Mazatlán: it can be chilly in winter. Mazatlán: it can be chilly in winter.

How to deal with winter in Mazatlán

Electric heater was nice but the electricity bill was too steep

This is my 10th winter in Mexico and though it is far preferable to winters in the frozen wastelands north of the border, I still suffer from the cold.

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Becoming so well acclimated to the summer in the tropics has rendered me a shivering wreck when the winter temperatures drop below 75. In my old life, 60 degrees would be t-shirt weather and 80 would be sweltering.

Five years ago, our household suffered more than a little derision from snowbird friends when they discovered we had imported a small electric heater from the states. My Captured Tourist Woman, who comes from a large warm country in the Southern Hemisphere, would defend our acquisition by displaying her layers of clothing, including her thermal underwear.

However, as our winter temperatures plummeted into the mid-50s F (mid-13s C) and our item of mockery was deployed, we could always emerge from a lusciously hot shower into a sumptuously warm bathroom. During the dark days of January we would even pre-warm the bedroom with our well used electrical appliance, but that was before our first winter utility bill arrived.

When we realized our power consumption approached a level similar to that of a baseball stadium on game night, we reevaluated our resource allotment priorities. The CFE bill was seriously impacting our lavish lifestyle.

So it was during the depths of winter several years ago, as I washed windshields in an intersection just to pay the power bill, I vowed to do everything in my capacity to hasten the approaching summer cocoon of heat and humidity. With this in mind, I began my extensive research of ancient weather rituals.

Since it was the Mexican weather gods I needed to please, I delved into the ceremonies used by the Mayans and Aztecs so many centuries ago. I quickly discovered the majority of these pagan practices required blood and body parts from living things.

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Since I was not about to sacrifice any of my friends or neighbors, and sacrificing the occasional narco could be a bit dicey, the yappy pack of Chihuahuas down the street was a very appealing alternative.

However, when I discussed my scheme with several friends they told me my cold-weather gear must be restricting the blood flow to my brain. At this point I relented and directed my research into rituals which did not require the use of a meat cleaver.

The Greeks had gods for both the weather as well as summer, but how bad could Mediterranean weather be? The Druids seemed to be the next group to look into; I mean really, the weather in the British Isles has to be some of the dreariest on the planet.

After further research, my first priority was to construct the appropriate altar, precisely aligned to the magnetic field of the earth. Since I was attempting to conjure warmth from cold, the altar would require a central fire pit which would necessitate an outdoor location.  Also, the fire would defray the cold in the immediate area and warm me nicely as I attempted to beckon the gods of weather.

I knew that it would be impossible for a single short session to produce enough metaphysical dynamism to affect weather patterns, so I devoted several hours a day to my droning incantations while dancing circles around my fiery shrine.

It was amazing! Soon the weather began to warm as February rolled into March. And then it warmed significantly by the middle of April; it became obvious that my rituals were having the desired effect.

So now every winter when I feel chilled to the bone I light the fire at the center of my altar and then dance about with dung smeared in esoteric patterns on my naked body while muttering in tongues.

I am not bothered by the fact that the neighbors shun me and no longer allow their children or pets to traverse the street in front of our house. I know my efforts have been rewarded as the spring warms into summer and the humidity swaddles me in its balmy embrace.

In fact, the rituals have worked so well I am considering an offering of gratitude to the Mexican weather gods at the peak of the summer solstice; maybe just a couple of yappy dogs and a few pigeons would suffice.

Bodie Kellogg describes himself as a very middle-aged man who lives full-time in Mazatlán with a captured tourist woman and the ghost of a half wild dog. If you wish to give him cold beer, large sacks of money or a piece of your mind, he can be reached at buscardero@yahoo.com.

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  • 101st

    @Bodie…….Do you think April and May would have come, even without your “incantations”?

  • Güerito

    My power bill for mid-Dec. to mid-Feb just arrived here 6,000 feet high in the central mountains.

    The use of a space heater for an hour or two a day on the coldest days had no effect on my power bill. In fact, I paid less than I paid in Dec. (for mid-Oct to mid-Dec) because I wasn’t using a fan.

    But by less, I mean the power bill went from a little over 5 dollars a month to a little below 5 dollars a month.

  • W. Jones Jordan

    The Federal Commission subsidizes the cost of electricity, which rises according to the amount used and the season. The basic price per kilowatt hour is 0.967 and rises to 0.703 during the Winter months for the first 150 kwh. It rises again after the use of 350 kwh, and much higher, to 2.802 (summer) after 800 kwh. Heating and airconditioning are notoriously expensive here in Acapulco. I use gas and average an electric bill of about 250 pesos/month or perhaps about US$15.00. An electric heater is a fabulous luxury where a 45-liter gas tank costs about us$50.00.

