Rob’s Ramblings: Returning to Our Southern Lives

I have to keep reminding friends and family up-north that we are not just vacationing in Mexico. Our winter-lives in La Peñita make up half of our year, and will likely involve even more of our lives in the future. This isn’t just a week of sun and margaritas at a local all-inclusive. We manage to enjoy more outdoor activities due to predictable weather. Up-north, while out mountain-biking, I’ve spent the past few weeks dodging cloud-bursts and strong winds. Arriving in Mexico late-October and heading north in April allows us more fun-in-the-sun, as life spent in a pair of sandals and shorts down south is better than rain-gear in Canada.

We have been fortunate enough to find reliable house-sitters for the past two years. Karen and Paco are a local couple, newlyweds and new parents, that are also quite happy with house-sitting, as compared to their other option of sharing a house with his parents. The deal is: they cover the CFE electrical bills, their Gaz refills, and cable TV. This can work out to be a very economical deal for them and for us. Heather found it interesting to see our house on Karen’s Facebook posts as she hosted her baby shower in the house. Their presence in the house has reduced the chances of break-and-enter. We experienced a B&E in January, as we both left the house, with the truck, for a few hours one morning. As local dogs didn’t react and neighbours didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, we can assume it was a local “inside job.”

When we arrived in La Peñita in the last days of October 2011, there was an old fellow clearing brush from the garden and perimeter of the house. We had no idea who he was, and we soon found that Karen and Paco had hired him to do the brush clearing. The next morning, Paco returned with his pickup and hauled away the brush. A few days later, the old fellow returned, rather inebriated, and Heather had a conversation with him about “$20 pesos.” We knew he had been paid, and just assumed this was a tip. However, a few days later he returned with the $20 pesos, stating it was a “loan!” Sure enough, a few weeks later he returned again, this time barely vertical due to some serious drinking, and wanted a loan of $50 pesos. I realized he was in no shape for further booze, so I just said, “lo siento.” No problem. That was the end of the loan business.

Other than the standard scatter of beer caps, the house was in good condition, and the house-sitter deal worked great for all involved.

With any luck, we will return to La Peñita to find everything intact in the house and the brush already cleared from the garden.

About the Author: Rob Erickson, his wife Heather and their rescue cat Mayo, spend half the year living on Vancouver Island, BC. and the other half in the Jaltemba Bay area of Mexico, where they enjoy the warm weather and slower pace of life. Now that Rob has finished building their new house in La Peñita, he can be found mountain biking around the area, volunteering at the JBAR spay and neuter clinics and relaxing in his Mexican-style hammock.

This story was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

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5 Reviews on “Rob’s Ramblings: Returning to Our Southern Lives”

  1. :

    I -don't know if there is any work for my experience--Many years of teaching & counseling at Family Planning.

  2. :

    Enjoyed your article very much.. Made me realize how much we missed you guys... Those of us that are able to spend 6 months in one home ..La Penita, and 6 months in our home in Canada , are blessed beyond imagination. Tom, your explanation of what happens with volunteers at the Clinic was "bang on," ( an expression my grandfather used). Looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces soon....

  3. :

    I live in San Pancho and wonder if Rob is part of a mountain biking group? Looking for those interested in recreational mountain biking. Thanks

  4. :

    I will be spending over 4 months in Los Ayala starting Nov. 14, and would very much like to volunteer where animals are being cared for, etc. Any suggestions, please?

    1. :

      Hello Barbara... Here's a web page that details this season's first of two spay and neuter clinic: If the scheduled orientation is too close to your arrival, you can still drop around at any time to help out. Stop first at the reception desk, sign in and get a name tag (your name with a black marking pen on a strip of masking tape!) They might assign you to a job right away. But there are periods of time when no assistance is needed. Hang around anyway and meet the other volunteers, have a coffee, perhaps take a dog on leash for a stroll, etc. There are always a few volunteers who show up and do not have specific jobs. Sometimes, these people are disappointed that no one gives them a duty. Others often just hang back, observe the work flow and discover for themselves how they can assist. If you have not participated in this sort of thing before, prepare to be amazed. I have not yet heard where out second clinic will be held. But this first one will be on the grounds of Sue and Del Moss' compound... absolutely beautiful. (From Los Ayala, travel over the hill on the roadway that connects to Rincon de Guayabitos and take a left into Rincon de Guayabitos on their main street. This is Avenida Sol Nuevo, the north/south artery that runs through the hotel/commercial district, then winds through the residential zone... keep going until the very end and you will see the activity on your right.) See you there! I will have the coffee perking, so do say hello. Tom

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