And the rains came

Things always look so nice and green once the rains come. And the water is never a problem in rainy season – it’s mostly just a problem around Easter, at the end of dry season. It takes a lot to water for 8 minutes on each zone of the automatic sprinkler system. Inches out of the cistern. But now, there’s lots of water and it even keeps the pool topped up, which is great. This is by far the best season – May to October. However, that’s also the best season on Vancouver Island so Cuernavaca presents a conflict in that sense. To be honest, Cuernavaca is one of the least favourite locations I have ever lived in (which is ironic as the house is one of the best houses I have ever lived in).

And it’s finally officially for sale: Mexico Luxury Estates (calm down, those are pesos). Nubes are clouds, by the way. House in the Clouds. It’s a nice listing. Someone is coming on Sunday (but that came from Facebook Marketplace) at 11am. Fingers crossed.

Well, they came and they loved it and then disappeared. They loved it a lot. I had my hopes up. They went away to make a decision and now they’re in the wind somewhere. Two showings in a month. FM. The agent told us to be prepared for a year on the market (welcome to Mexico) – but I expect it won’t take that long. We won’t be here for another year. We’ll drop our price dramatically after three months if it doesn’t generate at least some interest.

Interestingly, this is the same asking price as the house we sold in San Miguel in 2014. Much more house and a lot of land (the other house was a semi-detached and had no outside except the top roof deck). This is a much nicer house. But no gringos in town (estimates now are at approximately 1,000 gringos in a town of over 700,000). I buried St. Joseph, I say a prayer to him every morning (sell this effing house, please, St. Joe) and I am putting the house on every facebook group and listing site I can find.

I’m confident we could sell tomorrow at a price. Not ready to take that price yet but we’ll see. But I really am ready to go. Yesterday.

And then, I was walking PJ around the block last Friday morning and I heard a cry. Some mother f-cker dumped four pups in an enclosure outside an abandoned house. A small enclosure. They were blocked in the doorway with that piece of corrugated metal and big rocks. No way could they get out. No one could see them. If the bigger one hadn’t cried when I walked past, they would still be there, likely dead. WTF would someone do that?

They are all of eight weeks old, and all from the same litter (different father for the white one), according to the vet. And yes, we took them, took them to the vet and now have them until we find homes. Another FM, but what could I have done? And they were full of worms, they are being treated and MUST be kept totally apart from our dogs until they have their shots for distemper, parvo, hepatitis, a million things street dogs have that are contagious.

So, I have them behind the casita, in a shelter that we (read: Chris) cobbled together. It’s an okay little place and way better than where they were. They have a big sheltered (walls and ceiling with two doors) space with a bed where they sleep, and a place to wander a bit. And food three times a day. And we let them out in a corralled portion of the yard three or four times a day.

I ordered a puppy fence so I could make a large enclosure for them outside. They started quite nervous and cautious about being out of their area (the young ones) but the white one was always so grateful and his tail wagged all the time. The babies just started to wag their tails this morning. And they are waiting for us when we come with food but still run away when we open the door.

Update: It’s been a month and a day since they arrived – it’s now August 27. Little Myra (the black girl) landed in Montreal last night with her new adoptive family. The other two small ones have homes waiting (Cayon and Elle Rockette) and the white one is generating some interest and I’m sure will find a home. They still need more shots – but they were anxious to have Myra in Canada.

There is nowhere in Mexico to take found dogs. Oh sure, there are dog pounds but they aren’t nice and they just put them to sleep – some dog control offices (San Miguel for instance) were even shooting them to kill them (and throwing their bodies in the backs of trucks, in a big pile) until the gringos stepped up and started training animal control. So how could I do that to these puppies, knowing what I know?

Every (mostly gringo) rescue I spoke to says they are full and basically, “you’re on your own, lady.” Yet they are pretty high and mighty about what they expect one to do – they automatically lecture about keeping them until homes that are entirely suitable are found (ie, no Mexican homes). Gringos have funny ideas about Mexico and how to impose their own standards on others. I knew that though, from my time in San Miguel trying to work with rescue. Oy.

There are good things about Mexico. But there are really bad things too. Maybe that’s a new book. I doubt it. No one wants to read about horrors. I have seen such poverty and such animal cruelty and such human cruelty when it comes right down to it. And I feel weighted by sorrow and sadness for what I see and hear in Mexico most days. And that was before the puppies.

And then there were three…

They do make me smile but they are also a large part of what is wrong with Mexico: Expendable lives. Everyone just shrugs their shoulders, they have their own problems.

Stop crying. Put another quarter in the jukebox.

Okay, enough puppies for now.

CW’s back, as you have heard, is bad. Getting worse, it seems, even though he exercises for two 45-minute sessions, morning and night, and swims for an hour (floating is good for his back) every day. That’s three hours out of his life. He’s seen a renowned back doctor in Cancun (medical tourism mecca) and will get a second opinion (to the tune of $750) in Vancouver in September. That’s not the price of the operation, that’s the second opinion. Canadian dollars, though.

And after that is done, we are hoping to schedule his operation for early to mid-October. It’s not as invasive as most spinal surgeries and involves putting a wedge into a place that will keep his vertebrae from rubbing together.

I don’t have any photos about his back so this is the upper patio

I occasionally think (and sometimes more than occasionally) that since we moved to Mexico it’s been nothing but one thing after another. I’ve had seven tiring years when I look back. Lots of fun in there but none of it was easy. A lot of stress involved.