    • Vernon King

      It depends on which schedule you are on. Us folks in Lago Chapala pay the most in Mexico because we don’t need heat or AC for the most part due to the altitude (5000ft) . We are on Tarifa 01 so bills vary due to location. Look at your CFE bill in the upper left hand corner and see what Tarifa schedule you are on. So on my casita which used 263kWh my two months the bill is 263P. My house uses 600kWh for two month or so and the bill is 1348P. Now since I am using more than 500kWh over two month after a year I will go on the dreaded DAC rates and my bill will double or triple next year. LP and electricity are very expensive in Mexico unless you have a very small house. Please note I have the latest LED bulbs, new pumps, modern fridge and I still can’t get away from DAC unless I use solar panels. We do have net metering here so folks with AC tend to have solar panels as the meter goes backwards here when the sun is shining and the load is low.

      Because of the high rates for electricity we use Catalytic LP heaters. Twenty litre (5 US gallons)of LP cost 150P or 7.50USD and I buy a couple of tanks a year. Much much cheaper for us to use LP gas than electric to heat. For folks concerned about LP our houses are not that tight and we don’t gas ourselves as Cat heaters are very clean.

  • MortimerSnerd

    Bodie…don’t think a couple of neurotic yappy dogs are quite gonna appease the Gods of Eternal Warmth.. The Mayans did it better and tossed nubile virgins into the cenote’s as offerings to their ‘Gods’..and somehow we have a feeling your captured Tourist Woman wouldn’t quite cut it in the nubile or virgin department. So bow down to the Gods of Technology and buy yourself some solar panels and a grid tie inverter. Plenty of sunshine in your neck of the woods, and you can bank the KW surplus for those cold days of January when you want the heater to keep you and your Captured Tourist Woman warm n coszy while keeping your consumption out of the dreaded DAC.. .

  • Happygirl

    Dear Bodie, I think you are running out of material, or you have hit a mental block…so your imagination is running wild…what a silly bit of nonsense, I have a feeling this is your attempt at humour. Winter cold is serious in Mexico – In 2007 newsgd.com reported “Up to 85 people have died of hypothermia as well as carbon monoxide poisoning and burns during the spell of a cold snap in Mexico, said the Health Ministry in a statement on Sunday.” You could have written about the yearly call for blankets for the poor, the elderly and the young who are not able to cope with the cold. But, thankfully this winter has actually been quite warm and I have made some great purchases in winter clothing to take back home in April because the stores were over-stocked. You could have written about how Mexicans deal with winter…from clothing, sleeping and winter comfort foods. Most of the expats that I know are happy for the cooler weather…sleeping is great and not having to air-condition their homes is a blessing. What do expats do in the winter? You could have written about exploring this great country while the weather is cool…or why buying a house with a pool isn’t a great idea if you only live here in the winter months..why the locals think we are crazy to go swimming in the ocean on cold days…or why winter is the best time to paint, do repairs or have construction work done. These are just a couple of suggestions to get your creative juices flowing again.

  • Claudia O

    I have never been so cold in my life as I have been living up at 6500 feet in San Miguel de Allende and I am from Calgary!! When we first moved here 7 years ago come November I kept looking for the furnace switch. It was shocking to get up in the morning to a temperature reading of 50 degrees ( indoors ). Luckily I still have winter clothes which I only brought along in case we had to fly up to Canada for a winter funeral, family emergency or so such thing and on those frosty days I will sit at my desk and huddle by the computer wearing all those winter clothes including boots, hat and scarf.
    I never thought to pray to the gods but we have found some solutions; propane heaters, fleece sheets from Costco, and an escape to the Yucatan, the home of the Mayan gods, for the month of January.

    • 46patrick46

      Why are you shivering in Mexico ? Go to South America to avoid northern winters.
      November through March are the warmest months in S. A.

  • Deborah Soloway

    We are in “balmy” British Columbia where we had weeks of freezing temperatures and snow/ice this weird winter. Fortunately Costco had heated mattress pads on sale in October so we can sleep warmly without a huge power outlay. But our 3 weeks in Puerto Vallarta were the best solution!

  • Henry Wilson

    much simpler solution. live in san cristobal de las casas from may to nov. and move three hours away to the pacific coast of chiapas for Nov. to may. no air conditioning and no heat bills to pay and your cost of living will be one half that of mazatlan. I did it off and on for four years. best time of my years in mexico.

  • Glory Gallo

    You are really amusing Bodie!

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