Todos Santos, Mexico - American baby boomers, flush with money, have been making their way down to Mexico’s Baja coast for a decade or more as expatriates trying to escape the high cost of living in the United States. They’re doing anything they can to make their retirement dollars stretch while, at the same time, enjoying a better-than-average lifestyle by the ocean. So you can understand why they are more than a little peeved at their cousins still in the north, back in Arizona, who have taken it upon themselves to make things very difficult for Americans choosing to live south of the border.
Case in point, Todos Santos. The expatriates who have found this lovely place are happy for it not to become another Cabo San Lucas, with it’s exhorbitant food and drink prices, cruise ships full of pushy tourists, and hotels blocking the lovely sea view. But the Mexicans are angry at America right now and are realizing that the best way they can get back at them is to invite them onto their lovely beaches and then over-charge them for everything from a banana to a cabana.
Syliva Brownstead of Hoboken, New Jersey says she is heartbroken over Arizona’s recent decision to make it difficult for anyone of Hispanic descent, particularly, to go about their daily business in that state. “I think the law just stinks.”
When told that most non-Hispanic Arizonans were happy with the law and that it was refreshing to see someone sticking up for the Mexicans for a change, she replied, “Mexicans, Schmexicans, the law stinks because it’s causing me so much agita down here. I used to go down to the beach in the morning and get a couple of breakfast tacos for the equivalent of around twenty-five cents. Now they’re charging two bucks for each. And on Margarita Mondays, we used to get two for one. Now we’re lucky to get one for less than $5.00 a pop, and that’s with third-shelf tequila.”
Joe Bendover, from Providence, Rhode Island agrees. “Up north, we’d have to always eat dinner in the late afternoon to take advantage of early-bird prices. Came down here and we were able to relax on the beach all day and then take our time getting ready for dinner at the local cantina around 6:30 or 7 p.m. and enjoy a fantastic meal for a half of what the early-bird prices were in America. But not anymore, last Tuesday I see a sign that says early-bird dinner 3-4 p.m. and a price that was fifty cents less than the regular menu. Great, you say, right? Sure, except that the regular menu is now double what it was last week. Thanks a lot, Arizona, you buncha bazookas.”
But the real story down here is the attitude. Says Brownstone, “I used to get a criada (maid) to come to my hacienda two times a week and she’d clean my entire house for around $7 each day, with a smile on her face, no less. Great money for her and I had more time at the beach. But no more. Now, if I want someone to come do my cleaning, I have to hire one of the other expatriate women who are low on cash due to rising prices to clean for me and I’m lucky to get them to come once a month, let alone twice a week. And their going rate is $25 an hour! I may as well move back to Jersey.”
“The Mexican women have all banded against us and have realized that they can make more money cleaning local hotels now that the rates have risen through the ceiling. Let me tell you, you’re better off cleaning your own house if all you can get is another American to do it.”