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Everything posted by barrbower

  1. I feel like some assumptions about costs of living here are based on lack of info on where you used to live. There is not a place in the US that we would consider living in that is even remotely affordable for us. The house we sold 10 years ago in a rural area of western Colorado recently sold for more than double what we sold it for. Add in the need for two cars, property taxes, HOA fees (if applicable,) insurance costs, utilities, entertainment, food, medical care (even if you have parts B&C) and crazy real estate and rental prices and there you go...retire to lakeside. We could maybe have afforded to live someplace like a small town in west Texas or Louisiana. But why? Since 1972 I've been hearing about how much cheaper it is on the other side of the lake...and it is for some things. Gas is the same, food is the same, clothes are the same, doctor visit the same, car prices the same, insurance the same, etc. Maybe rentals and home sale prices are lower but that is if you could find some. Laborers will work cheaper if you can find them. And then what do you do? Do you speak fairly fluent Spanish? Do you like restaurant choices? Is there any entertainment? Shopping? Would you mind driving over here to do all of those things? It really comes down to supply and demand and demand here is still growing, like MC said, somewhat driven by Tapatios who are priced out of their home city. Restaurants and housing are more costly there than here if you want to live anyplace nice. If you work at the airport or anyplace south of there, the commute to lakeside is probably faster than if you lived in most parts of Guadalajara. I've lived in Jocotepec, Patzcuaro, San Miguel de Allende, and in Cajamarca and Arequipa Peru. None are cheaper or better than here. If you feel like it's costing too much here, maybe consider the places you dine out or shop in or travel to or the house where you live. There are always corners to round off a little without ruining your life here at lakeside. Alan
  2. The last time I looked at the Mexican Embassy website you could use monthly income or savings on deposit for the previous year or a combination of the two. That is where it can become a gray area and much will depend on the individual doing the interview. Numbers for a married couple vary as well. But I would think that most folks considering moving to ANY other country should have savings and some retirement income to meet the criteria. If not then you couldn't afford to retire in the US either. Better just keep working. We sold our house and came down on tourist visas several times long before SSI was available to us. After a little over a year, the proceeds from the house sale more than made us eligible and we got Permanente visas on our last trip up as returning tourists. Once we started getting SSI, we stopped living off savings, bought a house, and live quite comfortably on less than our social security. We could never have done that anywhere in the states that we would have liked living in as retirees. Alan
  3. That's sort of what I figured. I guess he thought if he made a show of taking my discount card I would leave happier. Actually the only place I have personally gotten to use that card is at museums. We got in for free at quite a few in places Mexico City. They say it works for bus travel as well but I never tried it. It doesn't do any good for medicines since they all have a suggested price on the box which is always higher that what they will charge you anyway so no discount there either. Thanks, Alan
  4. I went this morning and paid with cash. I asked if my senior discount card (INAPAM) would provide an additional discount and he took the card and entered the number. In the end, I did get a 15% discount but not sure how much of that was the early pay credit and what (if any) was the senior discount. I'm not a citizen but I am permanent resident. It was not too crowded and pretty organized so I spent about twenty minutes in the building. Plenty of spaced seating, everybody was masked, hand sanitizer as you entered, and chairs were being sanitized between customers. Counters were wiped several times as well. Oh, and my annual tax bill was just over 1,500 pesos...just about 6 USD per month. I'd gladly pay a lot more if there was any hope that services would improve as taxes went up. Sadly, not the country we live in. Still wouldn't go back to the US though. Alan
  5. The family of Black Widow spiders can have quite a variety of colors and patterns here in Mexico. Some have the hourglass and some have a red or orange spot on the back. Some even have spots or stripes all over the back and some have a more yellowish orange color combo instead of red. All have the same body type and basic blackish base color. The web is easy to identify by it's dense, messy, and very strong silk. I have touched the webs many times by reaching under the edge of a patio chair to scoot forward or by grabbing the edge of a patio table to move it. The spiders always move away unless you are unfortunate enough to put your hand right on it. The webs are strong enough to hold a tossed pebble in place. Once you touch one, you'll always recognize it later by it's feel and look. There are Brown Recluse spiders here also. Harder to recognize since they don't look quite as sinister. Also Hobo spiders which I think might be related to the Brown Recluse and also harder to identify. I just last night killed a very large scorpion right by our front door. They seem to be active this time of year perhaps looking for moisture and warmth. Be careful picking up or moving stuff left outdoors. I'm generally a live and let live person but anything that bites or stings will meet an untimely death. Sorry. Alan
