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John Shrall

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Everything posted by John Shrall

  1. There are a large number of posts on this board regarding the "best" way to move money from NOB to Mexico. Everyone has a favorite solution that is the best for their circumstances. Take some time and do some searches to find your best options.
  2. If you leave early in the morning you'll have no problem getting to Laredo well before dark. So long as there are no obstacles you should be on Bridge II in under 11 hours. The same trip in December gets a little more dicey with the short days and the big mountains in Saltillo but not so much now. Enjoy the drive. It's actually quite pretty or at least better than some of the interstates in the US.
  3. Tuesday nights at La Bodega in late 2004 was the place to be. Dewayne and his crew of Ron Baker on the guitar (one of the best), Alan in his fatigues on the drums, Rick Ungar taking time off from his day jobs on the harmonica and Carol Bedford who regularly joined in. There were probably others that dropped by during his time at La Bodega but we're talking a long time ago and memories fade. Dewayne really couldn't sing very well but he was the central character/entertainer of a group that kept lots people coming back every week. The chemistry was magical and somehow we did line dances on the small space on the upper level.
  4. So the CBP agents at land border crossings are now going to have to ask for proof of vaccination and verify that proof is not fake? It's probably not in their job description, would add lots of wait times at the border and possibly result in some resentment from those agents as their job is to verify citizenship or documents from non-citizens allowing them to enter the country. I envision slowdowns as a silent protest if this is implemented.
  5. Correct. However if this is your first autopay charge, check both the CFE site and your card to make sure the charge went through correctly. After the first time there is nothing else needed.
  6. You definitely receive that message if your bill is setup for automatic payment by CFE, not a 3rd party. The charge should be made to your debit or credit card 4 or 5 days before the due date.
  7. The bells chime "Ave Maria" (Schubert) at noon. Just heard it.
  8. Unless you have a reason to go to McAllen, the shortest route appears to be I-10 along the Gulf through Houston, I-410 around San Antonio to I-35 to Laredo. Then your choice of the Matehuala 57D or 54 Zacatecas/Aguascalientes route from Saltillo. I think I'd avoid crossing at any of the smaller Rio Grande Valley border towns at this time. Just my opinion of course. I've made a trip through Laredo 3 times this year with no incidents whatsoever other than the usual overloaded trucks that can't maintain any speed in the mountains and impatient drivers.
  9. Everyone has their favorite route but to Laredo there really is only 2. I prefer the route that starts with the Macrolibriamento Sur connecting to 45D toward Aguascalientes at the end of the Hwy 80D. Maps can get you through town but the Convencion 1914 loop to the right is one way often used to reconnect to 45D on the north end. From there it's a straight shot NE toward Zacatecas until you make the right turn on 54 toward Saltillo, then to Monterrey and finally to Nuevo Laredo. The signage is good except the exit at the west end of Monterrey to get on the perifico anillo you need to be in the right lane. It's posted but the placement of the toll booth seems counter-intuitive. You exit on the left to turn right and right to turn left. The tolls are just under $1,450 as of August. The last time we crossed the bridge going both north and then looking back on the return, there were absolutely no cars queued for US customs. We normally get to Nuevo Laredo in 10 1/2 - 11 hours and often are through customs and in a hotel room in 12 hours. If you want a shorter trip you can continue on the Monterrey perifico past 85D about 10 minutes to the airport exit. There are lots of hotels there. It's then an easy start the next morning for the 2 hour trip to the border. By doing that you can check the bridge cam and wait times to decide if a straight shot to Bridge II is shorter or if the bridge is backed up you can divert to Columbia where you head back toward I-35. The divert is only practical if the wait is an hour or longer since there's more distance involved driving to Columbia.
  10. You can also stop by Francisco's shop next to the restaurant at 5 de Febrero & the carretera in Ajijic. He does aluminum doors and screens and has access to materials in Guadalajara. He might be able to help.
  11. My first serious camera was a Minolta SRT101 circa 1968. A friend and I used to develop film in a darkroom in high school (B&W only). The good thing was we could buy a 100 foot roll of 35mm film and roll our own tubes.
