Retire to Mexico: A New Home Town and a New Life February 1
By Julia Taylor
Living in Cuernavaca, Mexico can transform your life. If you chose to retire to this beautiful part of the world you may become less self centered and get better at living your life in a more holistic way. The discomfort of the initial culture shock soon burns out and left in its wake is a new set of social skills, a new sense of home.
Cuernavaca is a nice place to go through the culture shock that is part and parcel of beginning an expatriate experience. People in Cuernavaca are used to foreigners and many have traveled throughout the world, yet they value and maintain their distinctively Mexican customs.
Services such as Internet, cable TV with programming from the U.S. and Hollywood movies in English are readily available, just in case one needs something familiar. There are small, but active groups of expatriates in the area who are happy to get together and chat.
Cuernavaca residents experience few climactic difficulties. There are neither deadly storms nor tornados or floods. The temperature rarely dips below freezing and only occasionally climbs above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (34 Celsius). A shady home with windows to throw open to capture a cross breeze are enough to beat the Mexican heat.
Plenty of cultural events and activities make living in Cuernavaca fun. For those who need to experience what the big city has to offer, Mexico City is only an hourâ€™s drive away. The Mexico City International airport, many archaeological sites, lots of water parks, health spas, and picturesque little towns are within one to two hourâ€™s drive, allowing Cuernavacaâ€™s residents to enjoy travel and exploration. Acapulco, the playground of the stars, is only 4 hours away for quick beach getaways. There are also plenty of opportunities to take classes in dance, exercise, handicrafts, languages, etc. You can also participate in community-oriented activities to broaden your horizon. Cuernavaca has actually been getting more fun over the years and has thrown its arms wide to embrace the new residents.
Local honey and yoghurt
The zocalo (town square) has become livelier with estudiantinas dressed in colonial-like Spanish garb singing, dancing, and playing the tambourine. More free concerts are being held there as well as markets where the locals sell their produce such as honey, yoghurt, traditional candies, and home dÃ©cor items. Lately a group of young people has been playing African drums. On â€œregularâ€ nights, vendors sell corn on the cob, snow cones, traditional candies, fruit smoothies, hand woven baskets, and much more.
If you speak Spanish and want to get better at understanding Mexicoâ€™s famous â€œdouble meaningâ€ humor, ribald clowns crack crass jokes in their smoothly performed routines. Even if you donâ€™t speak Spanish you can enjoy watching the kids sitting in the front row, ready to run out to volunteer to be part of the show. The clowns give them things to do such as wearing rubber masks depicting political figures, or standing perfectly still while they run balloon â€œsnakesâ€ along their cheeks from behind. Like kids everywhere, their enthusiasm and innocence makes them a delight to watch.
Across the street from the zocalo the theater is being remodeled. The light pouring out of the once dark windows makes the area feel as if it is the heart of a network of cultural activities. The local museum in the Palacio de Cortez (Cortezâ€™s Palace) teaches about the history of Cuernavaca, shows paintings and other art, as well as housing an illustrative Diego Rivera mural that teaches much about the history of Cuernavaca with a focus on the people.
Festivals, music and dancing
Adjacent to the Palacio a permanent local handicrafts market is a delight for purchasing silver jewelry, T-shirts, beaded bracelets, pottery, hammocks, blankets, and much more. Just a few blocks away a large park-like garden called Jardin Borda frequently hosts community events and festivals with local vendors, music and dancers.
Of course, every bed of roses has its thorns and Cuernavaca is no exception. Sometimes the municipal water doesnâ€™t come for a day or two and the electricity goes out for a while during the rainy season. Still the moon shines bright at night, fresh bread is sold in neighborhood stores and the salsas in the taco stands are fresh and spicy. Cuernavaca is the kind of city where just by going downtown you can discover something fun going on. You can easily get out and participate in living in Mexico.
By Julia Taylor|
A practical, funny guide for those who want to live, work, and retire in Mexico.
Mexico: The Trick is Living Here
This article and the images were first published in Giddy Limits on January 1, 2008.
An inspirational online magazine for men and women over 50, packed with great ideas and information.
Copywrite 2008 Julia Taylor.