You are where you are

And yo es aqui with an accent (that’d be aquí of course). A little over 24 hours in DF so far and it feels like I never left. Off to Cuernavaca tomorrow (Uber car) to set up the house. Everything feels just right. Even found my old cheat cards from my Costa Rica Spanish lessons. Yeah, yeah, I must have packed them. But I don’t remember. They look helpful.

cabanaI’m just so very lucky. I was a tad (just a tad) apprehensive about living 50 miles away from the city. Would it be the same experience? People just laughed today when I expressed that thought. Their POV: If I don’t have to be in the city more than a few times a month, Cuernavaca is heaven. Hell if you commute daily. I mean, I was looking forward to Cuernavaca anyway, but still a part of me wants to be downtown in the big city. But listening to the locals, maybe we will like it better. Remains to be seen. I know it will be a great place for at least a year. That’s what I do know.

So, what shall we discuss tonight? How about the Facebook ad (I didn’t know that’s what it was at first) that informed me: This is your calling. And it turned out, they were talking about a Facebook store. But it looked like a message. However, I *know* that a Facebook store is *not* my calling. I don’t think Facebook is – in any way. Maybe it has something to do with Mexico. Or computers, since I *was* on a computer at the time. A laptop. With an iPad beside me. And an iPhone. Or maybe Facebook stock. But I think we have enough of that, percentage-wise.

IMG_2445I told you the trouble with those damn US stocks – we should have bought those inside the RSP (taxable when withdrawn) because at the current rate of .79 to the dollar, I’d never be able to buy them again. And my intention is to keep buying and selling pretty much the same stocks, the dozen or so I’ve been paying strict attention to. I could have sold Apple, and almost did on Thursday. It’s down almost 5% now. I doubt it’s going much lower. So that would not have been useful. This is probably TMI (too much information). But the spread is killing my ability to short the stock since the vehicle we have it in requires that it is held in Canadian funds (so to speak). And the actual exchange rate is stopping me from purchasing more (which I would do happily). Because I think it’s going down in the near future and if I buy at a 20% exchange rate and in a couple of months it moves to a 10% rate, I’ve lost 10% on the currency – nothing to do with the stock. Sucks. But I found some more Canadian stocks. One has gone up over 38% in the two months we’ve held it and we put 20% of our resources into it (not total resources, just in the TFSAs). And I’m watching a bunch more.

The TV is outsideI could get good at this. Overall, the gain is sitting at about 42% in less than a year. Everyone cautions me that this is a good market. But some of these stocks are up even when every market is down. I think I have a knack for this, knock on wood. I don’t get too crazy. And no more penny stocks, they are too volatile. And the currency thing is a real drag. If anyone wants my advice, go after the solar stocks. Do you research, pick solid companies and do it. Not only is it good for the environment, but they are on their way up, up, up. And you can pick a lot of them up under $50. My rule? Don’t touch anything under about $18 though. And be careful about those. I think $40 is a nice number. I do go on. I know most of you don’t care so I’ll stop.

Okay, back. It’s like two weeks later. April 2 today. Hope to post later today but might be tomorrow. The good thing about waiting this long is that there’s a lot to say. The most horrifying is the tragic news we got a day or two ago – a friend in San Miguel lost her 5-year-old son on March 28 in a pool accident (drowning). Such a little spitball the kid was, too. I only had the pleasure of his company three or four times but he was model-handsome and full of fire. I don´t know what to say about it. I cannot imagine the sorrow. I think about it a lot, when my mind goes quiet. May he find safe passage and may she find peace.

IMG_2343So, since we last spoke, I flew to Hermosillo and met Charlie and the dogs and we drove back down. Spent two days in Mazatlan, don’t know why I ever think the beach will be anything but hot and sticky but it was a break from the road. Food was good both nights – the first night provided another glimpse into the sad Gringos of Mexico. And old guy with a very young local man. A clearly local bar fly, seemingly intent on smoking and drinking himself to slow suicide. Confirmed the next morning when he returned for the 9am breakfast opening, and drank beer. They are all over Mexico, perhaps more dense in the beach towns (I mean the ratio, not the brain power). I’ve met them from Cabo to Cozumel (and a few in San Miguel). Don’t make eye contact and you’ll be fine. I know there’s a story in there but it would be too sad to write.

Tlaquepaque, on the other hand, was charming. I love that town. We found a cute little wing bar where the owner was a dog lover (both were with us) and after a late lunch, wandered around the square. Casa Tlaquepaque was fantastic, killer breakfast (fresh fruit, omelette made to order, great coffee, fresh squeezed juice), a large room with a king bed and big terrace overlooking the pool. Run by artists – our other favorite, Quinta Don Jose, is always booked so this is a great option (less than $100 for two people, breakfast included).

gardensAnd then, we were here. We do love the place, the gardens are huge and the dogs are having a really good time. Which is nice to see because they are the reason we are here and not Mexico City. And we’re swimming. Pool is probably five feet deep and consistent end to end. No shallow but no deep-deep. The bougainvillea are mostly purple and fuscia and blooming like mad. We have Hibiscus hedges that are red and one seems to be yellow – they are just coming into bloom. Oranges are falling off the trees out back, they are a little small and I haven’t tried them yet but I hope they are good for juicing. I’d better do that. We have friends coming for Easter Weekend from Mexico (City) which will be fun. Pool (solar heated) is running about 30 C and we swim at the end of the work day, then sit in the outdoor living room (right next to the kitchen). Establishing a routine, it’s good.

Our office is large and works well with two good desks and a lovely leather couch. The property is much larger than we remembered and well hidden behind massive walls. And it’s a fantastic party house – there must be 25 champagne glasses and 40 wine glasses. Parking off street for a least six (big cars, more if they are tiny). Lots of espresso cups and small appetizer dishes. Regular dishes too and normal glasses. Needs some new pots and pans though. Looks like the parties may have always been catered. Seating areas everywhere, in the cabana, in the living room, huge glass and rod- iron table outside the casita, then the outdoor living room-dining room combo that runs down the side of the pool. It’s a perfect Cuernavaca house, actually. More than we need. But fun for a year or two 🙂

So, we are indeed here, and you can all lay your worried heads to rest. The weather seems perfect, the people are pleasant, Costco is a $3 cab ride and I’m happy (so is CW). Off to the huge municipal farmer’s market tomorrow (hope they are open). Will post photos in the next installment. Until then, remember: Canta, no llores. Except my friend. She can llores all she wants right now.

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