Job opportunities are few in Puerto Vallarta

Selling rugs or pushing a cart on the beach don't look very inviting

Just to give you an update on our condo situation, the annual general meeting has been cancelled. Why, you may ask. Me, too.


I had approached the president of our condo association back in early March as to when we would be sitting down to discuss the many burrs under my saddle. For instance, when would we be reimbursed for all the light bulbs my wife and I had replaced in the common areas of the building as no one else appeared to care?

Or paid to have the mattress lying in the street removed? I should explain that of the 15 suites in our home in the sky, all are Mexican-owned except for two, us and a lady who is rarely here.

It turns out that the fellow who owns six and another who has five decided there was no point having an annual chat, so that was that. When I stopped tearing up tea towels, I told my wife we were not going to be kicked around anymore.

I phoned our abogado (lawyer) and said, “Don’t spare the horses,” meaning spend what must be spent in order to have our AGM. He asked for the names of the two local owners who had refused my entreaties.

The phone went silent when I told him. After a bit of dry coughing and a few “mmmms,” he said, “Chris, I wouldn’t bother.”

I shredded a few more nearby tea towels (my wife seems to have many, which I am not allowed to use to clean up messes. What are they for then?), before asking in measured tones: “Why not?”


“Because these are important men,” he replied mysteriously but firmly. I did not like his tone and said so. He asked me to forget I knew him before hanging up.

A coldness took hold of my bowels. I reported back to my wife that I was still looking into the matter though I suppose another year wouldn’t make much difference in the big picture.

On another subject, I somehow thought that when we moved here, to avoid boredom and to make some “wine money,” I would get a snappy little job and then live happily ever after.

Not so fast. I have always thought of myself as a happy-go-lucky sort, a man who was welcome at the tables of most homes, but that appears to provide a very limited income.

Every day I watch the perspiring locals walking the beaches, trying to make a go of it. There is one man who pushes a peanut and candy cart through the beach sand whom I consider a hero. However, he looks like he is about to have a stroke, so I don’t want that job.

Then there is the chap who is completely covered in rugs and wears 30 hats. He gurgles a greeting through clenched teeth below darting eyes under a wet brow. I don’t think I would look very attractive doing that, as much as I admire his doggedness.

For a short while I saw myself as someone who could be the second banana on a local stage, perhaps as one of Judy Garland’s hapless sisters (the Gumms). After all, I was considered a useful tenor at my school’s glee club some 50 years ago.

Sadly for me the entertainment in Puerto Vallarta does not consist of bad lounge acts from Vegas who say, “I am here all week, try the veal.” So that was a dead end. They are, in fact, very good. Rats!

I don’t make jewelry and the poor man who suggested I try out his potter’s wheel is no longer speaking to me. I mean I did not know how fast those things could go. I attempted to teach Zumba but everyone in my first class could do it better than me. They thought I was some sort of local comic before the real teacher showed up.

A lot of my failure could be due to the fact that I only speak a kind of “stripper” Spanish taught to me by one of my filthy friends — “How much for her?” or “I have U.S. dollars” or “I like fat girls” — and not particularly useful on a day-to-day basis. Also, my wife does not think it is funny when I repeat these phrases at parties.

I must learn more Spanish.

Christopher Dalton has produced multitudes of commercials as well as 14 movies in Canada and the U.S. He was expelled from every institute of higher learning, forcing him hide out in advertising and movies until popping up in Puerto Vallarta with his long-suffering wife Michelle. Visit his web site

© Christopher Dalton 2016

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  • Derek

    Be careful! I have lived in Mexico for 5 years and have learned when you pay for something never expect your money back. The vendors on the beach are part of a bigger organization than what you think. As far as your Condo woos some people you just don’t mess with in Mexico! Good luck! Just as a business idea for you… could go to Tonala, Jalisco and buy some paintings and furniture and resale them there for a good profit or you could go sale some timeshares.

  • RobertSDF

    Pretty such the same all over Mexico with both the job situation and the powerful people. Of course, even if you could find employment , you would be promptly booted from Mexico without the proper visa allowing employment. I do admire how hard working and inventive people are in creating work. When I am in Merida, I counted 8 bread vendors who pass my place every night on their tricycles . Really, how much bread could each possibly sell?

    • Hailey Mannering

      Since there doesn´t seem to be an effective system of producing highly skilled construction workers (especially good plumbers, electricians, carpenters) I´d think some one knowledgeable could do well in Merida area. (Yes, I know a person has to have legal permission to work in Mexico.)

  • Mexicanbeachbum Robin

    Hi Chris, wanna try selling real estate? Or be a “birddog” and not sell? Inbox me on Facebook. I’m coming the first part of July, would love to meet you and your wife. I need to buy rain boots for that trip. jajaja I worked so much when I lived there, this time I’m a tourist.

  • Devschool

    This article is wrong on so many levels.

    Don’t move to Mexico if you want to fight the local culture.
    Don’t move to Mexico to ‘get a job’ or ‘start a local business’
    Don’t expect to be treated like a bald eagle because you are old and white.

    Full disclaimer, I am mostly white myself and I moved here myself as well. However I don’t support the spoiled northerner attitude I consistently see from the old retired folk who act like Mexicans OWE them something. Newsflash. They owe you shit.

    • Dudley Juan Carlos

      Will put. Don’t try to push american ways on the Mexicans. You are in there country.

  • mikegre

    Chris….why don’t you try writing a book on your Mexican adventures.

  • Jason Habacht

    With your lack of real knowledge of Mexico and the culture…you really could write a book as many people have inaccurate knowledge and they would love their opinions to be backed up by a bad book!

  • James Smith

    “i must learn more spanish.” trust me dude it won’t help. you will always be a gringo, even if from canada, no matter how you try and assimilate and in the eyes of almost all mexican business owners and their employees, simply an easy mark for easy pickings. you either accept and deal with it or return home. that my friend is life in mexico. always has been. always will be.

  • Dave Warren

    Probably you could teach English without being subjected to “problems”. I’ve been here for 12 years in the winters and I just keep my head down and my mouth shut. Mexico is a beautiful country but it ain’t Kansas.

    • bettyspinks

      Hi Dave, I’m an American moving to Punta de Mita for the winter, I speak basic Spanish well, I love Mexican culture, I have dark skin (half-filipino, which has always helped when I visit). Do you think I could get some hospitality work or teach English without “problems”?

      • Dave Warren

        If you do it on your own you might upset a National. Work for a National….but then the money isn’t much. We are guests…

  • D. Grant Fitter

    pero ni modo asi es la vida