Carl's Mexico Notebook
Archive Issue for 15 June 2001
Cell phone coverage, Biking, Living Above Sea LevelLee wrote us with three queries:
1- do all Mexican cell phones work equally well (dual mode, Tri-mode)? If one living in Mexico opted for a cell phone in lieu of a landline phone, would there be coverage in all cities?
By the way, cell phones are big in Mexico. Many people who couldn't afford a regular phone, or couldn't bear the long wait to have one installed, have purchased cell phones. Competition is heating up, but as far as I know Telmex is the only company that presently has country-wide coverage (at least in the cities and along major highways).
Bicycling: There's a book on bicycling in Mexico, but I've not seen it myself. In fact, it may be out of print by now, but I think it would be worth chasing down. Bikes are a major means of transportation here, and biking competitions and rallies are very, very common. As for why there's little info on this on the internet, "quien sabe?"
(later)... I tracked the book down at Amazon.com and notice that there's a used copy available for just $9. Here's the link: Bicycling In Mexico
Adjusting to altitude: Lorena and I are both born & raised at sea-level. We haven't had any trouble adapting to the "high life" here at 5,000' and above. Take it easy for the first week or two, and you should be just fine.
Xalapa, Veracruz: Information & photographs
Carl & Lorena:
My wife and I want to return to Mazatlan, but are torn to see the East side of Mexico, specifically the Veracruz area. I find little web help, my Fodor's is slight too.... We are somewhat limited by time and certainly cash, but are modest travellers that like to visit over Christmas week (this year 12/23-12/30/01). We both have this break planned, it's Mexico for sure. Our Spanish is limited... What do you say re: Veracruz? Other suggestions that will give us the puebla and an ocean?
Thank you! Steve and Julie Livingston IA USA
To Steve & Julie:
Carl Franz of The People's Guide to MZÿxico forwarded me your e-mail. Please read my articles on Xalapa in the e-magazine Mexico Connect... Xalapa De Mis Suenos -- Jalapa Of My Dreams
I also have several other articles there, or you can check out my seminars Roy Dudley's Xalapa Orientation
Hasta pronto! Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeno"
Carl adds: Roy modestly neglects to mention that he is a professional photographer. His Xalapa articles are not only very interesting, but are generously illustrated with his photos. Be sure to check them out. I'll take the liberty of reproducing a couple of opening paragraphs here:
"Originally from Boulder, Colorado, I have lived in Xalapa, Veracruz, for the last 27 years. Xalapa (hah-lah-pah) is truly the place of my dreams. Nestled in lush coffee growing hills, with a micro climate averaging 68 F (20 C) year-round, it's the capital of the Gulf of Mexico state of Veracruz.
Xalapa comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) language meaning "springs (of water) in the sand." Sometimes, you'll see it spelled Jalapa because "X" has several sounds and the Spaniards spelled Jalapa the way they thought it should be. Pickled "serrano" chiles are known as jalapenos because Don Mario Jimenez began commercializing them from here.
Xalapa is also known as the "Athens of Veracruz" because of it's strong cultural influences of three major universities, a multitude of preparatory and technical schools, insitutes, art galleries, folklore groups, outstanding anthropology and science museums, and the world renowned Xalapa Symphony Orchestra."
BAJA: CYBER GATHERING announced
This just in from People's Guide correspondent and serious Baja Rat, David "El Codo" Eidell:
Next weekend I am attending a unique "get-together" or
If you're interested in this or future Baja gatherings, drop David a line: David Eidell
Cuernavaca... but on $400 A Month?
Greetings, My name is Brad. My wife and I are planning on relocating to mexico. My wife is a
mexican national. I have been to mexico also. I wanted to ask you a few questions. We are thinking to
move to Cuernavaca (her family is in this area).
What are the options for living/ working in Mexico and being able to travel between US and Mexico? We plan to buy a house with cash when we decide on the time to relocate. We understand the need to adopt a "mexican" lifestyle in order to semi-retire so young (35). The information I have read states that it will take 400-600 dollars per month to live. (Im sure this will be dependent on the value of the peso.) What advice or sites can you provide me that will tell me the living/travel options and expected annual cost of living?
Carl replies: First of all, two people living in Mexico on 4-600 bucks a month is possible, but not easy. What is your source of information? Did you hear this from someone who has successfully done it? To get reliable information on the reality of living/retiring in Mexico I have two suggestions:
There are thousands of foreigners living in Mexico, but relatively few of them can manage on a budget as tight as you mention. Again... living cheap here can be done, but it isn't "the norm" for gringos. You'll definitely have to imitate your Mexican neighbors, and budget your money very carefully.
As for working here and traveling back and forth to the U.S. -- no problem, as long as you've got the bucks for bus tickets or planes.
Lorena and I are working on a "People's Guide" to retiring and living in Mexico, so again -- stay tuned to the People's Guide website for ongoing updates and discussion.