So What is it Like to Be an Ex-Pat in Mexico…Really?

By Susan Klindienst Fogel

So what is it like to be an ex-pat in Mexico…really? That is the question we are often asked by our guests.
We rent our little guesthouse to vacationers, and from the outside looking in, we live an exotic, dream life in paradise.

Think about it; we have a lovely modern home on the beach. My beloved walks to his job as the science editor at a federal research agency. Did I say that he walks to work along the BEACH? He comes home for lunch. And most days we have grilled grass-fed Sonoran beef, or fresh local seafood that has been delivered to our door.

I work from home, writing, and building an internet business about my passion: sewing. I have a perfectly appointed office with a view across the pool and out to the beach.

We have an international set of friends, and entertain and are entertained often.

And those things are all good.

Even after 10 years, I miss many things about my life in California. Things like PBS, fabric stores, bookstores, and just being able to buy things -especially clothing- and have them work. If not I want to be able to return them without a fight. And customers service…that is a big thing we all miss here.

On the other hand medical care is excellent and cheap when compared to the US. Our doctors take their time, they listen and they are accessible. Do you have the cell phone number of your doctors? I do.
When I walk into one of the two cafes I frequent, my drink is being made before I order. The parking lot attendant downtown meets me at the curb and takes my car to park. During holidays when there are thousands of people downtown, I am allowed in the lot when others are turned away.

Don’t get me started on trying to find all of the ingredients for a special recipe, even if they are ingredients that were in the store two weeks ago, and today they are not.

And then there is the Mexican banking system…it makes the US banks look warm and fuzzy. Have you ever been chased down the street by the bank manager after they made an error and he wanted to still tell us what we did wrong? My friend and I were!

But one bank, Bancomer, has figured out what foreigners need and want and have developed a Preferred Customer Unit with bi-lingual personal banking officers that have lived in the US or Canada. On the busiest day we can go to the Preferred Client line, and be taken ahead of all the others. The tellers are not as amiable and service oriented as the personal banking officers, but they do take us ahead of the pack.
So we count the blessings we have, mourn the things we don’t and in general live a good life, on the beach in the City of Peace.

And we have come to understand why Mexicans will commiserate with you about most things, then suggest you have some Tequila.

Ten Things to Do on a Slow Day in La Paz

Just another day doing as little as possible, wearing as little as possible
]Ten Things to Do On a Slow Day
By Susan Klindienst Fogel

1. Rise with the sun
2. Brew coffee
3. Drink coffee on the pool terrace while gazing across the bay
4. Walk the dog on the beach
5. Swim naked
6. Answer email and write in blog
7. Design something to sew
8. Make a delicious lunch for my beloved and linger at the table with him
9. Take a siesta in a hammock
10. Listen to palms swish and waves break
11. Take an afternoon shower
12. Give myself a mini facial
13. Watch the sun set
14. And the moon rise
15. Have an evening glass of wine
16. Repeat steps 1-15 daily or as needed

Ok so there were a few more than 10. I have a lot to cram into a day

How to Date Hot Mexican Girls?

How to Date Hot Mexican Girls?
By Susan Klindienst Fogel
I am flabbergasted, gobsmacked, down right angry.

And today I am talking about an article in the Building Baja Newsletter This is the title:
Hey Boys, Why Dating a Hot Mexican Girl May Not Be as Fun Or Easy as it Sounds

This is written by Cathy Brown, who states that she is a writer: Well she needs to learn some grammar.
And secondly, she needs to wake up and smell the century.

I read the article. I thought it would be a cautionary tale about a certain class of young Mexican women and a certain class of over-the-hill, horny and misguided Gringo men. Here’s the tale that needs to be plastered on billboards, then we’ll get back to Ms. Brown’s article.

These Gringo men seek out young, sexy Mexican girls the way some men seek out young sexy Asian girls and for the same reason: they think these girls are submissive, pliable and will perform sexually. And Ms. Brown is right in one aspect: many young women find older foreign men alluring. But,they also think these men are rich, because they can go to the ATM and get money any time they want.

