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Everything posted by barrbower

  1. We went to WalMart this morning and there was a man standing out front who appeared to be the guy whose job it was to discriminate but he didn't bother us. I was prepared to ask for the manager and point out that the sign says "people over 60 shouldn't shop here" not "can't shop here." When we entered there were lots of older folks in the store but when we were leaving the same guy was having a discussion with a Mexican woman concerning the issue but she was let in also. I think the stores are being put in a bad situation by poorly thought out political mandates. Those mandates were seemingly made to reduce the spread of infection, on an emergency basis, but nobody is enforcing rules against the large family gatherings, parties, bars, gyms, etc. that seem to be the sources for most of the spread. Those are surely "non-essential" compared to food stores. I do recognize that anybody who has any kind of a business considers it very essential. It does pay for his family's survival as well as the families of his employees. Just do the best you can to protect yourself and others and understand we all have different levels of risk tolerance as well as general health even when we get to be 60. Also understand that stores are risking a municipal shakedown by bending a very unclear mandate to provide services to our age group. Alan
  2. Water does not come from the lake but does come from wells unfiltered and no chlorine is added. The pipes are also old in many places. We have a settling trap, a sand filter, a sediment filter, and a charcoal filter. Then it goes through an ultraviolet light tube. Been here several years and no problems. You notice that it is hard water and many people use a softener. Not having chlorine added makes calcium easier to absorb, thyroid problems reduced, and your fingernails grow faster and stronger according to the internet which is, of course, 100% accurate. I notice the "swimming poo"l odor in the tap water when we travel back to the states. I don't miss that even if that was the only real benefit. Alan
  3. Well, since AMLO stated that he was never going to wear a mask until corruption in Mexico was eradicated...everybody around him should have been cautious about getting infected. Let's hope they were smarter than he is. He never grasped that masks are to protect others more than yourself although they help in that way too. Think about doctors who wear masks and gloves when operating. That is to protect the patient. But if a doctor enters a room where somebody has TB, for instance, they wear masks to help protect themselves. I'm not sure why AMLO decided to link two unrelated issues like COVID and corruption into his "red line" but he has proven on many prior occasions to be in over his head. I don't wish anybody to get sick but we shouldn't be surprised that he did fall ill...just like another recently retired leader. Alan
  4. If you are expecting your insurance company to pay the value of the total loss, you will need to get proof of the previous five years of refrendo payments. If you don't have copies, they will look them up and, of course, charge you for doing it. If your car was from another state and converted to Jalisco registration you might not be able to get the proof you need. The insurance agents will not do any of this for you. I just went through all of this for a friend very recently. It also will take a couple of months to get your money from the insurer and they want to do a deposit into your bank account directly so hope you have an account. Like insurance companies everywhere, it was just such a pleasure doing business with them...Alan
  5. Contact Tio Sam's. They have a Bosch stove/oven repair person who comes from Guad with an appointment. Alan
  6. The drive through Aguascalientes takes about 30 minutes and there are several ways to do it. The easiest way is to take the well marked periferico when coming from the north. It is basically a business loop with lots of gas stations, places to eat, etc. Crazy traffic after mostly driving through deserts but just follow the signs and you eventually end up turning left on the highway that takes you towards Guad. You really don't have to make any tricky turns or maneuvers through the old part of town. Alan
  7. After crossing the border into Mexico, we have never had anybody check anything about the dog. They did pet her through the window though. Returning to the states, we had them check her vaccinations record from our Mexican vet so be sure to get that done here before returning. In most vet clinics here they don't keep your pet's history. You keep it in a little booklet. That is changing some as the bigger vet clinics have computerized record keeping. Alan
