Technology change, we will call it, has had its way with me of late. I mean getting here to post an entry has been all but impossible!

I am trying to be patient.

30 minutes  a day with a good book may add years to your life, according to a new study. Out of 3,635 people surveyed about their health and reading habits, bookworms were 20 percent less likely to die over the next 12 years—even after researchers controlled for factors such as gender, education, and cognitive ability. I am trying to write with a hand held device. I pretty much hate the little pop up keyboard. Computer, laptop,notebook, handheld (like a firey Galxy), and finally a cell phone, all represent tool types. Just choose your weapon!

We are currently operating a new Kindle Fire. Too much toy like.  But Google now would learn a new angle-cloud technology, store data off site. Create a  new operating system wherein finding the roots has been handily complicated.

Whate  does this all mean? More money for Broadway Bill and company! And the App craze is nothing more than jargon from which to reach these heights. More on this as we continue this Blog.

I am a veracious reader. (I should live to a  ripe old age – see above). I am reading the new Bruce Springsteen autobiography. The first 40% was painfully  slow. Now deep into it, and I had to hang in there, I can say do not waste your time.

I will finish the book. I am retired after all. keep on reading here, it is more exciting! STAY TUNED!

Hello World

Hello World!  It has been a while since you last heard from me. Bringing you up to date would be  a major task – so we will not go there.

What we can do is start afresh and get back to ‘normal entries’. I would like that – and it is my Blog after all.

I just had (have) my 70th birthday (yikes!). At that age it is the month of October – birthday month.  Before now it was birthday week. Once over 70 it must be birthday month. A day is like what a week used to be and now a day is like a month past.  Is this making sense?  Time is relative.

Getting old is not for the weak (of body or spirit). We tenacious hangers on are here taking up space, breathing air and collecting on past agreements (read collecting Social Security  ’benefits’). that would rather we would die and reduce the excess population. Please do not feel like you workers are picking up the tab on me – because my deal was made with the government back in the 50′s (that is 1950′s). I have never tried to alter the terms we entered on – they have modified the agreement many times – but the bottom line is we older folks should die and reduce the overhead.

I am not trying to be difficult – but I have no intention of leaving this mortal coil any time soon. One never knows.

We have been landlocked in Puerto Escondido for the last year. Our usual process had (has been) six weeks to two months in the US, Las Vegas is our home. Then two half year segments in Oaxaca, MX and Veracruz, MX; oh and throw in as much time as possible at our house in New Mexico;. lots of choices.

This Blog was started to record our adventures in a life in Mexico. Over the years (more than 10 now) we have broaden it to a general journal – still trying to maintain the theme.

Our son Julian is here to help celebrate the 70th – Family matters and his visit is the best of all of it. STAY TUNED!

Where Have You Been

This has been asked a lot recently. Sorry about no entries – the CalypsoCouple has been very busy.

If you have been reading along we are getting settled into a new casa which has been draining our energy and pocketbook.

The truth is we love every minute of it.  I have to come clean – I like the act of buying a house and getting it in my version of living.  Selling, not so much.  You might see that validated in that we have property in two countries, two States in the U.S. and two in Mexico etc. Five plus homes!

Recent construction projects include rose colored cement slab in Villa La Barra’s backyard AND we installed our washing machine (lots of kudos with mi esposa ;-)  AND our espresso maker is on board and working – Life is GRAND.


Lots of pictures to come so STAYTUNED!



Old Hippies

Here is our little Hippie table sitting on our deck in Pochutla, Oaxaca, Mexico.

We added the seat pads – not Hippie Traditional.

Back in the 70′s (as in 1900′s and 70′s) we were Hippies’. There are less and less of us Hippie types as time reduces. But, we that remain are far from forgetting our roots – which included that and the rest of the tree- for furniture.

I particularly liked the wood look and do to this day. Our new casa at the beach in La Barra plays to this as it is trimmed throughout with dark coated parota wood that has a beautiful grain. The second level is parota wood floor – nice! Like mahogany, parota has a richness to it that can be compelling. Being an old salt sailor type as well I have always loved teak and mahogany wood. My retail businesses in the 70′s reflected this in the furniture.

