Friday, March 27, 2020

Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico MARCH NEWSLETTER Has Been Published!

My Mexican Permanent Residency Visa and a FREE Book!

Sayulita Beach is Quiet This Week

     Our world has changed so fast this month that I've rewritten this newsletter three times. I hope you are well. While the world hibernates during this Covid-19 pandemic, Jon and I are catching up on our home projects. One good thing about being home so much this week is that I’ve had lots of time to write. More about that below.
     After driving our motorhome to Arizona, we're happy to be back home in México. In January, we made a rather sudden decision to sell our 28-foot Triple E Class C Diesel motorhome through a consignment company, RV Arizona. Why would we do that after RVing in México for twenty years—and loving it? The main reason is that we decided it was time for me to apply for my Mexican Permanent Residency Visa. You can read more about that in my recent blog article, OUR LAST RV TRIP IN MÉXICO AND WHY! New Travel Plans.
Sadly, Our RVing Days in Mexico are Over
     It has been six weeks since I applied for my Mexican Permanent Residency visa. On February 19th, I had my official photo taken and signed the paperwork for the application at the Book Store in Paradise Plaza Mall in Nuevo Vallarta.        The photographer asked me to remove my glasses and earrings, then pin my hair back from my hair, as required by the immigration office, INM. After she told me I still had too much hair, a wisp of bangs, covering my face, she sent me to the restroom to wet my hair and slick it back from my face. I’m sure my “mug shot” will be worse than any DMV photo I’ve ever had.

     I was told that in about six weeks, I would be notified to return to Nuevo Vallarta for the fingerprinting step. Normally, my Permanent Residency Visa would... continue reading HERE

FREE eBook from March 28 through April 1

     I recently discovered the useful app called Grammarly, an online grammar checker, and have been using it while writing my second novel, Pickle Jar Test: In Sickness and In Health #2. With all of this time on my hands, I decided to edit my novel, Just Another Manic Moment: In Sickness and In Health #1, using Grammarly, and rework the cover. In celebration of publishing the revised version, I am offering it FREE for five days beginning March 28. I hope you will read it and leave a brief review on Amazon as I am an independent author. Each review helps others find this book which I wrote to increase mental health awareness.
     What does this have to do with Healthy Living and Traveling in México? I believe living and traveling in México, a beautiful, less stressful place, is beneficial for our mental and physical health—and the book is partially set in this wonderful country.
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FREE on kindleunlimited
Terry L Turrell, Author
     I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.


Friday, March 6, 2020

10 Reasons We're Happy to be Back Home in México!

View of the Jungle from Our Upstairs Terrace
    There are so many reasons we're happy to be back home in México after our motorhome trip to Tucson last month! When I started writing about each reason I'm glad to be in Sayulita, I had to force myself to stop my list at number 10, since there are so many great things about living here.
    As a side note, we're also happy to take a break from traveling. Google emailed this map to us that confirmed that we were very busy with our travels in 2019.

 1.       Life is mellower, simpler here in Sayulita with its small-town atmosphere. The contrast to the fast-paced life in Tucson reminded us how much we prefer living in México. 
Jon Builds Gutters Mexican-Style in His Outdoor Workshop
2.    We’re getting more exercise. Sayulita is small enough that we can walk everywhere we want to go. We walk to and attend Zumba classes twice a week, yoga classes twice a week, and walk around town or on the beach every day, getting 10,000 steps per day much more often, according to our Fitbits. Another health benefit is that our Zumba and yoga classes are held outdoors under palapa roofs where we breathe fresh seaside air.
I Ease Into a Balancing Pose in Yoga Class
Yoga Helps Flexibility & Balance--Good for Jon's Parkinson's
I Lead Part of Our Zumba Class

