Queretaro, Queretaro Seems Very Livable

This weekend we went to visit friends who live in a small town near Queretaro. I’ve always wanted to see Queretaro, so they took us downtown for a couple of hours, just to look around. In the small amount of time that we were there, Queretaro impressed me.

In Cuernavaca, Queretaro is famous for being clean and inexpensive, while having lots of employment opportunities that pay as well as in other places. In other words, it is known as a place where your earnings will buy you more. From what I could tell, Queretaro lives up to this fame.

We had to look to find litter in the streets and the intersections were open, with the streets wide enough to travel. Downtown the sidewalks were wide enough to walk comfortably, and there were little pedestrian islands to make crossing wide street safer. The park in the zocalo was perfectly manicured, and even more importantly, it was shady and quiet. The downtown area was inviting to shop because the shops were clean and looked nice, without that crowded feel that makes Cuernavaca such a pain to shop in. I felt like I could comfortably stroll around and go into any shop that interested me.

My husband, who can always remember the prices of things, found a few things that were cheaper than Cuernavcaca. Right off the bat he bought himself a hat for working in the sun.

We went to the market and I was impressed that it was large and “had everything” but was MUCH cleaner and brighter than el Mercado Lopez Mateos in Cuernavaca. The meat and fish section didn’t hardly stink and the floor wasn’t muddy. I gave it the old “bathroom check” and was happy with the cleanliness–the floor was even dry and it didn’t smell, but in the end it failed the test due to a complete absence of soap!

The roads in the whole state were in good repair and easy to travel. My husband commented that he felt like he was back in the states due to the ease with which he was driving.

While a few hours in the downtown area isn’t enough to judge a city by, I think I would live in Quereataro if I had it to do over.

Live or Retire in Mexico: The Sounds of Fun

When You Live in Mexico Get Used to the Sounds of Fun.

As I write this post, I am listening to the competing sounds of two different parties! To my left, on the other side of my wall, my neighbors are celebrating one of their family members’ 78th with mole, pop, and a little bit of tequila. They are chatting, one of them is strumming on a guitar, and others are singing. My tummy is full of rice, mole, and tortillas and I think that I hear my husband’s voice chiming in with the old timers from time to time. The only reason I’m not their listening in is because our son needed a nap and is snoozing his way through the evening.

To my right, across the ravine, someone is having a huge party with a D.J. and probably fireworks. The music is blasting and I’m imagining people dancing with friends and family. One thing you can’t be once you retire in Mexico is an old coot who hates music and fun–because you’ll be grumpy all the time! Only Americans could have invented the term “noise pollution.” Mexicans don’t care if others are tired of their music, they have celebrations to celebrate!

Mexicans have these wonderful songs that generations of people know and can sing. Even the young people know these songs and can at least sing parts of them, if they want to. They’ve been hearing them at holidays and parties all their lives. It can make us, as new arrivals in Mexico feel a little left out.

Take heart. You’ll hear those songs so many times, that given a few years, you’ll at least recognize a handful of them. Have I been in Mexico a long time? Yes. I can sing along to two or three of them. My cultural knowledge is expanding nicely, don’t you think?

When you live or retire in Mexico, ask your new friends and neighbors to loan you their old songs so you can listen to them and become familiar with them. They’ll get a real kick out of it.

The Smells of the Rainy Season

One of the things about living in Mexico that brings me the most joy are the various smells that greet me when I step out of my door at any time of day or night. Sometimes I can smell the fresh, high mountain air coming from north of Cuernavaca, perfumed with the smell of pine duff. This smell reminds me of home in the Pacific Northwest. Last night it was a humid, mildewy blanket of air from the soil under the trees near our house. Since it’s the rainy season everything is moist and soft. These humid smells are all Mexico for me, since I hadn’t smelled anything like them before moving to Mexico.