But best of all in wood boats I sailed and sailed upon. The Ocean, Wooden ships, and Hippie furniture keep the memories alive and feeling good.

Now here we are all these years later as if the 20th Century where only to be read about. The great wooden ships have all turned to plastics and a salon in a ship was left off at Moby Dick. But, not so here at Calypso Casas because we were there. When drinking coffee while watching the sunrise we enjoy the grain and the history of the little table and chairs recently acquired – yup – here in Mexico you can still find wood workers that are younger than the memory, but are able to construct the style as if it was their own.

We have been busy tiling, cleaning, replacing and repairing – but what a wonderful casa that is taking place. Retirement can be such fun! PEACE! And Stay Tuned!

Remember a time…

Few things test a relationship more dramatically than a search for a dream home. Anita and I have been on this search for many years now (more than 30 – that is a long search).You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when your partner rejects a home you believe suits you perfectly. If the attraction is shared, two hearts beat as one. If the attraction is not mutual, a couple can experience a range of painful emotions and conflict including the home as the “other person” in a relationship-threatening love triangle. Remodeling or building a home from scratch can be even worse.

Remodeling is the current Calypso mode. It has taken on a life of its own; not in the plan on this trip south – but now it is all-encompassing. Yesterday we completed laying tile in the second floor kitchen (there are two kitchens at La Villa Barra). Immediately there after, because the meter runs from 8:30 to 4:30 with our hired help, we had him start chipping away at the kitchen floor on the first level. Tomorrow (today) he will begin in earnest to lay tile in that cocina.

Remember a time when you bought or sold a home. What were the factors that led to your decision? How did you handle the details of your move? Was it an emotionally loaded experience as well as a real estate transaction? Have you ever owned more than one house at a time? How did you handle going from house to house? Have you ever considered or even bought a home in a different country other than your own? Follow along because these and other issues get covered (or uncovered) here. Next photos of the new kitchen tile – I promise. Stay Tuned!

As the World Turns

This is a catch-all. The kind Kim (one of my favorite readers – and I his) kids me about. Bouncing between subjects is just part of my conversational nature – one topic leads to another and so on.

We have been working daily on the new casa – many projects (read opportunities) there.

The tile was finished more or less a few days ago and we started in on tiling the kitchens (yes there are two). Because my arm is rested and the tiles are smaller (a conventional 33mm X 33mm, I took on the job myself. So it will be done slowly but the lines will be straight and tile set level. While this is going on the pantry cabinet we had made for Anita’s kitchen arrived in our courtyard where she is sanding and varnishing to our standards; obviously higher than our carpenter’s.

Anita discusses the cabinet before it arrives at our La Barra casa.


Looks nice in spite of a couple flaws here and there.

Upon its arrival to our home I looked at the cabinet and then the place it was headed. It looked like a tight fit. Out came the tape measure (we now do everything in metric by the way). The return wall that the stove top sits on is about 5 centimeters off plum – ouch! No way is that cabinet going in there -grrrr.

I gathered up my stoutest cold (mason’s?) chisels and went to work on a large hump of cement opposite to the out-of-plum return.

Enthralled with parota wood grain!

Seven year old cement has had plenty of drying time. Did you know cement gets harder for years after it is poured. By now this stuff is REAL hard.

Without a jackhammer and/or dynamite this protrusion is going no where.

We talked about using the cabinet somewhere else and having one made that will accommodate the error. Anita’s kitchen is much like those in the little houses designs. I think the entire area is less than 65 square feet (just for you non-metric people – 6 square meters to the rest of us). We are talking SMALL.

Anyway, the plan is to raise up the bottom to be sitting on a platform that rises above the inwardly out of plum return wall. I am sure it will work and be a darn sight easier than chipping dense rock disguised as cement.

