September 25, 2015 — It’s that time of the year when some adventurous reps in Canada and the U.S. are thinking about heading to Mexico for the upcoming 2015/16 high-season. Each year around this time I begin receiving e-mails seeking advice from some of these hopeful Expats and I always advise them to be sure they are ‘legal’ to work there and to have the time of their life, etc. For many who make the journey the goal is to do just that but then something strange seems to happen to many once they get there as each year hundreds often stay much longer than just their first high-season.
So Here’s The Scoop: That phenomenon has been going on for decades and reminds me of the old Star Trek TV series episode “Return of the Archons” when Doc McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) was “absorbed into the Body” and placed under Landru’s mental control. And I can say that because many moons ago I, too, initially went to Mexico for the high-season and then something possessed me and one morning I woke up realizing I had just spent nearly a decade south of the border.
Working, living, playing and even retiring in Mexico can be absolutely fantastic. While there I and my significant other traveled all around country and vacationed and/or worked and played in Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, San Felipe, Puerto Penasco, San Carlos, Ensenada, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Merida and the lovely and very friendly island of Cozumel.
Some of the many things we enjoyed were the thousands of miles of mostly uncrowded, wide open, clean and beautiful beaches as well as watching the whales migrate each year, gazing at the stars nightly, the Mexican folks of course, the foods (especially the salsas) and as it turned out my favorite cerveza became Pacifico, occasionally accompanied with mas tequila of the Don Julio or Patron variety.
Another thing I personally enjoyed, for the most part, was living stress free because with a few exceptions the ‘up-tight’ people that I had become accustomed to in life were nowhere to be found within my sphere. And as for the corruption, unlike the double-dealing slithering weasels up in the ‘old country’, in Mexico, at all levels, it’s right in your face, making it easy peasy to deal with.
I also enjoyed how unproblematic it was to rent an ocean front home, a condo or an apartment. Instead of some entity charging a fee to do a background check on the renter, test their urine, draw a sample of their blood, snip a piece of their hair, pry into their work history, check their personal references and talk with their local bank manager, etc, most often ya simply handed over the 1st month’s rent in cash and the owner gave ya back the keys to the casita. It’s Fiesta time and you’re good to go!
And speaking of restaurants (not that we were), it matters not whether you are dining on the high-end or grubbing at a not so fancy place; when seated you are always genuinely and warmly greeted, given some complimentary botanas, asked what you’d like to drink and you are not rushed to place an order, devour your food and then pushed out the door to ‘hit-the-bricks’ amigo!
Indeed, in Mexico, it is considered rude to rush a customer dining at any restaurant which is why, after the meal is concluded, the person providing your service will only bring the check when you politely request “La cuenta por favor”.
Another thing I love about Mexico is the cabs. It’s great that you can negotiate the fare to your destination before you even get in the taxi and if you do it correctly you’ll always get a great deal and from time to time you’ll make a new friend as well.
As for Medical ‘stuff’? Don’t let anyone fool you with their prejudices. There are some outstanding hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses, dentists, etc. throughout the entire nation. Yeah, there are some you’d want to avoid but the same is true everywhere. And you’d be hard pressed to find matching quality medical care, treatment & medicine at such reasonable prices as you’ll enjoy in Mexico. In many places they even make house calls!
And I’m not trying to paint a “Norman Rockwell’ kind of doo-dah here because it is a real world after all. For example I was the PD for this one developer and when I was ready to move on the developer gave me his word that he’d soon pay me what I had earned and was owed.
Of course that didn’t happen so I went to a Mexican Attorney, told my story and he immediately asked for the developer’s phone number. I gave it to him and while I sat there he placed a call, spoke with the comptroller (in Spanish) and when the conversation was over I was told by the Lawyer to go pick up my money. Oh, and believe it or not the Attorney did not charge me one Peso – and the next day I was PIF (Paid In Full).
One key to having a great time in Mexico and making some good money is to make absolutely sure, again, that you are legal (that is one of the reasons I was PIF) and only work with developers who have all their ducks lined up in a row.
South of the border, like other places around the world, there are the bad developers to avoid but overall – in Mexico, I say – with a very harm spot in my heart – Viva Mexico!
Let’s see now, where did I put that damn passport?
Good Luck Out There
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