Category Archives: Travel

Lesson learned – a question of who to trust

Yesterday as I picked up a few essentials at Super Lake, bemoaning the fact that I had thirteen dollars left until my pensions come in at the end of the month and wondering how I was going to make it, and, yes, feeling sorry for myself, when I came out of the store I noticed a young girl standing just outside the entrance. She had a crude cardboard sign with English and Spanish scrawled on it saying “please help me. I need food for my baby”.

It’s a sad fact of life here that Mexicans are forced to beg. Kids are often trying to sell you something. Ladies sit outside places like Super Lake with a cup in their hands hoping you will give them a few pesos. The vast majority of Mexicans live in abject poverty.

As I came out I reached into my pocket and gave her the few coins I had planned for the bus. I couldn’t carry what I had on the bus so I was going to need my driver to come and get me, something I could ill afford.

As I stood outside waiting for him I watched person after person just ignores this girl, not even returning the hello she said to them. They saw her sign but just walked by her. As usual with Super Lake, there were no locals coming out because they can’t afford to shop there. I wondered if local folks would ignore a woman begging for food for her baby?

After a few minutes watching this I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked her to come back to the store with me to get some food for her baby. I told her I was not a rich American so I couldn’t get her very much but I would try. She got bread and some small jars of baby food and I treated her to some chocolate for herself. It was only a couple hundred pesos.

She was thrilled at this very small gesture. She told me her name was Melissa and she showed me a picture of her baby, Daniel Alexander. I gave her my card and told her that if she ever faced a day when she had no food to come to my place and I would feed her something. She couldn’t stop smiling and even helped me with my groceries when my driver arrived.

My point in telling this story is simply to encourage you to give when you can, especially if you have more money than you need. The locals are an admirable, warm, proud people, happy with little but when someone like Melissa needs our help please give. It will make you feel very good, as it did for me.

As that old radio program used to say, “And now for the rest of the story.” Oh, and this is a good one. If all you get out of it is how stupid I am, well, you are SO right.

First, Melissa called me yesterday and asked to meet me at Super Lake so I could buy her more food for her “baby”. I told her it wouldn’t be much because I don’t have it to give her but I would buy some for her. I said I would be there around 3:30 and we agreed to meet. She wasn’t there but called me later to tell me she was now at Super Lake and expected me to come back. I said no but told her if she came to my house I would give her a little money. Big mistake!

She showed up a while later with a friend in tow, no doubt because she didn’t want to be alone with a man in his apartment, regardless of the fact that I could be her grandfather. So be it. I understood. I fed both of them. Her friend and I went out on the terrace to have a smoke and Melissa asked where my broom was because she was going to do some cleaning for me for the money I gave her. Nice, I thought. Then she said they had to go because her “baby” was sick. We said our goodbyes.

Oh, read on. This gets a lot juicier. A little while later her friend came back alone. Needless to say, I wondered why. I thought she might have forgotten something. She then tells me that Mellissa had shown her my diamond ring and said she was going to sell it! Sure enough, I checked and it was gone! This was the thanks I got for helping her?

We called the police who showed up fairly quickly. They took all the information and then told me to call Uber to take us to the Chapala police station where they would meet us and then go to Melissa’s house together. When her friend and I arrived at the police station it was closed. No sight of the two officers that came to my apartment. An officer outside said we couldn’t do anything more tonight and we had to come back in the morning.

I figured that my thousand dollar ring would be sold by then so I convinced her friend to go to her house and confront Melissa to give back my ring or she could deal with the police tomorrow. She didn’t answer the door and when her friend called her on my driver’s phone so she wouldn’t recognize the number she hung up on her. Now the plan is to go to her house in the morning with her friend and the police to confront her to get my ring back. No doubt she has either sold the ring by then or will simply deny she stole it. The police believe her friend who Melissa was dumb enough to show the ring to and tell her she was going to sell it.

We gave her the chance tonight to just give my ring back and be done with it. No police. No charges. No possible jail time, but she refused.

The bad part of my story is how stupid I was to trust this girl. It turns out she has five children, all of whom have been taken away from her. For me, as dumb as I know I was to trust her and try to help her, the good part is that I know her friend could have simply gone home and forgotten about it. Instead, she came back to my place to tell me what happened and then she spent hours with me dealing with the police, going to Chapala, confronting Melissa, and now she’s doing it all again tomorrow.

I have hesitated to name her until this is hopefully over and maybe I get my ring back, but she works at Super Lake and I hope to be able to disclose this amazingly honest girl’s name so you can tell her she did the right thing when you see her.

I pray that tomorrow will bring a better ending to this story. Even if she hasn’t already sold my ring and gives it back I don’t know how things work here in Mexico. Will she still be charged with theft now that the police are involved? Do I have the right to stop her being charged if I get the ring back? Do I even want to? She’s clearly a thief and I don’t want her doing this to anyone else. I am trying to warn anyone who sees her begging at Super Lake to avoid her like the plague.

Live and learn.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse….

After the police station was closed last night my driver, Salvador, suggested we go to the police station at 8:30 when it opened today. I handed my phone to her friend to make arrangements to pick her up this morning. When she hung up I asked what time he was picking her up and she said 8:00 o’clock. I asked if she had given him her address and she said yes.

This morning I’m anxiously waiting for them to show up at my place. It gets later and later and she has to be at work at Super Lake at 10:00 so I begin to panic. I text Salvador asking where they are? He calls and tells me he is in Chapala, knows nothing about picking her up and doesn’t know where she lives. By now, with all this total screw-up, Melissa has had plenty of time to sell my ring. The police no doubt wonder where we are and drop the case.

A very bittersweet end and a huge loss for me. A thief gets away with it. and will no doubt do it again? For me, my trust is gone. Never again will I try to help a local. Expensive lesson learned.

