There was a recent thread on a Lake Chapala discussion board asking people what would make Ajijic better. Is it really the best it can be? Can paradise actually be made better?
Lots of people contributed to the discussion and it was interesting to see that there were only a few things that people said could be better. In this blog I will cover the items that people living here didn't like as well as counterpoint the opposite.
One of the most requested items was:
Reliable Broadband Internet
It is important to remember that you are not in the U.S. or Canada where the infrastructure is phenomenally better. Internet services here in Ajijic are improving constantly but there is still a ways to go. As I write this, I am told that they are already running fiber optic cable in this direction from Guadalajara and rumors, which as of yet I cannot verify, say that certain neighborhoods closer to Chapala already have 'high speed internet'.
Fiber optic internet is coming!
The second, third and fourth most requested items I am going lump into one category:
Improved Public Works, Proper Sidewalks and Better City Clean Up
Here we need to remember how much we pay in taxes. Many people have come here to live a less expensive lifestyle than they had in the U.S. or Canada. Many are living solely on Social Security. To ask for the same kinds of services that we had in the U.S. and Canada, we have to remember what we were paying for those services. $1000-$4000 per year in property taxes! Here in Ajijic we are paying $100-$300 per year! You get what you pay for and it won't change much because most of the population is poor.
The fifth most requested item was for:
Better Trash Pickup
Garbage pickup has been has been sporadic lately. Other than the rumor that there just isn't enough garbage trucks I am not certain of the reason. Currently Ajijic gets garbage pickup Monday through Saturday, every day of the week. Can you believe it? In Canada we were receiving trash pickup only once every two weeks and recycling once a week! Now I live in an outlying area of West Ajijic and receive pickup twice a week. Cost? Only 50 pesos per month! Can you receive even 1 pickup anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for that price?
Updated note: Recent information indicates that there has been a move to reduce the number of streets the garbage trucks need to navigate and new scheduled routes have been posted. It appears the problem has been solved.
The next requests were for a large supermarket such as Costco, Mega or Trader Joes as well as chain restaurants such as KFC and Dairy Queen. Amazingly, we already have Dominos Pizza, Subway, Wal-Mart and some Mexican chain enterprises but you need to remember that Ajijic is still a small Mexican village and there simply isn't the population for many of these large companies. Most are represented in Guadalajara which is only 1 hour by car. I go to Costco and Mega once every couple months. If such a convenience is important to people then perhaps a move to Guadalajara is in order.
The last major request was for improved mail service. This is Mexican wide issue as well as a border issue. The mail is system not great in Mexico and the speed of mail service is further complicated by the fact that it has to cross 1 or 2 borders. Mail to Canada for instance is 4-8 weeks. The U.S. is usually 3-6 weeks. These times can double or triple over the Christmas season. This is part of the price to pay for expatriating to a different country but luckily all the courier companies are now represented in Ajijic. We have DHL, UPS and FedEx as well as Mexican courier companies such as Estafeta which now operates in the U.S. too. For a small Mexican village I think that's pretty impressive.
Here are some other items that were requested:
A Full Service Hospital
We already have a public hospital and several private clinics at Lakeside and considering the population, that's probably all we are going to get for now. Full service private and government facilities are 1 hour away in Guadalajara.
Mexicans love to party and this is part of the culture of living in Mexico. Mexicans also have an abundance of dogs but then most living north of the border do as well.
Would be nice, but again, who is going to pay for all this. The population in Ajijic is mostly poor and the town is small.
Enforced traffic laws and honest police and government
Yes, Mexico is worse than the U.S. or Canada in these respects but does any country have honest police and government? Things are just more exposed and out in the open here and in many cases when you have people in positions of power and influence they will try to take advantage.
One of the posters summed it up best by saying :
“Things are great here. Sure, I wish my favorite stores were a little closer and that traffic wasn't so heavy. But I would wish that about most anywhere I lived.”
Is Ajijic paradise? Is Ajijic right for you? Only you can answer that. Every person is different and wants something different at certain times in their lives.
Is this the best place in the world to live? For thousands of people who live here and for many thousands of snowbirds that flock down each winter, it is!!
As always, if you have any comments or questions about this blog or wish to contact me about real estate in the Lakeside area, please go to the contact box on this website or message me through Facebook. I am always here to help and thanks for reading.