The Big Apple vs. The Big Lake

April 24, 2013

Well, this article is scheduled to show up in your in box on April 24th. If all goes according to plan as you read this I’ll have checked into a hotel in the heart of the Big Apple (New York City). I'm attending a Publicity Summit, but that's another story.
I visited the Big Apple many years ago and decided then that it was just too big for me, too crowded, too busy and too costly for more than a short visit.
I have a friend who works there everyday and comes to see his Mom here at Lake Chapala. She’s in her middle nineties. She attributes her long life and sharp mind to living at Lake Chapala and playing bridge, in that order.
He owns a nice apartment in a mid rise building in New Jersey and comutes by train to the Big Apple.  
While he enjoys his visits to Lake Chapala he’s confided in me that life is just too slow for him at Lake Chapala.
Well to each his own. He and others who like life in the fast lane in my opinion pay a heavy price for it in both dollars and stress.
Even when you “own” a nice, but not lavish apartment in a mid rise building in what I call the High Stress zone you pay about $2,000 a month I’m told for your condo fees.
Let’s see,, you own your apartment, but you still have to pay about $2,000 a month to live in it. A couple here at Lake Chapala can live a Caviar Lifestyle on $2,000 a month.
I mean no disrespect to the many thousands of people like my friend who seem to thrive in what to me would be a pressure cooker environment.
So, what’s my point in telling you my views on what it might be like for me to live in such a place.
Just this, I just realized that those of us that call Lake Chapala home have yet another blessing that before I took for granted; the absolute peace and tranquility of living here in the "No Stress Zone".
No stress, but only if you can “learn to slow down” and “smell the roses”. So, admittedly for some that come here from places where everyone is always rushing around, watching the clock, and “stressing out” there will be a transition.
Here’s some advice for those of you new to our area or panning to move here from anywhere, but especially from stress filled places in North America.
I was a list maker before moving full time to Lake Chapala. I’d make a list of all the things I intended to get done in a given day.
Then, I’d plan the day and strive to get everything done. I was usually successful. Then, after moving to
Lake Chapala full time I followed that same pattern.
I quickly learned that if there were eight things on my list for example, that I rarely got even half of them done, due to the slower pace of life here.
So, is the message here not to make lists, Well, sort of.
I still make my lists, but I prioritize the list knowing that I will very unlikely get everything done. Then, if I get half of the things done I wanted to get done for that day… I congratulate myself on having another successful low stress day in paradice.
If you live here at Lake Chapala (the no stress zone) please share your experience in adjusting.
Of course everyone is invited to comment one way or another.
All for now, Tu amigo, Sid 
  • Karen

    Hi Sid, I have a few questions if you don’t mind. Is a car necessary to live in Lake Chapala comfortably? Do people ride bicycles or own golf carts for local transportation? How expensive is car insurance in Mexico and what do you do about car insurance when you come back into the states? How is the bus system there?

    Thanks and good luck with your book. Can’t wait to read it. Karen

  • happyMex girl

    Hey Sid,
    Great article and good luck with the book. You are so right about the speed of life here. Everything runs on Mexico time and after 13 months here we have come to love & appreciate Mexico time. We left this morning with about 6 things to do if possible. We only finished 4 of them but that is okay too. Instead we rode down to Jocotepec and looked at the scenery and changes going on there. If it is not critical, it can wait until tomorrow. We are so glad we found paradise and plan to stay forever.
    Be careful in the Big Apple and hurry home.

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Happy Mexican Girl, Very well put, Thanks, Sid

  • Clarissa Crystals

    VERY good Question- Hoping it gets ANSWERED !!

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Karen, It depends just where you live in the area. If you live in the hills above Ajijic and San Antonio, Tla. a car is much more important. Walking down is easy. Walking back up with a big sack of groceries not so easy.

    Buses go through all the towns and villages, but not up into the hills above.

    In the villages or Chapala a car is not needed often.

    Taxi’s are inexpensive and I see a couple usually waiting at Wal Mart to take shoppers home.

    I only carry liability insurance and if I recall correctly it costs about $150 a year.

    Good cars to buy here are the ones the taxi’s use (Nisan, VW, and Honda) as they are made in Mexico. For larger cars Ford and Chryslers are good choices as they too are made in Mexico.

    A bus to Guadalajara is about $3 USD and takes under an hour.

    If you’re independent type like me you will likely want a car.

    I see more Golf Carts in the last few years used in the villages (but get liability insurance) even though you likely would never be asked for it. More bicycles and small motorbikes are seen each year as well.

    If I left anything out,let me know. Thanks. Tu amigo, Sid

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