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.