  8. Most folks from this area use the Laredo area to cross back and forth. There are easier places both south and north of Laredo. Coming from Illinois, you might consider a more northern entry point. Laredo is about 11 hours from here and most drivers make that in one day. If you can't do that, and are planning to spend a night in Mexico, you might consider crossing at Del Rio into Ciudad Acuna. It sort of depends on when you get to the border. But if you stay in Del Rio and cross as early as you can, the entire process will only take you 20 or thirty minutes. As you cross the bridge you end up on the plaza of a very small town. The inspection takes place right there, the immigration office is right there. The Bank where you pay for your TIP is right there. There are copy shops and money exchange places right there. The road out of town is the one on the near side of the plaza right next to where you park your car where a guard will watch it for you. Many times, we were practically the only car there. There is another inspection area about one hour south where they are checking your car papers and TIP. Be aware that legally, they can question your type and quantity of household belongings unless you have a non tourist visa. We brought is a lot of stuff as tourists and a smile and a shrug and a point to your wife seems to do the trick. Just don't bring things that look new or might be for resale. Ciudad Acuna is a 13 hour drive from here but you save a least two hours time by not driving so far south to Laredo and you save that much time by not waiting in lines in Laredo. The Laredo crossing area also has a bit of a reputation for bogus traffic stops requiring a bribe to proceed. There are hotels in Saltillo and Monclava to break up the trip. It depends on if you cross early or later in the day since you might not spend the night in Del Rio. Don't let the gas tank get too low before stopping. There are areas that make west Texas look over-populated! You will start to think of a Pemex station as an oasis. Some bathrooms are free and some require a coin to enter. Most are surprisingly clean but the free ones might not have paper so come prepared. It's all part of the adventure. Be safe, Alan
  9. OK, here we go...all are my opinions only. US plates are no problem as long as you are on Tourist visa or Temporal visa. Tourist visa good for 6 months and your car will require a TIP (temporary import permit) which will require a refundable deposit in cash or credit card which you will pay at the port of entry. Do not leave the border area without getting your TIP. If you think you might need a repair shop while travelling, I'd recommend getting a different car. Repairs are not expensive but waiting for parts could be a problem. And there are roads between here and the border that are very remote and not close to any kind of repair shop. Tasers are available locally at the local Wednesday market. Just the contact type, not the ones that shoot out with wires. Pepper spray as well. You might need, and should have, a current vet certificate but we have never been asked for one entering Mexico. Same requirements when returning to US and we have been asked for it there. Any visa other than tourist visa will have to begin in a Mexican consulate in the US. You can Google the requirements but it's not recommended until you have lived here long enough to be sure you want to stay. Mexico is not for everybody. Millions visit, thousands stay, hundreds surrender and return to their home country. Mexican travel insurance for the car is cheap and easy to get online...usually for one year and is good even if coming and going. Your US insurance can stay in effect or can be cancelled and reinstated when you return. You current US health provider might arrange for you to be covered while travelling or you can buy a seperate travel policy online. Health care costs are relatively low here and if you have Medicare they will cover emergency problems while on vacation in Mexico. There are no breed restrictions for dogs. There are leash laws but they are commonly disregarded. Dogs are welcome in public and even in some restaurants. Not in most retail establishments. The best places to stay with a car carrier or stuff in your car are what they call No Tell motels or "hot sheet" joints. They are clean, cheap, and you can bring you dog. You drive right through the private entrance and park in a private garage. An employee will arrive to collect cash payment through a lazy susan in the wall. You can order food and beverages which will be provided the same way. I will caution you not to turn on the TV unless you are looking for a certain kind of adult entertainment. Lastly, you probably won't be able to open a Mexican bank account unless you have a Temporal or Permanente visa. Most folks just hit the ATM's to get pesos at whatever the current exchange rate is. You can usually get up to 500.00USD equivalent for a few of about 4.00USD. Good luck...enjoy the adventure! Alan
  10. I actually found ours at the vivero just up the street (on the mountain side of the highway) between Multiva and the Ajijic Hospital. You never know what they'll have but all viveros have clay pots so just keep looking. Alan
  11. Harder or not harder...It doesn't matter to us. It has been moved to two different homes, moved all over the yards and patios, had some big fires in it, had rain water on it as the fire was dying down, been banged into by gardeners with brooms, and it is still working fine. I think we paid something like two hundred pesos for it at the vivero. Best ten bucks I ever spent! Alan
  12. If what you want is just a firepit and not really a grill, we have been using, for the last eight years, a simple large, shallow clay planter. We build really hot fires and so we have it sitting in a low, three legged iron stand. We actually call it our firepot. If you think about it, it is made of the same material as the chimineas and is much easier to sit around since it is open. Sits outside all year and has never cracked. Seems like the repeated fires have hardened it over the years. Cheap too! Alan