A final note. Just when I thought Melissa’s “friend” was so wonderfully honest and was being so helpful, she told me she worked at Super Lake and was working 10:00 until 2:00. My very confused driver, Salvador, and I went to Super Lake to see if Estafan could come with us to the police at 2:00 when she finished work. 

Yup, you guessed it. She doesn’t work at Super Lake. Although I am still absurdly confused as to why she came back to tell me that Melissa had stolen my ring, I guess she was in on it from the start. Maybe she came back to see if she could steal something else. I’ll never understand all this. I’m out my ring and there’s no hope I’ll ever get it back And the little thief gets away with it.

If you are at Super Lake and see a girl holding a sign begging for food for her “baby” rip the sign out of her hands and tell her to scram!

As the saying goes, “Is that all there is?”

Unless you are Albert Einstein or Bill Gates it’s probably not a good time to summarize your life. Have you been “successful” in the eyes of others? Has your life had a positive impact on people’s lives? Have you made costly mistakes that have now put you in such a depressive state that you want to end it all? Do you matter to anyone? Has your life just been a waste? Is anyone going to miss you?

After some very tough years, ending up living in a group home in Belleville, Ontario and, in fact, overstaying my welcome there, I had no idea what to do. After disastrous experiences moving to Panama and Ecuador I wanted to give it one more try in Mexico, so I hoped to go for six months on a tourist visa. By a quirk of fate I was given a Canadian Tire MasterCard, which I didn’t deserve having gone bankrupt twice, but it allowed me to book my flights. I had found an apartment in Ajijic that was cheaper than just my room in Belleville. A lot of research told me the cost of living was much cheaper, so off I went last September.

I fell in love with the area the first day I arrived. My apartment was even better than I expected and thanks to my new friends, Francis and Anastasia, I met a lot of great people who I thought were going to be great friends. A couple of weeks after I arrived I met the love of my life, Elba. It quickly became the relationship of my dreams. I had never had this kind of love before. Relationships are always complicated but this one was just incredible. Despite our age difference of twenty years and the fact she spoke no English, every minute together was pure magic, for me at least. Although not what was intended when I gave her a replacement ring on New Years everyone congratulated us on getting engaged. Her two sons, Jonathan and Kevin, loved calling me Dad and her family kept telling us to hurry up and get married. I had never been so happy in all my life.

My plan to just check out Mexico for six months quickly changed. I needed to go back to Canada to apply for my temporal visa to return to Mexico and get married. Elba insisted on joining me on the trip although I told her I could not afford her flights, so she agreed to pay for them. I have gone into great detail on what a total disaster the trip was in another post, so I won’t repeat myself here. As far as it relates to this post what happened only contributed to where I find myself today. When we returned and she ended our relationship in a simple text message it nearly killed me. It was the hardest thing in my life. I felt totally worthless and just wanted to end it all. The future was destroyed and I didn’t even know why I was back in Mexico now. Getting married and all the dreams we had shared together were now shattered. I saw no reason to go on.

Thanks to a couple of good friends at the time they convinced me that I wasn’t worthless and urged me to go on. Time heals all wounds. Not true for me. My life had been turned upside down and the wonderful memories of our time together have haunted me everywhere I go. I also had no clue why she had so abruptly dumped me. Still don’t. She refused to tell me why. She refused to answer my pleading text messages or talk to me. At one point she simply said she wanted me to “disappear”. What a great thing to say to someone who’s suicidal.

Then a month or so ago I discovered I had only twenty-eight dollars in the bank and I whole lot of month left. I had also run out of my critical medications for my diabetes. No food. No meds. No hope. I reached out for help from anyone. I offered to sell an interest in my website business. I applied to the local Canadian Legion for a small loan to get me through. Although a couple of people offered small amounts of money for food this was not a solution to the mess I was in. After a day of not eating and drinking far too much, which is not normal for me, I was crying my eyes out in horrible depression and just wanted to end it all. A friend sent over a doctor and two of her colleagues to talk me down. She offered help in not letting them take my dog from me. She offered help with money and some work. She offered help with getting my meds. She gave me hope. She took my bottle of rum, which considering the condition I was in was probably a good thing.

The next morning they came without warning and took my dog, Rollie. Then despite all the offers of help Dr. Lupita basically disappeared on me. Luckily John Kelly, President of our local Canadian Legion, called me and we had a very long conversation. We talked about getting my meds through Seguro Popular, which I didn’t even know was possible. We talked about a small loan from the Legion to help me get things in order, most importantly to keep my business alive that I had worked so hard on for so long. Again, that glimmer of hope appeared.

Now, three weeks later that glimmer has gone dark again. Seguro Popular said they can’t help me with any of my meds. My blood sugars have been hovering around thirty, which is very dangerous because at thirty-two you risk slipping into a coma. Although I couldn’t afford the hospital anyway, falling into a coma would mean the end because no one would discover me in time. At least I would go quietly and not need to deal with suicide.

All the horrendous issues coming at me every day, like the numerous issues with my idiot landlord, like no hot water, no electricity and no internet, were just daily hurdles that challenged my patience, but nothing was worse than what happened with my “friends”. The reaction to my painfully honest post about ending it all was such vicious attacks on me. How these people could be so cruel and not get how dangerous their mean words were to someone already on the edge just baffled me completely. The only way for me to survive was to block and ban them. I simply couldn’t take anymore.

That no one in my long list of six hundred supposed Facebook “friends” gave a damn came as quite the shock. Even my new found granddaughter, Mackenzie, didn’t respond. I had been so looking forward to meeting her finally when she came to Mexico for a wedding next year. I apologized that I would not be here and explained why, but even that got no reaction from her. I got the same reaction from colleagues back in Canada, some of whom are rich beyond compare. I had sent detailed investment proposals to them, not just investing in the website business. Things that would make them a lot of money, but got zero response.

