Tuesday, December 12, 2017

AN IDEAL MONDAY EVENING IN MEXICO: Football, Salsa Dancing, & a Cuban Band

Cuban Band Night at Don Pedro's

Cuban Band and Salsa Dancing Every Monday
      Retirement in México is bliss. There is always something fun to do, someplace enjoyable to go. December evenings in Sayulita are warm enough that we carry a jacket, just in case, but rarely need to wear it. Monday evenings at Don Pedro’s restaurant combine a perfect balance of enjoyable activities for Jon and me. It goes without saying that our meals and drinks are always awesome. But on top of that, they have Monday Night Football on the big screen TVs that Jon enjoys and Salsa dancing to Cuban music that makes me happy. Bliss.
Jon Likes his Front Row Seat to Watch Football
     We arrive at Don Pedro’s about 7:30 to get a prime seat at the bar. The waiters are very friendly and the service is prompt. They mix a first-class Margarita for Jon and he settles in to watch his favorite sport. He doesn’t even care who’s playing—he always roots for the underdogs anyway. But, wherever we go for dinner on Monday night, it must include Futbol Americano on the screen.   
When the Band Starts at 8:30, the Dancing Starts, Too
     The Cuban band starts playing about 8:30 and the dancers quickly fill the dance floor. Don Pedro's has a cover charge, but when we come early for dinner and football, we avoid paying the cover. A few warm-up songs into the playlist and the announcement is called for everyone to join the Salsa lesson. That's when I move onto the dance floor along with many others, men and women alike. The dance teachers, a couple of young men, dance in the front with their backs to the crowd, demonstrating basic Salsa steps while all the dancers, inexperienced and professional alike, follow their moves. Soon the dance teachers progress into some pretty fancy Salsa variations. Most of us in the crowd continue to attempt to reproduce their every move, though some drop out and just watch in amazement. Salsa dancing is not only fun, it's amazing exercise.
I Look Forward to the Salsa Dance Lessons--Great Fun!
     Jon would rather watch football than Salsa dance, so he has reconciled himself to watching from his seat, alternating between the screen and keeping an eye on the dance floor, while I dance with a few experienced Mexican men. Sometimes I will join a couple of women on the dance floor and we do some free-form Salsa dancing in a group. It’s all fun. My legs sure feel it the next day, especially since I also taught Zumba class that morning. No wonder my Fitbit reads over 14,000 steps for Monday!
December at Don Pedro's
     Mid-December, Don Pedro’s is already gearing up for Christmas dinner. We know they prepare wonderful holiday meals and reservations are a must. So, Jon made our reservation for dinner on Christmas day. They also serve holiday meals on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Don Pedro’s is always our first choice for special occasions.     
     New Release! Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3 available on Amazon worldwide. Take a look by clicking HERE.
Available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon worldwide
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     View my Amazon Author Page and the other books in the "Healthy Living in Mexico" series by clicking HERE.
Terry L Turrell, Author

Friday, December 8, 2017

Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3 eBook Available on Amazon!

"Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED"

eBook--Available on Amazon Worldwide

"Healthy Living in Mexico #3" Available Now!
My new eBook is now available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon worldwide! Click HERE to view on Amazon.com
Book Description
In this continuation of Terry and Jon's story about moving to México they learn that, while their new lifestyle is everything they had hoped for (relaxing, full of adventures, and less expensive), some surprises and unexpected adjustments are also part of living there. Now residents of Mexico, they find it is not quite the same as taking a vacation to this beautiful country.
Lessons learned along the way, some shocking, came with their transition into expat life. The first two years included new adventures, some fun, others scary; unexpected experiences, some enlightening, others annoying; and new ways of getting things accomplished, some primitive, others simpler. Adapting to the quirks and eccentricities of life in México didn’t happen overnight. It was an evolution, a realization that came slowly with each new lesson, that life south of the border is more different than they had anticipated, and not for everyone. Jon and Terry found that they were tough enough to adjust to this new life, with some advice from Americans and Canadians who had lived there longer, and with some help from their friendly Mexican neighbors.
Terry and Jon love the benefits that drew them to México, the sunny pleasant weather, the sandy beaches and warm ocean, lower cost of living, friendly people, a great variety of fresh, tasty food, many opportunities to exercise and relax outdoors, the culture and history, and the lively colorful holiday traditions. Plus, it’s close and easy to travel to from the U.S. But no one told them about all of the lessons they would have to learn.
If you’ve already moved to México, you can probably relate to some of their culture shocks and adventures. If you’re planning to move south of the border, reading about their lessons before you move may help prepare you for the transition. It’s not a vacation—it’s better.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

LOST IN MEXICO: What We Do When the GPS Doesn’t Help

The Road is Blocked—What Now?