  13. Knowing where Val's hubby used to live and fly his ultralight, I don't think he will have much trouble with wind or mountains... Alan
  14. Same thing in our house. Also have noticed that 36 is always in Spanish now as well as 58, 63, 66, 68, and 72. With the SAP in use they all used to be available in English for most of their programming. Chanels 77 and 78 are in English if you turn off the SAP and switch back to stereo. I'm pretty sure they just scramble things up with out any consideration for English speakers because there are relatively so few of us. Also pretty sure that it won't change back if you report it. There is a fairly new channel 98 which is Paramount movie channel. Always (so far...) in English but you have to turn up the volume quite a bit compared to other channels. Alan
  15. Bisbee Gal and others, Your links are appreciated but do not answer the questions I asked. During special events/fiestas all kinds of vendors are allowed in Pueblos Magicos plazas. But daily stands, ambulantes, food stalls, produce vendors, etc. have, in the past, been specifically prohibited in order to qualify for PM status. Not sure if that is still true. If you go to any PM's that I've been to like Tapalpa, Mazamitla, Comala, Tequila, Mascota, Tzintzuntzan, Santa Clara del Cobre, etc. there are no such activities unless it is part of a special event. Those towns are blessed with lovely portales, balconies, and sidewalk eateries. Ajijic has none of those things hence the plaza seating and vendors on and around the plaza. Chapala used to have those things too but they were prohibited in their bid for PM status much to the detriment of the plaza. As to my other concerns, still no answers from anybody with authority. If the Ajijic community has more of a say so in how the program is developed here, then I might be more supportive...Just be careful what you wish for...Alan
  16. The requirements to qualify for Pueblo Magico status used to include some things that could adversely affect our little plaza. Not sure if they still have those requirements and I can't get anybody to tell me for sure. Maybe Harry can discuss this here. Are they planning to remove all vendors like the taco, veggie, corn, tamal, and hot dog folks who make their livings there? How about the craft vendors along the Guadalupe Victoria walkway? Are the bars and restaurants still going to be able to have outdoor seating on the plaza? What kind of lights are they putting in? Hopefully not the blue/ white high intensity, mood killers that are common. Once they start to bury all the utility lines and remove poles, who is going to be responsible for sidewalk repairs? Are the streets in the centro going to be repaired st the same time? Are they planning to financially help the local business owners who will have car and foot traffic ruined while the work is being done? Many who are barely hanging on right now. Where are cars going to drive and park during all this work? Have any local business owners and local community leaders been consulted on their desire to have Pueblo Magico status? Is the community OK with the resulting increase in traffic and development when the current infrastructure is already lacking? Please, Harry, these are the questions I hear people asking about more than the actual look of the north side of the plaza and new bathrooms. Not sure why none of these topics have been publicly discussed but it makes me nervous... Alan
  17. You are correct about remittances, etc. Huge for all of Mexico. No idea as to an estimate locally but the largest castillo for patron saint festivities is always the "Ajijic Hijos Ausentes". This area is unique in that there is a big percentage of relatively wealthy expats who are able and willing to spend our money here compared to that same demographic in most other places. That was my only point. As a result, we should have a little more influence in matters that affect the local lifestyle than perhaps in other communities which don't have the same expat population. I also think it is only natural that locals have the biggest say so in how they want the community to develop. I'm not hearing a lot of support for the Pueblo Magico "ideal" from locals yet... although there might be more support and money and political will supporting the plan than we are aware of so far. Alan
  18. Don't doubt the clout that the expat community has on the decision making here locally, even if we can't vote. When you have 20,000 expats/snowbirds (estimate) spending 1,500 dollars per month (estimate) of money brought in from other countries, you have some impact. That equates to thirty million dollars per month put into this little local economy. 360,000,000 dollars per year that get spent many times over and that is just the living expenses... not cars, real estate,etc. So make an effort to express your concerns as members of the community you love. There are always opposing voices where money is concerned and when political pressure is applied. Logical explanations when expressed calmly by financially influential elements of society will usually, but certainly not always, prevail. Do your part to make yourself heard no matter what side of the issue you're on. Alan