These men look like idiots with their grey pony tails, stringy arms and spindly legs, squiring a fresh young thing around town. And they do idiotic things like have babies with their new found love. Many of these old farts buy houses and put the property in their new wife or girlfriend’s name. They don’t want to pay the fees to own their property the right way in Mexico. Next thing you know, besotted Gringo is divorced, has no home and is on the hook for child support for 18 years. Their young love has discovered many truths about thier man and one being they are not rich.
Do I feel sorry for them? Not at all? Do I think they are stupid…you betcha!
Does this really happen here? More often than you would think.
Should these men be warned: well yes, but they don’t listen. They are not thinking with the head that houses their brain.
Should the girls be warned? OF course. They are young and in love and cannot think either.

Now Ms. Brown talks about opening doors for your new love, being a real Casanova, whispering endearments, giving long, bedroom-eyed looks,(and faking the romance while trying not to laugh) and walking on the street side.

And she suggests doing this on the first meeting.

And she suggests that heavy necking in public, and nuzzling even at the piano recital of your love’s little sister is expected and accepted. Not at any Mexican family gathering, or piano recital that I have attended in the last 10 years.

My Mexican women friends find the sexy boob-popping clothes, stiletto heels and skin tight jeans sported by some Mexican girls as silly as the girls look trying to navigate the potholes, bumps and puddles on La Paz sidewalks.

The Mexican women in my life: my hairdresser, my cleaning woman, my scientist and doctor friends, my lawyer, my architect, the designer I have recently met, would be as offended by this silly article as I am.

Dating between cultures has it’s hitches and glitches, but treating another person as your equal, engaging them in relevant conversation, and learning about their dreams, and interests is what builds a relationship. Not silly Telly Novella mooning and swooning.

What is scary about this article, is that Ms. Brown brags about being a mother, then proceeds to tell boys to fake romance and move fast on a young girl. Does she tell them what comes next? Does she warnt them to keep their pants zipped? No and no.

Any man that came on to a confident competent woman by following Ms. Brown’s advice would find himself alone in a hurry.
Any man or boy that comes on strong with a young, impressionable girl will find themsleves parenting their young love and a baby.
And by the way guys (old and young): babies are made the same way south of the border as in the old country…use a condom.
Do you want to really know how to date Hot Mexican Girls? Take them to an air conditioned restaurant and TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT.

Sunday at the Beach in El Comitan, La Paz Baja California Sur

We could push it to La Paz!

Sunday at the Beach
By Susan Klindienst Fogel

Sunday at the beach.
What does that evoke for you? Sun, sand, brightly colored umbrellas? Kids yelling, waves breaking? Girls gathered ‘round the lifeguard stand?
Maybe a small plane would fly by trailing a message about Bob’s Lobster Pot, or a yacht would motor by causing some bigger waves to play in?
All of these were part of Sundays at the beach when I was a kid growing up on the New Jersey shore.
Now I live in La Paz, Baja California Sur…right on the beach. I mean my front yard is sand.
There are no lifeguards. There are families that come in their cars laden with coolers, tables, tarps and picnic tents. The kids fly kites, play soccer, and have all kinds of flotation devices. But that is later on Sunday afternoon.
In the mornings on Sunday and all day for the other six days of the week, our beach is mostly deserted. Even though my pool is beachfront I could saunter around on the terrace naked and no one would be there to see me.
Today, we returned home after breakfast with friends. I heard a noise that sounded like a light plane flying low, and looked out the sliding glass door to see a white seaplane skimming the water then landing.
Still dressed in our Sunday go to town clothes ( nothing like what we wore in New Jersey, but still more than we would wear just hanging around the pool…see naked above) Patricia and I went down to the water’s edge. Had we been wearing shorts we could have waded out to the floating plane.
It looked like they were having engine trouble and the tiny waves were enough to move the plane around.
Since we could not wade out (and we badly wanted to) we decided we had seen enough). As we walked back to the house we heard the engine splutter, then stutter, then come to life. The little white plane with yellow trim sped across the bay, making a frothy white wake, and took off.
And here are the pictures I snapped.

Gathering speed to take off, headed for La Paz
They're up and over the Bay of La Paz in El Comitan, heading for La Paz or the open sea!

