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Everything posted by NoVaDamer

  1. I have US Dish Network via satellite. Maybe I misunderstand what you wrote, but I have only one, small (probably 4') dish. I get around sixty channels (including all the major networks and ESPN) for about $90 USD a month. Reception is excellent, with the exception of heavy rain. To put that in perspective, I lose satellite lock probably two or three times a year, usually for ten minutes or less.
  2. My apology. The New York Times has a good piece on this today, confirming the original claim about American citizens not receiving the stimulus based on their spouse's ITIN use. I should have known better than to respond as I did: Mea culpa! I got so tired of correcting other people's comments ("it's just a loan" "it's only for residents") that I failed to research BEFORE I shot off my mouth. Again, sorry! https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/us/coronavirus-undocumented-immigrants-stimulus.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US News
  3. 1) yes, 2018/19/20, all (minimal) refunds, all filed with TurboTax
  4. Nonsense. There is nothing on the IRS website stating such a condition. There is a statement saying "non-resident aliens" are not eligible, but that does not change the status of a US citizen spouse. And there is no condition that one be a US resident. I am a US citizen with a permanente here, and my wife and I already received our stimulus checks. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions
  5. This website from US Customs & Border Protection has wait times for border crossings. I bet they will also show other restrictions/changes/etc. https://bwt.cbp.gov/
  6. Second the notion to check with a tax advisor/attorney. As a US citizen, you have a tax domicile whether you choose one or not. It is the last place you resided/paid taxes to, unless you made a positive effort to change it. Some expats claim you don't need to pay state taxes, but it all depends on your last state of residency (tax domicile). For example, I am an Ohio resident and I pay taxes to that state. I can file an affidavit stating I don't live in Ohio anymore (and pay no taxes), but then that state has the right to revoke my driver's license, voter registration, etc. Each state is different. Also, even if you owe no taxes, if you ever plan to have a will probated in the US, the state where that happens will want to know where you paid taxes, or they will attach a lien against your will. Just FYI.
  7. I listened to their promotional pitch, because I was interested in their business model. I don't recall the exact costs, so I don't want to throw something out there; anybody interested can get a quote from them, I am sure. I am also sure there are cheaper places in the States; you get what you pay for in either case.
  8. It's a continuing care retirement community, modeled on many similar successful communities NOB. You buy-in once for a level of service (meals, health care, utilities, transport, etc) and then pay a monthly rent for the type of dwelling you want: home, apartment, etc. The idea is you can start off in independent living, move to assisted living when you need it, and end up in full time (nursing) care at the end, without leaving your community. Some % of the original buy-in is redeemable by you (if you leave) or your heirs (if they carry you out). What makes this interesting is the model is being imported to Mexico, where costs are much less. La Pueblita is the first of several planned communities in Mexico, and is much less expensive than the communities NOB. It is not a timeshare. The developers are professionals with a good track record NOB. Whether it works here, or not, TBD!
  9. According to their webpage, they are at Gate K, international departures. https://www.aicm.com.mx/en/government-entities/inm
  10. Look at the bright side! Some of the topes near Chantepec have become simple bumps due to the repaving. Now that is progress!
  11. Several suggestions. 1) You can get pesos from any ATM once you cross the border, at a much more favorable rate. However, you do face the possibility of an empty ATM, or your card not working (any of the problems which can happen when relying on online banking). If you need to feel secure by having some pesos, contact AAA and you can buy some through them. Just get enough to cover you to an ATM. 2) Don't rely on one form of travel info. Get a good Mexican road atlas delivered to you in the States. If you use GPS, make sure you have the most recent update downloaded to it. I suggest you also get the WAZE app on your phone. It uses Google maps but is augmented by real-time data from all WAZE users. You create a (free) account and it gives you immediate updates on police, road debris, accidents, etc. You need more than one source of travel data in case one isn't working. 3) In picking where to cross, consider what Mexican States you will travel through. For example, Tamilaupas is under a "do not travel" advisory from the US State department, with the following comment: "Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state in marked and unmarked vehicles and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa northwest to Nuevo Laredo." I have crossed at Nuevo Laredo several times without incident, and you are quickly out of Tamilaupas. 4) Travel times in Mexico are much longer. You just can't drive as fast, and you do not want to travel after dark, so many people use two days to get from the border to lakeside. Some make it all the way in daylight, so it is possible. It all depends on your druthers. 5) If you're not in a hurry, take a little time on the US leg of your trip and visit some of the country. Many people make a smuggler's run of 12 hour driving days to get to the border. Taking shorter drives and visiting some places can be more relaxing and rewarding. There is a lot of country, history, culture, and cuisine you're driving by. The same goes for the Mexico leg. 6) Use Mexican toll roads (Cuotas) whenever possible. They are expensive, but faster, safer, and with better services. Also less prone to that Mexican phenomenon of a massive bovine-induced travel back-up. They also have the Green Angels ("Angeles Verdes") who patrol and help stranded motorists. Enjoy!
