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JUNE caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro 2 0 0 7
Issue 5

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

H O T caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro O F Fcaribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro T H E caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro P R E S S
Events, announcements and news
from around the region. Que Pasa?

C O U N T R Y caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro F O C U S : ST KITTS
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Returning : Manchester to St. Kitts
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Healthcare : Peace of Mind and Body
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Comprehensively : Schools for Kids

S P E C I A L caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro F E A T U R E S
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Roatan Life : And the Gold Standard
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Merida : Siestas and Sombreros
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Renewable Energy : Costa Rica
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working BVI : PADI Diving Internship
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Costa Rica : Ticos and No Shrimping
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Panama Real Estate : Booby Traps
Caribbean Property Magazine, Real Estate, jobs, relocation, living and working Better Building : Stop the Carnival

P I C K caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro O F caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro T H E caribbean, west indies, real estate, property, land, retiring, moving, relocating, living, working, expats, international living, overseas, abroad, caribbean property magazine, caribpro M O N T H
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Tales of Merida : Land of Siestas and Sombreros
by Mike Riniolo


Yucatan sun symbolDozing in my living room chair checking out the backsides of my eyelids, I was awakened by the flute-like call of the knife sharpener with his single wheeled cart.

Not needing any knives sharper than they already were, I continued to check out the old eyelids only to be jolted by the sound of “mooing”.

Just the milkman passing, selling his fresh milk - don’t need any. Back to the eyelids.

Couldn’t have been 5 minutes when I heard the call of the Mayan woman selling fresh fruits and veggies door-to-door. Knowing I had plenty of both in the fridge, I continued my eyelid study.

Almost immediately, the tantalizing bell of the ice cream man rung out.

I even thought I heard the bell calling my name. (A siesta can do things like that to a person!) Now, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, I could almost taste one of those great refreshing ice cream cones that waited for me, but through strength and much fortitude (emphasis on “much”), I resisted.

These, and many more, are the typical sounds of the city here in Merida.

I VIVIDLY RECALL MY VERY FIRST TRIP TO MEXICO.

I vividly recall my very first visit to Mexico. It was in mid 1965, and I was a 20 year old American stationed in San Antonio. Neuvo Laredo and a magical, foreign country was a relatively short drive away. I decided to take that drive.

As soon as we entered the bustling border town, the sights and sounds of a very busy city struck me like a bolt of lightening! The fragrant aromas of the seemingly endless food and taco stands filled the air. Music could be heard from every tiny tienda and booth in the main shopping bazaar.

Mexico

Mariachi bands strolled the streets competing with trios strumming their guitar shoping to find an enamored couple who would hire them for a few serenades. Wow, Mexico’s version of Woodstock I thought!

Night lights shone brightly enhancing the oranges, greens, reds, blues and other bright colors of the shops and bazaars. They were as shining as the smiles on the faces of the Mexican people who cooked the food and tended the stores hawking their handmade goods to the multitude of tourists who came looking for fun and adventure.

Yucatan sun symbolIt was at that moment that I first connected to this multicultural land I now call home. There were many more visits and shopping sprees to Mexico while I was still living in San Antonio, and I relished every minute I visited there, always learning and longing for more. I had the dream of some day living in Mexico and never abandoned that dream.

IT ALL CAME TRUE FOR ME

It all came true for me 30 years after my first trip to Mexico. In 1995, after many extended visits to Mexico, I chose to settle in Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula. A well-preserved and enchanting colonial city,it beckoned to me. I retired from the US Federal Government after 30 years of service, and packed up and drove down from St. Petersburg, Florida.The trip took one week and I covered 3,000 miles.

I first settled in a rental house to get to know the area better, subsequently building a small hacienda style home on one acre of land just outside of a small pueblo, only 15 minutes from Merida.

It was a happy place in the country, and reflected some of the
same bright colors and magic that originally attracted me to Mexico.

I over-saw the construction of pools, patios, fountains, courtyards, and
several separate “casitas” (small houses/rooms), typical of a colonial style hacienda. Natural building materials were readily available and were used to extremes. The lush, tropical landscaping was inviting and relaxing, adding even more charm and excitement to the completely walled-in complex.

Mexico

Unfortunately, for health reasons, I had to sell the home I had built from ground up, including clearing the land. But not to fret! I purchased a “fixer-upper” in the center part of Merida. The house has about 2,500 square feet of living space and has now been restored and given new life.

