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Somewhere in Michoacán. A beer, the ocean, and nobody else in sight. ViFoto
Somewhere in Michoacán. A beer, the ocean, and nobody else in sight. ViFoto

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I get a fair amount of mail wanting to know about expatriation to Mexico, whether it is a good idea, what it is like, and how to do it. I have consequently flung together the following to satisfy this curiosity. I hope it serves.

The upside:

Mexico is a friendly, courteous, flavorful country. It appeals to the mildly adventurous who are tired of the uniformity, political correctness, conformism, blandness, and growing authoritarianism of America. Many of the political hostilities that tear at the US do not exist here. There is a sense of age, of having a past, in countless towns each with a distinctive church and different architecture. It is not a mass culture. Endless miles of undestroyed beaches line, for example, the Michoacán coast near here. Mexico costs less than the US. And, yes, you can probably afford the services of a maid. If you are a single man, you will find the women more agreeable and much more feminine than American, and frequently beautiful. What CBS thinks.

The downside:

The political situation in Mexico is shaky with an uncertain future. Or maybe it is shaky–we have been hearing this for thirteen years, and so far nothing has shook. Corruption is rife. The narcos are as bad as you have heard and probably worse. This has no direct effect on expats as narcos have no interest in gringos, but it doesn’t add to the stability of the country. There are states where it is wisest not to go: probably nothing would happen but “probably” isn’t what most retirees want. The cops are crooks, and you will likely get hit for an occasional bribe. Many Mexicans, especially around concentrations of expats, try to swindle gringos, whom the lower classes believe to be rich. Traffic is bad and getting worse as the local population grows.

Important note: Mexico is not the mass of filthy, illiterate, lice-ridden thieves and child-molesters with bargain-basement IQs as painted by the political Right. Yes, kids go to school. Yes, they can read, and no, they don’t attack their teachers with switchblades. Maybe in LA, but not here. If you are on the cautious side, it might take you half an hour to convince yourself of this. Otherwise, fifteen minutes.

Mexico is, however, a different world. While some million Americans live here and like it, it is not for pampered people used to a consumerist society where everything works all the time. Electrical outages occasionally occur, usually for a few hours. Some people report low internet speeds. There are perfectly good roads but also perfectly awful ones. When there are fiestas, which there frequently are, skyrockets can sound like mortar barrages and bands can crank up at, or not shut down until, four a.m. Many Americans, especially women, expect Mexico to work like the United States. It doesn’t. Come for a couple of weeks. You may love it. You may not. (Google “hotels, Ajijic.”)

FerrisWheel

Above photo: an example of how Mexico is not the US: When a small town has a fiesta and brings in carnival rides for the kids, it has to put them somewhere. It’s a law of physics. Things have to be somewhere. They once put the Ferris wheel, above, in the street just outside my room, upper window left, in Italo’s hotel. (This was maybe nine years ago.) If this sort of thing outrages you, you need to be somewhere else. For a week my room flashed pink-and-yellow, pink-and-yellow as delighted kids in buckets sailed upward past my window. I saw them all go up, but not come down. I figured maybe God was storing them. It was like something out of Ionesco. Or Mexico. Not much difference.

Spanish:

You don’t need it around town as countless Mexicans have learned English, and most expats never learn. Sixty is not the best age for learning a language (two is), they are married and find it difficult to get consistent, sustained practice, and basically want to relax and enjoy life. There are worse ambitions. Spanish lessons are readily available, but tend to be a scam with unqualified teachers who just want the money. Good ones exist, and the payoff in independence and comfort is well worth the effort.

How much does it cost to live?

If you want a small, decent, unfancy apartment, internet, and occasional meals at restaurants, you can do it on a grand a month for daily expenses. I know people who do this. Two grand a month and you live well. Caveat: The exchange rate changes. For many years it was about 12.5 pesos to the dollar, but is now about 17. It could go back.

Internet: Doesn’t have the speeds of advanced countries like Finland and South Korea, but adequate. Pricey: We now pay about $60 a month for telephone with unlimited calls to the US, internet, and ClaroVideo, which is like Netflix (which also is available).

The region:

Various foci of gringo expats exist in Mexico–Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, San Miguel de Allende inland, an such. They are Googleable. We live, as do most of the expats hereabouts, on the north shore of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico. Lining the lake are the “mountains,” or what would be called hills elsewhere. From the lake shore to the hills is perhaps a walk of ten minutes.

Various towns line the shore, often merging into each other. At the west end of the lake is Jocotepec, very old-style and with a government that has never heard of street repair. At the east end is Chapala, much better managed, pretty, with a lovely malecón (a cement boardwalk) and all manner of restaurants and bars. Between Joco and Chapala is Ajijic, the center of gringo life.

ORDER IT NOW

If you want to see what the region looks like, here is Google Images for Ajijic. Also, Chapala. (Note the thick coating of filth, garbage, used condoms, plastic bags and dirty diapers that are not there: Again, so much of what you read about Mexico in the anti-immigrant sites isn’t true.)

Housing:

Homes run from palaces to the merely functional. And, since Mexico is not yet a country of identical tract houses, it is hard to generalize. The Multiple Listing Service for my region gives an idea, but with some looking you can do better for less. Prices are negotiable. Mexican homes tend to look much better on the inside than on the outside, inside being where what we would call the yard often is. A friend’s place in a small gated courtyard, walking distance to pretty much everything, two bedrooms, 750 square feet, Internet and electricity included, $280 a month.

Not a posed photo. Many bars don’t mind if a customer brings along the pooch to curl up under a table or, well, see above. Some Americans–again, for whatever reason, almost always the women–get into an uproar over it. Why, it’s awful, what kind of country allows, why we would never do such a thing in Purdue.

Not a posed photo. Many bars don’t mind if a customer brings along the pooch to curl up under a table or, well, see above. Some Americans–again, for whatever reason, almost always the women–get into an uproar over it. Why, it’s awful, what kind of country allows, why we would never do such a thing in Purdue.

Banks:

All over the place. Bancomer, Santander, HSBC, Actinver, and so on. ATMs are common and work as they do anywhere.

Shopping:

In the immediate area, we have: A Wal-Mart, like any in the US. Soriana (a Mexicans Wal-Mart). A huge liquor store with anything you have ever heard of. El Torito and Superlake, selling American brands of food. Farmácia Guadalajara, standard American-style drugstore. Various hardware stores. Subway (sandwiches, not trains). Electronics store. And so on. In or near Guadalajara, Sam’s Club, Costco, Office Depot if you want American names, and pretty much anything you want to buy in the city’s stores.

Amazon ships to Mexico, not just books but most everything, and provides fast, reliable delivery by UPS. Or maybe it’s DHL Anyway, it gets here.