Since about Christmas last year, CW has had back pain and after every test in the world, has some problems. He’s been trying to fix it with exercise and swimming exercise – and it’s lessened somewhat but he is still in pain and can’t do a lot of things. He had one opinion from a revered back doctor in Cancun (world-class medical tourism centre = great doctors) and will get the aforementioned second opinion at a private clinic in Vancouver in early September and then make a decision about where.

Our private insurance already approved the cost of the operation in Cancun, and we’ll see what they say in Canada (and what their estimate is).

You can maybe see why Canada is in our future. After all, I’m 64, he’s 66 – we need our Canadian medical system. Next year, our private insurance here in Mexico will double and in two years will double again. By that time, we’ll be paying about $25,000 USD a year. Not. And part of why we are coming home. I’m ready.

But that doesn’t mean I want to spend winters in BC. The plan, once the house sells, is to head for La Paz from here – which will take us 3 – 5 days depending on whether we take the ferry or not. Because our car is legal on the Baja Peninsula but currently not legal on the mainland except the northern free states because it has BC plates. (Long story, but it was only approved for four years when we landed the second time and that time is up.) So, it sits in the garage. We can get a five-day pass to drive it inside Mexico for the purpose of removing it from the country (or taking it to a northern state or to Baja).

So, we will take the dogs to La Paz in the van when the house sells and RENT a house on a 12-month lease and start to look for something up north. La Paz, where the streets are smooth and the driving is easy. We like the idea of renting, but that does mean renting 12 months a year in two places. I *think* we may buy a house in Nanaimo with a suite and live in the suite in the summer and rent out the house year-round. Or we might even rent in Horseshoe Bay for six months and see if we like it. Ha, not that we could ever afford to buy there. But the money from this house, invested, could pay for rentals in two places if we don’t go too crazy.

From La Paz, it’s only a three hour and 15-minute flight instead of six hours. And it’s a shorter drive, although I don’t anticipate CW driving through the US again unless it was a serious emergency and it was the only way to get the dogs back. You’d want a bullet-proof van, I think. But if you stuck to the highways and stopped at small motels with in-house restaurants, maybe. But we’ll see. I think I could fly PJ and as I say, Rosie is 12 now. And this house may not sell for a while.

It’s apparently priced well. And the photos are gorgeous. And it shows well. But the market is dead. Oy. I’m advertising everywhere – Facebook, Craigslist, Mexperience… if you have any thoughts about how to get the word out, do let me know.

Just as well with the puppies that it doesn’t sell quickly, I guess (that’s called an emotional immune system). And CW’s back operation. We really don’t want to leave the house until January at the earliest now. But we will.

That’s it, for now, kids. For those of you who notice the change in layout, the old WordPress theme started to act up. This theme/layout is not ideal, but it’s temporary, perhaps.

Until next time (and I will try to make it sooner), hasta luego.

I leave you with one more photo – the pool at night.



  1. Julie Reply

    Oh wow. I have followed your journey for several years! I actually took off for Uruguay about ten years ago and only lasted a year with my family. I hope the back issues get better and I really appreciate your honest posts! I have lived in Seattle and am currently in Arkansas. Just decided to suck it up am move somewhere cheap and try to make the best of it. I hope you continue your updates and really admire you for the work with the puppies. Yes, poverty really reduces humanity and it is disturbing to loose that veneer. Take care, and I hope your house sells soon!!! Julie Wilde

  2. Blanca Portella Heil Reply

    Wow, lots of news. I wd like to know, simply for curiosity’s sake, what about Cuernavaca was a turn off. I have never been, nor probably will ever go…just curious.

    Did I get it right that you are thinking of renting in La Paz? It really is a wonderful town but pure hell in the summer. Sweltering, abominable heat.

    If you drive north, stop by the yurts in San Ignacio to meet the Canadians who own it. Stop by La Bocana, where we live (take the 1st exit left to Punta Abreojos then one hour later, take the right to La Bocana 20 min.) We have a bnb. It wd be so fun to put a body to the words I’ve read over the years! It takes 1.5 hours to get to La Bocana from San Ignacio.

    Our bnb is

    Regarding selling your house, advertise in Canada, then tell me where so I can do it as well. Many Canadians relocate, as you obviouly know. We have 2 houses for sale.

    Blanca from Baja Sur

    1. Post author Reply

      re La Paz – ONLY in La Paz from about December – April and will be in Vancouver the rest of the time. Re Cuernavaca, I find there is little to do. I can’t start a business (for many reasons). The gringos here tend to drink a lot, starting at lunch. I’ve had three friends die since I arrived, one from drinking, one from an untreated brain tumour, one from complications I believe were due to poor medical care. The streets are full of potholes and the town is one of the ugliest in all of Mexico on the surface. It’s nice once you get behind the gates, there are some stunning estates but there are a lot of ignorant Republicans here too and they tend to have most of the money (and they aren’t parting with any of it). Huge corruption, like the story I told of the woman who worked for the city for decades, the last governor took the pension (stole it, and everybody shrugs) and now she has a tumour in her belly the size of a full term baby and no medical assistance because it went with the governor. And still people shrug. That’s probably my biggest complaint with all of Mexico – people just shrug their shoulders when this stuff happens. But mostly, there is nowhere to go and nothing to do except grocery shop. They have killer grocery stores, though.

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