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!
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.