WHY I MOVED TO MEXICO – BY JEFF BATES
It all started in 1973 when my father Jim Bates took me on a trip as a high school graduation present! We flew to Mexico City and Acapulco. I clearly, no pun intended, remember the smog in the city as it burned my eyes and made breathing difficult. Furthermore, the Popsicle that I had enjoyed at the bull fight made me bedridden with Montezuma’s revenge at the Sheraton Maria Isabel. We then made our way to Acapulco and I saw a Mexican beach for the first time, stood in line at Carlos and Charlie’s in its heyday and sampled grilled Red Snapper on Condesa Beach. I was hooked.
During the 80’s, as an adult, I returned to Acapulco many times with friends and also sampled Cancun a few times. In ’88 I was introduced to Puerto Vallarta when I took a trip with my mom. It was a bit different than anything else I had experienced. It had a traditional Mexican village flavor to it and the people were genuinely warm and friendly. The food was great and I thought that Banderas Bay was strikingly beautiful. Nothing has changed for me to this day.
Eight years ago on June 30th, I boarded a United Airlines flight with Lillian my cat; it was the first and only time that I had purchased a one way ticket. As the plane roared down the runway my personal effects were on a Mayflower van somewhere on a Texas border; there was no turning back now. Puerto Vallarta or bust! Any fears I had carried with me for the last year dissolved into a sense of freedom and I realized that I was on the ride of my life. When we landed in Puerto Vallarta I was greeted not only by my friend German but by summer in the tropics; it was 95 degrees and extremely humid. Something I would learn to deal with for several months before the heat broke. I was however very excited to start my new life, to say the least.
They say the training program lasts five years for an expat locating to Mexico. The adjustments are many, so are the rewards. You continue to evolve significantly though, after the first five years. We newbies used to periodically have “We hate Mexico days” which would include a tirade on everything about Mexico that we hated. Gradually the comparisons of wherever we came from and our new reality here have faded. We have more “We are fortunate to be here” days and they become the norm.
I have a developed a sense of gratitude about life here. I don’t complaint anymore about stuff I can’t control, like waiting in line for an hour at the bank. I choose to appreciate the bounty that we all enjoy, instead: great fresh fruits and vegetables, everyone greets you on the street, people are kind and patient, it’s easy to meet wonderful friends, world class restaurants, the beach, the many interesting and eccentric people, the weather most of the time, the way the mountains meet the sea, the low cost of living and a slower pace of life; less stress.
There are many practical reasons to move to Puerto Vallarta as well. Flights to and from Canada and the US are plentiful making a visit to see the grandkids just a few hours away. Immigration is lenient; you are welcome to stay up to 180 days every time you enter the country. Want to stay permanently; the process to obtain a residential visa is quick, simple and inexpensive. Purchasing property in Vallarta is facilitated through a bank trust called a Fideicomiso. Properties pass directly to your beneficiaries avoiding the Mexican court system and the resulting inheritance taxes. Real estate taxes are very inexpensive, only $100 dollars a year for each $100,000 in assessed value. Our infrastructure aside for the cobblestone streets is quite modern; you might want to consider a Jeep! Phone, electrical and water is pretty much what you are used to north of the border; our water is sanitary to drink but a good filter makes it taste better. Shopping is very good! Super Centers are in abundance and we do have a local branch of Liverpool in the Gallerias Mall, think Macy’s! Friends coming down to visit frequently ask, what can I bring you? My response to that is well thanks but I don’t need anything! If you could bring me a corned beef on rye from Manny’s that would be terrific!!
Why did I move to Mexico? A chance at age 51, to turn the clock back and live in a simpler time!