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Everything posted by CharlieG

  1. A couple of weeks ago I took Hwy 15 up to Nogales from Chapala. Roads were excellent and should be considering the amount of tolls one pays during such a trip. Seemed like there was a toll station every 15 minutes. Well, a lot anyway. Although I have driven this route alone many times I chose to use a driver this time as back problems have me pretty much incapacitated. We planned a two day trip, one day to Los Mochis and then one more day up to Nogales. All went smoothly until, between Guaymas and Hermosillo, in the middle of the desert, my car started overheating and we could not continue. A hose had come loose and all my coolant had escaped. I had no auto tools with me and only a liter of drinking water. We were stuck for about three hours and no passing cars would stop to help. With good reason as most Mexican travelers are afraid of each other and stopping to help a stranded motorist is not part of the current culture. Apparently two big guys standing in the road waving empty water bottles did not inspire confidence. Calls to the 074 emergency number got only vague promises that perhaps, in five or six hours, a tow truck could be sent out from Guaymas. Not very helpful and the famous Green Angels who used to patrol the roads are nowhere to be seen these days. Incidentally if you don't speak and understand Spanish you will have a very, very hard time calling for the help that's maybe never going to come anyway. Finally I remembered that there was a Leatherman tool somewhere in my luggage and with it we were able to re-attach the loose hose. But we still had no water. After close to three hours a pickup stopped across the hwy in the southbound lane and Felipe my driver ran over and caught him before he could take off. Fortunately he had a two gallon jug of drinking water that we were able to buy from him and that allowed us to limp into Hermosillo and refill with coolant. Note...this guy didn't stop to help us, he was reading a map when Felipe started knocking on his window. The moral of this story is that if you are going to drive across that desert you should be prepared to handle any type of minor breakdown yourself because it's very probable that no one is going to stop to help you. At least that was my very recent experience. Take tools, several gallons of water and spares of any parts that are likely to fail on the trip I had never had any type of problem before on any of the many trips I've made through Mexico over the years and had become complacent. I will be much better prepared should I ever make this trip again. Charlie
  2. Rafael Aguilar...3312165892. Rafael has a car rental business, drives people and their belongings to the border himself and has other excellent drivers working with him who do trips also. A week or so ago I found it necessary to get myself and my car to the border at Nogales and due to some serious back problems I was hesitant to take the trip alone this time doing all the driving myself. Rafael set me up with one of his drivers, Felipe, who drove all the way (two long days) and was very helpful in getting us back on the road when my car broke down between Guaymas and Hermosillo. I can't recommend Rafael and his crew highly enough. Felipe doing the driving took most of the pain out of the trip for me and I spent the time listening to audio books. Had he not been able to talk a passing driver, the only one who stopped anywhere near us in over two hours, out of a couple of gallons of water the breakdown we experienced could have been much worse than a few hours of delay. I also strongly suggest that anyone making this trip across the desert carry a few gallons of water with them and some tools. The Green Angels must be busy tuning their harps somewhere these days and trying to get a tow truck out to the desert can take hours. Despite several desperate calls to various emergency numbers no one ever showed up to help us. But, all ended well. I am safely relocated to Tucson and will soon be getting free VA treatment for my physical problems. Just wanted to commend good work. Charlie G
  3. +1 for Dr. Daniel Hernandez at Integrity. Did a TURP prostate procedure on me last May that was quick, painless and successful. Just one night in a small private clinic in Guad and he came all the way out to my house in Ajijic the next night just to remove the catheter. Can't recommend him highly enough but don't know about insurance. I paid him in cash. in pesos, as many doctors prefer to be paid but the cost was very reasonable.
