Ugly People

In September, I updated the comment policy for the blog. I blocked one specific person from commenting and just happened to stumble onto his vitriol while cleaning out spam comments. I don’t use that word lightly. This person is someone whom I met on Isla and who is a close friend of several of my RVing Mexico friends. His name is Chris Bauer and he writes a blog about boondocking and living in Mexico.

Here are the nine comments that my spam filter caught. He made them full intending for them to be made public so I’m sure that he will be super happy to see this post!

1): Mexico Is Tightening Supervision of Foreigners’ Visas and Local Income

“You need to check with an accountant or a lawyer. Mexico wants part of what you earn just like the U.S. wants part of what I earn. Mal informada y seguro que vas a eliminar el post.”

No, I am not misinformed and I did get informed prior to coming here. Chris is unfamiliar with a little thing called NAFTA. I am still considered a Canadian for tax purposes. As long as I’m working for clients outside of Mexico and that my money is coming into Mexico from outside sources, I continue to pay my taxes to Canada. At some point, I will start earning income here and paying Hacienda tax on that income while continuing to pay Canada tax on my other income. The day will likely come that I will end up not being a Canadian for tax purposes, but it is not in the near future.

2) Precautions Against Moving to Progreso, Mexico

“I know you’ll delete my post but I think that if someone were moving to Progreso they would have checked these things first.”

HA. I cannot believe the number of people who do not do their homework or who rely on someone like Chris to tell them what Mexico is like.

“And as you told me, you work in Canada legally so you are not paying any property tax (which is minimal or next to nothing), income taxes, tenencia or taxes for plates and tags on your car.”

No, I was not. I was still a resident of the community and contributing to the local economy in other ways. I was also at one point considering living in Progreso, which would have meant having to pay for local services like water and garbage pickup. I like to make informed decisions.

“Funny that you complain about the internet and then say it is better than Canada.”

I fail to see how that is a contradiction. It is easy for internet to be much better than in Canada, but still lacking.

“You’re not doing a service to Mexico, in fact, you talking it down.”

Unlike you, I treat Mexico like a real place, not some mythical perfect land. Loving a place and being aware of its flaws are not mutually exclusive.

3) Current Mood: Teal

“Mexican products just don’t cut for you, do they? Your comment on Berel paint for example, ” Berel is a Mexican brand of paint of decent quality (as per reviews I’ve read).””

Ah, so Chris has the mentality that you should always take it at face value that a Mexican brand is going to be fantastic and worth spending money on! I’m frugal. I like to get my money’s worth. I don’t care what nationality a brand is as long as it’s good value. I’ve bought Mexican brands of small appliances and electronics and since I tend to shop at little local markets rather than the big supermarkets, I’ve made the switch to a lot of Mexican food brands. I’ve never cared about brand. I care about product quality.

4) Already Feeling Like Home

“Whacky “Mexican” power fluctuations occur because home owners do “whacky” things. The electric coming in from the CFE is a perfect 127v, a bit higher than the U.S. so it really isn’t whacky. Mine stays exactly the same without any fluctuation and I live in a rural area. It’s all about the wiring in the house, the breaker panel, and the changito the owner may have installed in the house to lower the rates. Again, another negative comment about Mexico.”

Funny how to Chris, sharing the truth about life here and giving people a heads up about things to be prepared for is “negative.”

5) A Good Fit

He was so desperate to get his comment for this one out there that he tried twice!

a) “I guess in Mexico you really need to be vigilant. Mexico is known for scamming and ripping people off.

Your take on Mexico is hurting not helping, and unfortunately, in most cases you are wrong.

You’re here because Mexico is cheap.”

b) “It’s obvious you have a fear of being ripped off in Mexico. Sad, isn’t it?

Face it, you’re here because it’s cheap.”

There are two things to address here.

First of all, if I was afraid of getting scammed and thought Mexicans were scammers and cheaters, I wouldn’t be trolling the classifieds for used things and driving all over Mérida to meet complete strangers to buy goods from them.

