Last month, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers were playing up the “trend” of American work-from-home employees moving to Mexico for the low rent. For example, from the San Francisco Chronicle:
July 21, 2022
… “As of right now, I don’t feel any desire to be in the Bay Area or the United States,” Reilly says, citing the ongoing slew of mass shootings, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the relentless housing crisis.
… Since giving up her \$100,000 salary and moving to San Miguel [de Allende], a colonial city in Guanajuato, she says life has become significantly easier — and comparable in terms of quality.
The town of 70,000 reportedly has nearly 10,000 expats, many of whom are retirees — but that might all be changing.
San Miguel de Allende has a beautiful Spanish colonial core. It was an American artist colony since the 1930s (James Michener lived there before WWII) and bohemian WWII vets were pleased to find their GI Bill let them study there in the 1940s. In A Confederacy of Dunces, at Dorian Greene’s gay party in the French Quarter, the attendees keep saying that it’s such a fine party that everybody will have to flee to Mexico City in the morning. (In defense of the Mexican cops of the mid-century, while they may have turned a blind eye to a lot of American hi-jinks, when in 1945 decadent writer William Burroughs, playing William Tell at a party, shot his wife in the head, they really wanted to throw his ass in jail forever and were outraged when his Burroughs Adding Machine fortune and connections bought his way out of Mexico.)
But as America loosened up about sex and drugs from the 1960s onward, trendsetters saw less reason to flee to Mexico, and Mexico’s glamor faded over time.
In the year and a half Rivera has lived in Mexico, she says she’s met a lot of remote and temporary workers coming from the U.S.
Her friend, Brent Coulter, who works in tech and most recently worked at Meta, moved to San Miguel on a whim right when the pandemic hit. He currently splits his time between Mexico and Austin, and says that relocating made perfect sense.
“I FaceTimed a friend I knew from Burning Man, and he was smiling and radiant and I was gaunt and depressed in my Mission apartment that I was overpaying for and I asked him straight forward, ‘Why are you so happy and who gave you the license? And what are you doing with your life?’” Back in San Francisco, he was cooped up and paying \$4,000 per month, but now pays \$1,000 for a three-story home.
… However, he says that San Miguel is gentrifying and becoming more expensive. …
In 2021, the Mexico Daily Post reported that the town, which has been referred to as the “Mexican Disneyland,” panders to “gringos” while forcing out locals.
But there can be downsides to life south of the border:
1/2 The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana is aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate. U.S. government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice. pic.twitter.com/oghBX1P7qX
— U.S. Consulate Tijuana (@ConsuladoUSATJ) August 13, 2022
This has something to do with cartels, of course.
A coordinated operation where armed thugs hijacked the vehicles and set them on fire, mostly public transportation units. #Tijuana is considered the most violent city in the world, but locals still seem stunned at what's happening.
— David Wolf (@DavidWolf777) August 13, 2022
Here’s an article on which cartel is attacking which, but I can’t make much sense out of it.
On the bright side, there’s only one legal gun store in all of Mexico, so how bad can gun violence be?
The decapitation violence, well, that’s a different story …