3.    Our monthly budget is half of that in the U.S. or less! Our electric bill averages $18 USD per month and our internet expense is about $18 USD monthly. Our water bill did go up from $12 USD per month to about $14 USD this year, but we’re glad Sayulita is finally installing water meters at each home so there will be less waste in town and we will each pay for what we actually use. We own our home in México, so we are debt-free. Our property tax is about $100 USD annually. We pay all of our bills annually, so that simplifies life and gives us a discount in some cases!
4.  We need that Blue Water Effect—the benefits of being near water. The psychological benefits of sitting by the ocean, seeing the blue water, listening to the waves, have been proven. We are so happy to be back in our little oceanside town where we walk on the beach, go to dinner on the beach, and sit and watch the ocean at least once a week.
5.    We love the wonderful weather—blue skies and lots of sunshine. It seldom rains this time of year. The rain won’t come until June or July and lasts for about three months. Winter, spring, and autumn temperatures are comfortable.  This week it's averaging around 75°F during the day and 60 to 65°F at night—perfect for us. Tucson was too cold in February; I guess it's not far enough south for us.
6.   We enjoy dining out every other night at very good restaurants for less than half of what we would spend in the U.S. We eat healthier meals—lots of fresh produce, fresh meat and fish, and freshly prepared dishes, both in restaurants and at home. One of our favorite new dining experiences is discovering inexpensive restaurants that don’t have a liquor license so they allow us to bring our own wine without paying a corkage fee. This week we ate at PizzaVenezia in Sayulita and brought our own wine—the total bill for a large pizza with two extra ingredients, plus tip, was 380 pesos, about $19 USD, and there was enough left for lunch the next day. We saved money, I didn’t have to cook or wash dishes, and we listened to live jazz music while we ate! Okay, that was another 40 pesos for a tip ($2 USD) and well worth it.
7.       Our tropical garden is blooming, as it does year-round. Gardening is my hobby and therapy. Our small, colorful yard is our descansadero (resting place), our oasis, our calming escape place. We enjoy showing it off when friends and family come to visit. 
       We love these two new potted plants—does anyone know what they are called?
8.       Our small town has grown enough that we have most everything we need within walking distance. Intercam bank, Saint Luke’s Medical Center, fitness centers, multiple options for yoga and Zumba classes, many tienditas (little stores), farmacias, hardware stores, and over 100 restaurants, so we seldom need to leave town. If we can’t find it in Sayulita, we can usually have it delivered to our casita from Amazon.com.mx or MercadoLibre.com.mx.
9.  It will be easy and exciting to travel around México now that we are free of our car and motorhome. When we want to leave town for big-city shopping or an adventure, there are buses to Puerto Vallarta, a Vallarta Plus bus from Sayulita to Guadalajara, an international airport nearby, Uber, and taxis. We’re planning our first long-distance bus trip to Guadalajara to take a walking tour of the historical center. This summer we'll probably fly to the Guanajuato International Airport and then take a taxi to the cooler mountain city of San Miguel de Allende where we'll stay for two to three months. Maybe we’ll take a cruise sometime soon, too.
10.    We walk almost everywhere in Sayulita—it’s so healthy! We only need our golf cart to get around town when we need to haul heavy loads—no other vehicle. The golf cart is our transportation when we take laundry to the lavandería, shop for larger loads of groceries, or to explore the jungle and beaches. The golf cart simplifies our life and decreases our expenses—and Bella loves to go for a ride with us! 
Exploring Sayulita Beaches & Jungles
_________________________________________
Healthy Living in Mexico Book #2
     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and make their money go further. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! Discover how they prepared and left behind the chaos in the United States to find their piece of paradise in the sun.
     I invite you to SIGN UP for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Monthly Newsletter, published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.
Terry L Turrell, Author
     Follow me on Facebook at "HealthyLiving and Traveling in Mexico" for more information about life in Mexico and my Amazon Author Page for updates on my books and blogs.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

OUR LAST RV TRIP IN MÉXICO AND WHY! New Travel Plans

Ready to Leave the Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park
     We’ve been RVing in México since early 2000—over 20 years! We loved the adventures we had motorhoming through México!
     So, why are we finished RVing? My Mexican Temporary Residency Visa (Visa de residencia temporal or RT) expires February 28, 2020. That means we had a big decision to make regarding our motorhome. Here were our choices and why:
1.     If we wanted to keep our Arizona registered motorhome and drive it in México, I would need to obtain another Temporary Residency Visa. By law, once I become a Permanent Resident, I can no longer drive a foreign-plated vehicle in México. So, I could let my RT Visa expire, fly to Tucson, AZ and apply at the Mexican Consulate for a new Temporary Residency Visa, good for one year. Before the new RT expired in one year, I would need to apply in México for the next Visa—a 3-year Temporary Residency Visa. All of this requires quite a lot of money, time, and hassle.
2.     We could “nationalize” our motorhome, registering it in México. Then Jon and I, as Permanent Residents could legally drive it in México. This is a very expensive process, including fees of over 10% of the value of the motorhome plus attorney’s fees.
3.     Before my Temporary Residency Visa expired, we could drive the motorhome back to Arizona, sell it, and fly home. This would need to be done quickly if I wanted to apply for my Permanent Residency Visa (Mexican Visa de Residente Permanente), as my application had to be submitted to the Mexican government before February 28, 2020, when my RT expires. (Jon has had his Permanent Residency Visa for four years.)
     We decided on option number 3. A quick trip to the Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park to clean out the motorhome, so we could take the personal items we wanted to keep back home to Sayulita. Then, we each packed a suitcase, Bella, our dachshund, and an extra-large duffle bag to haul our remaining gear home on the airplane. After all, I couldn't leave my sweatshirts and gloves I would use in the cool winter Tucson weather and Jon couldn’t leave his precious air-compressor and toolbox!
RV Kitchen Emptied of Coffee Maker, Towels, Pots and Pans
     On Friday, January 24, we left Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park and drove the 320 miles to Trailer Park Las Jaibas in Mazatlán. We drove by way of Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, a little longer route that avoids the town of Xalisco, Nayarit. We have always loved Mazatlán but, WOW, has it changed rapidly in the past five years with condominium and residential construction! San Fernando RV Park and Las Jaibas Trailer Park have sold large sections of their properties to building contractors. New home construction is shrinking these two RV parks until they will eventually close. It appears that we are finishing RVing in Mexico at the right time as there are fewer RV Parks each year.
Sunset at Las Jaibas RV Park in Mazatlán