Second, Mexico is not “cheap.” There are many things about living here that are much more inexpensive than in Canada and I can definitely have a much better of quality of life here for a fraction of the money, but I could have gone to many other places that are much less expensive.

Mexico’s primary appeal to me was that it is a Spanish-country that is super easy to get to from Canada. Then, I got here and saw what it’s like and I fell in love with its dichotomous nature — the extremes of poverty and wealth, of peace and violence, of a laid back attitude while still being some of the hardest working people I’ve ever encountered, and more.

Chris is one of those hateful expats I can’t stand. He’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from those who make zero effort to actually live in Mexico, but is equally awful. He wrote a vitriolic post recently that I won’t link to in which he denounces any expat who basically don’t “go native” as he feels it should be done. One thing that Chris doesn’t get that I finally do (thank you, Bulgaria!) is just how much courage it takes to move to a country where you don’t speak the language and that for some folks, just getting here is as much courage as they have.

He wrote something that did make me have a realisation about my expectations for my life here: “…they want to buy American/Canadian products (I truly believe that cheddar cheese is a religious sacrificial offering).”

I came to Mexico to broaden my horizons, not close them. I’m always going to be someone who enjoys a wide variety of foods so in a given week, I might have Yucatecan salbutes, Sinaloan-style tacos, curry, burgers, pizza, and Chinese! There is room in my fridge for cheeses from all over the world and for mustard, relish, and ketchup as well as a variety of Mexican sauces. Mexicans are not an insular people and it is incredibly insulting to portray them as such by rigidly defining what is okay and not okay for an expat to look for here or where it’s okay for them to shop.

It’s rather funny how Chris seems to think that I am failing at building my life here in Mexico and representing the country in a poor light when I am absolutely thriving here, which says nothing but positive things about Mexico. Fluency in the local language gives me so much freedom to interact with people and to truly understanding not just how, but also why, things are done a certain way here.

My posts are full of stories about the joy of small accomplishments, of eagerly taking on challenges, of figuring out how I am going to fit in here. I’m busy and productive and happy and content in the life I’m building for myself as I meet so many wonderful people and settle into my new community. It’s shocking to me that there is any negative to be found in that, but the above comments show that there is. I invite you to take as much stock into that as I have.

17 thoughts on “Ugly People

  1. Rea we call people like Chris butt hurt people. Everything chaps their ass unless they thought of it first.

    You are doing good kiddo. Keep up.

  2. I’m finally starting to learn how important it is to ignore judgmental people. You don’t need Chris in your life. Please, go right on telling us how it really is for those who might want to follow in your footsteps.

    • I am learning to be very careful of anyone who tells me how things are and by that same token, I am increasingly careful of making it clear that I am only representing my own reality.

  3. You are doing a wonderful job sharing about life in Mexico. You share the realities and always explain both sides. I appreciate your honesty and integrity:) You have certainly made México a more desirable destination.
    Thank you,

  4. Oh my. I don’t even know where to begin. You say, ” One thing that Chris doesn’t get that I finally do (thank you, Bulgaria!) is just how much courage it takes to move to a country where you don’t speak the language…”. Chris doesn’t get it? Chris did just that, over 30 years ago. He gets it. He gets an awfully lot that none of us who are new to this country get. He’s highly informed (not simply “opinionated”) on many, many things – not only from the viewpoint of being Mexican for these many years but also from the viewpoint of being one who has moved here and had to learn the ropes, as we are doing now.

    He has a fierce love for this country and the people here. I so admire the life he’s built in Mexico. For questions regarding anything in my new homeland I wouldn’t hesitate to go to him for advice, and yes, for his opinion. I respect both mightily. Does that mean I’d take it as gospel? No. But I would take it to heart with respect for his years of experience and vast knowledge based on being not only a resident and citizen but an active participant in both culture and dynamics of life here.

