Monday, December 9, 2013

Busy during the Holidays!

Wow, I have had a busy holiday season.  Well, busy for me.  I used to multitask with the best, but now I single task very slowly..

First, Thanksgiving, then my birthday, then Christmas and family.  Had a great birthday, maybe I should say birthweek. 

A Birthday Delight - Puerto Vallarta for a beach break

We spent a few days in Puerto Vallarta.  The holidays have brought a lot of folks there.  Busy place, but the restaurants were great and the margaritas flowed smooth.
The Lindo Mar Restaurant in PVR
We wanted to stay longer, but we had to return to Ajijic.
Sunset from the 9th floor of Visa del Sol Condos
Warm weather not like up North!
Nice Birthday Stay
Back in Ajijic we rested for two days then it was Birthday time again.  Gathering with family and a share of the best peach cobbler (southern style) and ice cream.  But it didn't stop there.  More later...


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Retirement in Mexico

If you are a follower of International Living Magazine ( or Kathleen Peddicord (,  the appeal to living abroad now counts into the millions of US Citizens flocking to different places all over the world.  Sometimes it is not only the cultural exchange, but economics play a part in the decision to leave the comforts of the USA and live aboard.

I think most American expatriates love their homeland and their patriotism could not be challenged.  Many are just looking for a change in lifestyle, others want to get more for their retirement dollars.  Let's face it, the US is expensive compared to many foreign countries, also some locations in the US may not be the safest place to retire.

Climate also plays an important role in where a person wants to spend their golden years.  Active retirees may not want to spend their winters inside in front of the fireplace, or hang out under the air conditioner all summer.

Travel in Oregon in our Class A 2012

RVers have found a way to control the weather and watch their pocketbook in the US.  (We RVed for seven years in the US and Mexico.)  Head north in the summer and south in the winter.  During our last seven years in our RV, I have never enjoyed a sense of freedom more than traveling in our RV.  One can read about our RV travels in two other blogs.  One dated from August 2005 to November 2006 ( )and the other from May 2007 to December 2008 (

Travel in New Mexico in our Class C 2011

I was surprised when I discovered that living in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico gave me that same sense of freedom.  And the need not go south or north.  The climate is about the same year round with no air conditioning (either heat or cold).  Multimillion dollar homes as well as fifty thousand dollar homes all lack air is not needed.

Economics is one of the main reasons for our settling in Ajijic.  We made decisions 25 years ago to live a life out of the box.  As a result, our retirement dollars dwindled.  During those 25 years we had a blast and enjoyed an adventuresome lifestyle at the expense of our retirement savings.  We wanted to maintain our standard of living during our retirement and living abroad was a good solution for us.

Ajijic is not the least expensive nor the most expensive area to live in Mexico, but we had spent time here in the 90's and lived full time for two years in 2000-2001.  We were familiar with the area and many of our friends we met along the way still lived in Ajijic.

Thanksgiving dinner at the Nuevo Pasada Restaurant
We wanted to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle and still live within our means.  We wanted a maid once a week to help around the house.  We wanted a gardener to tend to our trees and plants.  We wanted to eat nutritious meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as eat at quality restaurants without breaking the bank.  We now eat two meals and a snack each day usually one of the meals we eat out. 

Farmer's Market is every Wednesday in Ajijic 

We wanted to travel and experience the culture in a foreign country.  Head for the  beach during the high season (Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo are only a few hours drive from Ajijic).  We have access to a beach house in Cuyutlan (a small beach town south of Manzanillo) which we will take advantage of during the winter.
  The beach house in Cuyutlan

View of the pool and casa - Cuyutlan

On the beach in the Pueblo of Cuyutlan
Now you know a few of the reasons we are here.  Finding a comfortable casa was our next challenge once we arrived.  We wanted to be in Central Ajijic, close to the Square and close to the shore of Lake Chapala.  So, the search began.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ajijic - Finding a home

Back in Dallas, Texas, we decided we needed temporary living quarters while we searched for our casa in Ajijic.  We put on our creative hats and concluded the best way to secure temporary living was to house sit somewhere in the area.  We joined,,, and monitored  Luxury Housesitting did not offer much, but to our surprise, we had a response from 

A Canadian couple from Chapala had planned a six week vacation to Canada and Europe and needed someone to care for their two dogs.  Chapala is about six miles (10km) from Ajijic.  Six weeks could give us plenty of time to investigate every rental in Ajijic and find the "perfect casa".

