A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Aug 26, 2007 – Recently a researcher on Americans moving to Mexico, a woman who is writing a scholarly book on the subject, contacted me with some questions. Here are my answers to her question about the role of technology in this migration:

As you may have already concluded, technology in the form of the internet, telephone services, ATMs, airlines, medical resources, and likely other things, seems to be a very important part of the migration of many Americans and Canadians to Mexico.

In reverse order:

Especially in the larger cities, Mexico has current medical technology, often at a fraction of the price people would pay up north.

The ease and relatively low cost of flying means that grandchildren and other dear ones can be visited (or come down here). It’s under an hour from the GDL airport to anywhere on the north shore of Lake Chapala.

ATMs:  Travelers checks, long a mainstay of my foreign travel, are a thing of the past.  ATMs are the main way foreigners here get cash, and since Mexico is still very much a cash economy, we need more of it than we might NOB.

Phone services:  skype, vonage, and cellphones are widely used here. For example, we have a Verizon plan which has since been discontinued, but existing subscribers continue. Our Colorado phone number means it’s a local call for people from our community up north to call us. We call all over the US and Mexico for a flat monthly fee; while there is a limit on the number of minutes, we almost never exceed it. This has been extremely important to us in staying in touch with family and friends, as well as occasional business calls. Just a few minutes ago, I called an American friend of mine who lives a 20-minute drive from here, from my US number to hers, even though we both also have Mexican numbers.

Ah, the internet, now that’s really the big important one. We and many others do our banking and manage investments with US banks or firms, all online. We stay in touch via email, with lots of photo sharing. We use the web for information, business, and entertainment. If I didn’t have a good internet connection, very simply I wouldn’t be here, and many other Americans feel that way.

I sometimes think back to a four-month trip my husband and I took through Mexico and Guatemala in 1979 in a Ford van. We received four pieces of mail from the US in Antigua, Guatemala, and maybe two in Mexico. We talked on the phone with family twice. If things were still like that, living in Mexico would not really be a long term option for me!

2 Responses to “Americans moving to Mexico: the Role of Technology”

  • Adios America says:

    “Ah, the internet, now that’s really the big important one.”

    Since I am in agreement that this is a very important issue to relocation, I was hoping for just a tad more discussion of it.

    What companies, what type of connection speeds, prices, etc?

  • Rosana says:

    The main company here in the Lake Chapala area is Telmex, the phone company owned by Carlos Slim, one of the world’s wealthiest men. We don’t have it, even though we signed up to get a phone line (which you need to also get the internet) over a year ago. Waiting times are notorious.

    That’s okay, though, here in the Lake Chapala area there is a nice ISP called Lagunanet, run by an American man who has lived here for many years and speaks flunet Spanish. We pay about $60 US (or a bit less now that the exchange rate is more favorable to us than it used to be) for high speed. We have had technical problems at times, but it’s been working flawlessly now for many months.

    I don’t know if there are similar private companies in the whole country. Maybe not in the smaller areas.

    I think Telmex prices are similar; you could go to google.com.mx and put in telmex precios, and even without much Spanish you likely could see their packages.

    BTW, we do fine without a Mexican landline phone because we have a Mexican cellphone and also a US Verizon cellphone with a plan that works here, so friends and family in the US can call us and it’s like they are calling the town we came from in the US.

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