Because I already had the experience of building one home from scratch, I again opted to be the on-site engineer, architect, contractor, designer, and all around doer of whatever needed to be done! As head “Gofer”, I’d go fer this and go fer that, and go fer what ever building materials we needed for that moment. I managed to save a considerable amount of money by remodeling in this fashion.

My remodeling costs were approximately$15.00 US per square foot. It was tiring and often trying, but well worth it.

I NOW LIVE IN THE OLD PART OF OF MERIDA

I now live in the “centro”section of town which is designated as an historic district. My street isn’t overly busy or noisy, and bus service is available every few minutes on either corner.

Restaurants, theater, shopping, churches, the main square (zocalo), and parks, are well within walking distance and I can find that “magical attraction” all over again any time I so choose. Hospitals and clinics are nearby as is the international airport.

In my new location I have all the modern conveniences of a home in the US or Canada. Shopping malls abound and we here in Merida, as in many other parts of Mexico, enjoy the convenience of“back home” department stores, pizza parlors and restaurants, thanks to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). You could easily eat in a different restaurant every day of the year.

Yucatan sun symbolMexico is coming into its own, and emerging from its traditional “second world country” image. While the quaint charm of many colonial cities is being carefully guarded by protective city fathers, Mexico is definitely modernizing at every opportunity, gracefully blending the old with the new.

 

Mexican Mayan ruins

Market places and bazaars still play an integral part in the every day lives of many of the locals, and you’ll often find me wandering around one of the local markets, still playing tourist after all these years. I think some of the vendors in the markets are on to me though, as they call me by my first name.

Language isn’t much of a problem for me,as I speak fluent “Spanglish”! Many of the locals here in Merida as well as other parts of Mexico are bilingual and are eager to practice their broken English on the unsuspecting gringo or tourist. I always accommodate them, as they do me. It works. And of course, hand gestures are a very important part of the Spanish language and culture, and even the local Mayan language.

Living in Mexico is often touted as being very cheap. There are even books and folks who proclaim that you can live comfortably on $400.00 a month. Perhaps all that was true many years ago, but that’s a stretch of the imagination today.

MEXICO IS DEFINITELY A BARGAIN

Mexico is definitely a good bargain, and you can easily live here more comfortably for less money than you could in the US or Canada. The days of “cheap” are pretty much gone, but the days of “reasonable and very affordable” are upon us. The cost of living here in the Yucatan is quite affordable, and considerably less than where I came from in the Tampa- St.Petersburg, Florida area.

The basics, food, clothing, and shelter, are all well within reach of even the tightest budget.

Utilities are much less here, and there is little to nothing that you can’t find in the supermarkets or department stores. And don’t discount the local markets and bazaars! Basically, you definitely get a bigger bang for your dollar, so to speak.

Mexico

Yucatan sun symbolHealth care is abundant and you can find many modern medical facilities staffed by US trained physicians and technicians.

This provides me a sense of security should the need arise. There seems to be a pharmacy on every street corner and medications definitely cost less here. You don’t need a prescription for most medications unless you are trying to buy extreme pain killers or psychotropic drugs.

And for years, many foreigners have traveled to Mexico to have their dental work taken care of. Friends have reported savings of up to two thirds of what it would have cost “back home” and are anxious to brag about the excellent care and attention they received from their Mexican dentist and his associates.

Content in my adopted country I always keep an eye out for that little Mexican guy with the large sombrero, having a siesta while seated under a cactus while his donkey looks on in awe.

Haven’t seen him yet, and I’ve been looking since 1965. Should you come to Mexico and find him, take his picture and send it to me!

Caribbean Real Estate and Realtors, homes, houses and beachfront land for sale
Mike Riniolo aka Merida Mikey lives in Mexico and can be contacted at: meridamikey at yahoo.com
To read more articles from this author, go to 'author' search options at the bottom of this page. You can also search magazine archives by subject, country or date.
Click here for Yucatan Property Guide

 

Location, Location, INFORMATION! "DONE YOUR HOMEWORK?"

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International Living
You look out your window, past your gardener, who is busily pruning the lemon, cherry, and fig trees
...amidst the splendor of gardenias, hibiscus, and hollyhocks.
The sky is clear blue.
The sea is a deeper blue, sparkling with sunlight. A gentle breeze comes drifting in from the ocean, clean and refreshing, as your maid brings you
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Live in Latin America's most overlooked tropical paradise for less than you dreamed possible, live the good life and enjoy all of the amenities of home.