Detour Sign in Mexico--But Where To?
     There have been multiple times during our travels in México that we were lost and didn’t know where to go. We always knew what town we were in, just not what road to turn down to get to our destination. While driving a 32-foot motorhome in small towns or big cities, turning down an unknown narrow road is almost always a mistake. Getting to a dead end and needing to turn around can sometimes be impossible. The GPS is not helpful at all when the friendly female voice repeatedly tells us to turn at the next corner, but when we look first before turning and find a narrow lane with no traffic visible, we finally mute it and pull to the side of the road to decide what to do. That’s when we find a friendly Mexican to help us out before we get into a mess like we did in downtown San Miguel de Allende, with the police involved. (You can read about that adventure in my eBook Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico available on Amazon)

Inviting a Mexican into Our Motorhome to Guide Us
Only a few miles from our destination for the day, Huatabampito, Sonora, we entered the small town of La Unión. The GPS told us to continue straight ahead through town, but didn’t account for a huge pile of rubble in the middle of the road where ditches had been dug across for new utilities. A Desviación (detour) sign diverted us into a neighborhood, but no other signs clued us about getting back on the main road to El Mirador RV Park at the beach. The GPS continued to tell us to turn right down dirt roads that didn’t look passable with our Class A motorhome. Each one was a narrow one-lane dirt road, lined with large trees on each side, and parked down each side with trucks and cars. So, we continued driving through the neighborhood, following the school bus, thinking the bus driver would lead us out of this mess. Then the bus reached the end of the road, did a three-point turn and headed back the way it had come, toward us. We let it pass and then did our own turn-around using the driveway of two homes. 
The GPS Said to Go Straight, But We Had to Turn
     By then, a large crowd of adults and children had gathered to watch us, wondering what this big brown coach with gringos inside was during in their barrio. They were all smiling and looked friendly so I hopped out of the motorhome to guide Jon while he backed it up, making sure to miss any dogs, children, and fences. A young man, dressed in dirty work clothes came up to me and started speaking in rapid Spanish. I said one of the few sentences I know, “No hablo Español.” He turned to the crowd and told them I didn’t speak Spanish. There was a lot of good-natured chuckling and chatter about the gringa that didn’t speak Spanish. I waved for him to come to the driver’s window so Jon could talk to him.
After a brief conversation in Spanish between Jon and the young man, Jon told me the man wanted to show us how to get through town, avoiding the road construction. I asked how much he wanted to charge us (I know how to say that in Spanish, at least). The young man said, “libre” (free). He just wanted to help. So, I said okay and waved him around to the door of the RV. Bella was barking, not liking a stranger to come into our casa rodante (literally means mobile home). The young man said something about the perro and seemed afraid of Bella, so I picked her up, sat on the couch behind the driver’s seat, and waved for him to sit in the RV passenger seat, up front with Jon. He chattered away to Jon the whole time he was directing us through turns that took us back toward town and neatly around the construction. We stopped at the Pemex gas station on the outskirts of town where he pointed down the road to la playa (the beach), the direction we should head. 
Jon and I decided to pay him 100 pesos (about $5 US) for his time and trouble, knowing he would have to walk the mile or so back to his home. We thanked him and he hopped out of the motorhome with a smile on his face. I think he would have been just as happy to help us for free, he seemed to enjoy the adventure so much. But it was well worth the money for the assistance he gave us, and we feel giving a small payment is the least we can do to help those who are less well-off than we are.
Relieved to make it out of the maze of roads in La Unión, we continued on the two-lane highway toward Huatabampito. The GPS seemed happy, as well, that we were finally on the correct road to the beach. El Mirador Hotel Restaurante y RV Park came into view as the GPS announced, “You have arrived at your destination.” We couldn’t wait to park next to the seawall, hook up utilities, and head to the restaurant for a fresh fish dinner and Margaritas.    
Happy to Arrive at El Mirador RV Park in Huatabampito
     On a previous trip, we were heading north, approaching the Nogales, México border crossing to find that construction had closed the bus and RV lane. A detour sign directed us off of Mex Hwy 15D and into the busy city of Nogales. We drove for several miles, the GPS continually ordering us to make a legal U-turn and return the way we had come. We muted her voice, knowing she wasn’t correct, but having no idea where to go. There didn’t see any more detour signs telling us where RV were supposed to go to cross into the U.S.
As the traffic became heavier and the lanes narrower, we knew we had missed a critical turn and needed help. We stopped at a red traffic light in a busy downtown area, vendors circulating between cars selling drinks, snacks, newspapers, and trinkets. Several vendors noticed us and started waving for us to go back. We looked at each other and said, “What do we do now?”
One of the newspaper vendors came to the driver’s window and Jon opened it to see what he had to say. The Mexican man told Jon that we had to go to the bus crossing in another part of town and he could show us how to get there. Jon asked him, “How much?” The Mexican said to pay whatever we thought was fair. Jon agreed and opened the motorhome door for him to climb in. He sat on the couch behind Jon and gave him directions through busy downtown Nogales. Several miles and turns later we arrived at the temporary crossing for buses and RVs. We thanked him profusely and paid him several hundred pesos (about $15 US), knowing he had to take buses or walk a long distance back to where we started that nerve-wracking journey. We were so grateful to have found a friendly man who could show us the way for a small fee. We would have never found the detour without someone’s help.

