I am asked that question quite frequently by readers of my book, “Baja Diaries-Chronicles of a Paradise Lost.” Why did you and your wife retire in Mexico instead of Florida, New Mexico or another foreign country other than Mexico?
I never really considered any other place, domestic or foreign. Many years ago I read a book entitled, “Choose Mexico.” A sub-title stated that you could retire to Mexico for ? dollars per day. The book was written by John Howells. It is now in the ninth edition. With each subsequent edition that daily dollar figure increased. Now that subtitle no longer appears on the cover.
After reading Howell’s book until it was nearly worn out, I discovered a Newsletter called AIM, “Adventures in Mexico.” This was very exciting to me. It was up to the minute information about different places to retire in Mexico. The author would visit a town in Mexico and he would write about the suitability for Americans to retire to this particular area. He would research food prices, housing prices and the availability of rentals and pricing in each area visited. His descriptions were vivid and in my mind I would massage these descriptions into a reality of my own.
The newsletter was published six times per year and I anxiously awaited the arrival of the newsletter printed with green ink. The newsletter still exist and they have an online presence at, http://www.mexico-newsletter.com/.
Why Mexico? After living in Tucson, Arizona in the Sonoran dessert for a number of years I began to hallucinate in the hot summers. My hallucinations would be of waves lapping on the shore and cool ocean breezes. I would place myself in the picture, sitting on a blanket on the beach drinking Cerveza and reading one of my favorite novels.
One summer my wife and I were trying to decide where to go on a week’s vacation. A friend at our church suggested Ensenada, Mexico. On occasion we had driven from our home in Tucson to Nogales, Sonora but that was a border town and not the Real Mexico. Of course Nogales had its charm and the restaurants and shops, the Oaxacan children selling Chiclets and so on but that wasn’t enough. We took our friends suggestion that we should vacation in Ensenada and the adventure began. When we crossed the border into Mexico from Chula Vista, CA, that’s when the love affair with the country of Mexico began. We had magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean for nearly the entire drive,
Why Mexico? Because it is a Third World Country right at our southern border. Make no mistake, when you cross the International Border from Texas, Arizona or California, you are in a Third World Country.
Why Mexico? Because we are African Americans and it was interesting living in a country where non-whites governed the country. There are some problems and always the talk of bribes and corruption but we have our share here in the good old USA.
Why Mexico? Because we could afford to live in a home a stone’s throw from the Pacific where we could watch the dolphins in the distance, see Pelicans diving for their dinner and see the Whales going south for the winter to spawn in warmer waters. We could easily afford the luxury of a weekly housekeeper and other services which were very costly in the US.
Why Mexico? Because the Mexican people are so friendly and accommodating. They are very tolerant of the Americans trying to learn their language and even those Americans that are ignorant of the Mexican customs and traditions.
My answer to that question is another question. “Why not Mexico?”