Still fighting not to just give up I started a GoFundMe campaign asking for just a dollar. I had seen sixty or seventy million people view and comment on the dumbest things so I thought they might be willing to invest a single dollar. Not a single response. I even asked my famous friend Andrea Pearson to add a post on her Facebook page encouraging people to visit my campaign but got nothing other than a private message that she hoped things would improve for me. I even asked her if she might donate that first dollar to kick start the campaign, but got nothing. My life is not even worth a person donating a dollar? How’s that for “is that all there is?”

I’m not looking for pity or charity. I am looking for a reason to go on. I just hope that anyone who knows me understands just how hard I’ve tried to go on. Without my critical meds it will all be academic soon. I don’t know how I will be remembered, if at all. Maybe just some nutcase, but I just want anyone who ever cared about me in any way to know how hard I tried.

Gracias.

 

A Day in the Life

No doubt most people will think this is a weird exercise but once again being at great risk of slipping into a coma I hate to just go and have no one know what happened. If you suddenly see no more updates, well, then you will know I’m gone. At this point that would be a blessing for both you and me.

If you have been following my posts on Facebook about my meds, which I doubt because that thunderous sound you hear if no one caring. No one. I have been out of my critical diabetic medications for three weeks now and my blood sugar levels have been hovering in dangerous territory, around thirty. Coma time if thirty-two so that’s why I thought that the end was near. I’ve been doing everything humanly possible to save myself. Posts on Facebook begging for help, which only got me ridiculed. Emails to everyone I’ve ever known or had contact with. I even started a GoFundMe campaign asking for just a single dollar to help me. No response. Not a single person in the world willing to invest just one dollar to save me.

At seven this morning my “medical consultant” called to tell me to get to Seguro Popular as soon as possible. No time for a shower so I just threw on some clean clothes. It was going to be extremely difficult to walk to get the bus because the pain of the peripheral neuropathy in my feet is excruciating without my meds but I told him I would try.  I guess he knew how tough it was going to be because he picked me up half way down the street. We stopped at the bank on the way so I could pay him. We got to Seguro Popular and the place was packed. He took me to the long line-up where you checked in. Had your blood pressure taken and your blood tested. Weighed and checked how tall you were. There were at least ten people ahead of me in line. What I found strange was that when a person was finished another person would suddenly appear from nowhere and sit down. Not someone who was standing in the line. There was a white-haired man at the front of the line, but when someone sat down in front of him he just looked perplexed but didn’t question why he wasn’t next. Then they opened another table for this process not far away. Same thing again. People appeared out of nowhere to be processed. I swear one of them had just walked through the door. No waiting for these special people. All very confusing.

After about half an hour and having finally made it through the line I asked the nurse, Claudia if I had to stay to wait for my doctor’s appointment at 12:00? She said no. Just be back before twelve. So I was starving because I had no time to eat breakfast before rushing off. I asked if there was a restaurant nearby where I could get a coffee and some bakery things. A nice gentleman outside gave me directions but after walking more than I could handle I asked them at a taco place if they had coffee. Thankfully they did and it was good. I ended up having a potato taco which was also good. After too many coffees and a bottle of water I asked where the bathroom was, but they didn’t have one. They told me the closest one was two block down at the bus station. Another consequence of my screwed up meds has been a lack of bladder control. At home I normally get up three times a night to pee and during the day probably go twenty times, often with little notice and many times I don’t think I’ll make it in time. So, here I am with too much liquid in me and urgently in need of a bathroom but I’m blocks away and in no condition to run.

I finally get there, worrying all the way that I’m just going to blow out my shorts before I get there. By the time I wade through the crowd getting on their buses, find the bathroom and pay the lady for my toilet paper I’m on the verge of losing it when I finally get in my stall, and I do, peeing my pants before I sit down. Oh great! Now I’m on my way to see a doctor and I’ve peed my pants. How embarrassing!

On the way rushing to the bus station I had passed a barbershop where I would love to have had time to shave off my very itchy hair, but I would be late getting back to Seguro Popular so I figured I would come back after finishing there. After all this my heart skipped a beat at the thought of finally getting my meds. A glimmer of hope. That didn’t last long after the doctor called my name, took one look at my list of meds and said they couldn’t help me with any of them. This after three trips down. Paying Arturo. Not to mention all the people who had told me that I would be able to get my meds through them. My heart sank.

Arturo had told me to call him if I had any problems but he didn’t answer his phone or respond to my text messages that I sent him. I was lost. Despite being starving I went back to the barber to at least get rid of my itchy hair. I asked the barber where I could get a hamburger and he told me the Malecon. Now that had my bearings from the bus station I knew the Malecon was a long walk but I was starving so off I went. On the walk I saw a store selling ice cream and I noticed the milkshake makers. They made me a chocolate milkshake, well, more chocolate milk than a shake. While waiting for my shake I noticed that also had hamburgers on the menu so I ordered one. Not great but I was too hungry to care.

It was a nice day so I thought I would wander down to the Malecon now that I wasn’t starving. I had asked Arturo if we could go to Soriana after I was finished and he said he had an appointment but maybe later we could so I had some time to kill. On the way down I passed a lady selling some jelly for pain. After a pleasant chat I confessed that I had only stopped to talk to her because she was so beautiful. That got a a smile.

When I got to the Malecon I found a bench down by the water and sat down. As I looked out at the lake and saw the boats along the beach my thoughts once again turned to that long swim out in the lake too far to make it back. My focus became just not to break down in tears as my mind wondered what I could do. I figured it might be very traumatic for the boat operator to take me out and be told I just wanted overboard and for him to leave. Then my logical mind wondered if he would understand my request to take my messenger bag, my wallet and my phone. Would he understand my instructions to call Christine? Maybe he would just throw everything overboard on his way back.

I was so tired I just needed to lie down on the not very comfortable bench. I almost moved because the sun was so intense without any shade but I was tired enough not to care. I drifted off. An hour or so later I was awakened because I was in a downpour. Couldn’t move faster to get undercover. Called Arturo several times to get home but no answer. Sort of gave up and called Salvadore, one of my Uber drivers. Told him I needed to go to Soriana then home. He said he was on his way. I told him I would meet him at the Chapala sign. An hour later no Salvadore. My phone was about to go dead but I called him and got some crazy explanation about the police. He said he would send someone else and thankfully he did.

