Sunday, October 19, 2008

Part 1 - A Move to Lake Chapala

A dear friend recently completed her move to Mexico.  She has graciously allowed me to post her experiences here in various episodes, beginning with this introduction.  She seems to be well settled and is learning about her new surroundings.  Her first big acquisition has been a new mexican puppy, pictured below.  Knowing of her love for dogs (in the twenty some years I have known her she has always had one) I am sure this puppy will be another pampered expat adoption.  I wish her the best.

For a number of years I lived and worked on an island north of Seattle.  When I began to look into retirement options it was clear I needed to find a new place to be.  It was around October of 2007 that I started thinking about moving to MexicoMexico had been on my mind, remembering the experiences I had when I was younger.  I had traveled there with my mother a few times visiting Acapulco, Mexico City and Cuernavaca.  About 10 years ago I spent time in Barra de Navidad; I enjoyed it but decided against it as a place to relocate to since I am not really a coast person.  So it was time to Google.  What would we all do without Google?  I “Googled” least expensive places to live in Mexico and the Lake Chapala area was a place that came up.  It appealed to me for various reasons.  The climate is wonderful and since it is only about 40 miles south of Guadalajara it is easy to get back and forth to the states.  Lakeside, as it is referred to, has a large expat community which can be good and bad.  I will comment more on that later.
I decided to go on an exploratory trip and found a wonderful American couple in Ajijic from whom I rented a lovely one bedroom casita for a month in March 2008.  I couldn’t have made a better choice.  They introduced me to a number of their friends.  They steered me to an investment firm, Multivalores, where I set up an  account.  They introduced me to their insurance person where I made arrangements to get my Mexican auto insurance and they sent me to an attorney where I asked questions about getting an FM3 visa. 
I went there with open eyes and tried not to look at the community with rose colored glasses.  Yes, there was garbage in the streets and there were mangy dogs running loose.  I learned the meaning of manana, which only means “not today!”  The area chose me.  I didn’t choose it!
I had been emailing a woman who lives in one of the smaller villages, San Antonio Tlayacapan.  We finally made connection and met for lunch and talked for hours.  She was very helpful, telling me of her experiences for the last 10 years.  She shared with me the “pros” and “cons” of Mexican living.  Before we parted ways she told me her neighbor might have a casita for rent.  I called the woman the next day and she took me to the casita.  I fell in love with it and asked her to draw up a year’s lease.  The 2 bedroom casita was furnished so I knew that would save some of the cost of shipping goods from the states to my new home.  Everything fell into place so I knew this was where I was supposed to be.
I will be posting my journey here at Beto’s Rambunctious Rambles, so please look forward to my further experiences.
As Joseph Campbell once said, “follow our bliss”!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Goodness -- I Am Famous

Hats off to Paul at Hammock Musings from Merida for his kind post today.  Imagine my surprise when I scrolled down through my links list this morning and saw his post.  To quote:

I recently discovered a new blog that might be of interest to you. It's Beto's Rambunctious Rambles. I will leave it up to you as to whether his views speak to you. (I had hoped to get away from political/religious views by moving South.) But what I am confident will interest you are the extensive links to blogs on Mexico sorted by states. It could be a good resource for occasionally checking out new blogs which have recently begun.

I do apologize if my snark offends, but sometimes craziness, is just, well, craziness

This is a new blog which is still getting tweaked but it is nearing a tolerable format.  I intend to continue to scrape the web for interesting sites as well as monitoring my list of links to ensure relativity.  Abandoned or non-producing sites will eventually be deleted in order to ensure a positive experience for those of you who choose to occasionally take a glance.  There are exceptions, such as Sinaloa Summer, a blog written over this summer of 2008 chronicling the experiences of Toni as she taught young folks English in a small community near Mazatlan.  Her story is so sweet and compelling I had to reread it in it's entirety the other day.

