You got it. They want it. They will take it.

Okay, so you’re asking how I could be so stupid trusting a Mexican “friend” when I had been ripped off of my jewelry by a young Mexican girl who I only tried to help get some food for her baby? Good question. This was much different in that I trusted a guy who I had known for two years and considered to be a “friend”. Boy, was I wrong!

No doubt you think I am just complaining and I do agree that I need to vent a little because I’m so angry and I can’t do a thing about it because of my own stupidity; however,  I am posting this in the hopes that someone will learn from my mistakes and not be victimized the way I was.

I’ve gone into what was happening with my idiot landlord in another post, so I won’t repeat all that here. He had made my life a living hell since the day I moved in but recently it got worse. My apartment flooded every time it rained at night so I got up to an inch of water everywhere. The ceiling was leaking badly plus I had two windows that had been broken for months. Not only did he not do the repairs, but he increased my rent 2,000 a month, which is totally illegal under the terms of my lease and rent control in Mexico, demanded that I pay it early, and said nothing would be repaired until I paid the new rent. It was an intolerable situation to say the least.

Just when I was about to give up two things happened. First, a Canadian friend offered to pick up all my stuff and move it to her storage and let me stay in her trailer until October 28th when it was rented to another tenant. She said she would have me out of there by Saturday, August 31st. She would bring over some plastic bins for me to pack everything in and to go downstairs and wait for her to bring them to me. I waited and I waited, then I sent her a message asking what was going on? She replied that her boyfriend did not agree with what she was doing, so the deal was off.

Now the panic really set in. As much as I had some very dark thoughts about what to do I hated the idea that my idiot landlord was going to get all my stuff, like my desktop computer, my big screen monitor, my printer, my desk and more. I posted photos of everything for sale on Facebook with how much I had paid. Not a soul responded; however two things did happen.

First, a lady in Guadalajara who I had been chatting with on Messenger, asked me what type of things I had for sale. She ended up coming to my place and buying an iron, ironing board and some patio tables. That got us talking a lot more on Messenger and when she understood what I going through she offered to sell my things if I moved them to her place. That avoided my landlord getting everything but I still had no clue what to do with me.

Then out of the blue a guy posted on Messenger an offer to help me with a free apartment for the month. His house was in Chelem, Yucatan and he sent me photos of the apartment which was gorgeous. Right on the ocean. Originally I declined if only because it would be a major move to a place I knew nothing about plus my two years of work on my website, AjijicToday would be toast, but we ended up talking for quite a while and he convinced me to come, although he also said that he needed to know right away or he would rent the apartment. It was a very stressful time and was about to result in some hasty decisions which I lived to regret.

I called a driver I had used for two years, someone I considered more of a friend, to ask about moving my things to my friend in Guadalajara. As luck would have it he said he had been hired by someone to move furniture from Guadalajara, he had a van booked, and, most importantly, he would move my things for free. This was on a Tuesday and he had the van booked for Thursday. Now panic really set in. I had one day to pack all my stuff to move, book a flight to Merida and figure out what I was going to do with my computer.

This is where the lessons learned start.

He took me to get some boxes from Strom and to Walmart to get some plastic bins, which were on sale. I bought five, hoping that would be enough with the boxes. That Wednesday was one of the most difficult of my life and beyond exhausting to pack everything. I knew that I would only be allowed two suitcases, one of which was already oversized so I would have to pay extra for it. It was incredibly difficult to look at everything and decide whether to give it up or take it with me in my luggage.

In the meantime my dentist had asked me about my executive office chair, my monitor and my printer. He was interested in the monitor and he said his brother’s office had been broken into and everything stolen so he would probably want the printer. I was very concerned about these two things making it to Guadalajara or if my friend could get a reasonable price for them, so I had my driver take them to my dentist. I also gave him my 2,000 pesos office chair because of all the work he had done to relieve my pain.

Shortly after the trouble started and I had no idea just how bad it was going to get. My driver called and said that the van had broken down. He had two guys who would move my stuff for seven hundred pesos. What choice did I have? My life was packed in boxes and bins piled high. I had packed my food for my friend in Guadalajara. My landlord was pressing me for the rent. I had to agree.

In all the panic I didn’t have a bin to pack all the food from my refrigerator, so we rushed to Walmart again to get another one. This is only important because it’s important to note that there were now six bins in total.

The guys showed up with a pickup truck which I didn’t believe had enough room for my stuff. They also had no room for me, so I had to go with my driver in his car. Yet more money that I could not afford.