  6. We tip throughout the year in our little coto. We gave them all 500 pesos for the Christmas bonus. The job they do is not one anybody would aspire to do...just one they end up having to do. MC is correct...excuses are invalid. Everybody gives what they can and if you can but choose not to then you are the definition of cheap. Yes, we all pay taxes. Our property taxes are about six dollars (US) per month. And they have gone up a little over the years. Imagine what that should pay for in public services. I'm not advocating a big increase in property taxes or fees because, unfortunately, if taxes went up 500% the only thing that would probably change is that more people would run for local political office since the trough would be bigger...if you get my drift. Alan
  7. Actually, I think the picture MC posted looks more like a typical denier who is suffering from the latest strain because he refused the vaccine and other recommended scientific protocols. I bet he wishes he'd listened to his mother! Alan
  8. All the bills in the US are basically the same color as well as the same size. You just need to pay attention here and get used to the new designs. I like the variety with different colors, some vertical and some horizontal, different lengths for different denominations, etc. The big problem with the 1,000 peso bill is that they are putting them in the ATM's and since fewer folks can currently change even a 500, I guess we will all be lined up to get change at banks. Alan
  9. You have the right to get drunk in your own house and stumble around. You no longer have the right to get drunk and drive. That's because somebody made you stop doing it. It used to just be an individual decision but yeras ago as cars got more common and faster it became a societal decision and it became a legal mandate because a drunk driver is now endangering others with his careless behavior. I'm glad you got vaccinated but you need to understand the need to encourage everybody to get it and that might one day require a legal mandate...just like kids who go to school. If everybody just did the right thing you wouldn't need to discuss a mandate or mask rules or lockdowns. It is not like Nazi Germany or communist China. It is exactly like a responsible democracy...something the US used to be. Ignorance is not bliss...it's just ignorant Alan
  10. Problem is...it's not just your health. Maybe Mommy needs to explain it better and then give you a lollipop after your shot. Grow up. Alan
  11. There are many mandates for the good of society at large based on current science. Think about smoking. You can't smoke anyplace where it might potentially harm another person. You have the right to ignore science in your own home but not in places where the concerns of others exist. Vaccines are a proven way to avoid many medical maladies. Kids get vaccines to go to public school. Soldiers get vaccines to protect the group as well as themselves. When is the last time you heard of somebody among your acquaintances dying of diphtheria, polio, rubella, or typhoid? It's hard to admit you're wrong and it's hard to admit that being wrong might already have hurt another person. There are some places in the world that would love to have the "first world luxury" of even debating modern medical science. Just get vaccinated, wear a mask to keep your spittle from hitting others in the face, wash your hands, and stay away from large indoor crowds when possible. You greatly reduce your chances of getting ill and, more importantly perhaps, not endangering some one else. In the process of doing these little things, major societal issues like lock downs, supply chain shortages, and event restrictions can go away sooner. Remember this...Trump got vaccinated and was instrumental in speeding up the development of the effective vaccines. If you don't want to get one then somebody might make you do it anyway...for the societal good. Just like me when I was five years old at the doctor's office...I didn't want the shot and I didn't care what disease it might prevent! My mommy made me do it anyway because it was wise and it was the law. I outgrew those misunderstandings. You should too. Alan
  12. I might add this one thought. "Where Covid is soaring even in populations that are mostly vaccinated" it is almost entirely because almost half of those populations don't believe the vaccine works or is somehow more dangerous than the disease. From the start, the medical professionals have been saying that the vaccine will not prevent one entirely from getting Covid. But once vaccinated the chances of serious problems (like 5 million dead) is greatly reduced as is the chance of even contracting and then spreading the disease. If the population was indeed mostly vaccinated...say 95% then we would probably not have to keep having these discussions. Lockdowns are horrible. Social, mental, financial, and even long term health effects are measurable and hurtful. Way back when Trump was bragging about getting the vaccines rolled out in record time