Hire a Taxi to Lead Us
On more than one occasion, we have been in a new city, trying to find the RV Park and the GPS had led us astray. When the streets started narrowing and the traffic got heavier, we suspected we had ventured too close to centro (downtown) and were in danger of getting stuck or receiving a driving citation from the police. Driving an RV into centro in any town in México is generally unwise and usually illegal. The first time this happened to us, we were in Patzcuaro. A taxi pulled up beside us and honked his horn. Jon opened his window to see what the driver had to say. He said he could lead us where we needed to go. The agreed on a price of 50 pesos to get us to the RV Park. It was well worth the small fee to avoid the stress of driving lost in a busy city.
Stuck Near Downtown San Miguel de Allende
That worked so well, we used the same technique when we ventured too close to downtown San Miguel de Allende. Thank goodness, we had hired a taxi driver to help us that time, too. He not only led us to our RV Park, he helped us deal with an unsavory police officer.

Hire a Mexican on a Bicycle to Show Us the Way
The GPS Took Us the Wrong Way to Catemaco
     Years ago, we decided to visit Catemaco. We trusted the GPS to tell us what highway to take to get there. We probably should have asked directions. When the two-lane road became a washed-out dirt path with a shaky-looking temporary bridge crossing the river, we knew we should have asked for help. But we crept slowly across the bridge in our motorhome, breathed a sigh of relief when it held, and kept driving over the washboard dirt road at about 15 miles per hour until we finally reached Catemaco hours later. It was worth the long, rough drive to be able to watch the annual El Brujo Festival that this city is famous for.
El Brujo Festival in Catemaco
     When we were exploring Catemaco on foot, trying to find a recommended restaurant, we had wandered for miles looking for it without any luck. Normally, when we stroll around a new city attempting to find a destination, we carry the GPS to give us directions. We don’t have Smart Phones, so our GPS is our navigation system when on foot or driving. But this time we didn’t have it with us. We didn’t really trust it much at this point in our trip, after it had led us astray so badly.
So, we flagged down a young Mexican riding by on his bicycle and asked if he knew where the restaurant was. He said he did and that he could lead us there. He walked ahead of us, pushing his bike the half-mile, until he pointed ahead at the sign, indicating that his job was finished. Jon handed him ten pesos for his time and thanked him. As the young man rode away, we felt good about financially helping a local Mexican, as well as discovering an easy way to find our way around a new town.
     In our travels throughout México, we have learned that the Mexican people are more than willing to help us find our way when we are lost. Their friendly, helpful, and trusting ways are a pleasure. We feel welcome and safe in México.