     This may be the last time we visit Mazatlán, one of our favorite cities! We decided to spend the weekend there and enjoy a visit to a few special hangouts. Saturday night, we bussed to Old Town, then walked through the plaza, admiring historical buildings and gardens. 
Beautiful Wall of Bougainvillea in Old Town Mazatlán
     We were amazed at the gorgeous "bougainvillea wall" we saw and tried to figure out how they had planted it on the back-side of the wall, allowed it to grow over the top and down the front of the wall, then pruned it flush without eliminating its blossoms. We wanted to duplicate it at our home!

     Saturday evening, we planned to listen to music by Rob Lamonica during dinner at Macaw’s Bar and Bistro but, though we arrived early, every table was already reserved. 
      So, we headed to Water’s Edge Bistro and enjoyed romantic tunes by Tanya Carrum Semoloni and a wonderful meal in a cozy atmosphere. Tanya's music at Water's Edge was a pleasant contrast to her lively performances at La Catrina Restaurant and Cantina.
     The next day, lunch at Tony’s on the Beach fulfilled our desire for a view of the ocean, people watching, and a taste of pescado empanizado.
Tanya Carrum at Water's Edge Bistro

     The second leg of our trip north was from Mazatlán, Sinaloa to Playa Huatabampito, Sonora, a 360-mile route with some slow country roads. Luckily, we got an early start because we had a dreaded delay on Mexico Hwy 15D north of Culiacán, Sinaloa—a flat tire on an inside back dual. I was driving when the EEZ-Tire pressure indicator started sounding its alarm that we had trouble. I quickly pulled over at the next SOS box, though we never had to test it to call for help.
Jon and His Helpers Changing and Airing Up the RV Tire
         We were a little nervous when three guys on motorcycles stopped--but they just wanted to help Jon change the tire. Jon got a lot of moral support, some good-humored laughter about changing a tire at his age (70 years old!), and some muscle to lift the tires. It only cost us three Diet Cokes and 300 pesos (about $16 US). We were grateful for the company and the help. We've learned the value of keeping the fridge stocked with Coca-Cola while on the road in México. 
El Mirador Hotel Restaurante & RV Park
     We made it to El Mirador Hotel Restaurante & RV Park in Playa Huatabampito just before sunset. The RV Park was the fullest we have ever seen it—we were surprised until we realized we had never been there during the winter. In the past, we were often the only RVers there because we arrived in June or July as we headed to the U.S. for the summer, or in October or November as we headed south to Puerto Vallarta. Apparently, it’s a snowbird destination.

     We decided to bypass our usual stop at Totonaka RV Park in San Carlos in order to overnight closer to the Mexican border. The third leg of our trip was 335 miles to Punta Vista RV Park in Santa Ana. The next day we had an easy 135-mile drive, crossing the México border at Nogales, and arriving in Tucson, AZ in time to buy groceries and settle in at Far Horizons RV Resort.
Tucson Temperature was Below Freezing in February!
     It was time to seriously market our motorhome—we needed to sell it and get home in time for my February 19 appointment to apply for my Permanent Residency Visa. We tried Craig’s List, RV Trader, and window signs. After two weeks of enduring the cool weather in Tucson (it was so cold at night they were covering the plants), we decided to consign our 28’ Diesel Class C Triple E motorhome with RV Arizona Consignment Specialists. Diesel Class C Motorhomes, like ours, are hard to find in the U.S. Made in Canada, it's tough, has a powerful engine, and gets great mileage!
Diesel Triple E Regency 28' Motorhome is Now For Sale 

     After we delivered our beloved motorhome to RV Arizona Consignment Specialists and signed the paperwork, we called Uber to take us to a motel. We felt sad to leave our RV behind—it had been our “on-the-road-home” for many adventures. But we also felt excitement about beginning a new style of travel. First step, flying home to México. February 17, just two days before my appointment to apply for my Mexican Visa de Residente Permanente, we flew from Tucson to Puerto Vallarta.
Bella in Her Pet Carrier Patiently Awaiting Inspection

