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The Newbie Invasion is Real

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The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by coffeeguy on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:00 am

We were at LCS yesterday, having finally decided to rejoin even though as car-less residents of Chapala we'll make very limited use of their services.

The nice fellow manning the registration desk said they've been just as busy this summer - for the first time - as during peak "high" season in years past, and also commented that the frenzy of people looking for rentals is unreal. One particularly disturbing (to us, anyway) example he mentioned was a guy in central Ajijic who'd been trying to rent a one-bedroom casita on his property for $1300 a month for years without (surprise, surprise) ever having any takers. A rep from Access Lake Chapala contacted him and told him he could easily get him his full asking price now as he had a list of renters willing to rent places sight-unseen at U.S.+ prices.

For those on Facebook there are at least two newbie-oriented (and in at least one case realtor-run) pages there where you can watch the cognitive dissonance unfold before your eyes on a daily basis. One post will be from someone who probably just got their first passport begging for an all-inclusive rental ("with pool and 50 MBPS internet, pet-friendly") for November through April under $1300 a month, while the next one will be some hapless local (i.e. Mexican) trying to find a place for their family for 2000-4000 pesos.

Back to LCS, the same helpful volunteer said that while the median age of members there is 71 what they are seeing now is a flood of people in their late 50's through mid 60's showing up. One does get the impression that there's a whole lot of simple fleeing going on, with many folks just getting in the car or on a plane without doing any research beyond a few hours poking around the internet. Of course it's nice to see so much interest and to have younger folks in the area, but I'm reminded of the old, wise Jame Thurber quote: "All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why."

Unlike many on this board who were (or who became) really clear about the "running TO" part and are here more out of love for Mexico than fear and loathing of what's going on at home I get the impression that it's all or mostly flight going on at this point. Interested to hear your thoughts and am concerned about the effects on rentals, especially for local Mexicans who've tolerated our presence for so long.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Lady Otter Latté on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:19 am

You have confirmed my worst fears, coffeeguy. This will get much worse before it gets better.
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Trailrunner on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:24 am

. . ."where you can watch the cognitive dissonance unfold before your eyes on a daily basis."  hahahaha

I had to completely stop reading those sites! Totally agree, greed reigns and lack of knowledge about the country they are fleeing to is astounding. I give these newbies 3 years, max. They will become the Mainecoons' of the future. Moving to a foreign country because it suits your politics or wallet and without the language skills of that country, and in complete ignorance of the culture and customs of that country is economic suicide.

Yes, younger is good and I like that too but they're so gringo and Ajijic centric.
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by coffeeguy on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:37 am

I fear you are right and hope you are wrong Trailrunner! In the end I expect it'll be a mixed bag as most things are: many will go back home, a few will do the "International Living" schtick and move on to the next paradise in need of despoiling (what comes after Panama and Ecuador though - now that Nicaragua is also over-run? Shocked ). One hopes that a few will follow in your footsteps and really learn to love this country and make it better by being here. And I must say I sure as hell don't blame 'em for fleeing!

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by stevemartin on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:38 am

I heard the same thing last summer. Someone said many of the new people are from California. Most do not read forums or know about travel. We are lucky as we house sit for a friend, and do not pay rent. The Chapala Society is not the best place for information. I predict most newbies will not stay here after one season.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:56 am

In answer to the "so gringo and Ajijic centric":
That put-down is becoming too frequent to ignore.
Unless someone is out there interviewing these backpacked newbies, we have no idea what their goals, their politics or their dreams are.  How can we assume what we can't know? That's just ignorant.

I see this influx of newbies as mainly due to the simple fact of demographics.  These are the baby boomers and they have recently reached retirement age.  Tons of them.  They are looking at their options for the future, and Mexico is right next door.  Maybe they vacationed here before and liked what they saw.  Maybe they haven't done their research and don't realize the nature of this government.
Maybe they'll adjust as many of the rest of us have and stay for the rest of their lives, or maybe they'll go back "home".  We simply can't know at this point until we ask a very large sample of them.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not about to approach a stranger and ask them why they're here.

BTW, I live in Ajijic, and I'm still waiting to hear someone define what the hell "Ajijic centric" means.  Most of the residents in this town are native Mexicans.  Most of the expats I know are people of modest means and liberal attitudes.  Who are the critics talking about?