The city:

Guadalajara (click for photos) is a city of something like six million. It has what you would expect in such a metropolis. Great restaurants, awful traffic, a downtown with gorgeous churches and a cathedral, a lot of just-city that isn’t very interesting. Ticketmaster, Guad.

Entertainment/intellectual:

If you read Spanish, Guad has huge first-rate bookstores with everything from neurosurgery to Tom Clancy, Borges, Juan Rulfo, Hobbes, in general everything–in Spanish. If you don’t read Spanish, forget it.

Costco and probably dozens of others sell 72-inch smart televisions. To a close approximation, anything you can get on the Internet in the US, you can get here: Kindle books, iTunes, streaming this and streaming that. For television, StarChoice, Dish, DirectTV, or Sky, the South American satellite. (I think that is a correct list. Anyway, there is lots of television.) Sky, which we briefly had, though Latin offers most of the major English-language channels, and many of the Spanish channels are switchable or dubbed or subtitled. In Guad there are stores with sell approximately all movies–Kurosawa, Luis Estrada, Buñuel, Fellini etc. as well as pop stuff. If they don’t have it, they will order it.

Chapala, shot from near the lake shore.

Chapala, shot from near the lake shore.

Medical: This is complicated. The Wikipedia has a lengthy article on Mexican health care. The quick answer is that good care is available and lots cheaper than in the US. Guad has good hospitals: Puerta de Hierro and San Javier, for example. Dentistry is excellent and cheap. We go to Hector Haro (U. Guad dentistry, U. of Maryland grad work in prosthodontics), at the high end of cost. (A cleaning costs $33 from Haro at the current exchange rate, a crown $600.) He employs several female dentists, all good, all speaking English. Many others are available, often costing less, but we are content with Haro.

Paying for medical care is another question. Medicare does not work here by US law. Thank you, Washington. If you are an eligible military retiree, Tricare does work. There is also IMSS, Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social, for which expats are eligible. A fair number of gringos without a lot of money rely on it. Medical care is cheap enough that many pay their medical bills for minor problems and fly to the US to use Medicare for anything expensive.

Immigration regs:

Herewwith an approximation. See Ajijic Law, below, for definitive information. At the current exchange rate, you need bank statements showing an income of just under $1300 a month or proven investments or savings of $206,000, to get a temporal visa (temporary residence). The Mexican government’s position is that you are welcome but Mexico is not going to support you.

The plaza of San Antonio, walking distance from Ajijic. Plazas, while all different, are standard in towns.  The gazebo serves as bandstand for fiestas.

The plaza of San Antonio, walking distance from Ajijic. Plazas, while all different, are standard in towns. The gazebo serves as bandstand for fiestas.

Relations with gringos

Excellent everywhere I have been for thirteen years. Under the surface there is the planet-wide resentment of Americans but it seems not to apply to individual Estadounidenses. The main proximate cause of disgust with us come when Americans start telling the locals that they need to do this and need to change that and why don’t they do the other things, and it isn’t like this in Boise. It is their country. Those who don’t like it need to find another one.

Guns

Contrary to web mythology, the Mexican constitution (here) guarantees the right to own a gun for protection on one’s home. There are restrictions on caliber and types of weapon. In English, here. Generally speaking, the gun has to stay in your home. A friend of mine recently bought a thirty-eight from another person and registered it without difficulty with the army in Guad, which is required. The necessary form, here. Hunting weapons and those for use in shooting clubs are legal but restricted, as are carry permits.

Nursing homes and assisted living:

These are criminally expensive in the United States and often not very good. You can do better here. Try Lakeside Care. If interested, note on the right the link to the PBS segment on Lakeside Care.

Resources:

Ajijic Law Immigration-law office, run by Adriana Perez Flores and Kevin Paulini. Both speak English.

Chapala Web Board Local expat site. You can register and ask questions.

Multiple Listing Service self-explanatory

The Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic serves as a social center for many expats. It has a remarkably good English library, the result of many decades of bequests. It also has some interesting people, for example high-end computer guys.

Them’s the basics.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Emigration, Mexico 
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  1. Recent collapse in the price of oil (of which Mexico is a major producer) must have a negative impact on the Mexican economy. How does that affect American expats?

    • Replies: @Keith
  2. “It is their country. Those who don’t like it need to find another one.”

    Yeah, I’ve been saying that about America for a long time, but I’m a hater and a racial bigot for it.

    • Replies: @Ace
  3. Keith says:
    @Undocumented Shopper

    I do not think it has hit, yet. That being said, the plan (I read about this on Wolf Street) is to start gutting social services and like, which may lead to a spike in crime as people try to make ends meet. That being said, people living in Ex-Pat communities may not be affected, as they tend to be more secluded and keep out the riff raff (at least from what I saw in my travels in Asia). The Ex-pats will likely enjoy an improving exchange rate, seeing their dollars go a lot farther, due to the combined effects of the Fed tightening and the loss on oil income.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You can’t get decent pizza there though.

    • Replies: @Kyle a
    , @Lucius
    , @Stan D Mute
  5. attonn says:

    Love Mexico. Natural settings are the most beautiful in a world. If it was less populated and a bit less corrupt, I’d live there.

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @Stan D Mute
  6. Fred Reed repeatedly says that ordinary Mexicans in Mexico are decent, clean, charming people. I fully believe him when he says this.

    The problem is, that description doesn’t square very well with my experience of “Hispanics” in America, the majority of whom are human trash. They are at best buffoons, and often perpetual liars, backstabbers, and criminals.

    I’m beginning to think that both of us are right, and that the Mexicans who stay in Mexico are somehow different from the Mexicans that come to America.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Stan D Mute
    , @jay-w
  7. Jim says:

    I’m sure Mexico has it’s virtues. However on every list of cities with the highest homicide rates in the world one can find lots of Mexican cities (and generally hardly any cities at all on the Eurasian continent ). Mexico has had in the past many internal episodes of great violence including the awesomely bloody Mexican Civil War of the early part of the century. At the time that that war broke out it came as a surprise to most contemporary observers. For any person particularly an elderly person to be caught up in such a war would be a horrendous experience. Mexico also consistently ranks in world lists of corruption as even more corrupt than China. Mexico appears on most lists of emerging failed states.

    I would advise any American who wished to retire to Mexico to have an escape plan set up to get out of Mexico quickly and safely and to maintain funds somewhere outside Mexico in a safe locality. Cuba was probably a nice place to retire for Americans when Batista ruled. The problem with such places is that the political situation can drastically and unpredictably change.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    We already know why you’re down there. You’re a dirty old man who likes Donkey Shows.

