Sunday, May 28, 2017

The New Palapa and The Pension

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com



The new palapa got underway just after the pool was re-grouted.   Still a couple things to do like the cool deck cover.   We had a slow start because of rain, then the guy couldn't come because of another job he was finishing.   Then the weekend, Saturday's in Mexico are only until noon and they usually don't show up for work until 9:30.  Then Monday rolls around.  It's better known as San Lunes, Holy Monday.  No construction worker reports on Monday and then Tuesday they come late.

Anyway, it's under way and the main frame is finished.  It's all steel construction with the faux clay tile roof made out of sheets of metal that are made to look like tiles.  They last forever.  Even though the posts are simple, they will soon be enclosed with sheet rock to match the columns in the front of the house and a ceiling inside the palapa.   The extension that covers part of the grass will have a slab poured and the floor tiled.  It will look nice when done.   



I forgot to post that I went to make some changes to my Mexican pension.  We have a system similar to the U.S. based on weeks worked, age, and income.  The last five years are the most important in terms of income.  We also have Afores which is similar to the 401K.   We can make additional deposits but without any limit as long as we can prove the origin of the money.  So if you sell a piece of property you can deposit a portion of that money to increase your lifetime benefit.  There was a change in the registration back in the early 90s.  I already had my SS# here but never tied the new registration to my account.   Two weeks ago I made an appointment on line, took the required paperwork and made the updates to my account.  All done.  Next week I will be able to continue my personal contributions and work on a plan.  They have counselors who will help you.  I'm finally on my way.  My U.S. account is growing with my work in the SAT/ACT test program.   I have to wait two more years for that check.

The poll will continue on the laboratory test costs.   I will reveal the winner in the next three weeks.  Yes, there is a small prize for the winner who posts a comment with a dollar amount.  The person with the closest amount wins the prize.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Medical Care In Mexico

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

After you read this post, please answer the poll in the upper right hand corner.  How much do you think my blood work up cost for the items below in U.S. dollars?

Things just seem to coincide, don't they?   Yesterday I went for my blood work up.  This is the one I do in between my yearly physical and I do it on my own.  I had the following exams for a total of 36 different items:

PSA

Glucose

Complete Liver Profile

Cholesterol Profile

Minerals and Metals

I use a well-known clinic, Laboratorios Dr. Moreira.  We have a lab here in Santiago and it just happens to be two blocks from the gym. They are located throughout northern Mexico and open at 7 a.m.  Top drawer facility (except for the fact that it is located next to our town's funeral home) with well-staffed nurses and lab technicians.   They only take walk ins so it is  on a first come first serve basis.   I arrived at 7:15 and was out 20 minutes later.   All the latest in administrative and medical technology.  The results are available by 3 p.m. on line or a printed format from the office after 4 p.m.  You also receive a card for record keeping and earn points for discounts.   The results are easy to read showing the score as well as the norm and ranges high to low.   Easy to read.

I mentioned coincidence only because I belong to a Facebook page for ex-pats.  It always surprises me that many foreigners have such little faith in medicine outside of Canada and the U.S.  Many doctors in neighboring countries study medicine in Mexico and I know many of the readers here can attest to the great work done by dentists.

You've read my post on my chest pain that I suffered and the great work and specialists I was able to see for literally next to nothing.   I've had some minor cosmetic work done as well and the prices are so reasonable that if I received my pay in dollars I'd be looking like Michael Jackson.  So on this FB page for ex-pats I read about people who fly home to see their doctors and pay outrageous amounts of money for medical care.   Again, the praises of Mexico come out of the woodwork but when it comes down to brass tacks then it's, "I gotta fly home, I'm not feeling well".   I do realize that most if not all of it is the language barrier.  However, most foreigners in Mexico don't speak the language but don't realize that a good portion of Mexican doctors speak English.

You need to do due diligence just like you would with any doctor when you move to a new location or snowbird for any length of time.  Obviously, you can't just run your finger down the pages in the phone book under doctors to find a good medico.   

The same goes with prescriptions.  No wonder so many Americans cut their prescriptions in half to save money or even go to a doctor to begin with.  Most of what ails human beings is lack of exercise and diet not to mention bad habits such as smoking and heavy drinking.  Gulp.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Most People Are Pigs And Other Things

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

My meat for the month of May celebrating Teacher's Day!  We also had a great salchicha along with the burger and the bun was a wonderfully fresh baked margarita.   Delicious.


We sat out on the porch after a swim and watched the burgers cook.   Lots of fun and very relaxing.


As I mentioned, we are enjoying the last of three-day weekends in the month of May.  It's been great.  Two rv outings and this weekend was pure relaxation.  The heat is coming and it's been 35C to 37C so taking the rv out was kind of silly when we have a pool in our backyard.   