The irony is that it's being said by gringos about other gringos.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Bubba2shoes on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:01 am

Well, while this boy was born in Alabama, I lived in San Francisco for about. 30 years and I have lived in Ajijic and San Cristobal de Las Casas for 16 years. Even though I am by choice a Californian, I have travelled here and there and my favorite place so far was Kathmandu because the hashish was cheap and availablle on every street corner and on those days it was legal. A fine town.


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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Defarge on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:05 am

Many cannot handle the current cost of living increases. It really is getting nuts. Between home purchase prices, rents, groceries and medical, many either can't afford it currently or just don't want to chip away at their retirement savings ( if they have any) Then throw in projected decreases in SS payments to future recipients and discussions of Medicare premiums being $1000 a month....
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Trailrunner on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:10 am

I'm now thinking there are 2 kinds of people who move here now, those moving to Mexico (Viva!) and those moving to Ajijic (which just happens to be in Mexico).
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:13 am

Trailrunner wrote:I'm now thinking there are 2 kinds of people who move here now, those moving to Mexico (Viva!) and those moving to Ajijic (which just happens to be in Mexico).

Okay, quit dodging........define the kinds of people you're talking about:  get the insults out there and over with!
"just happens to be in Mexico" is a ludicrous statement from a biased mind. My close neighbors whose families have been living in Ajijic for many generations would get a good laugh from your take on the subject.


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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Bubba2shoes on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:17 am

So,Defarge,, move to Chiapas.It's cheap here and a fine 400 plus year old city of distinct colonial architecture and charm. No one speaks English but what is there to say, anyway except "Otra tequila, por favor" and "Cuanto cuesta?".

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by stevemartin on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:31 am

Excellent post Gringal! There are different types of people who move here. Some stay & others leave. The traffic will be worse with more people. We walk everywhere and are not affected by this.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:33 am

Bubba2shoes wrote:So,Defarge,, move to Chiapas.It's cheap here and a fine 400 plus year old city of distinct colonial architecture and charm.  No one speaks English but what is there to say, anyway except "Otra tequila, por favor" and "Cuanto cuesta?".

DeFarge is not likely to head to Chiapas, but he made a valid point: from surveys conducted, many boomers have about enough savings for retirement to fund a vacation to Yosemite, and the cost of living is way ahead of whatever income they have after their jobs end. So, there may well be a bunch of economic refugees headed to Mexico, too.
They may bring some good new blood to this haven of old farts and fartesses. Their other only option may be a trailer park in Appalachia.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by coffeeguy on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:41 am

gringal wrote:
Trailrunner wrote:I'm now thinking there are 2 kinds of people who move here now, those moving to Mexico (Viva!) and those moving to Ajijic (which just happens to be in Mexico).

Okay, quit dodging........define the kinds of people you're talking about:  get the insults out there and over with!
"just happens to be in Mexico" is a ludicrous statement from a biased mind.  My close neighbors whose families have been living in Ajijic for many generations would get a good laugh from your take on the subject.

We've rented in Ajijic centro, La Floresta, San Antonio and Chapala and spent as much time as we could in other villages here as well. On the one hand gringal of course it's true that Ajijic remains a very Mexican village - something I'm reminded of often as I shop at local fruiterias, eat at taquerias and so on - while almost never running into any gringos at those places!

On the other hand, Trailrunner's characterization of "the Ajijic effect" is also real, and has been mightily supported over many years by the likes of the old "Mexico Insights" site, LCS, the "Living at Lake Chapala" book, local restaurant review sites, everyone from Mainecoons to the immortal restaurant reviewer "John in Ajijic" on TOB - all of whom have portrayed Ajijic as THE epicenter of civilized life at Lakeside and encouraged newbies to rent furnished, gringo-owned places within walking distance of LCS while avoiding Mexican landlords and any of the other-side-of-the-tracks jurisdictions that start at the eastern boundary of La Floresta on one side and maybe La Cristina on the other.

The reasons given for "Ajijic first and always" start with the presence of LCS and quickly move on to "that's where all of the good [i.e. non-Mexican] restaurants are" and then "you'll be amazed how little Spanish you can get by with" and "did you know that "unfurnished" could mean no washer and dryer?" and all the rest. Ajijic is for sure a real Mexican village but with a very serious gringo bubble and there are a lot of people - especially local real estate and rental agencies but also many long-term residents and businesses - who continue to profit greatly by promoting Ajijic as the crown jewel of the ribera while portraying the other villages as riff-raff suburbs.


