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Everything posted by barrbower

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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