  9. MarkinLA says:

    If I wanted to live in a non-English speaking country to save money, I would prefer Uruguay over Mexico. It is better developed, has a more consistent legal system, less corruption, and friendlier rules for expats and property ownership.

  10. Kyle a says:
    @Anonymous

    Yes you can but it’s only a thin crust

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Where do you live, and what kind of circles do you move in? Most of the Hispanics I’ve encountered and dealt with have been decent, simple peasant folk. And I oppose Hispanic immigration, regardless of how decent they may be.

    • Replies: @Talha
  12. I think I’ll pass on Mexico. Narco drug wars are as violence as any hell hole in Syria or Liberia. Anything can change in that nation in an instant and their dislike for gringos is strong.

    • Replies: @Lucius
  13. It’s amazing how this guy hasn’t a single good word to say about the US but screams like a banshee when someone points out the obvious: Mexico sends many, many criminals here, violent and otherwise. I don’t see how this is even debatable. What, you think LA County fabricates its Most Wanted list just to annoy Fred? #gonenative

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Bragadocious

    It’s amazing how this guy hasn’t a single good word to say about the US

    No it’s not. The US doesn’t have donkey shows.

  15. Talha says:
    @Anonymous

    Ditto on the people I met being decent and often times even agreeable and hardworking and I lived in a close-to-majority Latino town. Of course there were the occasional gangster types but those kinds are hoodlums whichever flavor they come in.

    • Replies: @bomag
  16. MarkinLA says:
    @Truth

    Well you know what they say in Mexico don’t you:

    One man – one bullet.

    • Replies: @Jim
  17. @MarkinLA

    True enough about Uruguay, plus easy visiting to BsAs and Sao Paulo state, Brazil. However the flights to and fro the US are expensive and risky for deep vein thrombosis. Humidity is about like Charleston, SC and Uruguayan culture is about as drab as it gets in Latin America. Also, ocean water within 100 miles of the mouth of River Plate is filthy.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Matra
  18. MarkinLA says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    Any of Chile, Argentina or Uruguay would suit me just fine if I was so inclined. I have been there on trips and preferred them over places like Bolivia and Peru.

    I didn’t know that about the River Plate – good to know but it makes sense considering where it starts. I was on motorcycle trips on the other side of the country Ruta Cuarenta – Route 40 and in and out of Chile, it was absolutely wonderful plus a Bolivian tour through the Atacama Desert and upper Argentina and Chile – Bolivia is too poor to consider living there.

  19. @Jim

    My father’s neighbors spend part of the winter in Mexico to avoid Midwest cold and blizzards. They like it.

    Your comment reminds me of French people living in expat communities in Morocco. It’s cheaper and you don’t mix much with Arabs in your enclaves, but they keep a “weather eye” out for an “Arab Spring” event. The present king seems to have things under conrol, but on his death, chaos may reign and expats need to have a Plan B. Doesn’t appeal to me but perhaps I’m just not adventurous.

    • Replies: @Jim
  20. No mention of what they do with toilet paper. Brilliant.

  21. While Mexico is agreeable enough for short trips and shopping expeditions, I prefer Belize by far as a potential home. I don’t get gringo prices everywhere. It’s an English speaking country. People are really nice and hospitable. Anything I can’t buy in Belize, I can make a short run to Mexico to get. Fred thinks it’s a Third World hellhole, but I doubt he’s seen Belize in twenty years or more.

    • Replies: @Jim
    , @Stan D Mute
    , @Macilrae
  22. Lucius says:
    @Anonymous

    Trattoria y Pizzería Moroder in Aguascalientes has the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  23. Lucius says:
    @Son of Dixie

    Partially correct.
    Anything can change in an short order, as the country as a whole is in danger of being destabilized by the narco violence. As Fred alludes to, it is probably worse than you imagine it if you have not spent much time in Mexico since 2006 or so.
    However, states in Mexico are more different and independent than states in the US, and many Mexican states are stable and have been for a very long time. The three in which I do frequent business – the Federal District, Guanajuato, and Aguascalientes are all as safe as anywhere I’d go in the US and probably more so.
    I spent over 60 days in Mexico on business last year, traveled to and within all 3 states extensively (Except Mexico City, where I followed my standard rule for any huge metropolis and didn’t go anywhere without a local companion I trust), and never saw anything to even give me pause.
    The Mexicans I met do not hate gringos, more or less universally. The best term for their attitude to the US government would be “bemused irritation”. They see the US (as a state) as almost being nearly as dysfunctional as Mexico while looking down its nose at the world. Whether they are correct in that view I’ll leave up to individual perception. My perception is that they view Americans as generally good hearted but at times naive and overbearing, and universally rich – the latter of which we certainly are by their standards. If you avoid acting like either of those two things, ie, don’t be the ‘arrogant American tourist guy’, the worst you have to deal with is typically rip-off prices for services like taxis and the like. Note that a “rip off” cab ride to the airport will run you about 250 MXN versus the native rate of 180 – a difference of about 3$.
    In short, Mexico is neither a 3rd world hellhole nor a 1st world tropical paradise. It is both in places. Whether it turns one way or the other or stays status quo remains to be seen, but my money is on improvement. The money is better for more people if they play ball and do business versus if they keep killing each other.

    • Replies: @Jim
  24. Jim says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    The older one gets the more difficult it is to deal with sudden violent change.

  25. Jim says:
    @Lucius

    On an internet list that I saw once of the 50 most violent cities in the world (in 2012), Mexico had 13 overall and six of the top ten. Forty of the fifty cities were in Latin America exclusive of the Carribean. Only one city on the huge Eurasian continent made the list and that was Mosul in war-torn Iraq.

    No cities in India, China or Southeast Asia made the list despite the huge numbers of highly populous cities in those areas and the hundreds of millions of poor people living in them.

    What makes Latin America so prone to violence?

    • Replies: @Lucius
  26. Jim says:
    @MarkinLA

    Stalin said “No man – no problem” so I guess “No woman – no problem” covers this.

  27. Jim says:
    @Preston Brooks

    Aside from the fact that the Belize government has defaulted on it’s bonds, Belize has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Take care.

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute
  28. Lucius says:
    @Jim

    Well, let me take this in parts.

