Hola Mexico

IMG_0521It is January 2013 and having explored, on paper, some towns in Mexico to live in I chose San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel is in the Colonial Central Mexican Highlands. The Spanish building influence is all over the area and 300 year old buildings are not uncommon. The town of about 100,000 residents rests at 2,000 meters, about 6,300 feet above sea level. I had visited this town just once before on an exploratory trip to Mazatlan, Guadalajara and San Miguel de Allende (SMA) in November 2012. I still don’t really know that much about the town but my feelings was that I KNOW it is a beautiful place and so if I made some sort of gross error then at least it would be nice to look at while I put a Plan B together.

I have arrived in SMA with zero Spanish skills and a mini van filled to the brim with what I thought I would need and want in Mexico. I bought a Dodge Caravan in Tucson for $1,200 to be used as my moving and storage van while I journeyed to SMA from Tucson USA and looked for an apartment to rent. The streets here are very narrow and processions happen ALL the time, hence in just a 6 month period my van was towed 3 times.The last time my van was towed I threw my arms up in the air and just went with the flow… I just used the police compound as my parking space! Then it dawned on me that a car in this town was not needed and I got rid of it quickly. We should all remember this in our new lives abroad: take note of what once worked in your life does not necessarily apply or is applicable in your new found paradise. Walk for goodness sake! Back in Tucson, Arizona I used to walk about 4 km a WEEK and now I do that day!

Renting was not new to me, having lost my home to the financial debacle of 2008 it was the best thing that happened to my finances, I was living the New American Dream; I was renting! Having little savings is actually far less stressful in my humble opinion. If I lost half my investments in 2008 to the “crash” then half of $100 is.. only a $50 loss. Foruntaely I do have more than $50 in the bank. I think. So now in SMA having small cash savings prevents me from making stupid mistakes. For example, it amazes me that retirees here arrive and within a few months BUY a home. I don’t get it. Why in retirement would you tie yourself and your money down to one place, a place that could change VERY quickly. The Mexican government has has a history of changing the rules with regards to banking, peso value and foreign real estate ownership. Plus, what if your new neighbors have 2 rooftop dogs that bark 24/7, what about crime increase or just plain boredom of your chosen town? For me renting is the best option and in spite of lack of funds to buy a home, I would like to think if I did have $400,000 in the bank then I still would not “invest” it in a house.

In a future post I will post lots of pretty pics and give details about this pretty town. Until then, buenos dias, Adios.

About John Arnold