Every property we have is two story or higher. The Rancho and the new beach casa (Villa La Barra) are three! Even though I hate heights liking being planted firmly on Madre Tierra. But, I need a ladder and a good grip on reality. So I noticed the other day our neighbor at La Barra is having his entire three story pad painted. There is a terrific sturdy looking (at least from here) extension ladder being escorted around the perimeter by some painting pros. I have to find out who the manufacturer is. This casa is For Sale by the way.

That hombre is hauling a 19 liter bucket (5 gallons) up there – yikes that is confidence or insanity – or some of both.

Meanwhile Anita was over jawing with one of our neighbors.

I noticed they had a table where each of the fellows there (three at the moment) are picking at something on the table. I had to know.

This is some kind of a fish (river not ocean I think). They purported as a delicacy of the sea (well the river). I asked several times for them to identify the fish. There are some words that keep being repeated and repeated to which I cannot understand.

Maybe someone out there knows what this is???

Next time Photo(s) of new cocina tile and some new furniture Hippie Stuff!


No Shoe Zone

We are coming off of a week or so tiling project – with more to come.

Laying down some BIG tile – my office.

In many countries like Japan, Korea and Turkey it is considered a major faux pas to walk through a house with shoes on. In some schools in Sweden, children are even required to remove their shoes.

In Japan, removing shoes has also a very practical matter. Traditionally, the floors in Japanese dwellings were covered with tatami mats which are used to sit on and to sleep on instead of chairs and beds. Wearing shoes into the house would bring the mud, dirt, dust and bacteria into the house and you would sit and sleep in all that. Even if the pavement technology has pretty much improved and hard flooring is quite common in Japanese houses nowadays, the tradition of taking off shoes remains.

Generally, we could say that from a cultural point of view, it is considered a mark of respect if guests remove their shoes while entering someone’s home.  On the other hand some are uncomfortable and others consider it rude to be asked to remove their shoes (holes in your socks amigo?).

We love how the new tile is coming out.  It is the same tile as you all helped pick out for the bedroom at the La Punta Es Casa by the way. Pictures to follow after the grout dries a bit.

The main reason for removing shoes is health

“In the 15th century one was not allowed to enter a room without taking off shoes in Holland. One can only imagine the human and animal sewage that one would walk through out in the world at that time, so removing shoes would be a precaution against illness-causing bacteria”. (Annie B. Bond)


Since municipal sewage systems took hold and cars and trains did supersede animal transportation, we could say that the original health reasons behind removing shoes fell away.

But new studies show that while we may no longer be tracking in as much bacteria on our shoes, we are tracking in dangerous pollutants. Therefore it may be time to return to the practices of the 15th century to protect the health of our homes. In her article about this topic, the Health Home Expert Annie B. Bond, lists up many examples that should convince people to take off their shoes at home.

Pesticides, toxic coal tar, lead etc. are tracked into homes on shoes. Taking off shoes at the door is even more important if you have carpets, which are “sink hole(s) for toxins of all kinds” that are brought into the home on shoes and boots “including pollens, lead, pesticides and more”. Furthermore, infants and young children spend most of the time on the floor (not in all cultures!) and are much closer to the floor, put toys that have been on the floor into their mouth etc. “With their growing central nervous systems and developing immune systems, toxic chemicals can be especially damaging”. The same applies to pets who are also vulnerable to exposure because commonly lying on the floor or carpet.


Here at the beach sandals or bare feet are the typical footwear making shoe removal a breeze.We are leaning towards mild enforcement and total compliance by us.  So what is your take on this question.

Stay Tuned!

Buying Land in La Punta or La Barra

One of the best real estate opportunities may also be a disastrous move. The gambler gets the pot but of course at a risk. Like any gamble there are odds – odds are if you play your cards right you can go away a winner.

I captured this shot of our future (now current) La Villa Barra property from the neighboring roof top – La Barra De Colotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico

The Calypso Couple now owns two such gambling properties, or should I say think they own…?

In a recent article in the local magazine here in Puerto, “Viva Puerto!” A more negative slant on this ‘opportunity’ is depicted.