    1. I never said Mexico was safe, quite the opposite – I said it was incredibly dangerous in places and incredibly not so in places. The extent of both, and the gulf between them, would probably shock someone who is not familiar with the country.
    2. Let’s throw central america out for the moment, as it’s not part of the specific discussion. I don’t have the list you looked at, but the latest numbers I can find – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_murder_rate – show the 2 most dangerous US citys, St. Louis and Detroit, as higher than any Mexican city, though more Mexican cities make the top 50 than US cities. Other lists show similar proportions and rankings. That said, I believe what you say in general. There are Mexican cities that are very dangerous. Juarez is a 3rd world hellhole. I’ve been there extensively in 2008 and 2009 and have no desire to repeat the experience. I would not advise anyone to visit any of the border towns, much less live there.
    2a. “Why” – I suspect you are alluding to something regarding Latin culture, which I’m not addressing. The list above specifically says it excludes Asia, Europe, Australia, and countries at war – I expect due to methods of reporting crime for Asian countries. Crushing poverty and corrupt government play a big role, and if included I would be surprised if Bangkok, Daka, etc didn’t make the list. That said, Latin cultural mores are definitely different and absolutely include an element of a quick propensity to resort to violence and taking matters into your own hands. If you don’t care for them, obviously, don’t move there.
    Overall, I don’t disagree with anything you said or implied, but none of that defeats my underlying argument – Mexico, to a much greater extent than the US, is not “one country”. There are places in Mexico where I have and will walk unarmed, alone, in the dead of night down the city streets and not be worried for my safety. There are places I wouldn’t go in broad daylight with an armed escort. The places that are safe are likely much nicer than you’re picturing. The places that are bad are likely much worse. Is it worth the risk, and should people consider retiring there? That’s an individual decision. All I’m saying is that if someone is even remotely considering it and is put off by the reputation of the country or region, visit the specific city/state you’re considering and evaluate based on that – and weigh what I’m pretty sure would be a highly favorable impression of the city with the knowledge that it possibly could deteriorate.

    • Replies: @Jim
  29. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Lucius

    You mean the best pizza you’ve ever eaten while taking in a donkey show, right?

    • Replies: @Clyde
  30. Jim says:
    @Lucius

    I wasn’t alluding to anything in particular. I’ve never even visited any place in Latin America but I have noticed the extraordinary number of cities there with very high rates of homicide and violence as compared to India, China, Southeast Asia with many huge cities with lots of poor people living in them but much less violence.

    I’m sure that there are many peaceful places in Latin America. Crime rates in Uruguay are not at all high. But the number of highly violent cities in Latin America is really quite extraordinary.

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute
  31. Clyde says:
    @Anonymous

    Idiota it was Tijauna that had donkey shows. They must be gone by now so you missed out.

  32. Forget Mexico. You can live on just $600 in Eastern Europe.

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute
  33. anonguy says:

    Mexicans are just Fred Reed’s pet noble savages. This patronizing BS has been emanating from white people since at least the 19th century. Idealizing an ethnic group as Fred & other white romantics do is as racist and infantilizing to the target group as is hating them. No difference whatsoever, regardless of the patronizer’s good intentions.

    This is especially egregious in Fred’s case because he never misses a chance to say something awful about Americans, they are all fat, stupid, greedy, etc. Not at all resembling the Eloi-like Mexicans if Fred the Repetitive is to be believed.

    I don’t see why the guy just doesn’t get a job with the Mexican tourist promotion bureau or whatever and call it a day. And on top of that, this stuff is boring – it was fun to poke holes in it at first, but it is too easy.

    These columns are so predictable that I think he must have a computer program write them. Been a real long time since I’ve read anything interesting by him.

    Ron Unz – you might want to consider dropping Fred. Not because I disagree with him, but because he has become boring/repetitive and his columns no longer seem to serve any purpose.

    • Agree: Bragadocious
  34. bomag says:
    @attonn

    Traffic is bad and getting worse as the local population grows.

    If it was less populated and a bit less corrupt, I’d live there.

    The expanding mushroom cloud and blast wave from the population bomb is gradually ruining all the nice things.

  35. @Anonymous

    Yes. Yes, you can. One of the best pizzas I’ve had was in a tiny six table joint in an Indio (Mayan) village between Tulum and Playa. I think dinner cost me around $12 with drinks for four people. This was a decade ago and the peso:dollar was then 10:1.

  36. @attonn

    Love Mexico. Natural settings are the most beautiful in a world. If it was less populated and a bit less corrupt, I’d live there.

    Mexico is a rather large country. And local variation is enormous. From the honky tonk towns like Tijuana and Nogales to the American majority in places like Ajijic or Bacalar. There are funky surfer towns on the southern pacific coast and off the grid completely virgin beaches on the Caribbean. DF and Mexico City are vast enough to find a bit of everything. Fred writes of Guadalajara but for a much more cozy sized colonial town try Mérida. But wherever you go, avoid the cruise ship ports where every other day five thousand fat and rude jackasses are disgorged.

    The corruption is the same. It varies. Overall, I’d say it’s not that different from America. Our political system is a sewer of corruption. In Mexico you can settle a traffic violation on the spot for $20. In America you pay $200 plus your insurance gets jacked. In America you need years worth of environmental impact statements and litigation with government, “green” groups, etc, before you can build a house or business. In Mexico, you build it and if an inspector comes you might have to slip him $500, but you’re up and running in six months. I myself prefer the more open type of corruption where you can very quickly figure out what’s going on, which skids to grease, and then go about your business to America’s quagmire where you may be in litigation for two years before you even learn the real cause of your problem.

    The hardest thing for most Americans to deal with are the Federales riding around in big trucks with machine guns and full face masks. Plus their road blocks with giant topes and machine gun toting soldiers searching your vehicle (product of the narcotraficantes). The second hardest thing is the lack of urgency. Americans want what they want and they want it now. Mañana is hard to accept for many.

  37. @Intelligent Dasein

    I’m beginning to think that both of us are right, and that the Mexicans who stay in Mexico are somehow different from the Mexicans that come to America.

    Having spent a fair bit of time all over Mexico, I’ve given this a good bit of thought. My theory is that America ruins the Mexican. He no longer has his strong cultural ties, no longer has his family to correct and shame him when he goes astray, he makes enough money to buy a lot of alcohol (and we know the effect of alcohol on American aboriginals). He finds ghettoes of other Mexican expats where he is radicalized and taught how to game the American welfare state.

    Think of it like this: America was a binary state with negroes and whites. Then a big surge of Mexicans arrives. They’re not white and speak English about as well as the negroes although with a vastly better work ethic. America turns them into negroes with all its programs designed to uplift the negro.

    For comparison, look at the Texicans who have been in Texas since its independence. Talk with one on the phone and you’ll swear it’s Earl Smith. Meet him in person and he looks like Earl Smith the rancher except for his phenotype. He has the cowboy boots, big belt buckle, and Ford King Ranch pickup. He’s usually as prosperous as his neighbors and as well regarded in the community.