Look for my next eBook, coming this month. Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3, the eBook will be available this month on Amazon worldwide!
Available in December 2017 on Amazon

RETIREMENT BEFORE THE AGE OF 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2 is only 99¢ on Amazon.com for a few more days. And, remember it's FREE on KindleUnlimited.
ONLY 99¢ ON AMAZON.COM UNTIL DECEMBER 4, 2017!

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

99¢ SALE on RETIREMENT BEFORE THE AGE OF 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2 until Dec. 4!

Get Ready for Book #3 in the Series!

Kindle Deal: 99¢ for a Few More Days!
     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and to make their money go further. This story will inspire others to quit their jobs, retire earlier rather than later, and begin living a healthier life, while having more fun and doing what they enjoy. Why wait?
Making the decision to retire early was the easy part. Deciding where to retire took more travel in their motorhome and lots of thought. The process of selling and giving away their excess possessions so they could begin living a simplified, healthier life was a journey in itself.
Terry and Jon’s adventures while traveling in their motorhome are enough to entice one to go RV shopping immediately. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! The story of where they settled in México, and why, will make you wonder how soon you, too, will begin planning a similar escape from the chaos in the world to find your own piece of paradise in the sun.

     This Kindle Countdown Deal for ONLY 99¢ will continue until December 4. Don't miss it! Take a look at this book on Amazon.com by clicking HERE
     And remember, all of my eBooks are FREE on KindleUnlimited!
Healthy Living in Mexico #3 Available in December
     Then, in December, look for the next eBook in the series, available on Amazon. Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3, the continuation of Terry and Jon's story as they learn that, while their new lifestyle in Mexico is everything they hoped for (relaxing, full of adventures, and inexpensive), surprises and unexpected adjustments are also part of living there. Now residents of Mexico, they find it is not quite the same as taking a vacation to this beautiful country. It's better! But a few lessons learned along the way, some shocking, come with their transition into expat life. 
     I invite you to sign up for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Monthly Newsletter where you will be one of the first to be notified when my new books are available, when special discounted prices are offered, and what's new in my blogs. Sign up for this Reader List by clicking HERE

Healthy Living in Mexico #1 Available on Amazon
      If you haven't read Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico, the first book in this series, you can buy it or get it FREE on Amazon's KindleUnlimited. Take a look by clicking HERE

Monday, November 27, 2017

CRABS IN THE GARDEN, FROGS IN THE SINK! What Next?

How Many More Critters Do We Have to

Share Our House With, Living in Mexico?

This Crab has both Pincers UP and READY
     The first time I was gardening in Sayulita and turned over a trowel full of soil and something live ran out of it, I jumped up and screamed! My first thought was, "scorpion!" But, after I poked the critter gently with the tip of my trowel, I saw that it was a small crab. Probably harmless, I thought. In all of our travels, I have never seen such a thing! A crab that lives in garden soil. What next?
     I soon learned that these land crabs live in the soil in this area. Most of the year, we don't see a single one. They are burrowed down in the dirt, hibernating maybe, most of the year. But as soon as the rains start in May or June, they come out of the soil and we begin to see them in the yard. The rain is their signal to head to the beach where they will mate. We live 3/10 of a mile from the beach, so these crabs have a long hike through the jungle and over a large hill. They better start early if they plan to meet up with the other crabs who live near the beach!


     One day in May, when we let Bella, our dachshund, out in the morning, we soon heard a high-pitched barking that didn't stop. It wasn't her "watch out, there's a stranger in the neighborhood" bark. It was her "Come help me, I have a crab cornered!" bark. These little crabs, ranging from three to five inches in width across their backs, can take care of themselves--their pincers hurt like h--- when they get a hold of skin. Bella has found this out from experience, because once she came out of the garden shaking her head, with a crab claw still attached to her lower lip. The crab had clamped down on her mouth and then dropped his claw leg. The pincer stayed tightly clamped on her lip until Jon pulled it off. So, she knows to keep her distance from these little critters.