Confronted with the spiraling cost of living in the United States, Europe and Canada, people from all walks of life and all ages - including baby boomers and seniors - are searching for an affordable place to live or retire without sacrificing their current lifestyles. Panama, one of Latin America's best-kept secrets, just might be the country many people are seeking. Located only two and one-half hours by air from Florida, Panama has everything for potential retirees and residents - Expatriates, investors and retirees are welcome in Panama. If you choose Panama as an investment / retirement haven, or as a location for your business you will be moving to a country with a very welcoming attitude and a modern infrastructure.

The 2004-2006 1st edition of the one-of-a-kind "Living and Investing in Panama." offers invaluable assistance to anyone looking for a safe, affordable place to live outside of the United States. This useful report contains all the ins and outs and dos and don'ts and much more indispensable secret insider information about all areas of living in Panama. It guides you step by step and shows how to live on a budget; 100s of sure-fire tips, valuable contacts business resources; how to stay busy and happy; the best places to live in Panama; how to acquire residency; time proven shortcuts for learning Spanish; how take advantage of the many tax savings for foreign residents, how to make the break from the rat race and start a new exciting life; and even how and where to find quality people for companionship.

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Retire to Mexico


Have you ever thought about retiring in Mexico?
How about retiring in one of its many lovely retirement havens?
Dru Pearson, the author of this report, tells us that there are five major areas where American and Canadian retirees tend to congregate. While there may be a few expatriates scattered in a dozen villages throughout Mexico, most Americans and Canadians settle in one of five locations: San Miguel de Allende, Mazatlan, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, or Lake Chapala. Dru Pearson visited all these areas before settling in Lake Chapala. Dru gives sound and thoughtful advice on retirement in Mexico. Everything from how to pick your location to Mexican paperwork is covered. If you've ever considered retirement in Mexico please read this report first. It has the information that would otherwise take you months of frustration to acquire.

But why Mexico, you might ask? The reason so many Americans and Canadians choose Mexico is because they can drive to Mexico in a car. A bigger reason is that Mexico is a bargain compared to the USA and Canada. But there are also a large number of Europeans in Mexico. Mexico is rich with history, steeped in culture, having perhaps a more pronounced culture than any other nation in latin America with the exception of Brazil and Argentina. Mexico has great food, great architecture and many areas with an excellent climate. Mexico is also modern, with better highways than many parts of latin America and an infrastructure that allows foreigners to connect via telephone and internet to the rest of the world. This level of infrastructure isn't available in Nicaragua, nor in Guatemala, and this is a very important determining factor for the retiree who doesn't want to be inconvenienced by inconveniences.

For more information:
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"How To Buy Costa Rica Real Estate Without Losing Your Camisa" was written by Scott Oliver with the help of dozens of Costa Rica real estate experts and attorneys.

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This is not a book about living in Costa Rica; it is a 140 page comprehensive English-language guide to buying Costa Rica real estate.

Contrary to what some people may have told you, there is no Multiple Listing Service! Trying to establish the 'value' of real estate is difficult.

Half the population of Costa Rica call themselves 'brokers' because anybody can freely call themselves a real estate 'broker'. They do not need any qualifications, training or experience to try and sell you real estate.

What this means is that when you search for Costa Rica real estate, which may be one of the biggest investments of your life, more than likely, you will listen to expert advice coming from someone with zero qualifications or training in real estate, who is trying very hard to earn a sales commission selling you a property that could be overpriced.

If this sounds like a recipe for disaster to you, it can be!

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There are many places you can go to in the Caribbean, but there is only one spot that has been called "The Best Kept Secret".

That place is the Dominican Republic, and the time to find out about this investors paradise is sooner, not later! You can find out about basic statistics from any book-store travel guide, but not the honest kind of perspective you are looking for. What is it really like to live there? What is the cost of living? How do I find the real estate or apartment bargains? Can I find good Internet access? What is the shopping like? How about banking rates? Ask most Americans about the Dominican Republic, many have not heard of it. For those that have discovered it while on vacation, many have decided to call it home. Whether you are looking for something different ~ like Santo Domingo's 500 year old Zona Colonial ~ The Left Bank of the Caribbean, or just a great Caribbean escape at an affordable price - The Dominican Republic is the Place. Offshore Investors are also starting to discover the country. Many are calling it the best investment opportunity of the new millennium. We could not agree more.

Easy and instant download of this report in pdf. Dominican Republic Report CLICK HERE


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