If Donald Trump does build a wall I want to be on the other side of it. I have been dreaming of returning to Mexico and have pretty much made up my mind. Here are some of my plans for the very near future.
This winter has been cold and really has me missing the warmth of the Riviera Maya, where I lived for 10 years and have come to appreciate its tropical jungle flavor, relaxed, friendly people and laid back vibe. A place where you never shiver from anything colder than a brain freeze from drinking margarita's too fast.
Way down here you need a reason to move
Feel a fool running your stateside games
Lose your load, leave your mind behind Baby James
Mexico by James Taylor
The soil is great here in Seattle and as a gardener, I love growing things here for half the year, but the winter half is so cold to me now that I can't handle it. I never used to get cold in the past but living the tropical life for so long has decreased my tolerance for cold weather.
I've turned into one of those people that can't take the cold, people I used to make fun of. Funny how things change.
I'm thinking of moving back to Mexico, looking at places to rent in Playa Del Carmen. There are so many places to work there that finding a job is easy for me and you don't really need a car in Playa. A bike or walking will suffice and taxis are really cheap.
Everything in Playa Del Carmen is easy to get to as it's so close and the town is very festive.
Remembering many sun-drunk afternoons on the beach, toes in the sand, drink in my hand and surrounded by eye candy as far as the eye can see. What a place to be.
These magnetic memories are pulling at the iron in my blood, drawing me back to the womb-temperature waters and talcum-powder shores. Where the only thing cold is the beer and the women are as hot, spicy and varied as the food. A regular Smörgåsbord for the senses.
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The sun's so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now
Mexico by James Taylor
There's a palapa on the beach that serves ice-cold beer, 8 to a bucket, and as you walk past the door you pick out a fish from the ice chest fresh caught that morning. The guy grilling it or his brother is usually the guy who caught it.
You point out the fish you want and tell the chef what style you want them cooked up in. Depending on how many people are with me I usually order 2-3 fish and grill them up Pico De Gallo, Al Ajo and Matequilla con Chile y Limon.
Eight beers, one cooked-to-perfection fish and all the home-made chips and salsa you can eat is ten dollars. I like to spend 4-5 hours there drinking, eating and just chilling out to the music and the rhythm of the waves.
The floor of the place is beach sand and the sparkling, blue ocean is crawling distance away from the happy, eager-to-please bartender blasting you with an eclectic blend of fusion and reggae music, oven-roasted, handmade salsa, and chips with tequila shots.
This is good, I'm warming up already.
One custom I really like that holds true all over Mexico is when you go to a restaurant, any restaurant in all of Mexico, the waiter or waitress will never bring you the check unless you ask for it.
No matter how busy the place is, even if all the tables we full and a line of people waiting to get in formed around the block and all you ordered was a coffee. You could sit there all day and they would not bring you the check until you asked for it. It's considered rude to bring the check before a guest asks for it, making you feel rushed and not welcome. Makes sense right?
$600-700 a month will rent you a modest, furnished, 2-bedroom apartment in town with Satelite TV, Wifi, electric, gas, and water included like this one here and within walking distance of the beach, taxis, shopping, and restaurants.
I would only have to work half a day selling vacations there to make a full-time income and while at work I would have a delicious, free breakfast with clients each morning and leave work around 1-2 PM each day and off 2 days a week.
"Why am I sitting in the cold half the year waiting for spring to come?", I ask myself as I daydream about Mexico while drinking hot tea.
In the last 6 months, I have been offered jobs in Jamaica, Bali, Turks and Caicos, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico. I'm familiar with Mexico and have many friends there, can speak pretty good Spanish and there are lots of jobs there.
Income taxes are low at only 11% and taken out of each payroll check and includes their version of social security. You don't even file a tax return. Simple, right? Food is cheap and plentiful and the area is growing fast.
One of the things I really like about Playa Del Carmen is how international the citizens are and how easy it all fuses together. While walking down a street it's common to hear multiple languages being spoken.