     But that doesn't stop Bella from hunting for crabs. She's a natural hunter, so she can't help herself. She corners one behind a garden sculpture, a potted plant, or hiding in a grouping of young palm trees. We would be perfectly content to leave these animals alone, except that Bella will bark incessantly when she finds one until we do something about it. So, I call Jon to come help. I'm not picking one up!


     Jon gets his thick leather gloves on and goes on crab-catching detail. He has been pinched several times before, right through the tough leather and knows how much it hurts. Jon has a high pain threshold, so if he says it hurts like he--, I believe him! He has perfected the technique of quickly capturing the fast critter while pinning his pincers at the same time. He knows he has to be gentle with the crabs or hear about it from me!



     Then, Jon takes the crab to the jungle across the street and gently releases him to be on his way to the beach. He has learned that if he doesn't take them far enough away, they find a way back into our yard, especially if the hard rains have not yet begun.


     Another morning, another crab-call from Bella, her high-pitched yap calling someone to come look at what she has found. There she is, in the garden, pointing at the crab. This one had BOTH pincers clamped onto Jon's leather glove after he caught it! That makes crab #10 removed from our small garden that spring and the downpours hadn't even started yet!

     
     
We decided to leave Sayulita in early July once the heat and humidity became uncomfortable. The crabs seemed to be gone from our yard, so we were pretty sure none would move into our house while we were away. But insects are another matter in the tropics. To keep the bugs out of things, we put all of our clean bedding, towels, and clothing into plastic bags, added one Bounce® dryer sheet to each bag, and tied it tightly closed. I sprayed a perimeter line of Home Defense® around the porch and across the doorways and we were ready to leave our home for a few months, sure that no critters would move in while we were away.
     The first thing I did when we returned to our casita in October was begin unpacking the clean towels and bedding. I pulled the black trash bag full of clean towels from beneath the bathroom sink and out from under the bag jumped six tiny black frogs. I screamed (why do I always have to scream when I’m startled?) and jumped back as six critters hopped around on the tile bathroom floor. I called for Jon, naturally. He is the catcher of all critters at our house. I wish I would have videoed him trying to catch those frisky little hopping things—it was a riot to watch. He finally caught each one in a section of paper towel and took them out to release them in our garden. Maybe that was the mistake.
                             Tiny Little Frog in My Kitchen Sink
     
     
For the past month, we have had at least one little frog in our shower or kitchen sink almost every morning. I haven’t figured out how they get into the house, up onto the kitchen counter and into the sink. But they obviously like places with water. I had to accept that I am capable of catching a little frog in my kitchen sink. I tried putting one into our little water feature in the yard, but he didn’t stay there. He must have preferred our kitchen sink. I really don’t mind the little frogs—they’re kind of cute, but what if someone comes to visit and sees frogs in our house? What will they think? I guess that’s the lesson learned—if we can get used to crabs in our garden and frogs in our sink, our friends and family members will have to, too. This is the tropics of México, after all. Life is different living here—never a dull moment around our house.

Don
't Miss the 99¢ Sale on"RETIREMENT BEFORE THE AGE OF 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" eBook Starting November 28, 2017 for Only 7 days! Click HERE to check it out on Amazon.com.
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

"LIVING IN MEXICO: Lessons Learned" the eBook to be Published Soon!

"HEALTHY LIVING IN MEXICO #3"

Available Soon on Amazon!
     Have you already read the first two books in this series? If not, I invite you to grab those and enjoy the stories of our move to Mexico before "Healthy Living in Mexico #3" is published. In this latest book, you will read about some of the most important lessons Jon and I have learned since we moved to Mexico two years ago.
     Are you considering moving to Mexico? Do you envision yourself retiring south of the border? Do you dream about sunny winter days and a simpler life? Come along with us as I tell our story about choosing Mexico for our home.
    "Healthy Living and Traveling Mexico", Book #1, was the story of our "Search for Sunshine, Sassy Exercise, Savory Food, and a Simpler Life". We traveled in our motorhome throughout Mexico, experiencing the beauty of the country and its people. That was when we fell in love with Mexico, even finding that we didn't want to return to the United States. Take a look at Book #1 on Amazon by clicking HERE.  
Healthy Living in Mexico #1
     "Retirement Before the Age of 59" was Book #2, the story of our decision to quit our jobs in the United States, sell or give away almost everything we owned, and move to Mexico. If you are considering a similar move, reading about our journey will help ease your transition. Take a look at Book #2 on Amazon by clicking HERE.
Healthy Living in Mexico #2
     If you've already read my books, a big "THANK YOU!". I invite you to sign up for my "Healthy Living in Mexico Monthly Newsletter" by clicking HERE. You will find out when my new book has been released, when there are discounted prices on my other books, and what my latest blog posts are. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