We did some odds and ends around the quinta; yardwork, laundry, grocery shopping and a to do list for the rv.   I saw a really cool makeover of a van dweller.  She built overhead cabinets but the doors have picture frames with artwork in them.  What a cool way to add art to the rv.  Hanging things on the walls always brings up certain issues like drilling holes, tearing the paper on  the luan board, etc.   Personally, we haven't done it.  It always seems to be an issue when you decide to sell.  The artwork might be the trick though for our photographs we have collected from our trip.

When the gym is closed, like the last two days, I go for my morning 8 km walks.   Sometimes I take different routes and sometimes I stick to the highway with its series of walking bridges, five in total.  Like today I stuck to the highway.  I was out at 7:30 a.m. and there was literally no traffic (holiday).  As I pass a bridge I go over the bridge to the other side and keeping walking to the next one and switch back.  I do that three times around and that gives me the eight kilometers.  

It embarrasses and pains me to post these pictures but it's the awful truth and those who are Mexiphiles know the reality. 


This pile was left by a group of men who sell birds that are probably exotics and mistreated.  They stand on the corner and eat and drink (discretely) and throw their sh#$ on the ground.  Pigs.


These three-day weekends really bring out the tourists and with them their trash.   I don't think we will ever get the idea of putting trash where it belongs.  For a Mexican guy, it's a macho thing.   Only a sissy would walk over to a trash can and to dispose of their trash.  In fact, this morning as I was just getting on my route, a car with three guys passed me on the lateral.  As they made a right turn down the road that goes behind the lake, the guy in the back seat threw his candy wrapper out the window.  I was steamed.   We have litter drives at schools, we have Art, Civics and English projects about the environment and the kids still do it and sometimes at school right in front of me.  I ask them to pick it up and the first thing they say is, "it's not mine".  "Well, pick it up anyway".   "Why?"  "Because I said so, it's the civic thing to do.  Remember the value for the month, respect?"   If there is one thing I don't like about Mexico it's the litter.  

Okay, I'm done.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Enjoying Three-Day Weekends

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

I headed out Saturday morning.   Friday was meant to be a lazy day and it was.  Lots of internet and odds and ends around the quinta.   I left around 9 p.m.  All was quiet in the neighborhood so getting the rv out was a breeze.   I took it to a small commercial center nearby while the technicians checked the security cameras.  We needed a new DVR and one camera replaced.   They had some difficulty getting the program to accept remote internet access.   It's more peace of mind than anything else.

Here I am sitting and waiting.  Good wait though.  I read the newspaper, worked on reading a book and listened to some music.  Just as I was ready to call home to find out what was happening here comes the straggler walking into the lot.   The camera guys nice enough to give Juan a ride so that meant I didn't need to loop around.


While I was waiting I also finished a long wanted modification.  The trailer has a 600 watt inverter it isn't tied into the converter.   In the entertainment center between the living room and the bedroom there is the antenna booster with a 12V outlet.  I have a small inverter, 150W, and use it to power the LED television and the two table lamps in each room.   I put in these great little cable openers (don't know the name of them), one in each room.  Now there are no messy cables.


Saturday night we finished the steaks we cooked on the Weber from Friday.  They were great served up with some fresh asparagus and a bottle of Merlot.

Later in the evening we had a campfire and a movie.   It was a great time and it looks like we will do the same this next weekend. 


It was also Mother's Day celebration.  All the mothers in the resort were invited for a lunch complete with live music and great service provided by a catering service.  They also walked away with raffle prizes as well as a rose.   All the men looked on with envy :)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Two Three-Day Weekends In A Row

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com



That's right, two three-day weekends in a row.  We took the rv down to the resort again.  Parked and enjoyed the hot weather.  The nights were really cool though and great for sleeping.  Although we have electricity in the palapas I never bothered to connect.

The place was packed and we stayed down by the presita (lake).   It was quiet during the day as everyone was at the club and the pools.  I did my walking everyday, read a book and a half and watched a really good movie called Last Passenger.  Sat outside a lot and watched people come and go.  As evenings came people came down to the lake.  There are only five palapas so people sat up tents.   Noisy with lots of music but at 10 p.m. silence falls over the park and people sit around their campfires.  Truly amazing that people stick to the rules.

Back home now and tomorrow is a work day.  In the afternoon I head to Queretaro for two days as a judge in a poetry competition.   I'll come back home on Thursday night and Friday we'll head back out to the resort for a couple of nights.  I'm determined to get that rv out more often.

I'm looking for a house sitting job for the summer somewhere in central Mexico.   Has anyone joined Trusted House Sitters?  I think Les did but it seems expensive.  Maybe I'm being cheap.  My godson is coming for a week in July so we may rent a place in SMA.



Well, as I said, the pool is fixed and the leaks were in a wall and a pipe.  All if fine now.  That has been on my mind for so many years and we could never find it.  Solution, just start digging.  And we did.  Now we are adding a new palapa.  A real one not a Home Depot gazebo.  New deck covering and tile for the palapa and we're done.  Amazing how little money these things cost in Mexico.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Our Hardly Used Resort Stay

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com



I've posted about this place before and each time we go, which isn't very often, it gets better and better.  After we had crossed the mountains and stopped for lunch at the city park in Linares we headed for Campestre Monte Sur.  It's truly a lovely place and has become a very nice city getaway.  The drive from Linares is less than an hour so we arrived for nap-thirty.   