Americano got the sleepy eye
But his body's still shaking like a live wire
Sleepy Señorita with the eyes on fire
Mexico by James Taylor
Rubbing elbows with people from different places and cultures has always interested me and I feel comfortable around foreigners and don't mind being one myself.
Food of all kinds are everywhere and affordable. Last time I counted there were over 400 restaurants in Play Del Carmen within walking distance and catering to all styles of food.
One of my favorites is a restaurant named Babe's that you can read about here on TripAdvisor. They make a great Pad Thai, the Swedish Meatballs are awesome and they make the most amazing blueberry daiquiri and you can eat and drink at the bar or street-side so you can people-watch as you catch a breeze outside.
Along 5th Avenue, a great place to start the night is a cool, little, roof-top bar named Deseo. As you climb the stairs to get to the bar the path is lit by the light of a movie projector shining old, Mexican movies against the huge, white, stucco walls. You can see the movies from the street making this place easy to spot.
It's a good place to catch a cool, refreshing breeze in the evening and a block away from The Blue Parrot and the Om, two hot spots to party and dance or chill out to a round of drinks and a hookah. This is in the heart of the city and walking distance to everything it has to offer.
Ten years of total immersion in a culture forced me to soak up some Spanish making it easier to negotiate and converse in the local lingo. There are expats that have never learned Spanish and still do just fine in Playa, but it's good to learn some words and phrases.
Here are a few words that are good to know, in no particular order.
chelas, chicas y playas = brews, girls and beaches
One night I met up with a friend at Deseo, a buddy of mine and two girls that were just dying to meet you. I got all dressed up and arrived at the agreed upon time and saw them spread out on a lounge bed by the pool.
They had not seen me arrive so I ordered a round of drinks and had them brought to the bed and then snuck around unseen by my friends to surprise them by jumping literally right into the middle of the bed, only to find that it was not my friends, just people that looked remarkably like them. The spitting image of my friends.
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
The moon's so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right
Mexico by James Taylor
As I tried to explain the coincidence it soon became clear that they could care less about my abrupt intrusion and thought it was a very clever line I was using to meet the girls. I wish I was that clever and made a note to myself to try that some time as a pickup line. They were amused and flirtatious as we introduced ourselves.
The drinks arrived and it seemed like the least I could do was offer them to my new friends.
Half way into the drinks the friends I came there to meet showed up and when my new friends saw them, they realized I wasn't making it up. My friends really did look just like them, so similar, in fact, that they felt as though they were looking in a mirror.
It was a bit spooky and even the bartender thought they were all related. After 4 or 5 pitchers of beer and margaritas, we really started to resemble each other and I swore for a moment that my Spanish was getting better.
The girls were getting friendlier and it seemed like words were unnecessary at one point and the grins on everyone's faces said some of us are getting luck tonight.
There are many sights to see, boutique stores to shop in and culinary delights to sample as you walk through the streets of Playa and it's all so accessible as is the beach.
From any point along La Quinta, (5th Avenue) it's one short block to the beach where you can walk for miles. In Mexico, most all of the beaches are public access.
I have walked on many of the beaches of the world and the Riviera Maya is still some of the beast beaches I have ever walked on.
Unlike many beaches, the sand in this part of the world is made up of mostly coral limestone, which not only gives it that white, powdery quality, it also stays cool even when the strong, equatorial sun beats down on it all day. So, when you walk on this beach barefoot your feet will not burn from the heat. Super cool beach to walk and lay down on.
Baby's hungry and the money's all gone
The folks back home don't want to talk on the phone
She gets a long letter, sends back a postcard
Times are hard
Mexico by James Taylor
There's a great beach bar called La Pirata (The Pirate) right next to the Blue Parrot. La Pirata is a great place to hang out during the day. They play lots of Reggae music and the beer is cold and cheap with a good mix of locals and tourists, plus the water is right there.
They have some nice lounge chair you can sit on with umbrellas to get some shade or you can sit at the bar on swinging stools. Life is good here.
If you really want to meet more locals, then after working hours in the early evening, there's a local bar on 8th Street off of 5th Avenue called The Beer Bucket where cheap beer and friendly locals hang out.
