Saturday, November 25, 2017

Life at a Turtles Pace

A baby turtle climbing out of his underground nest on Cerritos Beach.
Making tracks to the Sea of Cortez.
Had to tell this fellow where the ocean is.
Most days we are no faster in our lives than these baby turtles.  We move slowly from one activity to another with a siesta in between for good measure.  Most days the big question is, "What's for dinner?"  The answer most days is, some kind of Mexican food.  After five years we continue to discover new dishes to eat.

Dinner for two.  Adobada tacos.  Cost about $7.00.
Yesterday we went on a road trip to Mesillias which is a furniture manufacturing town in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains.  We have been replacing most of our living room furniture after 9 years of owning our home here in Mazatlan.  It is an interesting drive that ends in the middle of nowhere and has about a dozen furniture factories and large showrooms of high end furniture.  The craftsmanship is excellent and it all reminds me of nice European furniture.

Eva approved couch.
We have a new couch, loveseat and two new end tables with new lamps.  I'm still missing our bright red furniture but Terri said it was time for a change.  Also if you are observant you will notice that one large piece of blown glass is missing from the wall.  We had one crash and break into a million pieces this summer while we were gone.  The good news is that it is time for another road trip to Guadalajara for more blown glass.

November is always a month full of visitors for us.  This year there have been 17 family and friends here in town.  We have a one week break and then our daughter and son-in-law come to our condo for 4 weeks.  We also have two friends coming in on a cruise ship for a days visit.  Busy, busy.

Sunset behind Bird Island off the coast from us.
A custom Tikio painting.  Tom and Diana commissioned him to paint this Mazatlan corner.
That's Diana on the roof of Casa Haus.
Brother Dave strikes his Mexican pose.
It's been a good November here in Mazatlan.  We're ready for a snow filled Christmas season.  We'll see how that works out.

Life is good.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Little Financial Info for the Curious

I often mention that the cost of living in Mexico during the Winter is part of what finances our travels and RV'ing during the rest of the year.  Each year we can save up funds from our Social Security and retirement checks because it is almost impossible to spend an American income down here.  Even with the dining out and entertainment it still is easy to live below budget.

Another sunset from our balcony.
I sat down with last years receipts and punched up our costs to live here.  Some expenses continue every month even when we are not here.  Others drop off in the months we are gone.  For simplicity I did a 12 month average on annual expenses and only averaged monthly expenses for the actual months we are here in Mazatlan.

Here are our monthly expenses for 2017.  Prices are in US dollars for gringos.

Electricity (CFE)                -   $21.95 PER MONTH
Natural Gas (GASPA)        -   $11.91
Water (Jumpapan)              -    $9.21
Phone & Internet Telmex   -   $20.47
Shaw Canadian Cable TV  -   $25.00
Property Taxes - Condo      -   $19.38
Bank Trust (Feidisimo)       -   $33.83
HOA - Portofino Condo     -   $131.57


More information;  Our HOA - Home Owners Association - employees 10 full-time staff to serve the 91 condos in our two buildings.  2 maids, 4 guards, 2 maintenance men and two office administrators.  We have a contract gardening company to keep our grounds and gardens near perfection.  Our HOA fees cover common area and marina taxes, garbage and personal home owners insurance for each condo.

Mexican auto insurance is the same cost as we spend in the states.  We put our US insurance on hold, so financially it is a wash.

We also put a couple of our Verizon cell and data expenses on hold.  I have a Telcel Mexican phone that costs under $10.00 per month for phone and data.  Cheap!

Another weekly cost that we pay is $15.00 for a maid to come every Wednesday.  It is very common and maybe even expected to do this, it keeps the economy going and we must do our part.

One of the few things that is more expensive down here is gas for the car.  We don't drive many miles, so we hardly notice.  Buses and taxis are cheap so we often will use them when making longer trips around town.  An air conditioned bus is 11 pesos or 57 cents US.  Sometimes we will ride the cheap bus, 7 pesos.  A little warmer but always provides a story to tell later.

Groceries and dining out deserves a whole blog for that subject.  Many stories to tell and a few photos to show.  I love research.... let's go eat at a new place tonight Terri.

Life is good.

Just after sunrise this morning.

Day of the Dead

We're back to our normal winter life in sunny (HOT) Mazatlan.  It's November so lots of family and friends are in town.  Last night we went to Centro to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in the Macado (town square).  Thousands of people show-up for a great parade and entertainment.  We had a nice dinner and then the party started.

Dancing in the square.
Hundred of locals and expats painted up.
Elaborate costumes for the parade. 
Twirling fire in the crowd.  It's Mexico after all.
More dancing dead.
And dancing dead soldiers. 
Fifteen foot tall dancing skeletons joined the parade.
This skeleton swam through the parade.
My brother Dave found a dead bride.
It's another great beginning to a winter of fun in paradise.  Tomorrow night we will be back in Centro to do the First Friday Art Walk.  27 studios will be open to tour and wander through.

Life is good.