    I’ve read your blog for years. His too. I always respected your tenacity. However the only thing ugly here is that you called him out in such a way. Why you felt the need to do this I have no idea. However it reflects on you, not at all on Chris.

    I wish you well but I won’t be back to see how life is going for you. The total lack of class you’ve shown in this post – the true vitrol here – is yours and yours alone and something that I no longer care to witness.

    • I, too, respected Chris when I first got to know him. I know how well he knows this country and how much he loves its people. His being an authority on the topic does not give him any right to come into my house and say hateful things. I didn’t call him out on anything. He made those comments fully intending them to be public. In fact, he so wanted them to be seen that he even made a second attempt on one of them! I am merely responding to them as it is so very clear he was hoping I would.

      Goodbye, Barbara, and good luck in your future endeavours.

      • I’d like to add this:

        If I had seen just one or two comments last night, I wouldn’t have done anything about it. But SIX comments, one of which was a repeat, after he clearly saw this comments weren’t going through?! That’s practically stalking behaviour and I will not be taken to task for calling him on his bad behaviour.

  5. From my point of view, you are doing just fine. You are speaking Spanish, conducting business for yourself in Spanish, living amongst and interacting with locals, eating local foods and not demanding store carry NOB brands as the expats in SMA are doing. In fact you are for the most part staying away from the expat community so I am not sure what else you could be doing to “fit in”. I know you have researched your financial responsibilities to death and cannot be accused of avoiding paying your share even to the point of delaying renting out an AirBnB room until it is legal for you to do so. I would like to think it is all one big misunderstanding.

    • Thanks for your response, Croft.

      ” I would like to think it is all one big misunderstanding.”

      It’s clear from these comments, others that I let through in the past, and other information you and others have been privy to that this is not a misunderstanding and that someone who intensely dislikes me and how I conduct my life has got nothing better to do than to troll my blog and let me know it.

  6. Sorry Barbara Lane didn’t like your post – I thought you were classy AF and the person in question (that this post is about) is exhibiting bullying behaviour. Imo. I don’t know him, I don’t want to know him. His emails (posts) to you (your blog) are odd. Why would you (generic you) email someone repeatedly if you think they’re an idiot? It makes no sense.

  7. I don’t understand what his problem is. I’ve read his blog occasionally and have never seen this kind of viscious vitriol.
    You have handled the situation very well.
    I don’t get Barbara’ s problem either.
    It seems in this day it is too easy to spout off mean, viscious., judgemental comments, when a little kindness would be so much more productive and effective.
    Good on ya!

    • Shirley, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. He’s truly shown who he really is with these comments. I’m still so amused with the comment about Mexican products not being good enough for me because he took my descriptive comment about the paint as being a judgment. I was explaining to my readers what the product was…

      I’ve had A LOT of Barbaras in my life that drilled into me that I should just ignore this sort of bad behaviour, but I’ve finally gotten to that age where I know that if I don’t stand up for myself, no one else will.

      Thanks again for chiming in. I appreciate your support on Facebook very much and it’s lovely to see you commenting here too!

      • 🙂
        I love following your blog. I caught up to you about the time you bought Haven. Been a follower ever since. So amazed at your adventurous travels!

        I am nearly 72 and the most adventurous thing I’ve done was spend 2 months in Mexico, 2 winters ago, in a village I had been to twice before for shorter times. That time I was “re-setting my destiny thermostat”, a lovely phrase I read somewhere. And I did! After the end of a 50 yr marriage.

        So many wonderful, serendipitous things happened to me that year that I came away with the guiding thought “2016 is going to be my year”. And it was!😁

        Serendipity #1 – playing Ukulele in Mexico City airport with 2 young Mexican men while waiting for flight to Guadalajara. And one of them had a friend along who had been to my hometown, Nanaimo! Small world!

        • “re-setting my destiny thermostat”

          Love that!

          Thank you for sharing your stories and this journey with me.

          (Ending a 50-year marriage is unto itself quite adventurous!)

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