Retired From Making Wine; Not From Consuming It
Before moving to Mexico, Larry was an assistant wine maker in Sonoma County, Russian River appellation. Many of the people he worked with were Hispanic as were, over half his wife’s students. “Doreen and I got to know a lot of them and enjoyed their culture. After several visits to Mexico we developed a ten-year retirement plan that included moving to Mexico.”
The couple had not made any decisions as to where they would ultimately live until a Mexican American colleague at Doreen’s school offered a suggestion. “She’d spent some time with family in Mexico and they took her to Oaxaca City, and Huatulco. She was impressed by what she found here, and suggested we take a look. We did and here we are.” They purchased land and had a home custom built with a knockout view of Conejos bay and the southern Sierra Madres. In 2008, Huatulco became their new home.
When they arrived, Larry could form a sentence but lacked vocabulary “There was a lot of show and tell, especially centering around construction. Now it’s much better. If you wish to live here, you want to learn some Spanish.”
They were already prepared for some cultural differences so Larry didn’t experience many surprises. “We knew the need for patience; things can take longer than we are accustomed to. Not getting telephone service for one year however, stretched our tolerance limit.” He also expressed some disappointment with FONATUR, a government agency that develops resorts to stimulate tourism. “While the infrastructure in Huatulco is pretty good, the number of breaks in water pipes appears to be excessive in some areas. It seems that they are always digging up a street to repair pipes. This may stem from shoddy materials and workmanship. If they hadn’t cut corners originally, we probably wouldn’t have this issue and I suspect corners were cut to line pockets.”
The couple likes Huatulco because it is still small and low key with incredible biodiversity. “The long low season means an extended stretch without a lot of tourist. This allows us to have some beaches practically to ourselves.”
Larry and his wife also have a sincere appreciation for the local Mexican culture. Volunteering as an assistant for rural school construction with the Baccanda foundation, he gets broader than average insight into this. Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin he is a naturally handy, attributed to great Dad, and he enjoys doing most of his own household maintenance and gardening. Much as they love Huatulco this couple also enjoy frequent vacations to the USA and Europe and Asia.
For someone considering moving to Mexico, Larry has two recommendations. “Spend a year to experience both the rainy season and dry season before you invest, and before you come, learn some Spanish and a bit about the culture, this will make your transition much easier.”