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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Trailrunner on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:45 am

Wow. Well said, Coffeeguy. Totally agree.
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by RVGRINGO on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:50 am

Well said ! Now to refill my coffee.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Lady Otter Latté on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:52 am

Gringal, as I recall you are one of the FACEBOOK IS EVIL folks, so you have no idea what Trailrunner is talking about. If you did read the postings on the many new Facebook groups devoted to newbies and those planning to move here you would understand. You would not need to challenge and insult Trailrunner for having a more informed POV than you. The people she is talking about are not the people you know and talk to. She is correct about the people she is discussing. The fact that you do not like what she said does not make her wrong. You would know this if you had read what she has been reading. She is not obligated to fill in your knowledge gap.
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by coffeeguy on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:53 am

gringal wrote:
I see this influx of newbies as mainly due to the simple fact of demographics.  These are the baby boomers and they have recently reached retirement age.  Tons of them.  They are looking at their options for the future, and Mexico is right next door.  Maybe they vacationed here before and liked what they saw.  Maybe they haven't done their research and don't realize the nature of this government.

"Baby Boomers" covers a lot of ground - roughly anyone born between 1946-1966 according to Wikipedia. So we're nearing the peak of boomer retirement but it's been going on for a long time and there has never been a massive wave of folks from the U.S. looking to become expats.

Hopefully some academic will see fit to do a study wherein they'll interview a cross-section of newbie expats about their motivations. In the meantime all we have is anecdotes and the ones I heard at LCS and from other long-time Lakeside expats largely feature newbies who are years away from being eligible for Medicare or even drawing Social Security. So I have to think a lot of the motivation is fleeing the Trumpocalypse. As others have said, things will sort themselves out in due time - I just hope we aren't left with a real estate and rental market only ex-Californians and Guadalajara's homegrown 1% can afford in their wake.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:59 am

Trailrunner wrote:Wow. Well said, Coffeeguy. Totally agree.

Still dodging, eh? I still want to hear your take on what kind of people move to Ajijic. Always interested in what amateur shrinks think of me and my friends.

Coffeeguy's comments were probably much truer a generation of expats ago. This reminds me of Carol Schmidt's take on Ajijic after two rainy days, where her blog "facts" resulted from venturing out to interview some folks at LCS and concluding that the populations consisted of Republican WWII vets and their wives who speak no Spanish.
Things do change, even the food court at LCS. Excellent carrot cake, and handy.
Beer

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Trailrunner on Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:01 am

Lady Otter Latté wrote:Gringal, as I recall you are one of the FACEBOOK IS EVIL folks, so you have no idea what Trailrunner is talking about. If you did read the postings on the many new Facebook groups devoted to newbies and those planning to move here you would understand. You would not need to challenge and insult Trailrunner for having a more informed POV than you. The people she is talking about are not the people you know and talk to. She is correct about the people she is discussing. The fact that you do not like what she said does not make her wrong. You would know this if you had read what she has been reading. She is not obligated to fill in your knowledge gap.

Thanks, LOL, muy amable.

I have foe'd her and I'm hoping she will do the same.
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:04 am

coffeeguy wrote:
gringal wrote:
I see this influx of newbies as mainly due to the simple fact of demographics.  These are the baby boomers and they have recently reached retirement age.  Tons of them.  They are looking at their options for the future, and Mexico is right next door.  Maybe they vacationed here before and liked what they saw.  Maybe they haven't done their research and don't realize the nature of this government.

"Baby Boomers" covers a lot of ground - roughly anyone born between 1946-1966 according to Wikipedia. So we're nearing the peak of boomer retirement but it's been going on for a long time and there has never been a massive wave of folks from the U.S. looking to become expats.

Hopefully some academic will see fit to do a study wherein they'll interview a cross-section of newbie expats about their motivations. In the meantime all we have is anecdotes and the ones I heard at LCS and from other long-time Lakeside expats largely feature newbies who are years away from being eligible for Medicare or even drawing Social Security. So I have to think a lot of the motivation is fleeing the Trumpocalypse. As others have said, things will sort themselves out in due time - I just hope we aren't left with a real estate and rental market only ex-Californians and Guadalajara's homegrown 1% can afford in their wake.