WHAT WE DO WHEN OUR GOLF CART QUITS WHILE LIVING IN MEXICO

Ride Bikes, Walk More, and Find a Golf Cart Repairman!

Our Poor, Sad-looking Golf Cart Had Problems
     When our golf cart quits running, we have some serious problems to solve. If you recall, we don’t own a car. In small towns in this part of México, a golf cart is sometimes called a carrito, and functions for many, such as Jon and me, as a little battery-operated car. We depend on our golf cart to get us to the mini-supermarket, produce stand, and meat market to shop once or twice a week. It hauls three loads of laundry in the three blue Rubbermaid totes strapped to the back when we drive it to the lavandería once or twice a week. We load our paddleboard onto the custom top rack and our beach gear on the back when we head to the beach for some Stand Up Paddleboarding. This inexpensive vehicle does a lot of work for us.
Three Rubbermaid Totes & a Cargo Net Hauls a Lot of Stuff
Battery Failure
       A week before we were planning to leave for our annual motorhome trip to the United States, our carrito gave up. The batteries failed on our last run to the recycle center. We were half-way up Calle Libertad, a fairly steep dirt road out of Sayulita, when our pickup-style golf cart, loaded with empty wine bottles and miscellaneous plastic items, began slowing down until it refused to climb the last steep slope. The batteries had just enough juice to coast back down the hill and get us back home. 
     What could be wrong? Jon was faithful about filling the six battery water reservoirs with distilled water. He always charged the batteries after every trip to town. When we got home that day, he tested the batteries with his volt meter and found one of the six well-used batteries was no longer holding a charge. We didn’t have it in our budget to buy six new 6-volt deep-cell batteries at the time. So, Jon asked around at a couple of golf cart rental places in town to see if he could buy one used battery to get us by. There were none to be found. We decided we would pick up a used battery while we were in the U.S. and hope that would fix our power issue. 
We Were Back to Riding Bikes to Town Again
     For the time being, we were back to riding bikes to take our dirty laundry to the lavandería and return the next day to pick it up, clean and folded. Cruising down cobblestone roads on bikes loaded with groceries, dog food, a bottle of tequila, and margarita mix is a bumpy and treacherous trip, but we had to stock up on supplies for our drive to Oregon. Hauling that heavy load required us to walk our two bikes the last steep stretch up the hill to our home. No more Stand Up Paddle boarding for the rest of this season. At least we could walk the short distance to the beach with our boogieboards for a few more rides on the mellow waves of June, a good way to cool off on a hot, humid afternoon.
     We really missed our carrito! But, there was nothing more we could do for it until we returned from our travels to Oregon. We unplugged it from the battery charger, covered it with a tarp to protect it during the rainy season in Nayarit, and called a taxi to take us to our motorhome. We knew when we returned in the fall, golf cart repairs would be a high priority.
Time to Find a Golf Cart Repairman
     When we returned from Oregon, Jon had a “new” used battery and wasted no time installing it and attaching the charger to the carrito. But, the six batteries would not come to full charge. It was time to find a golf cart repairman. I had remembered one of my Facebook friends, Gabe, had recently posted a photo and information about a golf cart expert who works at two golf courses in the Riviera Nayarit. So, I did some digging on Facebook (what a wealth of information that social media provides!) and found his name and phone number.
     Jon called him immediately and, we were lucky, Ari was available. It seems golfing season hadn’t take off in early November so he wasn’t too busy yet. He drove to our house, analyzed the issues, charged the golf cart with his own battery charger for a while, and then took it for a test drive. He determined that the batteries were fine. Our charger was now the culprit for the insufficient charge. But, he had the parts to fix it! A short time later, our charger and batteries were fully functional again! We were so relieved. We happily paid his reasonable fee.
Ari and His Wife Checking the Batteries
