Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tequisquiapan, Mexico --- A Reality Check

Please get ready for a bumpy ride and a long post. I’ve done a lot of thinking about this, which is why there was no post for quite a while. My apologies.

Now that I have lived in my little “casita” for more than a month and been around Tequisquiapan, even ventured out to San Juan del Rio and Querétaro, I feel that I should add a word of warning to the unsuspecting who, like me, took at their word the descriptions and assurances of some who publish claims about Tequis, many of which need further investigation and questioning.

There is NO sizeable chunk of English-speaking residents in Tequis, unlike Chappalah, Ajijic, Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende and other cities that count a number of expats but are pricier. There are NO books in languages other than Spanish. Learning a new language is both challenging and time-consuming. Make no mistake about this. SPANISH MUST BE LEARNED if one wants to socialize and is without a Spanish-speaking partner. Entertainment, unless one counts walking around the plaza, going to one of the “tianguis” or outdoor markets, little bodegas, is practically non-existent, except for the numerous raucous fiestas. Movies (or shows, as is sometimes written) are all in Spanish.

Now, there is a world of difference between trekking on this lovely continent in a fully equipped motor home and living in a stationary home in a country and climate so different from one’s own. Ask questions? Sure, but which ones? Like, Are there kitchen cupboards? WHAT! A drug cabinet in the bathroom? WHY IN THE WORLD NOT! How big is the fridge? YOU MUST BE KIDDING, NO FRIDGE! . . .NO STOVE EITHER! Now, Tequis can be quite cold at night and early morning throughout winter. THERE IS NO SOURCE OF HEATING OTHER THAN THE SUN! Electric blankets are a must.

So, here goes. . . Unless one comes here with VERY comfortable savings, one should count on getting broke real fast. Houses for rent (I was in no position to buy any, I already had one on wheels, which cannot be sold as yet) come with a roof, walls, doors, and windows. Oh, and a bathroom or two. NO fridge, NO cupboards, NO stove, NO mosquito screens most of the time, NO appliance of any sort. And this house is no exception. Almost all that are destined for Mexicans (or expats. . .) come bare of all except a roof, walls, doors and windows, some like mine with huge closets, fortunately. No second-hand bargains in Tequis either. Furniture is lovingly passed from one generation to the other.

Therefore, besides furniture, the initial outlay of cash is beyond a surprise. It is a RUDE AWAKENING. If the place needs painting, it is often at the renter’s expense. PLUS the absolutely gorgeous ceilings made of bricks and in the shape of an arc up towards the center need to be occasionally scrubbed with a wire brush, after which, a sealant needs to be applied, both inside and out. In my case, the landlady ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to cover the cost ($300.00) of inside sealing, which added to painting the place, the purchase of appliances and furniture, is breaking the bank. All of these I found out at my own expense. And, it was costly! Still is. But despite all, I am settling in and not considering moving back to the uncertainties of life as a vagabond. Perhaps a wise move at age 70.

Another rather unpleasant and painful surprise for a pet person like me was the number of roaming dogs, some mangy, many very tiny and in obvious need of anything to eat. It will most likely be from garbage left early on the street (not advisable). I witnessed a seriously hurt tiny poodle dragging its paralyzed rear end on the cobblestone sidewalk. For a few minutes, it took refuge under my motor home then dragged itself down the road. I doubt that it is still alive. The sight of most will just break your heart.

There are definite pluses to be had in Tequis. So now that I have vented out, let me state how delightful the qualities that Tequis delivers can be. Just as venting came with the house, so does merit. For a similar accommodation up North, the price would be at least triple, most likely quadruple, or more.

Also, Tequis is not a bustling city with hardly any elbow room to tackle a sidewalk. Its colonial charm is undeniable. Flowers abound. The COURTEOUSNESS of the people here is reminiscent of old-world manners. Every person one walks across will salute you with a “Buenos dias”, or a Buenas tardes”. The children are well-dressed, superbly clean and wonder of wonders, POLITE!

If a visit to a doctor is required, the doctor will invite you into his office, sit down and another wonder of wonders, engage you in a dialogue querying you about your complaint then issuing his diagnostic or sending you for further tests, with explanations. Time is not an issue. Many drugs do not require a prescription and are reasonably priced.

And yes, your garbage bags will be picked on a daily or on every second day basis. But the garbage thrown by the wayside and in vacant lots WILL NOT. Let it be a word of caution to the unprepared or NOT warned, as I was. Taxis are cheap, 20 pesos (a little under $2.00) to take you anywhere in the city, no tips required. TaxiVans are 5 pesos, or about 50 cents. Help is very affordable.

There are all kinds of little “tienditas”, or convenience stores that are very reasonable and store many items, from Raid to fresh tortillas of the day to detergent and receipt booklets. All that I have seen so far are impeccably clean. Tiny hardware stores stock an incredible number of items considering their sizes. And one can find them within a stone’s throw in any district. The people one meets on the street are all impeccably clean. Boys and girls all wear their school uniforms and all appear clean and freshly pressed. 

But more than anything, what impresses me the most of the Mexican people I’ve met in Tequis is their amiability, their willingness to help any stranger in their midst, the old-world politeness and charming manners that have disappeared from our frazzled and equality-obsessed Northern cultures. So, is there a culture shock arriving in Mexico as other than a tourist? Undeniably. In my case, it hovered between pleasure and pain, often yoyo’ing from one to the other in the same day. Are there hardships based on misinformation, lack or incompleteness of it? Certainly. Could these have been investigated prior to coming here? That, I’m not so sure about. Coming from either the U.S. or Canada where there are certain standards and amenities expected in any rental other than fully furnished, one would not think of asking whether a fridge or a stove or even mosquito screens come with the rental. In Tequis, unless one is WELL acquainted with a local resident who speaks English, this kind of information would be difficult, if not impossible, to find before arriving. I didn’t find out until I was here. I agree that it may not be everyone’s reality check. It was mine.

In short, this is a post destined to anyone who comes here charmed out of their socks and is excusably ignorant of what questions to ask. A tourist has few objectives other than to enjoy the place. But anyone wanting to settle down will be hard put to find out all that is necessary to do so unless fluent in Spanish or having the (constant at first) help of a friend or acquaintance with true Tequis experience. It would be most unfortunate to find all this out at a point of no return. Which is my case.  Which is the reason for my long and detailed post. Knowledge is power. 

1 comment:

KMK Real Estates said...

Wonderful information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend nandu , hyderabad,i have read at least 7 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your website gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a ton once again, Regards,
Fully Furnished office space for rent in KPHB Colony
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Paradaise Circle
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Khairathabad
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Hi-Tech City
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Secunderabad
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Hyderabad
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Kukatpally
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in HimayathNagar
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Ameerpet
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in S R Nagar
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in SD Road
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in SP Road
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Gachibowli
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Kondapur
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Madhapur
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Kavuri Hills
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Jubilee Hills
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Banjara Hills
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Panjagutta
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Somajiguda
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Rajbhavan Road
Fully Furnished Office Space for rent in Begumpet

Custom Search