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Old Jan 27th 2017, 5:50 pm   #1
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Default The Gringo colonies in Mexico

For some time now, my wife and I have talked about retiring to Mexico, and have been checking out places where expats live. With the US Dollar so strong, it certainly makes economic sense to go there; the violence seems to be limited to specific parts of the country, and doesn't put us off. We've been to Mexico and other Central American countries, and feel comfortable in the Latino culture, even though our Spanish is pretty basic.

However... I'm wondering if the current squabble with the US government has changed the attitude towards foreign residents, and their physical safety. I'd be grateful for any useful advice or information from BE members familiar with the situation. Thank you.
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Old Jan 29th 2017, 1:04 pm   #2
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
For some time now, my wife and I have talked about retiring to Mexico, and have been checking out places where expats live. With the US Dollar so strong, it certainly makes economic sense to go there; the violence seems to be limited to specific parts of the country, and doesn't put us off. We've been to Mexico and other Central American countries, and feel comfortable in the Latino culture, even though our Spanish is pretty basic.

However... I'm wondering if the current squabble with the US government has changed the attitude towards foreign residents, and their physical safety. I'd be grateful for any useful advice or information from BE members familiar with the situation. Thank you.
Hi Gordon
I havent been to Mexico for some years now, and to be honest, have no intention of visiting there again. From what I know and have read is that ignoring the narco violence, robberies are a normal occurrence there and there's the problem of the lightning kidnappings for whatever cash they can get.

I would ask myself why I would want to live there? I think cost of living is only low if you live like a run of the mill Mexican. If you want to live decently, ie a secure area, good medical services etc, it costs a lot just like anywhere.

We live in Chile, which I can highly recommend. It is civilized, a variety of climates to choose from, and things work, and your Spanish doesnt have to be good!
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Old Jan 29th 2017, 3:07 pm   #3
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

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Hi Gordon
I havent been to Mexico for some years now, and to be honest, have no intention of visiting there again. From what I know and have read is that ignoring the narco violence, robberies are a normal occurrence there and there's the problem of the lightning kidnappings for whatever cash they can get.

I would ask myself why I would want to live there? I think cost of living is only low if you live like a run of the mill Mexican. If you want to live decently, ie a secure area, good medical services etc, it costs a lot just like anywhere.

We live in Chile, which I can highly recommend. It is civilized, a variety of climates to choose from, and things work, and your Spanish doesnt have to be good!
Gosh, Jordan. That's very valuable advice, which I certainly appreciate. I hear good things about Chile; are there direct flights to there from Cuba? We have daily flights to Cuba from here, and I was planning to use Havana to get to Mexico. (I'm a bit scared to go via the US, these days!) So Cayman-Havana-Santiago would be feasible. We would want to keep a foot in both places, since our son lives here.
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Old Jan 29th 2017, 7:38 pm   #4
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Gosh, Jordan. That's very valuable advice, which I certainly appreciate. I hear good things about Chile; are there direct flights to there from Cuba? We have daily flights to Cuba from here, and I was planning to use Havana to get to Mexico. (I'm a bit scared to go via the US, these days!) So Cayman-Havana-Santiago would be feasible. We would want to keep a foot in both places, since our son lives here.

You hadnt mentioned Cuba ! Copa fly Havana to Santiago with a change of planes in Panama. There are also direct flights from Santiago to Mexico. Like you, I dont go anywhere that involves a flight via the US, as I read so many nightmare stories of delays with security checks. There are many other and better places to go to in the world.
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Old Dec 6th 2017, 6:47 pm   #5
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