    So add the fact that most of our recent immigrant Mexicans are dirt poor and unintelligent, and you get what we see today throughout America. Mexicans who are smart and prosperous don’t pack up and abandon their multi-generational families and communities to travel 1500 miles by sketchy means to run a leaf blower in Ron Unz’ neighborhood. The “good” Mexicans go to university then on to a career in mining, oil, managing maquiladoras, law, medicine, etc. Again, we get the bottom of the Mexican barrel (or close to it – our Mexicans had enough ambition to travel illegally to America to seek work) and our system tries to transform them into negroes.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Clyde
  38. bomag says:
    @Talha

    those kinds are hoodlums whichever flavor they come in.

    There is a distribution of traits here, and the Mexicans et al seem to have a few more that trend toward insurance fraud and drug dealing. Is this a distribution curve in which we want to invest our future? Europeans are somewhat unique in that they generate more outliers: more funny looking kids; but also more Galileo-s, Galois-s, and Galton-s; and this is the major civilizational difference. In this sense, praising “decent, simple peasant folk” is not useful; from that stock you are not going to raise up many people of accomplishment that make the modern world possible.

  39. @Preston Brooks

    Anything I can’t buy in Belize, I can make a short run to Mexico to get. Fred thinks it’s a Third World hellhole, but I doubt he’s seen Belize in twenty years or more.

    Except Belize is chock full of negroes who behave as negroes do everywhere they can be found. So you drive up to Sam’s Club in Chetumal? Next time keep going a bit further north and check out Bacalar. The lagoon is unique on this planet and many local cenotes are also interesting. Bacalar has a large expat community and there’s even a local Amish settlement (including a flamboyantly flaming queer – as unique I think as the lagoon). If beaches are your thing go a bit further north and then east to the Caribbean and Mahahual. The Mexican government is trying to create a new tourist haven at the pier there (“Riviera Maya”), but travel north or south toward Puerto Bravo or Xcalak. There are still seemingly infinite miles of virgin Caribbean beachfront with the added benefit of occasional square grouper washing ashore.

    I can’t speak for Fred of course, but for me – I’ll take the magnificent Caribbean beaches of Quintana Roo over the mangrove jungle shoreline of Belize and I’ll take the Mayans and Amish over the negroes and Mennonites of Belize. And if you’re a diver? Ambergris is splendid, but Chinchorro is even better. Bottom line? Africans ate whitey while Mayans thought whitey a God. I prefer being worshipped to being eaten.

  40. @Jim

    Belize has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Take care.

    But are they eating their victims? Belize is 38% African. Of course that couldn’t have anything to do with such a high homicide rate..

  41. jay-w says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    I’m beginning to think that both of us are right, and that the Mexicans who stay in Mexico are somehow different from the Mexicans that come to America.

    There may well be quite a bit of truth in that, and I can think of at least two reasons:

    (a) If you are at least upper middle-class economically, Mexico is a VERY nice place to live. On the other hand, if you are poor, you would be a lot better off in the USA. Therefore the USA is a stronger magnet for losers than it is for successful people.

    (b) I think that a lot of Mexico’s strength lies in strong family structures, but when people (especially young people) come to the USA as isolated individuals, and don’t have the rest of their family looking over their shoulders, they may tend to fall to pieces in ways that they would not do in Mexico. E.g.: The males joining gangs as substitute families, and the females getting pregnant out of wedlock. America’s permissiveness and overly generous welfare system certainly encourages the latter.

  42. utu says:
    @Stan D Mute

    “My theory is that America ruins the Mexican. ” – I came to that conclusions many years ago when dealing with Chicanos and fresh Mexican arrivals in California.

  43. Macilrae says:
    @Preston Brooks

    I prefer Belize by far as a potential home

    Preston – I think you’re living inland, am I right? I found things just as you say there, but the Caribbean coast was a different story.

  44. I love Mexico and the Mexican people. Great place to visit, and if you are a stupid tourist who heads down to the beach and stays there for a week or two, your loss. I won’t live there but hanging out there for a month or two come wintertime, oh yeah.

    The problems have been mentioned by Fred. There are places you don’t go. Older folks are delighted by the low cost and quality of medical care. Thank God we have them as southern neighbors instead of arabs and middle easterners. Their birth control rate is near replacement level now, 2.2 children per women. but the population is still growing because the population is so young. That in itself is an under reported story. Not much more than a generation ago Mexican women were averaging 6 children apiece. Trump sometimes is just an ignorant asshole. Or, giving him the benefit of the doubt, playing to the ignorant asshole vote.

    If you don’t believe me then google Gapminder and look at the long term birth rates per country as shown in their very instructive interactive graphs.

  45. @Jim

    I’ve never even visited any place in Latin America but I have noticed the extraordinary number of cities there with very high rates of homicide and violence as compared to India, China, Southeast Asia with many huge cities with lots of poor people living in them but much less violence.

    I’m inclined to ask why you proffer opinion on quality of life in a vast nation you’ve never visited. But then I have a highly negative opinion of every sub-Saharan nation and haven’t/wouldn’t visit any of them on a bet.

    So, instead, let me just add a couple observations: 1. Central America is still in several areas still reeling from political violence instigated by the CIA. But as Lucius noted, it’s certainly no worse than areas in the USA with very high negro populations. I am from Detroit and have never felt afraid traveling in Latin America. That said, however, I have exceptionally good situational awareness and when my spidey-senses begin tingling I remove myself from the area quickly. 2. In Mexico particularly, the narcotraficantes are a very real danger. This too is the direct result of American policy, but the cause is irrelevant when considering your own safety. The keys to avoiding the danger are avoiding the trafficking routes and the traffickers. The traffickers bring $$$Billions$$$ of dollars into the Mexican economy and their influence is seen at the highest levels of government. If you run afoul of them you will suffer a painful death. But that’s just as true in Arizona or California or Illinois as it is in Guerrero or Chihuahua. Generally, the traffickers want to avoid gringos like gringos want to avoid traffickers. The Mexican government will not tolerate dead gringos. Gringos bring $$$Billions$$$ of legitimate money and who can predict when the dead gringo might be a son of Rockefeller instead of a son of Joe Sixpack? So the narcos are under strict orders not to mess with gringo touristas and fear punishment from their bosses more than from the police. That said, mistakes happen, so again the situational awareness wins the day.

    • Replies: @Lucius
    , @jay-w
  46. @Regnum Nostrum

    Forget Mexico. You can live on just $600 in Eastern Europe.

    Where? You got any links to substantiate that?

    • Replies: @Regnum Nostrum
  47. @anonguy

    Ron Unz – you might want to consider dropping Fred. Not because I disagree with him, but because he has become boring/repetitive and his columns no longer seem to serve any purpose.

