Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

If you are thinking of retiring to Mexico …

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Don’t!  Unless you love adventure, living fearlessly, and enjoy diversity.

When we decided to retire to this little island in the Caribbean we’d already had some experience with Mexico. 

I started holidaying in mid-1960s on the western side of the country, Lynda a bit later. (Damn, we should have learned more Spanish than baños and cerveza!)

Love that turquoise-coloured water

We chose Isla Mujeres for a number of reasons. The first hook was the amazing turquoise water, ten years later we are both still mesmerized by the ocean. Another reason was the kind and friendly people. They are an intriguing mix of Mayan, Spanish and several other cultures.

Lynda and I had previously lived on a small island off the coast of British Columbia Canada, and we knew it takes certain mentality to flourish in a remote community. 

Colour and fun during Carnaval 
You have to be handy and inventive as you can’t always call for help any time that you need it. Isla has lots of handymen, who are usually busy doing jobs for other folks and they will get around to you sooner or later, but not always immediately. It isn’t laziness, it is because they are just too busy but it is not polite in this culture to say ‘no’ to anyone. So they agree to help out, mañana. But as the song says: “Mañana doesn’t mean tomorrow, it just means not today.”
Cowboys waiting for another parade to start

We started with a new-build so everything worked for a while, then the salt and humidity started to create problems. 

Stupid little things started to go wrong and I once again became Joe Handyman. Light fixtures rusted. Light sockets corroded. Door locks seized. Door hinges stiffened. Taps seized up with mineral deposits. It’s a never-ending job.

Dia de Independencia

And some other challenges with living in a foreign country:
The first question our American friends ask is, “What do you do for Medical?” We’re Canadian and we had universal health care back in Canada that we took for granted. But after six months of being outside the country we are no longer eligible for coverage. We thought about health insurance but decided against it. Nobody gets out of life alive. Just think of your grandparents, they didn’t have insurance or health plans.
Revolution Day parade 

About a month after moving one of us developed a high fever and bronchitis. We called the local doctor who immediately came to our house, administered a shot, wrote out a prescription for antibiotics and advised bed-rest for a few days. The bill was five hundred pesos, that’s not a lot of money for fast and caring service. We haven’t met any zillionaire doctors in Mexico.

The one thing we didn’t realize, until we left our country, was the officials and politicians would lose interest in helping us solve problems. 
Worker making a Flowery Cross for top of casa 

Yes, we get our pensions direct deposited to our Canadian banks, but it is an ongoing war with the bureaucrats. First it was a withholding tax on my pensions, even though we declare any and all income on our Canadian tax returns. Then it was an eighteen-month wait for Lynda’s pensions to be processed because she had to prove exactly what day we left Canada in 2008. We drove 8500 kilometers from BC to Isla Mujeres, and neither the American nor the Mexican border guards are required to stamp our passports. We had to get personal friends (not family!) and past employers to verify the date that we left the country. We finally got that resolved, and now, we are fighting over the withholding tax on Lynda’s pensions.
Flowery Cross Day May 3rd

Over the years we have discovered that a lot of ex-pats don’t tell their respective governments that they are living outside the country. They keep a mailing address in their original country and it simplifies everything. I guess I’m stupid. I have this honestly streak and went by the book. It has cost us dearly in time, money, and frustration.

Another beautiful sunset

Once Canadians leave the country for more than five years, we lose our right to vote in any elections, so now the politicians don’t care at all about our challenges. 

But, we still have the privilege of paying our Canadian income tax every year. 

According to our American friends, they can still vote but the ex-pats votes are only counted in certain circumstances. Either way it is a bit odd.

Would we make the same decision and retire to Mexico? 
Hell yes! It is an amazing country and culture.  Just remember that you need that sense of adventure.

Your family will always be family, and although you won’t be right next door they will still love you, and trust me – they will visit you.


(Lynda’s busy writing Tormenta Isla Book #3 of the Isla Mujeres Mystery Series)

There’s Trouble on Isla, Big Trouble!
Book #2 in the Isla Mujeres Mystery Series
Available on Amazon e-books $2.99 USD

 Treasure Isla 
Book #1 Isla Mujeres Mystery Series
            $2.99 USD on most e-book distribution systems.

Here are the links:

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