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!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

May 17, 2005 — As our time in Mexico is approaching its end for now, Kelly and I have been reflecting on this trip. It’s been five months since we entered Mexico this time. We spent about three weeks at an old hot springs resort outside Ciudad Valles, a month in Guanajuato, a few days in Mineral de Pozos and San Miguel de Allende, all of that in our little motorhome, Cando. Then three months ago we came to Bernal, camped in Cando in a friend’s yard, and soon after rented a funky little house here for practically nothing.

Had we been planning to rent a house? No… but we were definitely on a quest to see if we could find a community in Mexico where we would like to live. Guanajuato had a lot going for it, but was rather large for us.

Bernal at times seems a little small for me, usually when we need to buy something that either isn’t here or we don’t know where to find it. (I just spotted Kikkoman soy sauce here the other day. I’d rather have a preservative-free, more natural brand, but hey, at least it’s two blocks away.) Bernal is also quite slow during the weeks. I went downtown yesterday for an ice cream cone, and the plaza had a grand total of two people in it. Mondays are like that.

If we weren’t both writers and used to a lot of solitude, we might be climbing the walls. It isn’t far to other towns and cities, though, and that helps. Sometimes I have wanted more English-speaking friends (Mexicans or foreigners) and usually someone has turned up within a day of two of that wish.

Now and then I have missed going into the post office in the small town in Colorado where we come from, and running into a good friend… or eating lunch in one of the local cafes and chatting with the other diners, usually folks we know. But then I remember that we are gradually building these kinds of connections here. Also, when I think of the gloom that runs through our largely Democratic-to-radical Colorado community these days, I’m happy enough to be here instead. Actually, most of the Mexicans we have talked politics with tend to share the same views as folks in that town back home.

But as I have written before, there is such a fundamental joy to existence here that it gives a different context. One of the more interesting surprises here is that the people we’ve met in Bernal who are the most ecologically-minded are also among the wealthiest. And they are acting on their convictions, in a variety of ways.

Sometimes I wonder how many Americans realize that just next door and very accessible is:

  • a country where kindness and happiness are way off the charts compared to what they are used to
  • a country where you can live well on way less than in the US if you make some adjustments in your expectations
  • a country with very good health care at affordable rates
  • a country where virtually everyone welcomes you as an American and tells you that they or their cousin drove a taxi in Chicago or picked onions in Tennessee
  • a country full of fascinating markets, glorious beaches, lots of art and culture, and a bus system that whisks you anywhere in hours
  • a country where your efforts to speak Spanish, no matter how minimally, are greeted with enthusiasm and encouragement

An American friend who lives in Mexico recently made a several-week trip to the US and reported back that everywhere, people were worrying aloud — about their health, about their jobs, about their money or lack of it, about politics. On and on. It made conversation rather dull.

I am certainly not saying that Mexicans don’t worry. I have heard some of their problems. But here is a culture where most people walk around with a little smile on their face, most of the time. There are popular songs that tell us to do that and we will feel better. There are scientific studies that show that smiling even when you feel terrible will increase your endorphins. Mexicans all seem to know this. Even the surly tattoo’d teenagers in black! Well, most of those.

Some of the Mexican tourists who come to Bernal on the weekends look as though they could be from the US. I often wander over a little closer to them. If I don’t hear them speaking Spanish to each other, it is the little smiles on their faces that tell me that they are Mexicans.

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