    Translation:

    “Not because I disagree with him, but because I think he has become boring/repetitive and his columns no longer align with my sacred beliefs”

    Or, here’s a novel idea, shockingly innovative yet marvelously effective: how about you just don’t read Fred’s columns? Seriously. Who peruses and pores over everything a writer writes then complains it is “boring/repetitive”? Is Fred Reed required reading where you live? His columns like the pop-up window ads from Hell? No matter how fast you click the “close” button, ten more windows open and you cannot escape this maze of pundit horrors until you read every terribly boring word?

  48. @Dave Chamberlin

    Trump sometimes is just an ignorant asshole. Or, giving him the benefit of the doubt, playing to the ignorant asshole vote.

    We are in agreement about Mexico and her people. I too have spent months at a time roaming as far from the tourist Meccas as possible. Living in a dome-ceiling hacienda and banging down freshly plowed (!) dirt roads in a rental car that probably wouldn’t have been legal in America in 1950. Drinking Coke Lite and tequila. Ancient magnificent cathedrals and architecture. And every place has its own unique flavor.

    But how does that refute Trump? He said, truthfully, that Mexico is sending us her worst. And that our idiotic trade deals benefit all our trading partners (including Mexico) while disfavoring ourselves. Do you think the Mexicans coming to America are the best and brightest? Or that they benefit us economically? Or that they aren’t committing crimes while here?

    Mexican immigrants use vastly more welfare per capita than white American natives. They commit much more crime. They impose huge burdens on our infrastructure like hospitals, schools, legal system, etc.

    And even then, most of them are probably good people. But they’re poor, uneducated, limited skill, and set loose in an alien society without the rigid social order of their family and community back home. They have the same problem with alcohol as their northern Indio cousins like Apache, Cherokee, Chippewa, etc. In other words, they’re mostly decent but dull witted folks who would occupy the lower rungs of society back home, but otherwise would fit in just fine. But America ain’t Mexico. And when you bring these folks up here, you’re hurting both them and America.

    I agree with Trump that they need to go home – all of them. But I think the wall is the wrong way to do it. Just as our “War on Drugs” will forever fail due to our insatiable demand for more drugs, our effort to remove immigrants will fail while our demand for cheap labor continues. This must be addressed on the supply side. A short prison sentence and large fine for anyone who employs an illegal is the way to stop this. When a company owner or president faces five years being anally raped by Dontayvius and a $50,000 fine per illegal employee, you’ll see the pool of available jobs dry up fast. Even faster if half the fine goes to any informer or whistleblower. No need for an expensive wall, no need to chase down and then expensively ship 20,000,000 people home, they came for jobs and welfare-state goodies. When there are no jobs and no welfare-state goodies, life back at mama’s house in the ejido will look pretty good again.

    • Agree: Clyde
    • Replies: @utu
    , @Biff
  49. Lucius says:
    @Stan D Mute

    “The Mexican government will not tolerate dead gringos. Gringos bring $$$Billions$$$ of legitimate money and who can predict when the dead gringo might be a son of Rockefeller instead of a son of Joe Sixpack?”

    Not only a Rockefeller – a Senior Director of [Nissan, GM, VW, etc etc] would be bad enough.

    I have heard – I have no means to verify this, but believe it to be true – that narco soldiers are told in no uncertain terms that if they snuff some American or Nip businessman (There are probably more Japanese than Yanks these days) without a damn good reason, they’re going to get it in a particularly ugly fashion. This is largely due to the fact you point out – Narcos are big business, and Mexico does not have the will to shut them down. However foreign investments in maquillados etc is becoming BIGGER business, and no one will tolerate anything that threatens THAT situation.
    Go to state.gov and review which states in Mexico do not have travel advisories. Then look at which states have large presences of foreign investment in the form of factories or assembly plants. There is amazing overlap. Narcos are semi-allowed to flourish in depressed areas. They are not tolerated – ie, are required to keep an invisible profile – in areas with high tourism or business concerns. I feel as safe in those areas as I do anywhere, however, like Stan, I have a very high situational awareness and walk around at condition orange anywhere I’m not familiar with.

  50. pyrrhus says:

    Thanks for an informative article, Fred!…The Pacific Coast of Mexico sounds good, but what I see from Tucson not so much….But if things start worsening, good to have the info…

  51. jay-w says:
    @Stan D Mute

    The Mexican government will not tolerate dead gringos.

    Well, as a gringo living in Mexico, I sure hope you are correct ;-)

    Speaking of dead gringos. though; Did they ever find out who murdered those two Australian/Canadian tourists in Sinaloa a few months ago? Have there been any arrests yet?

    • Replies: @Pepe
  52. Clyde says:
    @anonguy

    Right on all your Fred Reed criticisms but I still like his material and the comments section might be better. I disagree with ol Fred but he still has the write stuff!

  53. Clyde says:
    @Stan D Mute

    Excellent post here on this thread and dittos for your others right here. What I love about Unz is posters who are willing to take the time to lay it all out. What they have lived relative to the original post by Steve, Derb, etc

  54. utu says:
    @Stan D Mute

    “This must be addressed on the supply side. A short prison sentence and large fine for anyone who employs an illegal is the way to stop this. ”

    Exactly. But you notice that Trump rather talks about The Wall and not the supply side. Both Left and Right for ostensively different reasons conspired for years to keep immigrants legal or not coming and coming.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  55. Mexico is a dangerous cesspool. If you have a pretty, white wife and/or daughter, she will be kidnapped and sold into a slave ring in Mexico for wealthy Mexican degenerates who want to degrade white American women.

  56. @Stan D Mute

    I am currently retired in the Czech republic. I have bought a 550 square feet apartment in a brick building for less than $12 000. Heat, water, gas, electricity, internet and monthly deposit to a fund for the repairs of roof, outer walls and all other things which are not part of the apartment comes to less than $300. If you are willing to prepare most of the meals at home you need another $150. Medical insurance per month is $5o. A meal in a regular restaurant comes to $5. Of course if I chose to live in the capital Prague the numbers would be a bit higher. Same apartment for example would cost close to $40 000. I live in a very small town, around 2000 people, where everybody knows everybody. After having spent most of my life in a large, crowded city I love the space. No waiting in line ups, no crowds, very easy pace and children say good morning. What I do not know is what effect on prices will have the acceptance of Euro, but I do not have to worry about that for at least another couple of years and hopefully never. The other problem is wildly fluctuating exchange rate but so far so good.

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute
  57. MarkinLA says:
    @utu

    Yes, but we are stuck with Trump. The guy who says he will build a wall and not prosecute businesses or the guy who won’t build the wall or prosecute businesses. We have to hope for a Trump who builds the wall and bends to public pressure to prosecute businesses that hire illegals – something no real Republican or Democrat will do. The Democrats know that an illegal without a job will go home and are just as opposed to it as the Republicans.