  4. As a followup to my original post I want to provide some first-hand information on how leaving Mexico by air with a substantial number of gold bullion coins actually worked out.... My friend with the coins and I went through the process Saturday. Following AlanMexicali's advice I went to the site link he provided and found the SAT form required to declare monetary instruments in excess of US$10,000 when leaving Mexico. I read all the instructions carefully, filled out the form and thought we were completely prepared when we checked in at the airport in Guad. Approaching the security check area I inquired as to where the "box" was located into which I needed to put the declaration. I got blank looks from several officials I asked and finally was told I needed to go to the Aduana "window" instead. We started searching for the Aduana window..... After being misdirected several times we finally were pointed down a long corridor where construction was being done and after a long walk arrived at a place with a desk and a metal detector where I started telling my story about wanting to declare that we were leaving the country with bullion coins. The pleasant female guard at the desk didn't know what I was talking about (although I speak good Spanish) and called someone else out who led us around to the Aduana office which it turned out is located in the passenger arrival section of the terminal. Not easy to access from the check in area. The office was staffed by five young ladies and an older, male manager. We were greeted with smiles, seated on a sofa in the outer office and then asked questions by several different girls who kind of seemed to know what was going on but kept going back to the inner office to confer with the manager and coming out again with more questions. We had allowed over an hour before the flight boarded to get this done and the clock was ticking. We were told to just wait and I started hearing the manager making phone calls from the inner office asking someone else questions but I could not make out what he was saying. Time went by and the phone calls continued. About 15 minutes before boarding time I mentioned to one of the girls that we had to catch out plane and was told "tranquillo". Just relax. Right! With ten minutes left the manager finally came out from the back waving the documents we'd provided, the declaration and a spreadsheet I had prepared that detailed the numbers of gold bullion coins we carried by country of issuance, denomination, face value and market value based on the prior day's closing spot metal prices for coins plus the total of U.S. and Mexican currency being carried. He then explained that after all his questioning one of his superiors had finally advised him that Mexico did not consider bullion coins issued by foreign governments or mints to be "money" and therefore these coins were not required to be included in the Mexican "Declaration of Money" required when leaving the country with more than $10K in monetary instruments. Mexican bullion coins, he explained, WERE considered to be money but not foreign coins. So, with 5 minutes left before boarding we were dismissed with smiles and hand shakes but with no documentation of what he had just told us nor any proof that we had been examined and released by Aduana. We headed for the plane and then.... We found we had to go through security again to get to the gate. For the first time during the years that I have been travelling in and out of Latin countries with small numbers of coins the guy checking the Xray of our carry on bags noticed the metal and had to examine the contents of the bag. He pulled out the plastic sheets containing the coins, started waving them around and calling his buddies over to check out the pretty coins. The clock was still ticking. Other travelers were watching. Not good! Somehow maintaining my composure I carefully explained the deal to the security guy, who obviously didn't know anything about handling a situation like ours, but who, to my pleased amazement, put the coins back in the bag and waved us through. Miracles do happen and fortunately the plane boarded late and we made it. Whew! That was a nerve wracking experience. Bottom line is....You can travel in and out of Mexico legally carrying foreign bullion coins if when coming in you declare them as "mercancia", merchandise, rather than money and when leaving you really don't have to declare them at all. But good luck getting through security without a hassle. Best to report first to the Aduana office to get some direction and perhaps something in writing to get you through security. Best to allow lot's of extra time because something will almost certainly get complicated by the reality that most of the officials involved don't know the regulations themselves. Then, when arriving in the U.S. such coins ARE considered to be "monetary instruments" and must be declared to U.S. customs on FinCEN form 105. That's another whole story. U.S. Customs turned out to be rather cold and suspicious and asked a lot of questions about the source and the purpose of carrying the coins. Welcome home, Traveler! Having a credible story ready is suggested and probably the truth works best. In any case this procedure can take up to an hour also. AlanMexicali's advice was partially correct. When leaving Mexico with Mexican coins such as Libertades or Centenarios they must be declared as money if the value is more the US$10K. Whether this is face value or market value did not come up as we were so short of time and this was not our immediate problem. Nor was there time to discuss what would happen when incoming foreign coins are reported as merchandise...subject to duty? To IVA? I don't know and don't need to know as I will never again get involved in such a situation. I am clear now that foreign coins are not required to be declared under Mexican law when they are being removed from Mexico. They must, however, be declared at market value when leaving or entering the U.S. and failure to do so is a crime. Confiscation is probable if undeclared coins are discovered. Although there is a lot of merit to the idea of having some of one's wealth in the form of "real" money in their possession and available even when living in a foreign country the realities involved in moving bullion coins back and forth across national borders with all the restrictions that currently exist make such a plan pretty difficult and just a whole lot of hassle to execute. It can be done but is probably not worth the trouble. I won't even get into the risks of driving in and out of Mexico with such a valuable cargo. Definitely not recommended. Hopefully this rather wordy report will help others who may have the same questions that I had.
  5. Yes, it seems Diclofenac can be really hard on the kidneys. I have used small doses to control arthritis pain in my knees for several years and have developed issues with my kidneys. A kidney specialist I visited today told me that this medication could well be the source of my problem and warned me off it along with the rest of the NSAIDs. Fortunately there are other options.
  6. Just recently I have started experiencing troubling kidney symptoms and a blood test today shows there is something not good going on. Does anyone know of a kidney specialist (nephrologist) who comes out to the lakeside area or is going to Guadalajara the only option? Thanks.....
  7. AlanMexicali, Thank you very, very much. That is exactly the information I was seeking. The instructions do not specifically mention gold coins which concerns me a bit but then neither do the instructions for declaring monetary instruments when entering the U.S. and they definitely want anything with a value of over US$10K to be declared. I guess the best course of action is to have my friend declare the coins at their market value and hope there is no other, unknown problem relating just to metals. I really appreciate your help.
