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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Monday, January 28, 2008 — Retire in Manzanillo?

How does life on a Pacific beach sound? With your home right on the beach, lulled to sleep at night by the soft whispers of the surf? Manzanillo is a small Mexican city right on the Pacific, down the coast a ways from the larger and much more famous and expensive Puerto Vallarta.

When we spent the weekend in Manzanillo recently,manzanillo-dog-in-ocean I chatted with Billy Hunter after he and his Golden Retriever stepped off their patio for a morning outing on the beach. The dog happily spent a lot of time in the water!

Billy and his wife have been living in Manzanillo for about four years. They are among some fifty foreign families, he estimated, who make this city their year-round home. He guessed that in winter the foreign population might rise as high as some 2500 people.

Billy loves it in Manzanillo. While it is not inexpensive to live here, there are many amenities such as good restaurants. Property values are rising as more foreigners settle here. The crime rate is extremely low — "practically nonexistent," he said — due in part to the full employment enjoyed by Mexicans here. He said employment is at 99.5% and that you see "Help Wanted" signs everywhere.

Manzanillo is a commercial port — it’s Mexico’s largest container port, with many containers from Asia then being trucked on the mostly four-lane highway from here to Guadalajara and onward into Texas and many US and Canadian destinations. This means that a lot of the city is affected by the port. The downtown area has parts that nobody would call chic. Billy commented that the area is changing. Within the past couple of years or so, Walmart, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken have come in.

manzanillo-clouds-smokeAs in other parts of Mexico where foreigners cluster, they tend to do things to help the community. Billy and his wife have been involved in a pet spay-and-neuter project and there is also a project to help families with what they need to do when a foreigner dies here. This does happen, given the age of many of the retirees here.

Kelly and I had noticed the air pollution that you can see in the bottom of the picture just above the mountains on the right side of the photo. Billy explained that electricity is generated by burning oil. There has been talk about ways to improve or change the air quality, but nothing has happened. Our friends from the US with whom we were staying at the hotel told us that the air quality had been considerably worse before we arrived.

But back to the beach. Had we seen the whales earlier that morning, Billy asked. No, we had missed them. There had been two, and this is the time of year that you are most likely to see them.

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