When I first moved to Playa in 2003 I used to play music here on Fridays and Saturdays. I made $50 and 10 beers a night plus a meal. It was a great way to get to know locals and helped me get a job.
It was fun playing popular songs here on an acoustic guitar accompanied by a bar of about 20-30 people all singing along with me. Fun times indeed.
I wrote a post about my first experience moving to Mexico that you can read more about here titled, How 10 Years Of Living In Mexico Has Made Me A Better Person
Since moving back to the U.S. I have been saddened to see what is happening in my native country. People seem stressed, divided and distrustful of each other. Sure, there's glimmers of hope here and there, but overall it looks like everyone is so overworked just to survive that they have little time left to enjoy life in a full capacity.
Confused by the media, ill-informed of how things are in the world and blinded into believing that America is the only country worth living in, people here don't seem to question why they are working so hard and still not making ends meet.
Having plenty of travel experiences under my belt has made me privy to information most Americans are not aware of. In many cases, many countries are currently doing better than the United Sates on many levels and enjoying a quality of life that is talked about here in nostalgic tones, like a thing of the past.
You know, in my lifetime our country has shipped so many of our jobs to other countries and I have heard everyone complain about it. I tried something different and went to the countries those jobs were shipped to and witnessed the prosperity they are enjoying from having the work and economic growth. These places are booming and their infrastructures are growing.
But listening to Americans talk about Mexico for example, many whom think that Mexico is a third-world country which it is not, I have come to realize that people are just repeating what they heard on the news or what their parents told them and have not really looked or thought for themselves.
It makes my head spin and I have had enough of this American dream. I'm moving back to Mexico where life is easier, more comfortable, where I get to keep more of the money I earn, and not have to spend it all just to survive. Where there is more time to just enjoy each day.
Finding work will be easier this time and I have already talked to some people I know in multiple resorts that would be glad to hire me. In fact, I have choices of countries even, currently Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, Australia or Fiji. I choose Mexico mainly because I know the area already and have friends there, the taxes and living expenses are low and it's close to the U.S. so family and friends can conveniently come visit. Any Steemians coming to Playa let me know and we'll hook up.
Also, I have talked with BlockPay CEO Christoph Hering and have signed up as a BlockPay Ambassador for the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Christoph is a Steemit user under the author name @kencode.
BlockPay is a POS (Point Of Sale) app that is an easy, fast, and free platform that supports all of the new digital currencies like Bitcoin, Steem, Ethereum, Dash and Smartcoins.
I will be helping all the retailers in the Riviera Maya to easily accept cryptocurrencies as payments for their services. I also plan to start a website to connect travelers going there with merchants currently accepting crypto.
It's a new market but is growing and I'm optimistic that I can make a mark there. Cancun just hosted a major cryptocurrency event there in February 2017 and the future looks bright.
While I'm doing this I plan to do some regular presentations to people to introduce the Steemit platform to the community and will post about that in the future as it unfolds.
Another interesting development is Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall between Mexico and the United States which I seriously doubt will ever happen in reality, beyond perhaps some symbolic wall that may be built and soon abandoned. If a wall is built, I want to be on the other side of it. Yes, the Mexican side, or as I call it, the fun side.
In an article published by NewsBTC last month titled, The Wall between US and Mexico May Work out Well for Bitcoin they point out the fact that remittances, which are a huge part of the Mexican economy as important to Mexico as oil exports, is being threatened by the Trump Administration as a leverage point to get Mexico to pay for the wall.
Personally, I think the whole wall debate is a joke but a threat to imposing taxes on remittance between both countries will see people opting for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with renewed interest and many Mexican banks and companies are beginning to align with cryptocurrencies.
You can now buy Bitcoin at any OXXO. OXXO is like 7-Eleven in the US and it won't be long before more ATM's will start dispensing and accepting Bitcoin.
I have decided to go back to Mexico and get the local community up and running on cryptos like Bitcoin and Steem, so, soon you will be seeing me make posts about the beautiful beaches and interesting, colorful people I meet along the way.