I forgot half the stuff I needed at Soriana but got some important things like milk. Got home and crashed for about three hours. Long day. No success. Back where I started with no meds and no hope.

 

 

 

The “Dildo” History

Somehow for much of my adult life I avoided the need to ever use “Toys”. That’s probably because for my entire married life I didn’t really have any sex. Well, I remember three times, actually. One was Chris. One was Heather, and the last one was the one my ex-wife killed without my involvement. Probably would have been the “good” one, the one that actually talked to me.

Fate would have me meet a very sexy woman who did like her “toys”. It was all new to me but she sure enjoyed it and it increased the orgasm numbers, so I thought it was okay. She had one that as a man I did find intimidating because it was huge, but at least I found comfort that it wasn’t real.

That breakup came as quite the shocker and the toys were involved, unfortunately. She was going to Toronto to see her niece’s new baby, at least that’s what she told me. I found it strange that she came back without a single photo. Hmmm? A couple weeks later she was off to Toronto again and I was left cleaning her apartment. When I went to vacuum under the bed her suitcases were in the way. As I pulled them out I saw the baggage tags for the date she was supposed to be at her niece’s place and they read Ottawa. As if that wasn’t bad enough I looked in the drawer where we kept the toys and they were gone. When she came home Sunday I confronted her with the baggage tags and she broke down. She had gone to Ottawa to meet a guy she had met on the internet, just like she met ME! There went that relationship

So fast forward to when I met the love of my life here in Mexico. I asked her if he had ever used “toys” in a relationship and she hadn’t. I asked if she might want to give it a try and she agreed. Believe it or not we have a store here called the Dildoria. Not hard to figure out what they sell, right? I looked around but just wanted something small to try. I found the lipstick dildo. Perfect!

When I gave it to her I said it was ONLY for both of us to use together, not just her, and we were only to use it when we were together at our place. She was not to take it back to her place and use it alone. That was the deal and she agreed.

After she dumped me by text message she cleared all her stuff out of our apartment. To my considerable shock and surprise, she had stolen the dildo out of my drawer! Go figure!

 

Beyond Frustrating!

Our trip to Canada has taught me a new lesson – some people are just too stupid to deal with!

First, my least favorite airline in the world, AeroMexico. After months of fighting with them, filing complaint after complaint, all of which were ignored, they did us in. The agent in Guadalajara took our passports, our boarding passes, which I had printed out before we left, and my tourist visa. Elba and I were talking and not paying much attention to him. He handed our passports back to us. Only when we headed for the gate did we realize he failed to give us back our boarding passes. We raced back to the luggage check-in where they searched everywhere for our boarding passes, finally finding them. Off we went to board our flight.

Our first flight was to Mexico City and then on to Toronto. When we went to board the agent would not let me on because I didn’t have my tourist visa to surrender. I had to race to Immigration to get a new visa (535 pesos); but they only accept pesos. I had changed what pesos I had to Canadian dollars for our trip. Off I raced to the exchange to get pesos again, then back to immigration and finally doing my best O.J. Simpson run back to the gate, only to watch our plane pulling away.

We went to the AeroMexico.ticket office where they informed us that we had to pay another 19,000 pesos to catch a later flight. They also had only one seat left on the flight. I blew a gasket when Elba suggested she would fly back to Guadalajara and I would go on alone. Not a chance! I finally found a wonderful supervisor, Erica, who arranged for us to fly at the same price we had paid, plus she put us on standby for the 1:00 a.m. flight. We spent the next several hours praying that we would get on the plane. After everyone else was on the plane they called us and not only got us on the plane; they got us sitting together! Relief.

We were now arriving very late for the train to Belleville, which we had paid for and tickets were non-refundable. A very nice agent arranged for us to catch a later train at no extra cost. One of the good guys and not one of the stupid people.

When we finally arrived at the hotel we ended up dealing with the most offensive, ignorant, confrontational manager. It made our stay intolerable. At one point when we desperately needed our credit card in Toronto, he had processed four hundred dollars in new charges to our credit card without notice. We kept getting declined at places like McDonald’s because I had four dollars of credit left thanks to him.

I had tried to reactivate my Canadian telephone but had lost my SIM card. Chatr Wireless told me to go to any 7-11 and buy a new SIM card for $10. We found a 7-11 in Toronto and asked for a SIM card for Chatr Wireless. No problem, well, except that the stupid person I dealt with gave me a SIM card for a 7-11 phone, not Chatr. Never did get my reserved Canadian number back.

We needed a courier envelope for my passport and visa to be returned to our hotel on Friday or I would not be able to fly back to Mexico. We went to the Purolator office on Yonge Street and asked for a next day delivery envelope. They didn’t have any, but told us to go down the street to the Shoppers Drug Mart to buy one. I clearly told the agent there that I needed a next day Purolator envelope. I paid him and left the envelope with the lady at the consulate.

Thursday she emailed me telling me that the package would be ready at 4:30; but then asked me what she was supposed to do with the Canada Post envelope I left with her! That led to an unbelievable back and forth with her and Purolator trying to get the right shipment organized. I finally got a simple email from the consulate saying that “the envelope is gone”. That led to total panic thinking I might not get my passport back in time and would not be able to fly.

Friday late morning Purolator showed up with my treasured envelope. Thank you, God!

Now we just need the taxi to show up on time. The train to run on time to Toronto. The UP shuttle to run on time to the airport. AeroMexico not to again screw up our flights back. Hopefully we’ll arrive back in Guadalajara tomorrow morning to be picked up by our good friend, Jack. No more stupid people!