So, even though this blog is new, I am not new to computers, but that is another story.  I am constantly looking for tweaks, widgets, gadgets, add-ons and methods to make computer usage easier.  For instance, this post is edited using Blogger in Draft, Blogger's sort of development site for innovations yet to be rolled out to all users.   If you are interested, that is, if you are a Blogger blogger, click on the link in the About This Blog note on the upper right of the Blogger in Draft page.  It will take you to a login page for you to log in with your Google ID to check it out.  Remember that you do need to be logged in with your Google Account ID before you try to log in to Blogger in Draft (it is a cookie thing).  Otherwise you will get that ubiquitous "Do you have a Google account" page.  Yeah!!  sign up for a Google account now.

Once you are logged in to your dashboard, you will notice a check box on the upper right asking if you want to make Blogger in Draft your default mode.  Seeing that ensures that you are indeed in the Blogger in Draft mode.

Now you have some control over your images and other attributes.  For instance, drag down on the obscure little triangle in the lower right corner of the post editor frame.  Voila, an expanded editor box so one can finally see the entire darn post at one time.  Of course a long post still needs some scrolling, but that teeny little editor box Blogger gives us is, in my regard, pretty well useless.

Image handling is far superior with Blogger in Draft.  Browse for an image, or two or more, select the one you want use, mark the location with your cursor in the post editor where you want the image to go, and upload the image.  Voila !!  Now, double click on the image to bring up the image manipulation attributes and you will see you can resize, delete, or drag it left, right or center within that space.  Try it out and play with it.  I'll bet you will wish these attributes were there all along.  It sure beats Scribefire.

Abrazos -- Beto

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hockey Mom -- Oh My !!

Here Is someone I would vote for, my friend April -- Croquet Mom Extraordinario -- April is proprietress of Passion Flower Gardens in Yelapa, where she serves dinner and an English language movie on Monday and Italian dinner on Thursday, as well casita accomodations and campsites for your visit. April is a chef to die for. You would not be disappointed.

My goodness !! I suppose this was predictable. Crooks and Liars is on a roll today with a post about Hillary and her claws, Pat Buchanan flip-flopping -- Whiplash !! -- and some wondering where Joe Scarborough has disappeared to. And the PUMA's panties are in a bunch. Sheesh !! No matter where women's rights would go with McIdiot in power (they would be in the dumper right along with Ms. Palin's family values) there are some who just can not get it. Just yesterday on MSNBC a PUMA was interviewed who self-identified as a "Dr." (you would think she has more than a peanut for a brain) trying to -- attempting to -- grasping at straws -- to explain why she could never vote for Obama. It has to be McBush because he selected a woman for his vice-presidential nominee. And not just any woman either. This one has foreign policy cred. She is from Alaska, the nearest state to Russia where, they claim, she is in charge of the National Effort to Aim Missiles at Russia. Uh - Oh !! Now we're in trouble. If only Ms. Palin had exercised some control over that crotch-rocket aimed at her daughter.

Yea Hillary -- Go Obama !!

Abrazos -- Beto

Some sort of craziness

A picture for the Yelapenses -- a view of the bay taken from the road from Chacala. Click here for a map of Cabo Corrientes. To all others, let it be known the road is impassable part of the year and does not go all the way into Yelapa. There are no cars in Yelapa.

Blogger is pretty well idiot proof but it sure has a lot of variables buried here and there, and a variety of gadgets, widgets and add-ons that boggle. Having never before messed with blogs this craziness has been a whirlwind of over-caffeinated energy over the last few days.

Another Gmail account and Gmail Manager (Gmail does have it's limitations for handling multiple accounts), Where oh where is the Email Me option? Somewhere out there in the HTML add-on world. After a lot of trial and error and enough caffeine to cause the fingers to miss the keys on the keyboard, it has arrived at it's current incarnation. Good enough for now.

Thank you, thank you -- to all of you have responded to this blog. I am amazed when I look at the Google Analytics. Hits from all over the place, especially Mexico. It is almost like expats are incestuous. Share - share - share, bonded by both the commonality and frustrations of language. Spanglish reigns !! Then I reread Sinaloa Summer and just love how Toni met her challenge teaching English to young students near Mazatlan this summer. She is an inspiration.

If you see your blog in the list, please let me know if there is an edit, or whatever, you would like. If you know of a blog you would like to see included, shoot an email my direction with a URL.

And now, I can get back to scraping good stuff off the web, which is how this all started, and post once in a while as well.

Abrazos -- Beto