  12. Agreed. The new phones take amazing photos no doubt. But if you want to catch a shot of a tennis ball at the point of impact wit the racquet you need a camera that can take multiple photos per second. If you want to take a photo of the stars you need to be able to open the shutter for 20 or 30 seconds. There are lots of situations where a point and shoot or DSLR is needed but if you're taking photos of people or places the phone works great. I use the iPhone pano a lot even though I have the big camera. You can take multiple photos and merge them in Photoshop but the iPhone is easier. Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, iPhone pano. But in the end it was more impressive in person.
  13. One other comment about cameras that might be of interest to you or others wanting to learn more. There is a great book called "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson that breaks down the components of photography allowing you to take better photos. It's basic information about the photographic triangle of aperture, shutter speed and light (ISO). It spans film and digital cameras. I was at a wedding a very long time ago and asked the photographer for a book recommendation. This book was his suggestion and I have to admit, a reread every so often is enlightening even when using a high tech mirrorless camera.
  14. There are a lot of good point and shoot cameras available with decent megapixel quality, zoom and recording capabilities. I have a Panasonic Lumix for example that cost about $600 at the time that I've used on vacations when I don't want to carry around a DSLR body and multiple lenses. Once you get into a camera with separate body and lenses the cost of ownership rises drastically. A good glass lens can often cost more than the body. Start with a budget and find what you believe to be the best camera for the price. They'll all take good photos and videos.
  15. I don't know if this is true for the Amigo plan but if you add more data to a regular plan, the extra data continues on the monthly bill until you go to mitelcel.com and cancel it.
  16. You might try calling Ruben @ 33-3176-6069. He does moving work for Strom but has worked freelance for me on occasion. He can move whatever you need moved.
  17. I was responding to the OP, not you. I guess we're all confused.
  18. First of all if you are concerned about the status of your lease you should seek professional help, not here. However if you have a lease for a specific time period and you are beyond the end date, that lease is technically terminated so you must look at the lease to find out where you stand. Does the lease say it automatically renews for another fixed period of time? As a landlord, all of my leases state that at the end date of the contract the lease reverts to a month to month basis with each party able to give 30 days notice to either vacate or terminate. Some tenants don't care and do not pursue another lease agreement covering a new period. Others want to lock in a time period and price. If the lease agreement doesn't specify what happens after the end date on the contract you'd be in limbo unless Mexican law provides guidance.
  19. Bancomer ATMs are free of charge if you have a checking account with them. Downside is the daily card limit is $9,300 pesos but in a crunch cash is available in the branch. Multiva charges $10US for an incoming wire. Ameritrade outgoing wires are free. Multiva daily interest accounts more than cover the wire fee. Transfer money between the two by cell app. Credit cards reduce the need for physical cash. ATM surcharges seem to be creeping up. It's free money for the ATM owner.
  20. It's more than Tapatios. I've been to the PVR airport twice this month to pick up family. Each time there were 8 full planes arriving in the same hour. It took two hours plus for customs to process them. There are 24 international arrivals and 13 domestic between 1pm and 5pm daily. That's easily 4,000 or more people arriving each day via airplane and this is the low season. It wouldn't be surprising to see similar numbers for Cancun and Cabo.
  21. Totalplay is certainly making inroads not only here but their presence is very noticeable in Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps it is a coincidence but ILOX seems to be more stable in the recent past and has quietly relabeled their 300mb package to 350mb. While the highest speed seen in the beginning was 280mb, the speeds now are above the advertised level. It's probably not a coincidence but once again you gotta love competition.
  22. Similar unusual weather pattern on the Pacific. During a 3 week stay last month in Guayabitos the overnight rain would continue until noonish when either the sun came out and the steam rose or it stayed overcast the remainder of the day. Our fair skinned visitors didn't mind much leaving without sunburns and also avoiding many afternoons under sweltering sunny heat. Lots of rain too. The entire city was underwater after an early morning rain event. The normally tranquil canal behind our house turned into raging rapids for 8 hours.
  23. Yes and voice messages are sent by email. Often when on the road the cell doesn't ring but there is a notification of a missed call.
  24. Magic Jack has worked well over the years for a US phone number. At only $5/month it's more reasonable than a second SIM card from a US carrier. The service can be downloaded on one cell phone and with it you can receive most texts. Some financial institutions like Ameritrade allow foreign phone numbers. The only problem was Capital One. They wouldn't send a text to a VOIP number. I added my brother's cell to the account, made the request and he passed along the text message with the code I needed to get into the system.
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