Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 25 Retiring in Mexico – Two examples  


This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery. This is the second part in a series concerning a trip to Puerto Vallarta and thoughts of moving south for retirement. Here are two examples of folks that did just that.

   We traveled to Yelapa yesterday. You can only get there by boat. There are no roads or cars or trucks in Yelapa. And for this reason alone, it is worth a trip. It is a small village – and a great beach. We took a local bus south out of Vallarta for perhaps 10 miles to – Boca. This is another small town with boats pulled up on the sandy beach advertising their services for travel to Yelapa. Twelve dollars and a thirty minute ride brings you to this beautiful, tranquil beach town.

  We walked back from the beach when we left the small boat. I thought we would find – a road that would lead into the center of the village. Wrong. There are no roads. There are small footpaths that lead from what seemed like one, small adobe dwelling to another. We felt like we were constantly walking through someone’s yard. Figuring out our mistake, we returned to the beach and walked towards one end of the beach where buildings came right down to the water. A small sign indicated the path to the village led up a narrow, steep, winding stairway. At the top was a cobble stone path about four feet wide that meandered between small adobe dwellings and a few small shops and restaurants.  The shops and restaurants were all part of someone’s house; just the shop, or restaurant on one side of a room and bed or chairs, table or kitchen on the other side.

  It was here that we met Catherine walking down the path. She was wearing a loose fitting pink dress and a floppy wide brimmed straw hat. She used a long walking stick that appeared to have come from the forest. She looked like something right out of an old John Huston movie. She has retired from Sonoma Valley , California to Yelapa , Mexico . She was a forester in her work life. Two years ago she and her husband happened on to this place and loved the walking, slow pace of life. They returned to California , sold most of everything they had. Piled the rest of it in a truck and drove to the beach at Boca. There they loaded everything they had into three small boats and moved to Yelapa. They rent a small flat for $150.00 – USD.

  He writes mysteries – three books published so far – “Federal Offense, Imperfect Crimes, and Amateur Hour” (He wrote that one in the 70’s). Catherine walks – she walks in the jungle up to a waterfall every day.  She shops in the village at the tamale factory which she insisted we visit with her. And she thoroughly enjoys being a house-wife fulltime. “For the first time in my life, I am just a housewife, and I love”, she said.

  I asked if they travel back to the states often. “No” came a quick, and strong response.

Followed by, “No fun”. When they have to travel back to the states they try to arrange it so only one has to go: wedding, grandchildren being born, and that sort of things. When parents die they both return. They have no plan to return to the states. I asked if they had bought a house and she told me that no one owns any of the houses in Yelapa. She said, “They all belong to the community. The many acres in the valley, and everything in it, belong to the indigenous people who live here. They can sell their house – sort of. But it really belongs to the community. It is all very complicated.” She says; ending with, “So we rent.”

  We left Catherine and returned to the beach. Four women from were sunning themselves in front of us. They looked like three mothers with three daughters: mothers - sixtyish; Daughters - twentyish. The mothers all wore two piece bathing suits with flowing sarapi that matched. They all had on too much jewelry: multiple gold and silver bracelets on each wrist; hugh rings of colored stone and sparkling diamond rings.

  They were New York City , or so it sounded to our ears. “Where are you going”, “I’m not watching your bag. You wanted to bring it, so you watch it.” “What do you mean I have no right. We are paying for this thing. Even your boyfriends. We have every right.” They argued, whined, yelled, and I think, in general, were having a good time: disagreeing about which way to turn, if their jewelry looks right, or if they should go to the bathroom, etc. They seemed to be disgusted by everything in life. I lay back in the chair under the sun and when I looked again they had all vanished like a bad dream. Three tacos and three beers later we were on a boat headed back to Boca and the land of cars.

  And then today I met another one. He appears to be in his late sixties. He lives in Torrecillas a truly primitive spot, yet south of Yelapa. It is also accessible only by boat. No roads, or cars, no electricity, or phone service. He has been there five years; loves it;  claims to be an artist. He seemed a bit evasive or mysterious. I like to think he is, “on the run”. He has a little, coiffure, toy poodle type of dog – in Vancouver we call them an “accessory”, or a, “designer dog”. He laments the fate of America – “All military nowadays,” he says. “And I’m an old soldier, but it has just gone way too far. I don’t know why. I guess it is the guys that are making the bombs and guns that are making the money. They are probably happy. Guys like Haliburton.”  “I’m staying in Mexico ”, he says and then adds, “adios amigos”.

    This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery


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