The adventure begins…
A person only has one life to live and I am anxious to make the best of what will happen in the last quarter. The first 75 years (now starting the 76th) have been a thrill beyond my wildest dreams. Of course there were the usual “ups and downs” but amazingly truly more UPS! I can smile when I think of our four children and their successes in life, families, and our four wonderful grandchildren
Three of us, Angie and our friend Trish are exploring the idea of moving to the Lake Chapala area of Mexico. How about that for an adventure!!! It is a town of about 20,000 ex-pats from America, Canada, and some from Germany and other countries around the world. Lake Chapala is the largest fresh water lake in Mexico and lies about a half hour south of Guadalajara. Lake Chapala and the neighboring town of Ajijic lie at 5000 feet above sea level and have a temperature range of 50 – 80 degrees year-round and has been named as one of the top areas in the world to retire. Our adventure began with an exploratory week, however with the amount of research available on the internet, YouTube videos, and more, we almost feel as if we had already arrived. Beginning our journey from Sanford Florida, Trish’s home, we flew to Houston, then on to Guadalajara where we were picked up and driven to an AirB&B which was our home for a week. We arranged to have a driver take us to get a feel of the country and understand how far each community is from one another. We started with a visit to The Lake Chapala Society, an organization developed to make the adjustment easy. In addition to having a great FAQ product, they offer many other activities, classes, clubs, etc. We found a number of rental houses on their website, which are amazing, many of which are “all inclusive” meaning they come with a housekeeper, gardener, and all utilities and taxes paid. There are many rentals based on the season. Many people like the idea of going back to Canada or the States for either the winter or summer, while others have left it all behind and are full time residents. We were excited about the markets filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry and just about anything you might imagine. Restaurants abound from Mexican to Steakhouses, and my favorite… street vendors. There is a Wal-Mart and several large grocery stores, and a plethora of small shops for basic needs. Guadalajara, a city of 4 million is only a thirty-minute ride north. Public transportation and taxis are a great alternative to owning and driving a car. We are even more adamant after being here that we do not want to drive a car. The cost of renewing your shock absorbers on the cobblestone streets would be more than the car itself.
What about the houses here in the states…Reading and research has advised a four-step process. Make a list of what you must have, what your kids might want, what you might store, not knowing whether you might want it later, and what you are going to sell, or give away. Since Trish is renting, it is not a problem, but we will be putting our house on the market. Since the market is good right now, I am thinking 30 to 45 days to close. We have investigated Auction houses that will come and clean out your house, and take it to their place to auction. We need to do more investigation but this certainly seems like a great option. Experience with our own parents has shown, that our belongings probably have little interest for our children, but of course they will be welcome to anything we have.
Our AirBNB in Ajijic was a three bedroom 2 ½ bath in an area called Floresta, which was near the center of the area where we want to live. We had appointments with several realtors and fortunately found one realtor who had three wonderful choices. After viewing all of them, it was an easy decision to choose and we secured a beautiful rental for November 1. Enough about the real estate situation. This has been more than we ever expected. The Mexican community is so warm and helpful, nothing like you would find in Nogales or other border towns. They do not see us as “rich Americans” because they understand we are bringing money into the community and most of the Ex-pats who come here are here to have a better life and retire in more comfort, spending cash which improves the economy of the community. After being here only a few days, one quickly begins to understand that more than half of what we pay to live in the US is based on what regulations the lawyers and politicians come up with that eventually end up costing you more and more for less and less. (Don’t want to get into politics too soon)
We did do considerable research before arriving and found restaurants and points of interests that we had to explore. In the city of Ajijic)(pronounced Ah-e-heek) our first adventure was a local favorite called Chile Verde. We watched the woman make the tortillas right in front of us, and we ordered enchiladas (3) tacos (2) Chili Rellanos (2 way too much to eat) and Carne with tortillas all with rice and beans and a beer. We ate our full and took away enough for our dinner that evening….Yummmm
We have eaten at many of the higher end restaurants this week which we would not do every day, but have seen what the community has to offer. El Tango and La Mission were two excellent choices.