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Car Talk

So what’s it like driving a car here you ask? The streets are narrow and cobblestones offer opportunities for some of the largest potholes in the world. Then there are those crazy “laterals” where you have to decide if you are turning left from the left lane or from the right lane of the lateral which means you have to know this before you get there! And what about the buses and taxis who drive as if they own the road? And there is barely such a thing as a yellow light…green slides into red in seconds so you best stop on the green or find yourself facing oncoming cross traffic while still in the cross lane. The traffic cops love to catch those who do this…a ticket for sure!


And then there is the question of a mechanic. I bought a very old 1995 Geo Tracker with a good engine partly because it sits high enough to drive the streets of rushing water during the summer rains and the top comes off for breezy driving and better views…and to help dry out the inside from the summer leaks! I know it’s time to do this when the grass starts growing on my floor mats! I can also carry stuff like beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, groceries, and the occasional piece of furniture. Works for me.

So about the mechanic…I have tried many on the advice of both Mexican and American friends…results vary depending on what type of work you want done. For straightening my tailpipe that was loudly knocking against the frame, I used the guy across the street who stuck an iron rod into it and just bent it until it wasn’t touching anymore! Cost…50 pesos for his time. On the other hand, for brakes I went to a brake specialist with good results. Tires? Many choices from average to expensive. You can get a deal at Costco if you have all four replaced at once but I only needed two so again to the local tire man. All these guys have become good contacts and are very friendly for the most part. Helps to speak some Spanish or take a friend with you. I like the fact that, being a woman who doesn’t know too much about cars, I can still get it done and learn something while going through the experience. After all, it’s part of the adventure of living here.

Buy a car here with Mexican plates or bring yours from home? That’s a whole other discussion for another time as the opinions continue to vary. I decided to buy mine here, from a Mexican, with Mexican plates just to avoid the hassle. And I also waited three years before I did so, choosing to walk and take the buses until I knew my way around so well that driving and knowing the road signs was easy.

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Liberating your Life

As we age, our life’s experiences help us to know what is important to us and what is not.  Once you decide that you definitely are committed to changing your life then the challenges of just how to do this can consume us to frustration.  We can become paralyzed into no action.

For me, simplifying my life to comfortable essentials was a life style I wanted, especially after owning 5 homes and all the stuff moved, sorted, boxed, unboxed….accumulations of years of family life I no longer wanted to drag around with me.  Besides, I had lived simply before my marriages and knew how freeing it was to not be possessed by my possessions…..there are infinite advantages to this one finds like knowing what we can live without…finding what we are looking for because there is no clutter….5 minutes to pick up ones space instead of 3 hours….being a household of one or two again does lend itself to a simple life with few belongings.

Having traveled many times in Mexico, I realized the Mexican people often live this way either through poverty or necessity when housed in cramped quarters.  I also experienced the delightful connections that come so clearly and strongly when only the essentials give us the freedom to focus on each other and not on our possessions.  The Mexican people are very friendly, kind, and happy.  They are accustomed to speaking with each other and therefore with me on a very personal level….their eyes like deep chocolate pools see me for me so that our conversations are warm and heart-felt.  I have often remembered the difficulties I have had when in cold climates trying to get close to a person for a connected conversation when we are all bundled up…insulated from each other.  In the warm climate of Vallarta, where one wears few clothes, it is easy to have a close and lovely conversation.  This appealed to me tremendously while on my travels and was a major factor in my decision to move here.

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