 

 

A Fool In Love

Despite my horrible experiences in both Panama and Ecuador, including my fiancee in Ecuador who just ripped me off, I wanted to give it one more try with Ajijic, Mexico. Anyone who follows me knows how I was thrilled with Ajijic from the minute I got here. My plan quickly changed from spending six months here and returning to Canada to finding a way to never leave here. That was before I met the love of my life.

The first night we met she was sitting with two of my dear friends, Bill and Violet. I asked her to dance and she was an incredible dancer, plus we seemed to have an instant connection on the dance floor. She was absolutely gorgeous and I knew this might be trouble.

When we went out the front of the restaurant to smoke and finished she sort of snapped her fingers and told me to come back in. I pointed at my ring finger and said she wasn’t my wife. She replied in perfect English, “come on, baby”. How could I resist that? After every subsequent smoke she said the same thing. One time as we came in I said to her if she was my wife one night with her would probably kill me.

I went home that night thinking how much I liked her, but at the same time believing that there was no way a girl like that would go for me. I could not have been more wrong.

The following Friday night she was out with Violet and Bill and Violet called to ask me where I was. We had got our wires crossed about an earlier dinner with the Munch Bunch. I reluctantly said I had just got home from the dinner and couldn’t go out again. Not ten minutes later Elba phoned me to tell me she wanted me to come down.

The next day Bill phoned me to say that Elba wanted him to invite me down to La Bodega that night. Still somewhat surprised that she wanted to see me I agreed and met them there. To say that it was one of the best nights of my entire life would be a gross understatement. We danced. We talked. We laughed. We had a great time.

At one point the band played a slow song and we were the only couple on the dance floor. I did my usual fancy footwork, the kind that only a woman who has danced with me for years can get; but Elba was there step for step. It was a very romantic dance. When we went out for a smoke I told that was the best dance I had had in my life. She smiled and said she was going to tell me the same thing.

I thought it might be a good time to sneak a little kiss to sort of test the waters. She responded with the most passionate kiss I had ever had. From that moment on we were hugging, kissing and holding hands the rest of the night. It was pure magic, tainted only by the fact that she had to go back to Guadalajara the next morning. It all ended far too quickly.

The next morning I wondered if it had all been a dream and she wasn’t feeling the same way as I did about her. I sent her a text message and the next thing I know we’re texting each other all day Sunday and most of Monday even though she’s back at work. She was coming back Monday night to Adelita’s so I booked a table for us with Bill and Violet again, their friends Bruce and Helen who are visiting Violet from Washington, and Jack. It was yet another wonderful night. She was supposed to be staying at Violet’s, at least that’s what she told her son, Jonathan, but when they first arrived at my place he brought in her luggage, so there went that plan. Obviously her son is far too smart to be tricked.

Obviously as a gentleman I can’t tell you anything about our weekend, except to say that it was literally the most wonderful, amazing, romantic, happy as hell weekend of my entire life. Despite our obvious language differences we talked for hours and hours. We discovered we had more connections than anyone either of us had been with before. To be corny, but blunt, I was the first time in my life that I knew what true love really felt like. She was quite literally the women of my dreams.

We’ve been together for coming on two months now and although we’ve had some communication issues, mostly because of the language, we’re still very much in love. She’s retiring at the end of this week so I am hopeful that she will be able to spend more time here in Ajijic.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Friends, Romans, lend me…okay, friends. HELP!

Sadly I lost my oldest and dearest friend with whom I spoke for hours before deciding to move to Ecuador. She was very helpful and helped me make that important decision. If I had to make a guess I think her hubby wasn’t keen on her talking to me for hours. So be it, but now I really don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of to know if I’m just crazy or thinking straight.

The issue is what do I do with my life and where do I go from here? Ecuador obviously turned out to be a disaster on so many levels, not the least of which was the falling Canadian dollar which meant I could not afford to live there, or anywhere for that matter. When I made the decision to move to Ecuador after months of research I never planned to come back to Canada, ever. As John  Lennon famously said “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. So very true for me.

The last couple of years have been more the result of a series of unfortunate events. Things certainly did not go as planned in Ecuador, forcing me to return to Canada and somehow end up in Belleville, Ontario, the very last place I ever thought I would be. I viewed it all as temporary to just give me time to figure out what I was doing and sort out some of the messes I had, like needing to replace my passport (still a nightmare). Living in the reno was a big mistake but I appreciated the help when I came back with no plan. Then I moved into a group home in Belleville, then to another one a few months later and stayed for over a year. Again, not planned. My time was up at the group home and I ended up in the hospital and also had nowhere to move to once I got out. Graciously I was allowed to move to yet another group home but with only three months max. As I have for the passed several months I’ve been looking for an affordable room from Trenton to Kingston. Having visited Kingston last year several times I really like the city. There is so much more to do there than there is in Belleville.

The issue with finding a place in Kingston is the thousands of students who live there during the school year. They pay outrageous rents, or should I say Mom and Dad pay them, plus they rent for the whole year when they are only attending college or university for eight months. It’s crazy! I need something under five hundred at the most and that’s hard to find. In the meantime I’m also looking in Belleville only in case I can’t find anything in Kingston.

The primary issue here is whether it matters where I live here in Canada. I’ve been researching a place in Mexico to death, called Ajijic (Ah-hee-hick). It sounds wonderful but so did Panama and Ecuador. The climate is described as the second best in the world. Unlike Panama and Ecuador it’s not hard to find things you are used to because the Walmart is just down the street. Food is cheap. There’s tons of things to do. There’s a very large Expat community, many of them Canadian. Spanish is the local language but apparently even most of the locals speak English, mostly those working in the stores and restaurants. The community in both Ajijic and Lake Chapala, which is not far away, is vibrant. Everything I learned encouraged me to start designing a city portal website. It’s called AjijicToday.com but it’s not ready for the public yet. My primary goal is to create a unique business directory for people to find things and then charge modest fees for local businesses to become members. Eventually I want to expand the city portal sites to everywhere in Mexico and hopefully generate enough income to replace my lost pension.

