How one spends a typical day in paradise

Retirement in Puerto Vallarta: getting by with neither curling nor Timmy's

People are always asking me what I do all day now that I have been put out to pasture, or retired, as others of us like to say. Am I not clouded by a sense of the same old, same old?

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Somehow because we have moved to Mexico for part of the year people think all I do is sit in the shade with a bottle of tequila by my side.

But I would say, “What do you do all day where you are?” Curling is out down here, but other than that, how would you spend your average day back in Canada? Timmy’s?

I have lost my love for the ubiquitous coffee shop known as Tim Horton’s, because when the company was bought by Burger Queen they decided to expand in greater numbers into the U.S. market, but with a menu tailored to a more American taste.

Suddenly I found that my mandatory daily bran muffin to keep the engine room in working order was covered in sugar and the coffee had taken on a decidedly “dark roast” taste. Both were too much for my bland palate. I was out.

But most Canadians simply bowed their heads to the inevitable and continue to spend their mornings at the Canuck icon amongst their friends. That’s followed by a large lunch with the missus of ham and pea soup topped with an enormous sandwich of something bad.

Then, after a short nap full of groans as the “something bad” makes its way to the lower tracks, you must pick up the grandchildren, whom you have called on more than one occasion “the little buggers.”

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After playing with the imps on your bad knees, your unpunctual daughter arrives, making excuses that are clearly a fairy tale that would not bear any kind of scrutiny, only to tell you that you must take the kids to school tomorrow because she and her low-rent husband whom you begged her not to marry have an appointment with the debt councilor.

Am I wrong? I don’t think so, not after listening to stories every day here in Puerto Vallarta from exhausted seniors trying to relax away from their offspring without being called “judgmental, cheap and selfish.”

I, on the other hand, bound from my bed after kissing my wife on all four cheeks and stand on the balcony to be once again transfixed by the view. Sure the roosters and dogs have been up for some time, there have been three car alarms and the woman who plays the same tuneless CD until I want to lob a brick at her has arisen, but this my neighborhood.

When we recently returned to Victoria, B.C., to sell our home there was a man next door who appeared to cough all day and most of the night. He was so loud that I kept expecting to hear a body hitting the floor after he had died from exhaustion.

At least with the PV car alarms there is some hope they will stop. He was still coughing when we left. Also, the gardener across the street drove us batty with the leaf blower that seemed attached to his right arm. We shall never forget that sound.

Here my morning kicks off with a beautiful view and a few deep-knee bends followed by several stride jumps. Yogurt and fruit is our breakfast of champions; lemon water is a big favorite before the tea is served.

Just like clockwork, after about an hour, our eyes begin to cross and we hurriedly make our way to favorite bathrooms.

Later, now light as feathers, we prance down our steep hill for a walk that gets the blood moving and strengthens the leg muscles. I bet not much of that goes on at the local Tim’s back in Canada, eh?

Then we walk through the Ley’s supermarket, partly, I admit, to check whether the long promised tonic water has arrived as our gin requires it, but also to see what fresh fruit is on display. The food in Mexico, especially the fruit and veg, is second to none.

Sometimes we just wait for one of the many farm trucks that ply the roads of the El Centro district with even a fresher variety but sadly they don’t carry tonic water.

Then after walking back to the condo with our goodies it occurs to us that lunch approaches and what should we do? Eat in or out? These are the sorts of choices I like these days, nothing more earth-shattering than that.

After we have made that heavy decision, it is time for a well-deserved nap. Several hours later, at 5:00p.m., a vodka and grapefruit juice is served on the terrace before we wind our way down the hill again, usually to the El Arrayan or Layla’s restaurant and a delicious dinner.

Instead of dessert we have to walk all the way back up the PV equivalent of the Matterhorn, which works off those supper calories before the hot chocolate and nature’s nurse, sleep.

Another perfect day in paradise. That’s what we do in retirement in Mexico.

The writer lives under a palapa in Puerto Vallarta.

© Christopher Dalton 2015

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  • robert w

    Retirement.
    Spending as much time as humanly possible figuring out how to do as little as humanly possible!!!!!

    • Francis Dryden

      That would make it plain to see you are not retired Robert… I don’t know how I found time to do any work before I retired. Like Chris, I retired to Mexico where my money will last as least as long as my life with a full slate and plate every day!

  • Cool Hand Luke

    There are plenty of opportunities to go beyond and contribute in the Bay area with volunteer work, which at the end of day will make those dinners and desserts taste so much better!
    Now that’s real retirement!

  • RobertSDF

    I have visited Mexico for over 30 years and lived here in the Yucatan Peninsula for about 12. But living here, I often hear people call it Paradise. And I always say, I hope not . Paradise should be much better than this. Sure, it has its good points and I love it here. But it also has its bad points. Paradise it is not. I once had a Mexican ask what I do here and when I told him “nothing”, he said, “you do it very well” . I keep practicing. But hope one day to really see Paradise.

  • Happygirl

    I love Mexico, and when people back home hear we have a home here they are either awe struck or shake their heads at our stupidity…they are both right. When I look out at the ocean, listen to the birds in the morning, smell a new exotic smell, chomp down on my Hot Nuts…or learn a new Spanish word – I’m in awe…how lucky am I! But then I spend time filling cracks, painting the repairs, picking up garbage, trying to get something done with my limited language skills, being totally lost when it comes to how Mexico runs…then I know I’m truly insane. I know that my property manager/realtor is just waiting for us to throw up our hands and list…like so many before us have. So, we take it one day at a time. Mexico has taught me so many great lessons, made me a better person…a better human being. Do I see myself here in five years? No. The world is a big place, there are other countries with lessons to teach…but mexico has taught me well.

  • Happygirl

    I love Mexico, and when people back home hear we have a home here they are either awe struck or shake their heads at our stupidity…they are both right. When I look out at the ocean, listen to the birds in the morning, smell a new exotic smell, chomp down on my Hot Nuts…or learn a new Spanish word – I’m in awe…how lucky am I! But then I spend time filling cracks, painting the repairs, picking up garbage, trying to get something done with my limited language skills, being totally lost when it comes to how Mexico runs…then I know I’m truly insane. I know that my property manager/realtor is just waiting for us to throw up our hands and list…like so many before us have. So, we take it one day at a time. Mexico has taught me so many great lessons, made me a better person…a better human being. Do I see myself here in five years? No. The world is a big place, there are other countries with lessons to teach…but mexico has taught me well.

  • Helene

    You can get tonic water at Mega or Soriana, they always carry it. Living here in paradise also

  • Helene

    You can get tonic water at Mega or Soriana, they always carry it. Living here in paradise also

  • RiverFred

    Living in PV I am surprised you go to El Arrayan for Mexican cuisine. My wife is from Mexico and we had gringo food at this restaurant, look around any locals?

    • Christopher Dalton

      Actually we were first introduced to the place by Mexican locals, although I had read about it in the NY Times.

  • RiverFred

    Living in PV I am surprised you go to El Arrayan for Mexican cuisine. My wife is from Mexico and we had gringo food at this restaurant, look around any locals?

  • Mexicanbeachbum Robin

    I keep enjoying your stories Chris, keep them coming. Even though I work (sell real estate in Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Penasco) I feel retired, kicking back when I want to. Weather is awesome, fresh shrimp here in Penasco/Rocky Point is tasty and $6 a pound, and plenty of tonic water, LOL

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