What makes you think ex-Californians have lots of money? Many Californians were nearly impoverished by the escalating cost of living there. BTW, I'm from CA. Been in MX 13 years now.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:18 am

Trailrunner wrote:
Lady Otter Latté wrote:Gringal, as I recall you are one of the FACEBOOK IS EVIL folks, so you have no idea what Trailrunner is talking about. If you did read the postings on the many new Facebook groups devoted to newbies and those planning to move here you would understand. You would not need to challenge and insult Trailrunner for having a more informed POV than you. The people she is talking about are not the people you know and talk to. She is correct about the people she is discussing. The fact that you do not like what she said does not make her wrong. You would know this if you had read what she has been reading. She is not obligated to fill in your knowledge gap.

Thanks, LOL, muy amable.

I have foe'd her and I'm hoping she will do the same.

I don't claim that FACEBOOK is evil. It's a voluntary surrender of privacy to increase the income of the owners.
If you doubt that, check out the people who have lost jobs due to Facebook postings. Those who want that kind of connectivity like it. That doesn't make it more real than face to face acquired knowledge. Her POV is apparently based on the internet. Mine is based on living here over a dozen years.

I'm not insulting Trailrunner; I'm calling her out on her prejudices about people who live in Ajijic, which she has voiced more than once. If her knowledge is entirely based on Facebook, I think it's less than totally reliable.
I'm not alone in avoiding it.
She is, of course, free to share some of the most egregious quotes from Facebook posters about Mexico, and Ajijic in particular. This would be more convincing than simply dissing Ajijic residents without backup for that POV. That's my point of contention; not her personally. She's a fine, intelligent person with good input here.

Being FOED? Of fer pete's sake. Rolling Eyes You mean I get to be in the same box with Idrews and Pedro?







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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Lady Otter Latté on Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:19 am

gringal wrote:
coffeeguy wrote:
gringal wrote:
I see this influx of newbies as mainly due to the simple fact of demographics.  These are the baby boomers and they have recently reached retirement age.  Tons of them.  They are looking at their options for the future, and Mexico is right next door.  Maybe they vacationed here before and liked what they saw.  Maybe they haven't done their research and don't realize the nature of this government.

"Baby Boomers" covers a lot of ground - roughly anyone born between 1946-1966 according to Wikipedia. So we're nearing the peak of boomer retirement but it's been going on for a long time and there has never been a massive wave of folks from the U.S. looking to become expats.

Hopefully some academic will see fit to do a study wherein they'll interview a cross-section of newbie expats about their motivations. In the meantime all we have is anecdotes and the ones I heard at LCS and from other long-time Lakeside expats largely feature newbies who are years away from being eligible for Medicare or even drawing Social Security. So I have to think a lot of the motivation is fleeing the Trumpocalypse. As others have said, things will sort themselves out in due time - I just hope we aren't left with a real estate and rental market only ex-Californians and Guadalajara's homegrown 1% can afford in their wake.

What makes you think ex-Californians have lots of money?  Many Californians were nearly impoverished by the escalating cost of living there.  BTW, I'm from CA.  Been in MX 13 years now.

It is not "the impoverished" from any state moving to Mexico. They can't afford to move to another county, never mind another country.
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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by gringal on Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:28 am

There's a huge gap between "impoverished" and "rich", wouldn't you agree? I've lived in CA most of my life. The COL got ahead of many people I knew. Yes, they had homes, but most were heavily mortgaged.
If you're aware of what rents are in Silicon Valley and SanFrancisco, you can see where those who don't own homes already (even with the high CA taxes) are priced out of the place in retirement.
The one group who leaves CA with a chunk of change (not enough to buy a house in CA) are those who sold their property and have enough left to buy one in Mexico. With a decent SSA income, they can also afford to rent if they choose.

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Re: The Newbie Invasion is Real

Post by Lady Otter Latté on Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:34 am

gringal wrote:There's a huge gap between "impoverished" and "rich", wouldn't you agree?  I've lived in CA most of my life.  The COL got ahead of many people I knew.  Yes, they had homes, but most were heavily mortgaged.
If you're aware of what rents are in Silicon Valley and SanFrancisco, you can see where those who don't own homes already (even with the high CA taxes) are priced out of the place in retirement.
The one group who leaves CA with a chunk of change (not enough to buy a house in CA) are those who sold their property and have enough left to buy one in Mexico.  With a decent SSA income, they can also afford to rent if they choose.

You are the one who used the term impoverished. So, you are talking about people who have resources but not enough to maintain a California lifestyle in retirement. However, they can live high on the hog in Mexico. They are not coming to the culture, language, and people but to a standard of living they can otherwise not afford. Or, as Trailrunner said, more Mainecoons.
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