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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March 2, 2005 —  Today Rob, an American friend who has lived in Queretaro, took us around this clean and interesting city, which has around a million in population. It’s known as a clean city, and where we went sure was. Virtually no trash, and we saw no street dogs.

First we went to the workshop of some friends of Rob’s, just outside the city in an unprepossessing with no signs out front. Lupe, shown in the picture, makes Day of the Dead dolls and many other things. He also spoke so clearly that I could understand almost everything he said!

Much of what they do is in a kind of papier-mache which is then painted very brightly, a very Mexican art form. They sell some of their work in Mexico, but it also goes to Japan, France, Trinidad, and other parts of the world. They’ve won a number of awards. They employ quite a few students to wrap the paper around molds, dry them, cut them open, paint them white as an undercoat, and then paint them brightly.

Here’s another picture from their workshop, representing souls in purgatory:

We strolled around the historic central downtown area, which has a lot of walking streets and several very nice plazas. We had lunch in a sidewalk cafe, a five-course meal for 42 pesos (under $4) each — that was with an appetizer, soup, pasta or rice, main dish, and dessert. Vendors of crafts came by from time to time, with baskets, dolls, and other items.

Kelly got a picture of a pigeon on a statue in one of the plazas:

We spent the rest of the afternoon in suburban Queretaro, and we were quite surprised at how modern and posh it was. Another American woman who was with us today had a Costco membership, so we decided it would be interesting to see what a Mexican one looked like. Well, it looked just about exactly like one in the US! Some prices were higher than in the US, most notably computers that duty is charged on, and some were lower.

It was in the same neighborhood as two malls, and we walked through one to get to the other. Both were at least as nice as ones in the U.S., with many attractive shops of the sort you’d expect in a shopping center, not to mention a huge theater complex, I think with ten theaters. Rob said that there was a still more upscale one some distance away.

These were extremely nice. Third world country, not.

In one of these shopping centers, we went to the office of Lloyd’s, which offers money market funds and many services that expats may need. It’s not a bank as such, but Americans can have their social security checks deposited directly there, they offer “cash cards” you can use in ATM machines, and more. Rob has used their services for years and spoke highly of them, and I’ve read many appreciative comments on the Mexconnect forum. Close to 20% of their clients live outside of Mexico.

Rob had a bit of business to do there, and then we had a chance to chat with the manager. His English could not have been better, and when I asked him, he had some interesting observations on the economic scene.

An ice cream from Baskin-Robbins in the mall wrapped up the day. Amusingly, our malteds cost only pennies less than our full lunch had. We’d seen a lot of the many faces of Mexico!

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