The view from the Chapala casa
The home was a lovely home with 4 bedrooms and 5 baths (7300 sq ft).  We had one problem or I should say we were the problem.  The house sit started on August 27 and we wanted to leave Dallas on August 2nd.  We were ready to go.  So, we accepted the offer to house sit and decided to find temporary housing while we waited for our temporary house sit.  Before leaving Dallas, we booked a suite for two nights at the Mis Amore Hotel (breakfast included) in Central Ajijic.

Determined to get out of town, we departed on August 2 for Austin, Texas, spent one night there, drove to Laredo, Texas, spent one night there, drove to Matehuala, Mexico, spent one night, and arrived in Ajijic on August 5.  Mission accomplished.

The next morning after breakfast at the hotel, three doors down we walked into the Laguna Real Estate office.  There we met the owner, Beverly Hunt, an expatriate who has lived in Ajijic for the last 50 years.  Wow, does she have stories to tell.

In about three hours, we had temporary housing till the 27th in a fully furnished apartment two blocks from the Plaza.

The courtyard outside of our apartment

Outside our door was a tree loaded with limes.  All we needed was a glass of ice, triple-sec, and tequila.  All of these items are within a block of our Temp-Apt.  Now we were ready to spend the next nine weeks on a search for the "perfect casa"... more later.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Somewhere in Mexico

Interesting place "Ajijic".  I heard a song by the TallBoys Band  (yes, that's how they spell TallBoys).  As I look around the Plaza, I see a variety of folks that might fit the song.  Hey, I might even be one of them.

Ajijic Plaza

A local group "The TallBoys Band made their video here in Ajijic and Puerto Vallarta called "Somewhere in Mexico".

Sunday at the Plaza

If you want to listen:
or just read the lyrics.

Somewhere in Mexico

Strangers gather like jigsaw pieces,
Looking for a place to fit.
Trading tales over margaritas,
Cautious not to let too much slip.
Some are lost, some are found.
Most are just waiting on wings.

Somewhere in Mexico,
There's a field of dreams.
Somewhere in Mexico,
Hiding from my troubles,
Hiding from my sorrows,
Hiding from the rest of the world.

Magna cum laude's and Johnny come lately's
Gather in the afternoon sun.
Stumblin' down the cobblestones with secretive grins,
Makes you wonder what they have done.
Some come to preach, some to confess,
Most just couldn't care less.

Arriving at our new home abroad

Current location:  Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

We  arrived in Ajijic on August 7, 2013.  Two expatriates from the USA living aboard in Mexico.  What brought us here?  Probably a number of things, but certainly the weather was one (National Geographic Magazine listed the Lake Chapala Area as the 2nd best climate in the world).  Another was a desire to live on a small retirement budget and still be able to maintain a reasonable standard of living, including a maid and gardener, a comfortable home with all its services, money left over for entertainment and travel, and enjoy an active lifestyle with 50,000 other expatriates from the US, Canada, Europe and other international countries.

A view of Lake Chapala from Hacienda Chapala

The Plaza in central Ajijic.  The Plaza is a favorite gathering place for people watching, enjoying lunch in one of the restaurants bordering the Plaza, or just catching a few rays of the sun.

Walking along the malecon on the North Shore of Lake Chapala.  Lake Chapala is the largest fresh water lake in Mexico.  Two blocks from the Plaza is the North Shore of the lake.  There are miles of walking trails along the lake.

We arrived late in the afternoon and settled into our room at the Mis Amore Hotel on Hildalgo Pte.  It was this hotel that I received my official title "Lord Herbert" (more about that later).  Weary from the 1100 mile (1790 km) drive from Dallas, Texas, we ate a light dinner and retired to our room.  Tomorrow we start our search for our new home......