and his supporters were backing those efforts, we had a chance to avoid many problems that are still present. Even the ex got vaccinated after at least one Covid infection. But folks are slow to learn. They still went to a concert, rally, party, etc. and bragged about their freedom (I suppose to get sick and infect others.) Common sense seems to have flown the coop. Education (science based,) vaccination, and careful decision making will keep us out of lockdowns. And that means 95% of us not 55%. Q, Fox talking heads, your neighbor's brother-in-law, etc are not good sources of accurate information. Everybody has an opinion but not all opinions are equally valid. At least check out the website called All Sides News and click on the "News" link at the top of the page. They present a left, right, and center viewpoint on many topics. Force yourself to read all those views. You might learn something new and you might learn more about a friend or family member who holds different opinions. Get out of your bubble. MC's post was well written and researched but misleading on a few points. But at least he is trying to express his concerns in an intelligent manner and I respect that. Alan
  13. When discussing the Mexican peso values, one should remember that back in 1994 (while we were living in San Miguel de Allende) Mexico created the "New Peso" which is now just the" peso." When I was living here in 1972 the exchange rate was 12 pesos to the dollar. It had gone up to 3,000 pesos the dollar in 1994. So the government decided to just drop off the three zeros and it became 3 pesos to the dollar. So basically since 1972 until now it would have dropped from 12 to one to 21,000 to one. Now that is a big drop in fifty years. Keep that in mind if you keep a lot of money in pesos accounts. Of course, think what you could buy in the US fifty years ago...like a house for 25,000 dollars, inflation has greatly eaten away at the dollar's real value as well. At our "official" inflation rate of about 3%, that 25,000 should be 111,000 but that house would now cost you 400,000 probably. Same would apply to healthcare, college tuition, fuel costs, property taxes, food, etc. Remember when a Motel 6 meant you could get a room for 6 bucks? All governments tell you what they want you to hear so you don't panic...just stay a little on edge and keep shopping. Mostly true in all of Latin America. In Peru (where I lived in 1974) there was the "sol" which became so devalued they created the "Inti" which became so devalued they created the "nuevo sol" which is now just the sol. Bad government and bad economic policy there as well. Alan
  14. I have a Mexican neighbor who is searching for a used Honda Fit for her daughter. Mexican plated and not more that 150,000 pesos. Message me and I will put you in direct contact with her. Alan
  15. Claudia Nery is a neighbor here in Riberas. She would love to talk to you or your friend and she says it's OK to give you her phone number. 33-1075-9172. I tried to message you directly but you are not set up to take messages so I'm here hoping you will see this. Alan
  16. "X" emergency room has gotten very mixed reviews. Not sure if they are understaffed or under trained but they don't inspire confidence when lives are on the line. In an hour you could be at Puerto Hierro Sur on Lopez Mateos before you ever got paperwork filled out in "X" waiting area...although they do have plenty of parking. Alan
  17. Laws change and it has been a few years ago, but we had a US plated car down here for almost two years. When we crossed the border we had bought travel car insurance online which one year policy went into effect the day we entered Mexico. Our State Farm was cancelled on the same date and they refunded some money based on the time left on the policy. Every time we drove the car back north, we called State Farm, bought another 6 month policy effective the day we crossed and then when we got back down here our Mexican policy for traveling in Mexico was still in effect. We would call State Farm and cancel again and they would give us back money based on what time was left on the policy. They didn't have a better way to manage all that and didn't seem to mind doing it for us. Just Google Mexican border car insurance. There are quite a few in all border states. Alan
  18. We had Seguro Popular for many years until the fractured efforts by Amlo left us unsure what to do. When it gets all worked out we'll sign up for the new program and use it only for things like Chillin describes. I find paying "out of pocket" for things to be quite reasonable. We even paid for an emergency heart stent because we didn't have time to deal with Seguro Popular and it was not expensive and was an amazingly good experience. It cost less that what Parts B&C would cost yearly even if we could have returned to the states to get it done there. We don't have B&C because they are useless here and we won't return to the US for care of any kind. We are Mexican residents and decided from the start to work within those parameters. Alan