Obviously a big consideration is housing. It’s not cheap and most rentals are in US dollars, which is worth far more than our Canadian dollar these days. The dollar has closed under 73 cents recently. Not good. I have found a gorgeous fully furnished house in a gated community with a pool. It’s two bed two main bath so I would need to find someone to share it with for the six months, October to the end of March. If I look at the prices for a small one bedroom apartment I could easily get three hundred dollars in rent, leaving me paying less than three hundred a month, which I could handle. I’ve been in touch with the owner and he has confirmed that everything is included. I only need to buy propane and that’s only a few dollars a month. I can take the bus anywhere I need to go.

A new wrinkle in things just happened. I was sipping a coffee when I suddenly felt something metal in my mouth. I spit it out and it turned out to be a decades old gold crown that had fallen off. I went to the dentist hoping that they could recement it back on, but no luck. It was worn down very thin and had a hole in it that could not be repaired. I asked how much a new crown would be and was shocked when they said a thousand dollars! Not a prayer I could ever afford that. As you may know dental costs in Mexico are far less than in Canada. I’ve asked a friend to check for me but I think we’re probably talking two hundred max. That means putting eight hundred towards my budget for Mexico. Although I doubt I will ever have any extra money, a few years ago I had an estimate done on all the dental work I needed. It was over four thousand dollars and that was without the crown. I assume that I could get whatever I need done in Mexico a lot cheaper. Might even be worth putting it on my MasterCard if it’s that much cheaper.

The first consideration is whether I can stay where I am for another three months. Given the normal terms of transitional housing, which is a maximum one year stay, I am confused as to why I was only given three months here. In all of their homes there have been exceptions to the rule, often for those who don’t deserve it. I have been a model tenant, always paying my rent on time and helping out wherever I was. If Mexico is in the cards for October and I am out of here at the end of June that means I only need somewhere for three months. Obviously it would be a lot better for me to simply stay where I am for an additional three months, but I don’t know if that is even possible. First job is to ask.

If I can’t stay here then the decision is do I find somewhere, anywhere actually, to live until next year when I might be better able to go to Mexico. There are issues with that of course, like paying probably more than five hundred a month for a simple room, which will eat into the budget for Mexico. If I can stay where I am that puts another hundred and twenty-five dollars a month for three months towards my airfare and getting a new passport. Also, according to people I am chatting with in Mexico I can rent a decent place for far less than the five hundred a month I would be paying here in Canada. Everything costs a lot less in Mexico, especially food which is very expensive here. I figure I am spending at least three to four hundred a month on food here and that’s just for the basics.

Yet another factor is what do I do with all my “stuff”? Over the last year and a half I have invested in far too many things for my own good. Much of it was things that where I lived didn’t have, like a coffee maker, dishes, utensils, even cutlery. For work on my websites I invested in a Dell 27″ monitor because the screen on my laptop is too small for my failing eyes. Back when I lived on Foran the TV was monopolized by guys who loved sports and not much else so I rarely got to watch any TV. I was at Best Buy on Boxing Day and they had an amazing sale on a Toshiba 43″ TV/Monitor. The guy I was with said they probably had an extra TV box and there was a cable running to my room, so I jumped to buy the TV. That didn’t work out and I tried to sell the TV at a huge discount but never did sell it. It’s now our TV at the new house but the owner hasn’t expressed any interest in buying it, so either try to sell it again or leave it here at this house until I return to Canada. It’s not something I could easily put in storage because it didn’t come with a box.

Thanks to the dollar store and some of the really cheap places in Belleville to get stuff I have far too many clothes to take plus many of them are things I would not need in Mexico, like winter coats and boots. If I’m coming back it would not be for the winter months so I wouldn’t need any of it, but just like what happened when I intended to move to Ecuador, I gave all my winter stuff to Value Village, then needed it all again when I was forced to come back to Canada. To be safe I think I need to put anything I don’t need in Mexico or won’t fit into my luggage in storage. That means renting a locker at about fifty dollars a month, but I think that’s the safest route given that I will be coming back in April next year when I will have a better idea if I am moving to Mexico permanently or not. Not sure about things like my bike or my bird feeder. What was I thinking? lol

A very big consideration is family, just like it was with Panama and Ecuador. Although I will never understand it until the day I die and not even then, my family has abandoned me long ago. I haven’t spoken to my daughter in almost twenty-five years, despite ongoing efforts to reconnect. My son has blocked me on Facebook and I’ve never met four of my grandchildren. My son’s oldest daughter requested that I remove her photos from this website. Really hurt. One of my grandkids has just recently connected with me on Facebook and she was very upset that her parents had prevented her from making her own decision on whether to connect with me or not. I’m beyond thrilled that we have chatted. The issue with moving to a place like Mexico is the same one I struggled with for Panama and Ecuador. The choice was to sit here in Canada, waiting, possibly forever, for my kids to change their minds and reconnect with their Dad, or go, knowing that if they expressed any desire to reconnect that we could Skype or I could come back to visit them. I hate to accept that I will die without ever again seeing my family, but it’s been something I cannot force. I’ve tried everything to no avail.

Well, there you have it. Confusing, eh? If you’ve read this far, well, congratulations! I would honestly welcome frank opinions from anyone, no matter how blunt. For the first time in my life I am very confused and not able to make a firm decision. I’ve usually made a list of the good and bad to help me, but this time there is so much to consider, so much that could go wrong, and all of it tempered by my experience with Panama and Ecuador.

Women or culture in Ecuador or maybe me?

Anyone who has been following me knows that I intended to move to Ecuador back in December of 2014. I had done months of research on where to go to live out my life. I knew that I could not survive in Canada on my limited pensions so I had to find a country with a lower cost of living. I was also a little sick of winter so I was looking for a good climate, not too cold or not too hot. Ecuador appeared to fit the bill on just about everything. I knew that there would be culture shock, but I felt that I was prepared from my time in Panama.