The guys left and we followed them shortly after. Again, important to the story of what happened. We found my friend’s house and the moving guys arrived shortly after and unloaded everything into her garage. Given that I would probably never see her again I wanted to spend some time with her, if only to thank her for what she was doing for me. That didn’t happen because my driver said he had another client to take back to Ajijic after he dropped me off at the airport. Here again, important to the story, and the first of many lies.

After I finally arrived to my new apartment here I went on Messenger to let my friend know that I had arrived safely. This was the first indication of the trouble that would soon unfold. She said my driver had come back to her place after dropping me off at the airport. He said that the bins were his and he had loaned them to me. Another lie. He knew that they were mine because he was there when I bought them. Then she asked me where the coffee maker that I had promised to her was? I had no idea. I texted my driver and he said it was there. Another lie.

Then she had gone through all the photos I had taken for the Facebook post and she started asking me where certain things were. Not surprisingly things of value. The ones I hoped that she got a decent price for so I would have some money after paying her a commission that she had agreed to. She had apparently texted my driver asking where certain things were, like her coffee make and he said that I had sold a lot of things before I moved. Yet another lie because I hadn’t sold a thing. She also said my very expensive desk wasn’t there either.

As it became more and more apparent that things had been stolen, either by the guys who moved my stuff, either on their own volition or on instructions from my driver, I started texting him asking what was going on? No response for days, with the last text telling him to respond or I would phone the police.

Still no response so I texted one of his drivers telling her to tell him to answer me or I would contact the police. A short time later he called threatening my life if I sent one more text message. I was now two thousand kilometers away so I wasn’t worried, but he did know where my friend lived and she was already worried now that she knew he was a thief. She begged me not to contact the police because she was obviously worried about her family.

The point in all of this is a question of trust. Not only did I believe that my driver was an honorable, honest man, certainly no thief, but after two years I considered him to be more of a friend than just my driver. He proved that he was no friend. Just a common criminal, willing to screw anyone including friends.

So, what’s the lesson learned, and at great expense to boot?

When it comes to Mexicans trust no one. I am certainly not saying that the majority of Mexicans aren’t wonderful, warm, friendly, hard-working, honest people. They are, but, based on my horrible experience, I still believe that you can’t trust anyone.  

Hindsight, of course, is always 20/20. What should I have done? First, I should have carefully taken photos of everything as I packed. I should have had a documented receipt signed by the moving guys and my driver confirming the number of bins and boxes. For the boxes I should have signed each one on the top and had my driver sign as well so I would know if the box had been opened after it arrived at my friend’s place.

After everything was delivered I should have checked that nothing had been opened, or damaged (they destroyed my large and expensive fan), and taken photos of everything to confirm that what was loaded at my place was actually delivered. It wasn’t. I soon understood why my driver was in such a hurry to leave. He didn’t want me to realize how much had been stolen.

What do I think happened? First, the van did not break down because not only was there room for everything but also room for me to go with the bins and boxes so nothing could be taken. The trip would also have been free as he had promised. Instead remember that the moving guys left before we did and arrived after we did. Why?

Either on their own, or more likely as instructed by my driver, they had stopped somewhere along the way and gone through all the bins and boxes to steal anything of value. They kept the coffee maker and my desk on the truck for my driver who hadn’t even had the decency to make me an offer for them. They put everything that they stole in one bin, a bin that later I understood had never been delivered because we were short one bin.

That a “friend” would do this to me has made me very upset and angry. Yes, I feel stupid for trusting him. Much worse is how it has upset my friend in Guadalajara. She was incredibly generous in offering to sell everything for me. At first I wondered if I was just being unbelievably stupid trusting someone that I barely knew with all my stuff? There was no guarantee that she wouldn’t just sell everything and keep the money, but this was still better than leaving everything for my idiot landlord. In fact, she has already sent me money that literally saved my life because I had no money for food. She’s a wonderful lady who has proved to be a great friend, far better than all the “friends” I thought I had, not one of which offered to help me in any way.

Just in case you think I somehow gipped my terrible landlord by not paying the rent for September, he got to keep eight hundred pesos of the damage deposit. I left the blinds I had bought for the two big windows that I had also paid to have installed. I left many things that were just too difficult to remove or pack, like the bathroom mirror, toilet seat, lighting strip, shower curtain, under counter light in the kitchen, dish drainer, upgraded kitchen faucet, huge 20 X 12 tarp that had blown off the mirador, and three plants on the terrace.

Lessons learned. Don’t trust anyone here.

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