Friday, November 7, 2008

4 months of observations about Mexico

This article was originally written on July 30, 2007

We closed on the sale of our house in Portland, Oregon closing March 30, 2007. After a few days at my sister-in -l aws house we headed for Central Mexico on April 5th, 2007. It has been 4 months in total. We have seen a few different locations on the beach. We have seen some in-land cities. Zacatecas was kinda neat. Agua calientes was modern. Morelia seemed dirty and industrial on the big outside circle. Outside Morelia the small towns didn't have much to offer except a REALLY authentic Mexican experience.

After a little bit of searching around we decided to check out the beach experience. We checked out Ixtapa and Zinajuateneo Guererro. It didn't charm us. And we ended up here in Puerto Vallarta. I guess because of a lot of reasons.

Here is the house we bought in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. We don't own it yet but we are allowed to live in it until the transaction closes, so that will save the $500/mo rent we are being over - charged. We bought it for $450,000 pesos or more or less $43k dollars. It is quite the shock going from a 5100 square foot lot, with a 5 bed 3 ba house and a double garage, to a 1000 square foot lot with 2 bed, 1 ba. but Life is about adventure and compromise. So here we are.

1. It is very American here. It has all the modern conveniences I am used to. As well as I can find all the grocery products I want... When we are home at night chilling there is no difference except that it is very warm. In Portland it is only warm sometimes.

2. Before we moved I did a lot of research on Mexico on different websites including and I found out that real estate market is doing well in certain cities in Mexico, one of which was Puerto Vallarta. Since we only have limited funds from the sale of our home I wanted live without working and invest what we can. Essentially we are planning to flip houses. If possible.

So we ended up here and we found a fixer upper house. We are now about to get laminate floor installed and then build a Master bedroom upstairs. Also we are installing all new Kitchen cabinets and granite counter tops in the kitchen. Additionally, we are going to finished the garage and build a patio and service patio (or a outside laundry room) upstairs.

Things that are different here....

  • Well, to start there are very few obese people. I weigh more or less 170, size 13-14 and I have to go to a special store to find clothes.
  • Everywhere you go there are prepared fresh fruits, vegetable and juices for sale..
  • In some neighborhoods every house has a business in their garage or living room.
  • Most businesses are open air
  • Garbage service is free and everyday
  • There is restaurant service on the beach in lots of places, we have dinner on the beach often
  • You can get everything delivered to your home.
  • People drive up and down your street with loudspeakers selling stuff all throughout the day
  • Women who have bulges here don't try to hide it
  • Taxis are inexpensive
  • Regular groceries are in-expensive
  • Utilities are inexpensive (here in Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than some other rural locations but compared to the US still much cheaper)
  • Job discrimination - an employer can say, 18-25 year old woman, no children and single.
  • You don’t have to tip at most restaurants (small family restaurants) but you tip for people in the parking lot directing traffic. And you tip for the baggers at the grocery store.
  • Your drivers license is like this… Police “can I see your drivers license please?” you hand them some money… if it is enough money they say, have a nice day. If it isn’t enough they say, “that doesn’t look like you.”

That’s all for now…