Even with the much lower cost of living in Ecuador I still needed to find a way to earn some money, partly because I would lose one of my pensions, the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) after six months out of the country. I knew that Ecuador was becoming a retirement destination for Canadians and there wasn’t a lot of good websites with factual information about Ecuador so I created a website, WelcomeToEcuador.ca. I intended to sell advertising on the site to make a little extra money, plus I hoped to travel the country taking photos and writing a blog. That was the plan.

Prior to actually leaving I met a women on Facebook, Anna, who initially offered to help me find a place to live. Over the course of several messages she eventually expressed an interest in working for me on the website. I knew that I needed someone who spoke Spanish to deal with clients so it was a good fit for us to work together. She arranged for a driver to pick me up in Quito and because her English was very good we kind of hit it off. She was also very attractive which was a bonus. She ended up helping me with things like going shopping for food and dealing with the person who turned out to be my landlady, Jessica. I had only booked a week at Balcon de Lago but ended up making a longer term deal when I could not find an apartment in Otavalo. More on this later.

Since the first day we met I had been asking Anna to come over so we could discuss the business, but she kept delaying it saying she was busy. Finally we set a date and time for her to come over in the morning, but she never showed and never called which I wasn’t impressed with. Then we set another day for her to meet with my landlords to discuss the longer term arrangement. She said eight o’clock in the morning and I reminded her that she wasn’t all that reliable that early in the day, but she insisted. Eight o’clock came and went with me sitting at the table with a bunch of people who spoke no English, awkward to say the least. Then Anna shows up an hour late. She comes in like a queen with no apologies for keeping everyone waiting an hour. All I could think about was if she would pull this with clients. I questioned if this was actually going to work out.

The meeting with my landlords involved me telling Anna something in English and then she would translate. I had to trust that she was saying the right thing to them and that they understood what I wanted. After I thought we were all in agreement apparently we weren’t. My landlady came down to my cabin in tears because she and Anna had quite the argument on the phone. Somehow she understood that Anna was just trying to find me another place to live which really upset Jessica. I knew that this was the end for Anna and I. I emailed her my concerns and that ended us.

Fast forward a couple of months of things not going very well with my landlords. Among the many issues was the situation with the fire. My place was freezing and I could not work without having a fire going constantly. I had expressed concern about the lack of ventilation and they were going to install a fan but nothing was ever done. One fateful night I felt tired and thought I would just lie down for a bit. Big mistake! Jessica came down, which she had never done before, and tried to wake me, which she had also never done before. When she could not wake me they called an ambulance and rushed me to the local hospital in Otavalo. I woke up some three hours later and remember the doctor saying that I would have been dead in twenty minutes from carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a close to death as I had ever come and certainly freaked me out. Apparently it also freaked Jessica out because she asked me to move out, and in only a couple of days.

At one point she had come to me and asked me to prepay two months rent because they “needed the money”. I wasn’t crazy about that because things were not going well so I agreed to pay her one month in advance. When she asked me to move out we had a discussion about the rent she owed me, the firewood I had paid for, the two bottles of rum they had drank on me, the DirecTV I had paid for that I never got and we agreed on her giving me two hundred dollars. When my taxi was loaded ready to go I asked her for the money but she said she had not been to the bank. I offered to take her to the bank but now she was apparently waiting for a check from someone. She said that she would come to Cotacachi and pay me the money. She never came and that was in February 2015. She just ripped me off.

When I planned to move to Ecuador I had gotten a six month Visa in Canada, planning to file for my residency when I got to Ecuador. I was going to pay for my residency with the money from my GIS pension, which I had been told I would receive by the end of January. That did not happen. It took me months to finally receive the GIS, which caused me a lot of grief. I had to go to Guayaquil at the other end of the country to apply for my residency. It was around this time that I realized the issues I was going to have getting my meds, most importantly my insulin. Obviously I could not survive without my insulin so it looked like I had no choice but to return to Canada. The Canadian dollar had also crashed and I was already struggling to live so paying for my insulin was out of the question. I had sent my facilitator, Katty Fajardo, three hundred and fifty dollars, the government fee to get my cedula but had told her to hold off until I knew if I was going to be able to get my insulin. I emailed her that I could not and would need to return to Canada so I could not file for residency. I asked her to return my three hundred and fifty dollars along with my passport so that I could fly back to Canada. She refused to return the money or my passport. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops and get a temporary passport so I fly. Although she did return my passport it had been cancelled. So she ripped me off for my three hundred and fifty dollars and cost me a lot of money to get another passport.

Shortly before all this happened I met a woman who I admittedly fell in love with at first sight, Patricia. Our short but passionate romance was amazing and we planned to marry as soon as I could return to Ecuador. I was going to be back in Canada for what looked like six months and we knew it would be hard to keep our relationship strong but we were sure that we could. We talked just about every single day on Facebook and things were going well between us. She was struggling financially and of course I was living on only my pensions so it was very difficult for me to help her, but I did. I had sent her my bank card and every month I sent her money that I really could not afford. Before I knew it I had sent her five hundred dollars US, money that she agreed to repay me when she got her twenty thousand dollar settlement from her ex. I also sent her a hundred dollars to give to my friend, Dutch, but she used the money saying she would pay him back. Then she took the fifty dollars from the fundraising campaign account, saying she would return it. Then she moved to Quito out of the blue, blocked me on Facebook and will not respond to my emails. Total ripoff six hundred and fifty dollars American.

So my question is if all this was just the different culture of Ecuador, the wrong women or was I responsible? If it’s my fault what exactly did I do wrong?

More to the story…

Interesting that my last post about Ecuador was September 7th. I knew that I had no choice but to return to Canada, mostly because of the falling Canadian dollar, but I had no idea what was about to happen to make my life even more complicated.