    • Replies: @Stan D Mute
  58. Pepe says:
    @jay-w

    Three suspects arrested over missing Australian surfers in Mexico –

    Authorities in Mexico have arrested three men suspected of killing two Australian surfers whose burned remains are believed to have been found in a van registered to one of the men.

    The three suspects were low-level drug dealers who had been robbing motorists on a stretch of road leading south through Navolato, Sinaloa, according to Attorney General Antonio Higuera. Two other suspects are still at large.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/04/asia/mexico-australian-surfers-arrests/

  59. Biff says:

    John Wayne liked Mexico, and that’s all I need to know.

  60. Biff says:
    @Stan D Mute

    Mexican immigrants use vastly more welfare per capita than white American natives. They commit much more crime. They impose huge burdens on our infrastructure like hospitals, schools, legal system, etc.

    Data/sources to back that up? Because there are plenty of sources that document that immigrants are “makers not takers”

    https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2013/02/08/52377/immigrants-are-makers-not-takers/

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/20/news/economy/immigration-myths/

    I personally don’t take their word for it, but think it’s close to a wash. They do use welfare, but also pay a lot of taxes.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @bomag
    , @Stan D Mute
  61. Matra says: • Website
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    However the flights to and fro the US are expensive and risky for deep vein thrombosis.

    LOL

    If that’s the worst thing one has to worry about then Uruguay sounds pretty good. It seems much more politically stable than Argentina and no earthquakes like Chile.

  62. MarkinLA says:
    @Biff

    There is a difference from low IQ laborers and the educated. However, a lot of H-1B types, if they get citizenship, bring their elderly parents in on family reunification and put them on welfare.

    A guy I used to work with was on welfare for two years and now is paying the max into Social Security. However, he also brought his mom in and she in on SSI and Section 8 and every other welfare program there is. My guess is his taxes just about pay for his mom. When he starts collecting Social Security he will get proportionately more per dollar paid in than me because he won’t work anywhere near 35 years in this country. The only way the books will be balanced is if his grand kids finally do it because I doubt his kids alone can make up the difference due to the size of the hole.

    The low income immigrant can scam the Earned Income Tax Credit and get back more than they paid in.

    The government knows but there are no sources from the government available to the public. My guess is because they are hiding something. You also have to look at the “sources” that show immigrants are such a net gain. They all seem to come from the same place – business and immigrant advocacy groups.

  63. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    At the current exchange rate, you need bank statements showing an income of just under $1300 a month or proven investments or savings of $206,000, to get a temporal visa (temporary residence). The Mexican government’s position is that you are welcome but Mexico is not going to support you.

    Like Trump said, Mexico’s leaders are smarter than ours.

  64. @Regnum Nostrum

    That does sound nice. The problem for me and many others I suspect is travel. I spent a great deal of time looking at Chile and Argentina (Chile being favored since Argentina’s recovery and now risk of another major crash), but the challenge there too is travel. Without cutting the umbilical cord to family/friends, you could spend more on travel than on housing. Mexico has the advantage of very low transport costs especially from the western US. A friend who has property in QR regularly buys round trip tix for $150-$250. Chile, for me, is always right at $1,000 and that’s not business class.

    In a way, it’s good that so many Americans base their perception of Mexico on the Mexicans they see in their town’s barrio or what they saw from the cruise port in Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta (keeping prices down for those like me who haven’t bought in yet!). They fail to realize that with 313,000 annual cruise visitors (PV) or 3.5 million (Coz), they’re seeing a sick funhouse mirror and not Mexico – more Tijuana than Merida. They see the scary news stories of narco violence without pausing to think that it’s narco vs narco, not narco vs gringo. I’ve mentioned it here before, but when my son was a toddler, my wife (still new to Mexico and having been raised in a home with the typical American conception of third-world hellhole) turned to me and said she felt safer with our boy there than back home in our very liberal affluent college town.

    I keep seeing the last retort that Mexico is unstable and could go into another civil war at any moment. But then so could America. Our debt situation is worse than Mexico’s. And Mexico has no analog to our near-boiling nonstop black vs white race war. Mexico could withstand a global economic crash better than America.

    Anyway, thanks for the local intel on Czech. If the umbilical is ever severed or travel costs drop, I may add it to my list.

  65. @MarkinLA

    Yes, but we are stuck with Trump. The guy who says he will build a wall and not prosecute businesses or the guy who won’t build the wall or prosecute businesses.

    Remember Trump is, above all, a pragmatist. The Wall sells well and plays on his career as a builder (developer). Once in office, he can easily do a TV broadcast direct to the public making the case for prosecuting employers. The Wall will cost $Billions$ while prosecuting employers might return some bucks to the Treasury if fines are set appropriately. Heck, he might be able to fund a wall with employer fines and border patrol payroll savings (if The Wall is secure enough).

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  66. The Wall is a joke. Punish employers seriously caught employing illegal aliens and guess what, they don’t get hired except on the black market. It works in Canada just fine. And why don’t we seriously fine employers for hiring illegal aliens? Ask rich guys like Trump who claim to represent you. They want cheap labor here, they want the minimum wage held down. Trump doesn’t represent you. Granted the man talks honest sense some times and that is very refreshing but he is a joke as a populist, I can’t believe anybody is falling for his BS.

    I am not saying that he isn’t bringing in new blood, new ideas, I like that, but what makes you people think that guy is going to make a good president. He is a big spoiled child who always gets his way because he owns his own company. Egomaniacs make shitty politicians, they have never compromised, and in Washington you have to.

  67. While some million Americans live here and like it, it is not for pampered people used to a consumerist society where everything works all the time.

    Purveying white guilt!

  68. bomag says:
    @Biff

    Well, there is the “nose” test. Are immigrant areas known for wealth building and quality of life? Even when you have Iranians in Beverly Hills or the usual suspects buying New York real estate, the community aspects look pretty bleak.

  69. MarkinLA says:
    @Stan D Mute

    I am all for employer sanctions first and don’t think the wall will do much good but we do have to remember that Chinese proverb about making a long journey.

    • Replies: @utu
  70. @Biff

    Data/sources to back that up? Because there are plenty of sources that document that immigrants are “makers not takers”

    Really? You cite CNN as a “source”? It will be tough to outdo that maneuver, but I’ll try. Maybe Al Gore has published something? Soros is a good stand-in right?

    First try this short but complete presentation with links to primary data sources in the notes beneath the video:

    For much more thorough discussion, Ann Coulter has done quite well with her book on the subject.

