Home again, home again…

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?Well, that was a bust. Don’t even ask. I flew 5,000 km (each way) to talk to a supposed business man who wants to be the next Tim Hortons, who despite my having an appointment, set up 10 days prior, and despite my emailing him twice during those intervening 10 days to confirm – he had no idea who I was. Seriously. And we’d also, in those 10 days prior, confirmed by phone that I was interested in investing $50,000+ in one of his franchises that he was offering to the public. It was insane. The only time I saw any interest in his eyes was when I told him I was prepared to write a check on the spot. But I did want to see paperwork. Of course, there was no paperwork. There’s no office. There’s no sense. These guys are flying by the seat of their pants.

The concept is still a rocking concept, but they have nothing, no operations manuals, no systems, no paper. It was one of the most bizarre business experiences of my entire life. I asked the owner, and his right hand man (separately) several times, “This is a legal franchise, right?” And they insisted it was. Yet I saw no paper on anything. They have no budgets, they have no projections, they have no financial history to show prospective purchasers. Well, maybe they do, or did at the time they put the deal together, but they have no idea where they are. I’m still shaking my head. So I wasted a week of my time (well, I got to see family) and about $1800. But I saved $50K so what the heck.

partyI arrived home to Mexico the same day as our company arrived – a dear friend from Palm Springs. Had a lovely week and on Sunday we had a small cocktail party, which was great fun. One of the guests asked if we liked Cuernavaca, and were we staying here… and I really thought long and hard. And came up with: the jury is still out. We really go back and forth. There’s nothing right now that would keep us in Cuernavaca, however we’ve been here less than four months. So that’s not much of a chance to judge anything. It took a full six months before I started to see the real San Miguel. Not that I’m expecting an underbelly here. But there’s more than meets the eye to Cuernavaca, I think and we haven’t scratched the surface yet.

There are definite advantages to moving back – advantages that center on being around the friends we find ourselves missing. Now, we are making a few new friends and are quite fond of them already. And even the cocktail party had full blown Spanish conversation. In fact, everyone here spoke fluent Spanish, except myself and our guest. They switched back and forth from Spanish to English, as people do who are fluent in both. I could understand a lot and I do so appreciate being around these conversations because they help me absorb the language. But back to San Miguel.

The other advantage is that I’m actually comfortable enough to open a business there. The successful businesses operate on gringo principles. It’s like opening a business in Canada. Hire an accountant and a lawyer and Bob’s your uncle (hi, Uncle B). Except I would hire a Mexico City lawyer and accountant. And register the company in Mexico City. Things are sooooo much easier there. It’s a city. With many truly international expats and many qualified professionals. I cannot tell you how much bullshit is avoided by doing the legal paperwork in a big city. So, that’s a lesson that should pay off.

poolpicAnother thing about San Miguel is the real estate market is more fluid than here in Cuernavaca. I wouldn’t buy here, even if we stayed, because it’s not a fast-moving market at all. It’s probably a great market for a hold but I really like to buy in markets that turn quicker. Look at the trouble we got into on Vancouver Island, for example. It took us a long time to sell that 2-acre house with the indoor pool. I think of that house sometimes. It had a great back deck. I have lots of photos. It was very nice in the end. And then, as usual, we moved. And it was a great place to take the dog for a walk but you couldn’t walk to any destination. It was rural. Anyhow, this observation, that San Miguel has a quicker market, is in light of the realization that we hate renting. We prefer owning, so we can renovate. I guess we could build a warm room for January and February. I hate that the winters are so cold there.

Ah, who knows. All I know right now is, I have a lot of catch up to do with work and I really should be doing it. Lots of paying work, and lots of strategic planning. I go north again at the end of August and I’m gone 3/4 of September. And then it’s October and before you know it, Christmas is here. Time sure flies. I have to just square my shoulders and do some work this season. I am still considering the concept of the Canadian business. I was looking for something turn-key but maybe this is an opportunity in disguise.

The weather is lovely, as I’m sure it is everywhere else, unless it’s too hot where you are. Right now we sit at highs of about 25 C (80F) and lows of 18 C (65F). The sun is in and out during the day and it rains most nights – it’s still rainy season. But our ‘summer’ is gone, our hottest months are April and early May. I think this is what they say it’s like year-round, with the exception of April & May, which can be warm (in the low 30’s C or 90’s F). December and January will tell. I think maybe we should invite a few cold San Miguelese down for Christmas. What say you, ladies?

I’ll leave you with a really old favorite of mine, by Kenny Rogers. Believe me, I ran. Until next time: Canta, no llores.

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