Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year Post - Past and Present

New Year's Eve with family in Monterrey

As you  know we went to the white sands of Mexico during Christmas.  I am posting our last day there.  I never got around to it.   It was fun.  We went to the marble mines of Cuatro Cienegas.  They are now closed and it is actually a mountain made of marble that was cut into cubed-size pieces.   The veins that run through the marble are now to wide (where water once ran millions of years ago) and the marble is no longer useful for walls, tiles or counter tops.

Sitting on top of the marble mine you can see how large the pieces are.

You can see the lines where they bore down with giant drills to split the marble.

Beautiful scenery from the Coahuila desert.

Our trip home was fast and uneventful,  We came down through Monclova, Saltillo, Monterrey and then home.   Backed the rv in the driveway without any issues.  We rested for three days and then headed out to San Antonio.   We chose to leave late Monday afternoon and spend the night at the Holiday Inn in Nuevo Laredo.   Very nice hotel with cocktail hour and breakfast.   We woke up early thinking we would beat the crowds.   We spend seven hours in line to cross the bridge.   

This week all of the American and Canadian paisanos were heading back home after the holidays.   But the big issue was a glitch in the computer systems on the U.S. side.  An advantage was that all of the paisanos had to go to immigration to cancel their TIP permits for their vehicles.  That freed up the line tremendously.   It was the computer glitch that took its toll.   As we approached the bridge, Juan took off in a taxi for the old Laredo bridge downtown.  It is closed to traffic for remodeling but foot traffic is permitted.  Once I got to the booth, he didn't even swipe my passport.  He couldn't.  No system.  He asked me three questions and off I went to the other bridge.   Off we went for San Antonio.

The purpose of the trip was to finalize the new roof on the house, do an inspection, speak with our wonderful tenants about the possibility of purchasing the house.  They love it and we do too but it is too far away to manage.  The roof will be done on the 15th of this month and that is one issue out of the way.  Our tenants keep an immaculate house and it is beautifully decorated.  We're not in any hurry and would like to help them as they recently tied the knot.

Gasoline in Mexico is now the big topic.   I guess we all have short-term memories.   Remember 2014?  We found fuel in Langely, B.C. at $5.75.   Our trip was great but the fuel prices almost broke the budget or really did break the budget.  We slowed down, stayed out of California, came down around the Great Lakes, flew to Nova Scotia and used GasBuddy all in an effort to reduce our expenses.

So now Mexico is joining the global markets.   The mega-nationalized oil company Pemex has been forced to join the ranks of other countries and their oil based economies.   Gas is now around $2.82 a gallon for Magna (regular) and we will now see a free-floating price for fuel as of February 18th.   As stated by the famous economist and Assistant Secretary of Energy, Miguel Messmacher, the prices will fluctuate on a 24 hour basis based on oil pricing and the dollar.  Maybe we need to change the dependence on a dollar led economy?

Yes, there were strikes, some looting in isolated cities and parts of those cities.  You know how the media can make it look like Mexico is on fire.  Speaking of Mexico and comparisons, I stumbled across an interesting website called Numbeo.   You can compare cost of living, crime, safety, pollution, traffic, quality of life as well as property values on a country to country city to city basis.  The data comes from individuals who participate in surveys.  Here is one on crime:

On another note, the temperature here at the house at 9:45 a.m. is -1C.  It will reach 4C today and drop down to maybe -2C tonight before warming up on Monday.   Marina and David from Perth, ON are keeping warm in Corpus Christi before heading down here for a day or two on their way to San Miguel de Allende.  


  1. Gasoline here in Spain is $5.00 a gallon...welcome to the real world...

  2. For most Canadians and Americans the increase in fuel here in Mexico is just an inconvenience. For the Mexicans it is a disaster. I feel for them as I know from our early days of marriage that every penny/peso counts. If we ran out of milk before payday we just did without.