  71. @anonguy

    Fred may already have a side job: Serving as Jeb!’s foreign policy PR guy on all things about Mexico. It’s a two fer: more amnesty helps to rid Mexico of their undesirables and Jeb! gets to crow about how wonderful those coming across the border are. Like Fred, Jeb! has a vested interest in Mexico, in more ways than one.

    One nice thing about the US. For the most part, the crime rate isn’t anywhere near the levels of Mexico (on average). Also, things work and run on time. But then, what would you expect of a nation with a national average IQ of 100 and not 90?

    Note: For some strange reason, wealthy elite Mexicans tend to send their kids to US Universities. Can’t imagine why, what with all those jobs and factories that they’ve gained from exported/shipped out from the US, you’d think that they’d have been able to build better universities for their own kids. Strange how that works. How come the Mexican smart ones generally like to become educated in US universities if the US is such a bad place, on average?

  72. WJ says:

    Mr. Reed keeps bringing up his straw man -”Americans hating Mexicans” silliness. I could not care less about what Mexicans do or how they behave in their country. I simply don’t want them re-arranging my country’s demographics so much that it will tip the balance of power to the hard core leftists.

    I see the illegal immigration push by the Democratic party as their attempt at a kill shot, a death blow to traditional middle America. Considering the shameful intellectual laziness of that same middle America then we almost deserve it. The blind, infuriating devotion to George W. Bush is a good example of that foolishness.

    • Replies: @Son of Dixie
    , @Biff
  73. Thank you for an excellent article, Fred. My fiancee and I have been considering moving to Mexico in retirement – she taught in San Miguel de Allende for several years. We hope to start taking some fact-finding trips soon, and your article raises some excellent items to keep in mind.

  74. @WJ

    Fred is what you call a self hating White American. He is an advocate for White displacement in the United States. A petulant child that was somehow offended in the states so he ran off and wants to see the place trashed.

  75. utu says:
    @MarkinLA

    Only employer sanctions can change anything. Everything else is just posturing and rhetorics.

  76. Pepe says:

    Mexican Peso is at historic low against the US Dollar. 17.70 needed to buy one US Dollar.

    Inflation in Mexico, at around 2-3% is, surprisingly, also at historic lows.

    Everyone living in Mexico on US Dollars got a 20% boost in income in the last year:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=USDMXN=X

  77. Biff says:
    @WJ

    I simply don’t want them re-arranging my country’s demographics so much that it will tip the balance of power to the hard core leftists.

    Is that before or after we stole half of Mexico in the conquest of the American West?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @bomag
  78. MarkinLA says:
    @Biff

    Mexico started a stupid war they couldn’t win but their leadership was stupid enough to believe they could.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nueces_Strip

  79. I just got back from a three month stay in Puerto Vallarta. Since I was there for three months, I was a few blocks off the tourist strip, but still in the gringo part of town (Zona Romantica).

    Every street corner was actually covered in trash, including, I have no doubt, used condoms. A lot of this trash is from the local custom of putting the garbage out on the corner – but sometimes the bags break, sometimes they aren’t tied shut, sometimes the garbage was never in a bag to begin with.

    Beyond the trash, I especially remember dog shit. There was dog shit everywhere in PV. The smell of dog shit is probably always going to remind me of Puerto Vallarta.

    During the short time I was there I personally witnessed four foul looking hombres beat a drunk homeless man bloody in broad daylight in the middle of a thoroughfare as about a dozen pedestrians and another dozen or so cars looked on in fear. Their ugly riced-out 1990′s muscle car was parked across the street, blocking both lanes of traffic and my taxi was stuck there while we watched it happen. Then they took off his shoes and pants, scattered them into the street, and drove off. He stumbled around picking up his clothes and stumbled away, then the traffic cleared. Never seen anything like it in Boston, Norfolk, or Houston, or any other place in America that I’ve lived, except Chennai, India. (Chennai was worse).

    In another incident there, a friend of mine had a box of cigars stolen off of our table when we were both on the dance floor for five minutes.

    My girlfriend was staying with me, and was practically a shut in unless I was escorting her, because she was afraid of the aggressive street harassment. In just three months she grew depressed and nearly despondent. I shudder to think of sending her out to get groceries on the bus alone. It’s out of the question for her to do that.

    Oh, and yo hablo español muy bien. I can’t imagine getting through a day there without it.

    If PV is the santized part of Mexico, I’ll be damned before I venture out into the campo. And I’ll be thrice damned before I sit idly by and watch the USA become more like that place I just left.

  80. @Jewish Conservative Race Realist

    *meant to say, never seen anything like that in America. But I have seen things like it in Chennai.

  81. @Dave Chamberlin

    We live in Los Angeles. If you think trump is wrong, then you are the ignorant one.

    • Replies: @dave chamberlin
  82. @RadicalCenter

    I employ of bunch of Mexicans Radical Center, I am not ignorant. I’m done with commentating on blogs polluted by dumb ideologues. I live in a big house in a lily white suburb lol, I know the score, I know the big picture.

    Trump is not a populist, Trump is manipulating you, you will see soon enough. I am going back to the science blogs where people talk sense to each other.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  83. @dave chamberlin

    I am going back to the science blogs where people talk sense to each other.

    You mean like Global Warming, Darwinian Evolution, Inflationary Cosmology?

    Yup. Perfect sense.

  84. bomag says:
    @Biff

    before or after we stole half of Mexico

    Stealing carries an implication of converting to a lesser use.

    Next time we’ll take and stock the whole thing and make the world a better place.

  85. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @MarkinLA

    True. But Uuguay has lousy weather (too cold and humid in winter and too hot and muggy in summer), and the cuisine is not nearly as good (although the beef is the best). Good horse country.

  86. Ace says:
    @The Grate Deign

    Fred doesn’t seen to note the inconsistency between emphasizing how Mexico belongs to Mexicans so don’t dare think anything otherwise. However, the idea that the U.S. is our country seems to strike him as absurd. The only reason anyone is negative about immigrants in the U.S. is because we are “anti-immigrant.” Quote unquote. We right wingers, that is.

    Everyone else is reasonable on the whole issue, including, it seems, being inundated by a lot of foreigners who DON’T have $1,300 in monthly income and $206,000 in the bank. Mexico isn’t going to support anyone, which is reasonable, but Americans who object to doing just that are in Fred’s mind, I’m guessing, “anti-immigrant.”

    Mexico’s got a near-perfect set of laws on what immigration is all about. I’m sure Fred approves but I’m guessing again that he thinks wussified American laws on the subject are what no decent non-right winger could object to.

    There’s nothing wussified about Fred, who’s one of my all-time favs as a writer. Perhaps he could credit the decency and rationality of the anti-immigration segment en El Norte.

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