  12. First of all, the topes they installed on the libramiento are the warning kind: not large enough to do serious damage, but they do jolt you (in a car) and make a loud noise. You can drive over them at speed (40 kmh) in a well maintained car (I have repeatedly) without damage to the vehicle. In a large truck, they would be barely noticeable. Second, if your large truck does not have functioning brakes, hitting a series of noisy topes is just going to move WHERE you have the accident, not prevent it. If cars in front of the truck slow down and crawl over the topes, the truck (without brakes) is going to rear end them, or veer off right into the small buildings, or veer off left into oncoming traffic. If the truck is alone on the libramiento, the same conditions apply: they will zoom over the topes and plow into the intersection. So topes add nothing to the equation if the problem is runaway trucks. If the problem is people speeding on the libramiento as they come into the commercial area near Walmart (which is a problem), warning topes will slow them down, at the cost of some damaged chassis (due to poor maintenance and surprise), some rear end collisions (you stop, I don't), and some bad driving (passing on the left/right to avoid the topes and slower drivers). Such is the nature of all warning topes, yet that is the way Mexico chooses to control traffic speed.
  13. And we use Sky Fitness, which also has everything, including classes. Seems most people choose the gym closest to their homes.
  14. Welcome, Rainman! As you noted, the exchange can make a difference, but it's at the margins. Prices for nice places here are very competitive with similar casas in midsize cities in the US, thus bargains for big city folks, and a little expensive for rural folks. So a change in the exchange rate can slightly affect those outcomes. Like any real marketplace, the primary drivers are supply and demand. When demand dried up after the great recession in the US, US buyers went away and mainly Canadians were buying. Prices were steady and sales slow for several years. Now, Americans are back and there looks to be little to stem the demand. Adding to that, about a third of sales are to Mexicans (mainly from Guad and CDMX), so again steady demand signals. The peso looks to be steady for the next year or so. International forecasts lean toward it devaluing to around 21 (it is strengthening right now due to the USMCA) because the Mexican economy is bordering on a recession and international investors are leery of Presidente AMLO's policies. But the fundamentals are still strong, so a great devaluation is unlikely. As others have mentioned, some sellers "Price their homes in dollars" so the exchange rate does not matter to their transactions. However, all official transactions are in pesos, so somewhere the peso price is annotated on your sales documents. This matters when you sell, as there is another tax (sometimes called by gringos a Capital gains tax, but it is really a sales tax on home sales) and it is assessed on the peso value of your sale compared to the price in pesos you paid. Large drops in Peso value can create a large tax, although there is an exemption, too, which is (I believe) $200,000 USD per person on the deed.
  15. Two years back, we stayed at La Posada, which is right on the river and near the downtown border crossing. Nice place, good restaurants, guarded underground parking, I recall around $100 USD a night. https://historiclaposadahotel.business.site/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=referral
  16. Thanks, Henry, for sharing your humorous story. I especially liked the little homage to Memento, to Memento, to Memento. I think we can all agree that dealing with any Mexican bureaucracy can be frustrating. Sometimes there is a good explanation, for example, the fingerprint scan probably wasn't five separate checks. It was either the same check which didn't "take" or didn't "check out" with a database. When the all-powerful USG rolled out Global Entry, their first fingerprint scanners would do the same thing. Eventually they fined tuned the devices to work the first try. Some of your difficulties were just a failure to communicate. You mention the un vs una problem: different words. Try cashing a check in the US for "won million dollars." I agree that most customer service situations in Mexico can be difficult. I think tellers et al are trained to do just what they are told, so things like "looking up" an account number, which seem quite obvious, are not in the playbook. As you suggest, sometimes all one can do is laugh.
  17. If I understand you correctly, you don't care where you go (in the States), and you can wait for a good time, but you want a cheap flight and back to GDL the same day (if possible). I suggest you use this link to check out all the direct flights from GDL: https://www.flightconnections.com/flights-from-guadalajara-gdl Then you'll need to compare prices on those routes, You can also use Google flights and Rome2Rio to do that. Hope that helps!
  18. I agree with the concept of just going with it. I applied for a TIP online in the US, received it, then found I couldn't make the trip. I contacted Banjercito to cancel the TIP BEFORE the trip was scheduled to start. But they told me that under Mexican law, I had to PROVE I didn't already bring the car into Mexico. I could do so by showing up at the border to return my TIP, or having a notarized letter from my local police stating that the car was not in Mexico. If I didn't do one of these, they informed me I would NOT be allowed another TIP. I lived in DC, so there was no way I was driving to the border just to clear the TIP, and getting the local police to cooperate was really something ("You want me to do what? why?"). Anyway, I eventually got a cancellation notice from Banjercito, but they kept the $400.