Breakfast Crepes at El Trocadero with Miss Meliss in La Paz

Breakfast At El Trocadero in La Paz

By Susan Klindienst Fogel

Miss Meliss had been here for 10 wonderful days. Ten days of mother/daughter bonding.
Yesterday was her last full day of playing and eating and beach COMBING.
I just dropped her at the airport.
We had a wonderful time together, and by taking her places in town I re-discovered the beauty that is La Paz.
One of the newer restaurants in town, El Trocadero is a delightful, modern restaurant with a French flavor.
Some of my women friends took me there for my birthday a while back.
And I ticked it off as one on my list of places to bring Miss Meliss.

And that is a photo of the wonderful crepes with platanos ( bananas) and Nutella.

Mother and Daughter Reunion

Mother Daughter Pedicure La Paz Malecon Beach
Mother and Daughter Pedicure
By Susan Klindienst Fogel

Well MissMeliss came to visit. She arrived last Tuesday after completing a marathon of flights and plane and airline changes to get here from Dallas using miles.

But it has been wonderful to have her here by herself to while away the days.
We have had lazy days of sitting around the pool, reading and enjoying a margarita or two.

Tere my hairdresser, manicurist, massage therapist came and gave us pedicures. Yes my dear readers, my hairdresser comes to the house! I have installed a shampoo sink, chair and manicure stool so she can work properly and we can both be comfortable.

We had new color a hot pink called “That’s Berry Daring” an OPI color, hot and bright and oh so tropical. It was one of te many wonderful gifts Melisa brought me!
After a lovely lunch at Azul Marino in Marina Costa Baja, we sauntered down the Malecon ( like a board walk) and sat in the soft white sand.
The next day we went into town and lunched at the Cantina Mejicana also in Costa Baja, and also serving gorgeous and delicious food!
We, well MissMeliss, took lots of photos and sent them to Facebook via her iPhone, which she keeps tucked demurely in her bra. And the comments rolled in. They said things like: “Beautiful!” “You are bragging.” “Now you are really bragging!” “I want to be there.” And “I am jealous!” Her friends all over the US of A wanted to be adopted as my daughter so they could sit on the beach sipping mocha and gaze on azure waters. I am sure that “with your mother” was part of their adoption wish. I am a cool mother, as I have been told so many times.
She’s a seductress, my Melissa, she took photos of the food, the views, shells, our feet, and anything she thought would delight her friends.
Those are our feet on the Malecon beach in downtown La Paz.
My two and her one. Nice pedicure, Yes?

Mother’s Day Two Videos with the Words of the Mother’s Day Proclamation

 Mother’s Day is NOT a Hallmark Moment

By Susan Fogel

May 3, 2010

Mother’s Day: What do you think of when you hear those words? Going to church with the whole family? Maybe you and your siblings pitched in and bought a corsage for  your mother?

 And then after church, Mother cooked for everyone?

  Did you make cards and gifts in school?

 When I was growing up, my sisters and I would make a crown for Mom and bring her breakfast in bed.We would get all dressed up and go to church. And Mom would come home and cook a big Sunday dinner for us and the extended family. Not much different than any other Sunday in the 50’s and 60’s. Mother’s of the last century had one day supposedly to themselves, maybe they had a few hours with thweir feet up.

As we got older we spent more money on Mom and less time with her.

 And when I became a mother, my daughter made Mother’s Day very special. Sometimes she would present me with some  pansies and marigolds, a flower pot and potting soil. We would  re-plant the flowers together. As she got older, she made Mother’s Day more interesting with handmade cards, songs, poems, and meals she cooked, or arranged at a restaurant. And another time she flew from Sioux Falls to California with friends and surpised me with her visit. It was wonderful. She is wonderful.

 And now she is flying down from Dallas to spend a long 10 days with me. She has to take three flights to get here and pay a dog sitter, but she is coming and we will walk on the beach, talk, read, sew and just be together.

 My mother used to say the best gift you can give to an elder is your time. And she is right.

 There is another aspect to Mother’s Day:

 It is a day that Woodrow Wilson proclaimed as a holiday. It is a day for which t Julia Ward  Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1872.

Julia Ward Howe was a feminist, abolitionist, pacifist, poet, playwright, mother and also author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was commissioned by Presoident Wilson to write The Mother’s Day Proclamation

Here are two videos both with actors you know reciting the words of her Mother’s Day Proclamation.

And video number 2:

To learn more about this remarkable woman go here: Julia Ward Howe

And here are the words of the Mother’s Day Proclamation for you to read:
Julia Ward Howe
Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.