A Tip of the Sombrero to…Mexico

Published 16 October 08 02:14 PM

Author: Suzan Haskins

Friday, Sept. 12, 2008

Top dog. The big Kahuna. The hot tamale. Mexico has once again grabbed the golden ring and sits in the No. 1 spot on International Living’s Global Retirement Index.

I’m not surprised, of course. I’ve been extolling Mexico’s comforts and charms for some time.

And I’m not alone. More Americans and Canadian who have retired abroad have chosen Mexico…over every other country in the world.

Depending on where they settle, many are drawn by the incomparable weather, gorgeous scenery, and inexpensive lifestyle. Prices of everything are roughly one-third what they are in the U.S. and Canada. Housing styles range from basic to luxurious, and all are affordable on most retiree budgets.

But it’s more than that, of course. Mexico is like a giant pot of delicious stew—there’s a lot brewing and there’s something for almost everyone. Modern and traditional, rich and poor, pagan and pious, sweet and sour.

Sure, Mexico has its problems. Every place does. But the allure of its charms will cause you to ignore its blemishes. There are countless reasons for the attraction…many people are drawn by the low cost of living, but they stay because they fall in love with the colorful setting and the laidback lifestyle—and the Mexican people.

Mexicans, in general, are gentle, kind, soft spoken, and excruciatingly polite. They greet everyone with a hug or, for women, a kiss on the cheek. You rarely see children misbehaving or hear them crying. Even the dogs are friendly.

Mexicans are service oriented. Not in the terms of what “service” means to you, probably, but in the sense that they take pleasure in doing things for other people. The guy on the bicycle who parks in the middle of the block to sharpen knives, the young man who peddles cups of sweet corn or creamy custards from house to house, the policeman who stops traffic so you can cross the street, the woman who sells flowers in the little shop around the corner…it’s always service with a smile and a heartfelt thank you in Mexico.

If you need something, you can get it. Simple as that. You can go to a modern shopping mall. Or better, you can go to a local artisan. The pride of craftsmanship is alive and well here. Men pass the skills of carpentry, glass-blowing, upholstering, wood-carving, and a host of other traditional trades on to their sons. Mothers teach their daughters the art of cooking, sewing, weaving, pottery, and other time-honored crafts.

Three and four generations of family members often live under the same roof, in fact. They share meals and chores, happiness and sorrow. The elderly are honored for their contributions and their wisdom. Many Mexican families aren’t well off financially (although there’s a growing middle class), but they’re happy.

Workers often play their music as loudly as possible and sing at the top of their lungs. Mexico is not a quiet place, mind you. It’s a place where dilapidated Volkswagen bugs with loudspeakers blare the news of the political party they support or the products they’re selling to all within earshot. A place where fireworks go off at all hours of the night and day…set off by schools and churches for reasons apparent only to their members…or for no reason at all.

Mexico is a time warp where no one is in a rush and what doesn’t get accomplished today “might” get done tomorrow. Expats quickly learn that the word “mañana” is actually a euphemism for “whenever.” Instead, we’ve learned not too worry so much about “things” that “need to be done.” We shrug, take a seat, and put our feet up…

I can’t think of a better way…or a better place…to watch the world go by.

Regards,

Suzan Haskins
Your Latin America Insider, International Living

Comments

# A Tip of the Sombrero to???Mexico | Mazatlan Mexico, Travel, Real Estate, Hotels, Resorts, Culture & Leisure, Tours & Activities Weblog said on January 14, 2009 9:44 AM:

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