Yes you are absolutely right about resentment towards "Trump" and about "the Wall" and all that. It's made being an English-speaking person quite dodgy and I'm pretty sure not just here in the "Border" towns. The minute English comes out of your mouth they'll go "American!" and do whatever it is to you that they'd do to an American, good, bad or otherwise. And I'm actually Irish. I'm just sick of being treated like "American!" that way, the same way the UK did, actually, even after I'd been back there 2 years and started sounding less like North America and more like Ireland again. But my point was, getting treated "like American" seems to mean being overcharged for everything, ripped off and outright robbed in broad daylight. And it's not just ME; I don't actually "stand out" in that I'm not even White. I'm Pacific Islander so I LOOK "like them" but I'm getting picked on anyway. I think I'll forget about teaching English to these people until/unless I make it back to Ireland ALIVE and with any money left whatsoever...!!
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Old Dec 6th 2017, 8:47 pm   #6
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

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Originally Posted by pkennedy1990 View Post
Yes you are absolutely right about resentment towards "Trump" and about "the Wall" and all that. It's made being an English-speaking person quite dodgy and I'm pretty sure not just here in the "Border" towns. The minute English comes out of your mouth they'll go "American!" and do whatever it is to you that they'd do to an American, good, bad or otherwise. And I'm actually Irish. I'm just sick of being treated like "American!" that way, the same way the UK did, actually, even after I'd been back there 2 years and started sounding less like North America and more like Ireland again. But my point was, getting treated "like American" seems to mean being overcharged for everything, ripped off and outright robbed in broad daylight. And it's not just ME; I don't actually "stand out" in that I'm not even White. I'm Pacific Islander so I LOOK "like them" but I'm getting picked on anyway. I think I'll forget about teaching English to these people until/unless I make it back to Ireland ALIVE and with any money left whatsoever...!!
I'd be getting a t-shirt printed with I AM NOT AMERICAN!! (in Spanish, of course)
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Old Dec 6th 2017, 9:42 pm   #7
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

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I'd be getting a t-shirt printed with I AM NOT AMERICAN!! (in Spanish, of course)
They'd probably do it MORE even then, assuming they could read even in Spanish. For a country that "cries out" for English teachers their people sure are illiterate in their own language.

I SAY "no soy Americana" and all they hear is the "soy Americana" part. They're as stupid as the Americans themselves, but really, it is the same continent, after all. It didn't help that I didn't know the Spanish word for "Irish" is the same as the French one only pronounced different. No, wait, spelled different, pronounced the same (as are so many French/Spanish words.)

In all fairness to the original OP, though; maybe a Latin American country like Panama or Costa Rica which is not so much on the USA's "hit list" would be better for an English speaking person. Safer.

No, I'm just furious because this is the first year in my entire 46 misspent years on Earth in which I've had my purse snatched off my shoulder THREE TIMES IN ONE CALENDAR YEAR; once by the Canadian Border Patrol, once by US Customs and Border Paranoia, that being twice in two days; and now this, down here in Tijuana in Zona Rio in broad daylight on a busy-ish street in the middle of the day. The last 2 times by the time I've gotten it back from "law enforcement" there were things missing. This time this stupid messed-up sorry excuse for a country's police have had it for over a week now, claiming they've got to "photograph" it for "evidence." How bloody long does it take to click a few pictures? And then they transferred it to a different station house? WTF? ALL of North America can go to Hell as far as I'm concerned.

But the OP could probably try Panama or Costa Rica....just don't bring a woman with a PURSE!!
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Old Dec 7th 2017, 4:15 am   #8
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Default Re: The Gringo colonies in Mexico

The problem of misidentification is not unique to Mexico. A few decades ago while travelling in Eastern Europe (then inside the Iron Curtain) I had to communicate with the natives in a sort of pidgin German, because none of them spoke English or French. My first words in ANY conversation had to be (in deliberately halting German) "I am NOT GERMAN. I am ENGLISH. But I speak a little bit of German." And it was always plain sailing from that point on.

And we should all sympathise with US citizens who from time to time have to disguise their origins for the sake of peace and goodwill. During the Vietnam War, for instance, one rarely met Americans outside their own countries - just plenty of "Canadians" with US regional accents. It's much the same now, especially in Mexico. Maybe our Irish friend is being wrongly taken to be one such "deserter".
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