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.

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