     Ari then mentioned that the ball joints and brakes were badly worn, the steering was loose and mushy, the brakes barely functioning. He said that he could fix those, too. Jon said he knew they were in pretty poor condition and asked for a price to have them rebuilt. Ari gave him a fair price to do the work and came the next day as promised. He arranged his supply of parts and his tools and set to tearing the front end off of our golf cart. The poor, dirty thing looked pretty sad without its front tires and other key parts disassembled. When I looked at the disabled carrito propped up, sitting on its tires that were lying on their sides in the gravel, I thought, “That’s one way to jack up a vehicle. I guess that’s how they do it here in México.”
Ari Working on the Golf Cart's Ball Joints & Brakes
     Ari’s wife spent the day helping him and keeping him company, handing him tools when he needed them, digging for bolts and nuts when he asked. He sat in the gravel surrounded by greasy parts and miscellaneous hardware, studiously working over the old ball joints, replacing some parts from his stash and others that Jon had brought from the U.S., including some new steering box parts. When Ari was thirsty, his wife would hold the water bottle and tip it to his mouth, his hands too greasy and busy to stop for a drink. Their quiet and loving ways with each other were wonderful to see.
     Since moving here, we’ve learned that the working man in México rarely throws anything away. They save almost everything in case they might need it in the future. The piles of screws, bolts, washers, and various parts that Ari used to rebuild our golf cart were mostly scrap that he had salvaged, with only a few new parts he had purchased. This was a perfect example of reusing and recycling. I admit, while I watched him searching through his collection of stuff on the ground for just the right screw or part, I wondered if our golf cart would ever be back together again. Not only was it reassembled that day, it steered, braked, and ran better than ever. In addition, he installed a battery charge gauge on the dash, one that Jon had purchased from Amazon. Now, we will know when the batteries’ charge is getting low before we get stranded somewhere. We were able to make a run to the lavandería and shop for groceries the next day—using the carrito, not our bikes!
Jon Straps the Paddleboard Onto the Carrito for a Trip to the Beach
Flat Tire on Our Way to the Nursery
     Our pickup-style carrito may be one of the ugly ducklings among golf carts in Sayulita, but we love it. It’s a work horse, a real asset when I decide to take a trip to the nursery for plants and a bag of heavy soil. On one such trip, I didn’t think we would make it to our destination when I looked down at the tires and one was completely flat. Jon pulled the golf cart to the side of the road, parked, and told me to stay with it while he ran home for our bike pump. A half-hour later, here he came, riding his bike and carrying the pump. He threw his bike on the carrito’s roof, strapped it down, and proceeded to pump up the flat tire. He hopped in the carrito and off we drove, determined to get to the nursery. A hundred yards along, the tire was flat again. Jon pumped it up again and said we had to get to the tire repair shop on the highway, about a half-mile away. That was a very long half-mile for Jon—pump up the tire, drive a hundred yards, and repeat.
     Now for the bad news. The auto repair shop does not repair golf cart tires. Jon insisted that there had to be a way to fix it because we couldn’t get home otherwise. The young man thought about this for a few minutes, shook his head, and then wandered off, leaving Jon and me wondering what we were going to do next.
     A while later, he sauntered back to Jon with a full-sized automobile inner tube in his hand, deflated and old. He said, in Spanish, that he had an idea. We watched in amazement as he proceeded to pull the golf cart tire off, stuff the wad of tube into the tire, and reinstall it on the carrito. He then attached his air compressor to the tube stem and began adding air to the inner tube until it inflated just enough to fill the golf cart’s tire. Fixed! The amazing thing is that in the year since that ingenious repair job, the tire has never gone flat.
     Our carrito’s tires may be old and bald, but we don’t have to climb extremely steep hills. The tread is about gone and the batteries don’t have the power Jon would need to “peel out” anyway, so why change the tires yet. The Mexican way is to use things until they stop working, and then fix them so they will work a while longer. Living in México, we have learned some great lessons on how to live frugally!
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