  8. I have a friend who is planning to fly out of GDL to the U.S. and is thinking of transporting some gold bullion coins with her with a market value in excess of US$10K. She knows that they will have to be declared to U.S. Customs upon arrival in the U.S. but needs to know if there is any requirement to declare them to Mexican Customs when departing from GDL and, if so, where at GDL airport would she go to make the declaration. Has anyone had experience with a situation such as this? Any thoughts and guidance would be appreciated.
  9. Dr. Daniel Hernandez at Integrity Clinic. Performed a very successful prostate surgery on me in May. Painless, great care, not expensive and had a good outcome. I can highly recommend him.
  10. I need some work done on some quality men's suits and none of the seamstresses lakeside can handle it. So...guess I need a real tailor. All the posts relating to tailors at lakeside seem to be 3 or 4 years old. I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a tailor who is currently in business in Ajijic or Chapala. Thanks.....
  11. I've been using this CBD oil I buy on Mercado Libre for the last six months as a sleep aid. I've been putting about a quarter dropper full under my tongue an hour before I plan to go to sleep. Works very well for me. For years I was troubled by annoying lucid dreams that disturbed my sleep and this oil has eliminated them completely and allows me to sleep more deeply and longer. Good stuff and the supplier is very reputable. Product comes by FedEx the day after I order it. https://articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-624008149-oil-premium-cbd-hemp-750-mg-alta-concentracion-envio-gratis-_JM
  12. I've bought dozens of things through Mercado Libre over the last five years. Always quick delivery and products as advertised. I always look there first when I'm in the market for anything. Bought my current cel from a vendor there {a reconditioned iPhone 4s} a couple of years ago and it's still working great. The system works most smoothly when using a debit/credit card on a Mexican bank.
  13. Dr. Daniel Hernandez at Integrity Clinic. He performed a prostate surgery on me in May that was painless and very successful. Nice guy, good english and very caring. Can't recommend him highly enough.
  14. I'm contemplating having a TURP procedure done by this doctor and would appreciate comments from anyone who has had this procedure performed by him. Thanks in advance.
  15. Tried to renew at American Legion in Chapala this morning. What a clusterf**k. Lots of people and they would only accept a Banamex check in the exact amount of $2,090 to renew the book. Nothing less and nothing more. I was advised by the Consulate by email about a week ago that the amount was $2,200 pesos and brought a bank check in that amount. Paid $250 in commission to the bank to get the check. No go even though I showed the consular rep the email. Suggested they just keep the extra $110 and apply it to the National Debt but that didn't work either. Many unhappy people had checks in incorrect amounts and were rejected. Apparently they all headed for Banamex as when I passed there it looked like there were long, long lines of people inside. I may have to try again next month if I can't find a better way to renew. Maybe they'll get their act together by March. Our tax dollars at work, folks. Gotta love the bureaucracy.
  16. Just noticed that my passport is expiring on February 10. Can anyone tell me if renewing an expired passport is a problem. I noticed the post saying that the next visit to LCS will be on Feb 20 and wonder if I can wait until then to do my renewal. Thanks....
  17. When my old modem failed a couple of months ago I contacted Telmex Mexico City and was told I would receive a new one within 3 days. Of course it never showed up and rather than deal further with Telmex I just bought a couple of new, latest model Telmex modems online from Mercado Libre. Around 200 or 300 pesos each delivered and I got them the next day. I bought one each of two different models to make sure one would work. It turned out that they both worked fine so I'm keeping the extra as a spare. Solved my problem.
  18. I bought a pair of San Antonio Shoes last year at the SAS store in Plaza del Sol and have found them to be great shoes for walking on cobblestones. I wear a 13 wide which can be very hard to find in Mexico. Nice people at that store too. They had to order the shoes I wanted from their local warehouse and as I didn't feel like driving into Guad again to pick them up I asked them to ship them to me in Ajijic. They couldn't figure out how to do that so one of the salesladies brought them out to me and delivered them personally. I've also bought other SAS shoes on EBay. Often almost new and at less than half the new price. I have those shipped to the U.S. address of a local facilitator who then brings them down to me. These shoes are so good that to me it's worth a little trouble and expense to get something that really works.
  19. Thanks to all for the feedback. I appreciate your comments.
  20. The air conditioner on my car is blowing hot air and recharges last about a week. Looks like I need a competent auto air repairman. I've searched on this but all the posts are several years old. I'm wondering if anyone can point me towards a good shop or a mechanic who is expert who in this type of work. Preferably Lakeside as I try to avoid Guadalajara. I'll appreciate any guidance. Thanks.....
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