  19. As way of background, I have experienced US Army medical care (very inconsistent, from amazing to wretched), Kaiser Permanente HMO (consistently good and inexpensive), and now private care here in Mexico. In general, I find the care here in Mexico more friendly and personable. I also find the expertise (lakeside) to be even more variable than the Army was! All the doctors I have met/associated with here were caring, friendly people. Some were extremely qualified, and others turned out to be quacks. I ran into plenty of unfriendly doctors NOB, but very few quacks. You need to spend some time when settling in to ask friends for recommendations, but then meet some doctors and ask some hard questions. If you have pre-existing conditions, don't tell them (first) what your current course of treatment is: ask what they suggest. You might learn of an alternative approach, or you might get a clue you've run into a friendly quack. Medical costs here are (generally) less than the States. The doctors I have used are less likely to prescribe extensive testing to protect themselves from malpractice tort, since that is not much of a thing here. But I have met some who routinely (and unnecessarily) refer to specialists as a means to build income. Medical care is one of those areas expats really need to take charge and do due diligence, or you can get a very bad outcome!
  20. Both my wife and I have had her as our primary doctor for about a year. We are very satisfied. She actually listens to your complete history first, tries easy approaches first (instead of opting for surgery first) and is very friendly. We strongly recommend her!
  21. Great catch by RVGringo about the Guadalupana: there are a ton of activities related to her feast day (Dec 12th) which you will either want to attend or plan around. Other ideas, in no particular order: Eat dinner at Viva Mexico in San Juan Cosala (SJC) Go to the Open Circle presentation at LCS on Sunday morning, eat brunch in the village, go for a stroll along the malecon. Take the Charter Club "Around the Lake" 1 day tour. Do happy hour at Cima de Copal above the Piedras Barrenadas (near SJC). Order a seafood molcajete on the Chapala Malecon and watch the voladores (acrobats). Visit the goat farm near Mezcala, then have a local guide take you out and show you Mezcala island. Go to Guadalajara and attend Lucha Libre, see the Centro Historico, check out La Barranca de Huentitán park, shop at the Mercado San Juan de Dios. Visit Tequila on the bus/train tour. Do the beginner's hike with the Ajijic hiking club. Get an online subscription to the Guadalajara Reporter (note the name! NOT the Lake Chapala Reporter) which will give you up-to-date info on activities. Try out some of the ethnic restaurants in Ajijic (German, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Argentine, Spanish, Cuban, etc) to see what is available. Attend a fiesta spontaneously; there will be one during those days, so just join in. Eat the vendor food, listen to the music, dance. Spend an afternoon on the Ajijic plaza. Eat at Chile Verde, get an ice cream or cafe, sit and people watch. Attend a tianguis, preferably the ones in Chapala or Jocotepec. Ajijic's will do, too. Check out the Tuesday market at La Huerta de Serna (west of Ajijic), where all the Gringos meet. Coming or going to the airport, hit Los Milagros de Dalila for a burrito. Other will have more, better ideas, but this is an off the cuff start.
  22. Again, not HaveHammaers related, but when we decided to get two Murphy beds installed about two years ago, we went with California Closets out of Guadalajara. They did a great job installing and customizing both sets. Here is their link: https://www.californiaclosets.com/locations/mexico/guadalajara-showroom/
  23. Carlos & Gosha (of Gosha's) have taken over the location of the old Blue Moon bar. It has soft opened, and will eventually change names to El Sombrero. They will have a Tex-Mex menu, although they will be experimenting with different things for now, so go, try them out, and let them know what you liked. I have attached the menu as it is now. I believe they will keep music one night a week.
  24. There is a website which can help: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all-list While I realize this is TSA and therefore only a US thing, the US security rules are often adopted by other countries. The TSA site even provides a Messenger/Twitter link where you can send questions or pics and ask if they are allowable.
  25. Never used SkyMed myself, but I have had several friends here use it, and all swear by it. RVGRINGO is correct, you must be stabilized first, so you'll get some care in a Mexican hospital. That's not unique, or just a SkyMed rule: medical best practice is to stabilize the patient before transfer. SkyMed provides a bilingual advocate to you at the local hospital until transfer. My friends reported SkyMed worked as advertised: one requested immediate evacuation back to the States, while another waited a month and tried some local hospitals before deciding to go back: SkyMed evacuated both cases. I also know of a case where SkyMed evacuated some one who hadn't yet officially applied, but just got sick after attending the info seminar and was thinking of applying.
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