The concept is very common in Mexico.  You join a club, pay for a lot and a membership.  It gives you rights to the whole club for a low monthly fee.  I think we pay around $30 a month.  We actually pay a yearly fee that is discounted.   There are three swimming pools, a three-story toboggan, lots of palapas with 20 amp electricity, grills for cooking, a club house with cable television, and new dressing rooms with showers and a sauna on the men's side.  


Parked up near the club house we stopped to check on some rules for construction on our lot.

One of the three swimming pools.  There are also tennis courts and a fire ring where they meet on weekends with live music, story telling and singing contests.   

The dressing rooms and showers for members and guests located at the club house and pools.

An aqueduct that takes water over the top and creates a fountain in the pool.

One side of the club house.  There are several big screen televisions.  People like to gather and watch soccer games.   No one is there except on holidays and Spring break.  Other times we watch other things such as news on the screens.


We went for a walk, took pictures and had a great happy hour.  We can pick up some digital television stations from Monterrey so we can watch the news.   I love news and love watching it.  Local, national and international.  

A neighbor's new cabin.  More and more people are building now.  There are a few abandoned constructions that look like they are worth buying and finishing and/or fixing up.


Considering it was still Spring break we had expected a real desmadre (disaster) with kids, noise and trash.  No one was there.  Quiet all night.  We sat out in the palapa we were parked in front of for happy hour.  The water in the pool was still too chilly for me.  The next day we headed home and I backed the trailer in on the first try.   It was a good trip but way too short.

Any of our readers are welcomed to stay here when you are coming or going from Mexico.

We've got the leak in the pool fixed.  Now we are redoing the deck this week.  A beautiful blue light (4W LED) lights the pool.   We spent the rest of the week doing things around the house including cleaning the trailer and the house.   School starts tomorrow and I just received a message that there is a teacher issue going on.  I love it.  

On the downside, we will probably go to San Antonio the next weekend.  The central A/C in the house is shot.  We tried to get it fixed and two different people, who we trust to give us a fix, said it's too far gone.  There goes another $3500.   I wish we could import three mini-splits.  In the U.S., mini-splits are three times the price of the same brand here in Mexico.  Supposedly they are banned from U.S. entry without importation taxes.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

San Luis Potosi to Matehuala

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

We packed up on Sunday to head back home.   We went for a dip in the hot springs pool first before getting cleaned up.  The water felt so good.  When you´re boondocking the showers are very short.  I like showering in the trailer and not in public places, not because people pee in the shower but because I like my house that´s why we drag it around wherever we go!

Off we went saying goodbye to the nice people who cared for us at the San Diego balneario.  The road to Matehuala was great.  There was one section that was a bit rough but we enjoyed the morning.  As we pulled into the Oasis Hotel around 2:30 we couldn't find anyone there.  We set up in our usual spot.  Nap time rolled around and after we went for a walk into town.   We got lucky.  This was the last weekend of the Charamuscas festival.  




We stopped by the cathedral to take a peek.  This was built in the 1800s and remodeled in 1974.  The first cathedral built in 1850 was made with poor materials not to mention poor architectural design as well. It was demolished.  The new cathedral was designed by Adamo Boari who also designed and built Bellas Artes in Mexico City.  Truly amazing work and a wonderful feeling it gives you when you walk in.



As we walked around town we looked for the plaza where the Charamusco festival was held.  Found it by asking a few people on the street.   Amazing how much sugar must have been used to create all the candy in that one place.   Here's a pic to best describe a charamusca.



While we were gawking at all the stands a guy approached me.  He said, "are you Maestro Bauer from UDP?" Turns out he was at my conference at last year's national teachers convention.  He took us to his stand to introduce us to his mother and sisters.  You never know who's watching.  Back home for dinner and off to bed with a good movie.



Up early we hit the road with the idea that we would spend a day and night at our rustic resort.  Many rvers have stayed there over the years.  It was Semana Santa that Norma and Croft were with us.  They were heading home and we met there.   Rained all week.  We had fun though.   Sure hope they return to Mexico soon.

Recent rains have brought out the best of the desert.  We captured this picture of flor de palma, actually yucca, that is used in many Mexican dishes.  I love it with eggs or beans and chorizo. Delicious.



After crossing the mountains we stopped at the El Nogalar in Linares for lunch.  Great park and although the hours are from 7 to 7 the tourist office is there.  Upon request, they will let you stay overnight although you'll be locked in for the night.  Safe, clean and great for an evening walk around.  The Soriana is a few blocks away.



Made it to Montemorelos before a huge storm set in.  The rest tomorrow.