  19. Just this kind of fraud being used by LMG to bill for services illegally at a much higher rate than would be charged locally is one reason that Medicare and Part C will probably not ever be available outside the US. Add in the AMA and Pharma lobbies and you can see why it will never be legally allowed. Even if it was, it isn't cheap. Part B is about 150.00/month per person and C could be 200.00/month per person. For a couple that is 8,000 dollars a year plus any applicable deductibles. And the the way it is now, the whole thing could unravel when the fraud is detected and payback is requested of those who have submitted claims (even unknowingly) and guess who has to pay it all back. LMG will be gone. Quacks like a duck...so beware. Alan
  20. Nice of you to point out that we have things falling off...But the facts are that most of us can't get Mexican insurance because of age or pre-existing condition. So the desperation and fear are overcoming common sense. There is no legal or moral method for residents of Mexico to get Medicare Part C or any other portion of the Medicare plans to cover your expenses while you are in Mexico. No matter what somebody tells you in a meeting or what some person you know has experienced...it is still fraud. You can travel back to the US and get things done (like to repair parts that are falling off) but not here. Some very expensive private plans from US companies might cover you for all medical expenses while you live here but I'd hate to think what that might cost. All of this should have been considered before moving here. We all knew we were only going to get older. Those limited medical options are exactly why many folks give up "paradise" and return to the US even though they might otherwise not like living there. In the meantime be thankful that medical care here is good and comparatively inexpensive. Save money every month and have a good credit card limit and hope for the best. Enjoy paradise while you can. Stressing about the unknown can cause illness also. Alan
  21. I just spent about an hour doing a live chat with several folks at Medicare.gov. There is no change as to the coverage or limitations to any Medicare Part C plans. That means you can't legally use that Part C for anything if you are living outside the US or places like Guam or Puerto Rico. If you don't reside in Mexico but are traveling outside the US for less than 60 days and have a legitimate emergency while traveling here, then the Part C use is legal. There are a few exceptions but those won't apply to this discussion because we are not a border town or traveling from Alaska through Canada. Please don't perpetuate fraud and run the risk of having a bigger bill bounce back on you. There is an organization called NBI MEDIC that investigates fraud, overcharging, theft, etc. on behalf of the Part C insurance providers. Even if you've had luck in the past with this scam it doesn't mean you will next time. Several folks here locally have discovered that the hard way and got bills for many times more than what they would have just paid out of pocket. Alan
  22. You might try searching for Finca La Estramancia in San Luis Soyatlan. I contacted them and it looks like a lovely place. Problem is that they only take groups of six or more and are otherwise not open to the public. Food and wine available for a cost and the tour cost 500 pesos each person. Not the typical winery business model we are all used to seeing. It is actually located just past SLS on the lakeshore side of the highway. Looks beautiful. Wines are all on the expensive side and I don't know if they are good. I think they need a marketing person. Alan
  23. In English "lagoon" is normally used to define an area of salt water separated from the ocean by a sand bar, for instance. In Spanish Lake Chapala is called "Luguna de Chapala" on Mexican maps and in common usage. Mexican Wiki says the same. They define it that way by virtue of it's characteristics...primarily it's shallow depth and propensity for dramatic expansion and shrinkage depending on seasonal weather. Just like Lagunas de Cuitzeo and Yuriria which are just north of Morelia. All are destined to one day be wetlands and then seasonally verdant plains. Many, many years ago Guadalajara was a laguna. When it rains really hard, parts of it can still require a boat. I have read that all of this part of Mexico was at one time a single huge body of fresh water. Nobody was around then so I don't know what they called it! Alan
  24. Normal and average are two different things. If the average drops over several years of lower levels then that becomes "normal." With this being a lagoon as opposed to a deep lake, fluctuations are "normal" and are very dependent on climate conditions. I've seen the shore all the way up to 16th of Sept. in Ajijic and I've seen the shore a mile out with the exposed land being used for football fields, farming, and even fenced for livestock. Both conditions were normal but not average. Whatever the average is, it's good to see it now coming up a little. We could still have several more inches of water this season or...no more rain at all. Either would be "normal." Alan
  25. Yes, and it was resurfaced less than a year ago. The entire highway is already breaking up. Not properly bedded and thin coat of asphalt spread on top of unstable base and old potholes. But it was smooth and pretty for a little while. The main problem is the amount of bus and heavy truck traffic required to use that road. Dump trucks and delivery trucks hauling tons of rock, sand, cement, beer, and dirt. On the plus side, the crappy roads (and poor traffic lights and crazy weekend traffic) might keep more of us gringos from moving here... Alan
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