  19. It seems that the only changes, for construction purposes, are along the Northern side of the plaza in front of the Jardin restaurant, the community center, and the old chapel. That means the restaurant is pretty much out of business and that is the prettiest part of the plaza. Also in danger are the seating areas for the coffee shop and newly remodeled bar. Likewise say goodbye to the taco, burger, and hot dog vendors and the produce lady. Probably the craft vendors along the walkway of Guadalupe Victoria. So anything that makes the area unique and charming is in danger. I'm in favor of cleaning up the town and repairing the crappy streets. I'm not sure if putting TV, high speed internet, electrical, and phone cables underground is worth the trouble considering the impact that will have on local business, traffic, and service interruptions now and into the future when those services need to be updated. The Chapala government should be careful what they wish for. Local input should be sought and valued and if that can't happen then they should say no thanks to the Pueblo Magico program... especially since once changes are made, the program evolves only to promote more regional tourism. Is that really what the area needs or wants? Lots of current infrastructure is already stretched to the breaking point. Any plans to do those updates? The current Pueblo Magico program is unfunded. I'm not sure how they plan to cover the costs since all governments are struggling as well as the local businesses and individuals who are really fighting to stay alive. Be very careful...Alan
  20. I also used the library but that has been made unusable because of their ideas about what constitutes safety. Only access is now online. Book pickup with an appointment. So no browsing. Concerns are for the safety of the volunteers but those same folks shop in stores and dine out where reasonable protocols are in place. Very few folks rent DVD's. Restaurant is closed so no socializing there. Open Circle isn't the same as before because of Covid. Health checks not used often. Very few used the space for line dance classes, etc. My wife liked the free films but we have streaming TV and can see lots of films that way. I could never stand the crowded space and plastic chairs and people talking over the film like they were at home. We did passport renewal at Chapala Legion last time and it worked fine. So I guess I'll buy a Kindle or browse the bazaars for used paperbacks. I know they have programs in place to help the local community but those programs might have to seek a new umbrella organization or operate on their own. I might consider a donation to keep those programs operating but I'll probably not renew my membership at LCS. Covid has done a number on economic and mental health along with the physical health of communities around the world. Frustration is up, crime is up, business failures are up, education is faltering, and non-profit organizations like the LCS are hurting. We all live in a new world now and expectations of "normalcy" might be misguided at least in the near future. Alan
  21. co-eh-tehs. Not really the long "a" sound in either place. Certainly not the "cojetes" that many gringos use when assuming the "h" has a breathy sound and not silent like in Spanish. Pronounced that way, with the h sound, it becomes something vulgar. Alan
  22. I feel like the employees at the station I frequent could always use a tip even if it is just to pump the gas. I speak Spanish, have gotten to know them a little, and know that they mostly count on tips to earn a living. Almost all customers, including Mexicans, tip them. Does anybody reading this board think they could live, raise a family, or have a future with options working for what locals are able to earn? Most are lucky to earn the equivalent of 300 dollars per month. Would you do it? Could you do it? Would you appreciate a tip? They pay the same prices for things that we do (as relatively wealthy expats or visitors.) I have never had a service station attendant take advantage of me. I always tip generously. Alan
  23. You need to think about what is bringing them into your yard. They eat almost anything but they love insects like grubs and earthworms. They are also attracted to fallen fruit, smelly trash, and any kind of pet food. Some things are easy to isolate like trash and pet food. Some like insects and fruit not so easy. You can try ammonia soaked rags draped around. It appears to them like potentially dangerous signs of predator urine. Motion activated lights might startle them away also. Be aware that they are possibly either in a den or are searching for one nearby. Check under the hood of your car and if you see evidence that they might have been there then leave the hood open until you are ready to use the car. If you decide to trap them with a live trap, call the bomberos to remove them. I'm sure they love doing it! Alan
  24. Just in case you are looking for another Home Depot to get in and out of "easier", there is one in Tlaquepaque. It is very near the Forum mall and from Chapala (on the airport road), it is the fastest one to get to. Just don't go on a Sunday because the streets are blocked off for bikes and joggers/walkers in that area. There is some traffic but pretty simple in and out especially the second time you do it. Alan
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