaming is taking over. We bought a loaded Amazon Firestick and have several live streaming TV options and several streaming providers for anything other than live...like movies and binge watching a series. Works pretty well even with Telmex wifi but would be better with fiber optic which we'll get pretty soon. We pay zero monthly and paid a one time 100.00 USD fee for the loaded Firestick and some instruction on how to use it. The only equipment that is included is the flash drive that plugs into the TV(Firestick) and a new remote which even includes a voice (Alexa) searching option...no typing required. Alan
  25. There is an old saying that goes something like this: "when the USA sneezes, Mexico catches a cold." Think about the recent push by the US to bring as much money back into the country as possible. Swiss banks being sued, FACTA, tax forgiveness for corporations, etc. There is literally billions of dollars leaving the US every year for the million, or so, retired expats living in Mexico. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that pressure is being applied from NOB to send some folks back to the states. One day it could become impossible to get SSI payments outside the country. It could also be part of a response from the Mexican government to get back at the US for sending so many Mexicans back to this country who were there illegally. The whole issue is so complicated because huge amounts of money, national pride, cartel criminal activity, banking regulations, money laundering, illegal immigration, and corruption are all in play. I'm guessing anything new that is being tried is some kind of compromise by both countries who are both unprepared to really solve the problem. Like a big wall which would have no effect on drugs coming to the US or money and guns coming to Mexico or people overstaying visas in either country. Nobody knows the answer or has a real solution. Alan
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