     Our airport experience with Bella in PV was much easier than the one we had in 2017. Though the new information being disseminated states that a pet Health Certificate is not required to bring a pet into México, I wasn’t taking any chances on a repeat of being held up at the airport the way we were in 2017. The week prior to our departure, I had Bella’s vet in Tucson prepare a Health Certificate exactly as SAGARPA specified to me that year. It worked perfectly—the inspector studied the health certificate, I told him we lived here, and he signed off Bella’s SENASICA Zoosanitario Para Importación Certificate without even examining her!
     So, how will we explore México now? How will we travel now that we don’t have an RV or a car? We can’t get beyond the jungles surrounding Sayulita in our golf cart! That is for travel stories to come. We’ll fly, bus, Uber, boat, taxi, join a tour group... we’re open for suggestions. We have many new travel adventures ahead!
A Novel that Contrasts Life in the U.S. to that in México
     Jake and Lindsay fell in love with each other in Oregon. After years of battling the stress of life in the United States, consequences in the form of health issues and a strain on their relationship resulted in their search for a simpler, healthier life. Moving to México was the beginning of their healing life change.


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Terry L Turrell, Amazon Author

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Sunday, January 5, 2020

OUR GOLF CART WAS HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER! Time for Off-Street Parking

Our Smashed Golf Cart Frame!
Another lesson learned while living in Mexico… with a happy ending.
It all started on Dia de Los Muertos, November 2, around midnight when an out-of-town visitor, clearly having imbibed too many adult beverages, tried to find his way out of Sayulita but got lost in our neighborhood. As he backed up on our narrow, dead-end street, he slammed his car into our golf cart where it has always been parked outside our garden wall, leaving red and blue plastic debris scattered on the cobblestone as evidence that both vehicles had suffered significant damage.
It was time to create an off-street parking place for our carrito, our new-to-us 2012 golf cart. In small-town Mexico, most vehicles are parked along the streets parallel to the curb. Land here is not typically wasted on garages and carports, so our casita was built ten years ago without off-street parking. We planned to change that!
            We had an area at the end of our yard that was filled up by a struggling banana tree and three leaning palm trees. I was ready to knock a hole in the garden wall, cut down those four trees, and pull our golf cart off the street into safety. 
            That was the beginning of a month-long, messy project to create not only off-street parking but a carport to keep our golf cart clean and dry. As involved as this little project was, I can't imagine taking on the chore of building a home here in Mexico.
Down Came the Last of Four Trees
Marking the Line for the New Gate Width

Jackhammering a BIG Hole in the Garden Wall

Cleaning Up the Mess--That's a BIG Hole!

Lupe Installed Power for the Gate Motor

The Mason Repaired the Wall and Built a Level Curb

The Golf Cart Safely Inside the Yard

A Tempory Fence Kept Bella Safe

          Now it was time to find a gate manufacturer, but not just any gate manufacturer. I insisted on an automatic sliding gate with an electric motor and remote controls. After all, we plan to live in our casita for the rest of our lives. I thought we might as well plan ahead so we have an easy to use, automatic gate when we’re old and feeble. Jon felt this was an unnecessary luxury, but I was looking ahead to the days when his Parkinson’s Disease may make his life more difficult.
          An internet search and an investigational trip to the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta led us to the Automatic Doors and Blacksmith Pitillal, a company that specializes in automatic sliding gates powered by Merik products. Augustin, an owner and manager, made a trip to our home to scope out the project and give an estimate. He speaks English well, is mellow, patient, and knowledgable about gates, doors, and metal fabrication. We hired him, paid him a deposit, and they started the work the next week.
The Welder Installed the First Gate Post

The Painted Sliding Gate Was Installed

A High-Quality Motor Moves the Gate Along a Track

The Gate Rolls on Wheels, Quietly Opening and Closing

            The project evolved from installing an automatic gate to having the team build a carport with a cement board Mexican-style roof. They also fabricated and installed a gutter to Jon’s specifications.
Metal Posts, Beams, and Rafters were Installed
Cement Board Roofing Was Installed
The Carport (Golf Cart-Port) Taking Shape

          On New Year's Day, 2020, the week following the completion of the carport, we had a tropical storm like none we’ve seen here in years. Our golf cart stayed dry and protected from falling palm fronds under the new golf cart-port. Jon and I were relieved the project was completed on a timely basis and our carrito is tucked into it’s safe, dry, off-street parking place.
Dry Golf Cart, New Year's Day 2020 Rainstorm

          If you decide to have Augustin and his team from Automatic Doors and Blacksmith Pitillal help you with your gate project, tell him Terry and Jonathan sent you. We think you’ll be happy with the work and the price.
Enjoying the Rainstorm from our Outdoor Terrace

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Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3
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Terry L Turrell, Author