The entire story from which I quote is here:

Comments within Square Brackets [ ] are mine.

All land in the Punta [and La Barra], is communal (i.e. not private) and belongs to the Bienes Comunales of Santa Maria Colotepec. This means that all land transfers (there are no “sales” per se) are registered with the Bienes Comunales which issues the acta de posesión establishing a person’s right to use and transfer a property. The acta is similar to a deed or title (escritura pública) except that the property is not registered at the federal land office…as private property would be.

Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution prohibits foreigners from owning property within 50 kms. of the coast, but foreigners may possess property in the restricted zone through a bank trust (fideicomiso), as long as it is titled property. In other words, a foreigner cannot get a fideicomiso on communal land, and an acta de posesión cannot be in a foreigner’s name.

It is also totally illegal to attempt to circumvent the constitution by buying property in the restricted zone by putting it in the name of a Mexican national [Here we differ in opinion a bit]. A prestanombre(name lender) is someone who, usually for a fee, will help a person circumvent the law…For that reason a private (not registered) escritura is also not an option since it is unenforceable. (You can’t present a contract for an illegal transaction to a judge.)

However, there is no law that says a Mexican can’t get an acta de posesión and then rent the property to a foreigner. Let’s say that you, as a foreigner, have a dear Mexican friend or relative who is willing to let you buy a property in his name. You build a house and everything is fine, until your friend unexpectedly dies and his heirs now own your house. Yes, it may happen that the widow or the children claim your property and there is nothing you can do about it. Same goes with a divorce if the couple was married under the joint property law. Conversely, there is no way for you to pass the property onto your non-Mexican heirs.

Furthermore, there was a time when unscrupulous people connected to the Bienes Comunales of Colotepec were free and easy with the issuing of actas [TRUE however no longer the case]. Record keeping was also sloppy. People now are still living with the consequences of there being two or more actas for a single property. The Agrarian court in Oaxaca is the final arbiter of these disputes.

Still, most foreigners on the Oaxaca coast, outside of Huatulco and the area of Puerto that was privatized by a presidential act in 1970 (Bacocho, Carrizalillo, the Lighthouse District, etc.), have a prestanombre.

So what are the alternatives? Legally, there is only one and that is to form a Mexican corporation [Keeping in mind you must really be renting the property to be legal]. It only takes two people to form a corporation and they can both be non-resident foreigners. A Mexican corporation has all the rights of a Mexican national. The catch is that the corporation must be lucrative[PROFITABLE would be a better word], and it must be administered by a Mexican, who is responsible for seeing that the taxes are paid. Now your house is a bed and breakfast, and you and your guests pay rent to the corporation. The yearly fees can be costly, but do you really want to build a $200,000 house on someone else’s property?

A third and increasingly popular option is to get an escritura pública issued for your property from the land registry for the district of Pochutla, then get a fideicomiso for this escritura, and finally an acta in your name and the name of the bank. Is it legal? Who knows. [I do not believe this is any better than an ACTA issued by the Colotepec Bienes Comunales]. It seems to work and is the practice in the condo communities down the Coast. Although this title is useless for purposes of establishing your ownership of the property (only the acta counts), it makes your property easier to sell or inherit (your heir is named on the fideicomiso). The downside is that the paperwork will cost you thousands of dollars, and you will have to pay property taxes to the municipio of Colotepec …. When you sell titled property you also have to pay a transfer tax plus capital gains. But remember, buying a property without getting the acta is like buying a car without getting the ownership papers.  END

Those are the very gory details from an obvious pessimist of which I am not. Digest this and next time I will explain in detail MHO (My Humble Opinion).

The ‘protections‘ provided in real estate transaction north of the Rio Bravo are steeped in law which fattens the wallet of many a lawyer, accountant, real estate broker/agent, and oh so many more with their hands in your pockets. U.S. real estate is necessarily colored throughout by forces of profiteering and does little to secure your safety in these transactions, home purchases.

Stay Tuned for the rest of the story.