On one of my many nights at The Bar I met a woman who I admittedly fell in love with  at first sight. I thought she was with a friend of mine because I had overheard him say something about his “girlfriend”. Turned out to not be true but I didn’t know that at the time. She came out to have a smoke and we talked probably for an hour or more, even though she didn’t speak a word of English. She told me she ran a spa in town and you can bet I planned to go there. I offered to walk her home but she declined. I was confused by the fact that she left alone when her supposed boyfriend was still in the bar.

My friends, Deb and Dutch, had planned a going away party for me at The Bar. I had run into Bobby and Becca from my favorite group. Three Shades of Grey, downtown and asked if there was any chance that they would play that night and 09_20_01they immediately agreed, which was awesome. Not quite sure when I asked her to come, although I think I had run into her downtown one day at the market. I asked her to bring her mother to encourage her to come but The Bar is not popular with the locals so I didn’t know if she would come or not. She did. 09_25_01

The minute she walked in the door she took my breath away. She was gorgeous. Although it was a bit of an unusual affair because there were many women who I wanted to dance with on my last night, I still got to dance with her. We were good together. At some point during the night we ended up outside for a smoke and I asked her about the “girlfriend” thing. She laughed and said he was only a friend, not a boyfriend. I found that very encouraging.

As the night came to a close I invited her and her Mum back to my place, hoping, of course, that her mother would decline, but she didn’t. We talked and we danced, but the funniest part was every time her Mum went to the bathroom we would kiss and fondle each other, passion raging unchecked. At one point I mentioned that I was hungry and she disappeared. She came back with a full meal made from stuff I didn’t even know I had. It was delicious. On top of everything else I loved about her she was also a great cook.

The night came to a close and they needed a taxi to get home, although it wasn’t that far to walk, but it was late and maybe not that safe to venture out at that hour. My regular taxi guys would have long since gone home to bed so I wandered out on the street hoping to find one. Luckily there was a concert still going on just down the street and I found a taxi for them. I felt like a hero when I came back to my place and they were waiting outside, although I regretted her leaving.

No sooner had they left than I got a phone call from her telling me that her sister had locked them out of their place, so I told her to come back. Her mother got the bed and she and I pulled the cushions off the couch and chair and put them on the floor. I want to keep this post rated “G” so I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that it was interesting trying to stay quiet when her Mum was in the bed in the next room.

Dutch and I had planned a parting dinner at Jeanine’s the next night so I invited her along, thinking that Dutch would be okay with that, which he was. When she arrived, right on time, I was a little sorry that she and I basically took over the dinner because his Spanish was too rough to understand her. For me it’s the little things that I’m impressed with, probably because very few women had ever done those little things. When we got our soup, mine a broccoli base, I think and hers, tomato, she asked me if I liked it, which I didn’t. Without a word she immediately switched our soups against my protest. Then she buttered my bread for me. Again, little things, but I was impressed. After dinner we wandered around town doing things she needed to do. The funny part was she held my hand and hugged me, but only when no one was around to see us. She said it was a small town and people would talk if they saw us.

She ended up spending the night at my place and again, let’s keep it clean, so no details. Let’s just say that it was incredible to say the least. I was falling totally in love with her, more than I had with anyone for a very long time. I knew that this was what real love was about, for the first time in my life.

09_29_01Over the next few days we spent some amazing time together, but, of course, nothing had changed for me to stay in the country, so that weighed heavily on our relationship. Because that b*tch had stolen my money and refused to return my passport I had to go to Quito to the Canadian Embassy to get a temporary passport so I could fly. She came with me and we had a wonderful bus ride down, talking and laughing the entire trip. In Quito I got to meet her son who I instantly got along great with. He was very happy that his mother had found someone to marry, yes, marry. That was the plan. On the trip back she suddenly grabbed me to get off the bus for some unknown reason. We ended up walking down to Puertolago, a five star resort on the lake. We shared a drink 09_29_02outside and it was very romantic.

As our final night in Cotacachi approached I knew that I wanted this last night to be something to remember. I phoned Puertolago and got a special deal based on promising them promotion on the website. Our driver, Dillan, picked us up and she had no idea where we were going. Finally the suspense was killing her so I told her where we were going. She was delighted. We had an incredible time at Puertolago. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner. We played some pool. We sat on the porch overlooking the lake. She had brought a bottle of champagne for us to celebrate our last time together, at least for a while until I came back. That was the plan.

Our driver picked us up the next morning to take me to the airport. Leaving her was a killer. There were a lot of tears but I planned to come back as quickly as possible, although I sure had regrets about leaving.09_26_0109_29_0309_30_03 It was not a fun trip back to Canada. All I could think about was how I was going to get back to her and get married.

As many people know, long distance relationships are tough. Ours was even harder because we had the language issue. My Spanish was rough but we managed to talk on video for hours. Still, there were times when we just didn’t communicate well. She began really pushing me about coming back, ignoring the many challenges I had with things like getting a new passport, a new criminal record check and all the documents I needed for a visa. She was trying to get a special visa based on me returning to marry her, but this worried me. If we didn’t end up marrying, which was a possibility that she had raised, I would be stranded in Ecuador and forced to again return to Canada. I wanted to get my six month visa again and then apply for residency when I got there so that I would be protected from leaving again. That did not sit well with her and our relationship began to suffer.

Then all kinds of things happened with the business, none of it good. She introduced me to a lady who was going to sell for us. It so happened that she was gorgeous and soon my lovely fiancee was jealous of her, suggesting that maybe I wanted to marry her instead. All ridiculous but it showed me a side of her that I wasn’t crazy about. Soon things really started to unravel and it looked like the marriage was off and the relationship was over. It was a very tough time for me because not only had I lost the love of my life, but now my whole future was in jeopardy. I didn’t know if I would ever return to Ecuador now.

 

Costa Rica or Bust

It was that time again. Three months since my last “out of the country” trip required for my tourist visa. The friend I had gone with before, LizAnne, had just received her pensionado visa, so she didn’t need to leave the country again. I really didn’t want to go and spend four days sitting in a room by myself at the hostel in Sabalito.

Translate »