Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Over the Years
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
and I first visited
Mexico in October of 1993.
for two months and stayed four years.
Chapala stole our hearts and as residents, we’re considered to be “Old
Timers”. Often we are asked – “How has Chapala changed since you first began
ways Chapala has not changed at all.
The people are still friendly and family-oriented, and the
lake is gorgeous. The weather is perfect, and this smallish city continues to
feel like it’s stuck in a time warp like a Norman Rockwell painting, with
wholesome values, friendly store owners who know your name, affordable and
ubiquitous public transport, and a neighborly police force.
other aspects, it’s not the same town from almost 3 decades ago.
TV, cell phone coverage, internet, Wi-Fi, Netflix
first arrived in this amicable town, no one had cable TV.
One household in ten
had a landline telephone and the waiting list to get one was a year long. Your
phone number - if you had one - was only four digits long. We had a phone that came with the
rented house but did not have anyone to call locally as none of our friends had
A call to family in the USA was three dollars a minute. Of course, there
was no internet or Wi-Fi anywhere, so there was no Skype, cell phone coverage or
streaming movies or news.
anyone wanted to know what was going on, or what the news was, we all went to
the American Legion in town. We added to and took from the “Taco Telegraph”
which told us all the happenings around town and what we needed to know about
friends, neighbors, and the city itself.
almost no one had a TV, we’d watch all the professional ball games at the
Legion, and we were given color coded pom-poms according to the team we
supported. Hot food and cold beer were available.
American Legion mail service - old style
were scheduled to help out the needy, like the school for the blind and the
deaf. Mail pick up and drop off to the States - a coveted service - was offered to Legion members, and
someone would drive a van twice monthly to Guadalajara to go to Costco and Sams
for needed supplies. You could jump into the back of the van with your cooler
and load it up, and the driver would take you back to the Legion. People
purchased "Big City" supplies and brought them home.
renew their passports here at the Legion too. Once a month a member of the
Consulate would come, take your passport, and return a month later. Easy-peasy!
we all have cell phones and calls are free and unlimited to the USA and Canada.
Personal internet and Wi-Fi connections are standard everywhere - hotels,
restaurants, house rentals - and we can stream Netflix to our
and international restaurants, coffee shops, delicatessens
was more like a simple home town, and Ajijic was the sophisticated sister.
coffee served here was “del orno” or basically, Nescafe and hot water. We had
local Mexican restaurants and
street foods, we
own meals or we
visited the lone pizza joint. There were no “international sections” for Asian
delights in our little tiendas, and we couldn’t find real butter for the life of us.
Baking chocolate to make cookies or cakes was worth its weight in gold.
wanted a steak lunch with a baked potato, we had to hop on the bus, travel to
Ajijic and go to Bruno’s.
Which we did.
cafes serving cappuccinos and mochas to rival the best of them, and
selection of international restaurants from Thai, Italian, fresh grilled
fusion offerings, baguette sandwiches and wine by the glass.
Salmon with orange sauce,
Restaurant Letra CH
purchase imported cheeses, meats from the US or Sonoma, Mexico, boutique
chocolate candy bars, and fancy mustards.
haven’t needed to go to Brunos for years!
stores like Wal*Mart and Soriana
those days, there was one “grocery store” called Arturo’s - owned by Arturo, of
wanted something that the little neighborhood tiendas didn’t sell, Arturo’s was
the place to go.
Chapala closed down on Thursday afternoons. It was the “Dia del descansar” – or
Day of rest.
wanted milk for the weekend, you had better go to Arturo’s before Thursday
afternoon. He sold one brand of milk – Sello Rojo entera – meaning Red Seal
whole milk. There was no guarantee that he’d get a supply in on Friday or
was really easy. They either had milk or they didn’t. There was no such thing as
two percent, or buttermilk, or kefir, fer cryin’ out loud. It was whole milk
when he had it, or none at all.
days with Wal*Mart, Soriana, and other large grocery super stores, you can
pretty much get anything. Sun dried tomatoes or green olives? Check. Haagen Dazs
Ice cream, baking chocolate, real butter? Check. Vitamins, sunblock, fancy hair
products? Check. Kitchen ware, clothing, imported wines, or sheets for your bed?
closes on Thursday afternoons anymore. In fact, you can find all kinds of things
open even on Christmas, Easter, and Mexican Independence Day.
more reliable, deliveries now available with Amazon, Mercado Libre, FedEx and
to be that we could not receive anything from the States larger than a manila
envelope. Packages would be confiscated at the border and never to be found
days we have anything we want delivered from Amazon US, Amazon Mexico, Mercado
Libre or by FedEx and DHL.
it’s a wine opener, weather-station clock, art supplies or vitamins, Chapala has
opened up to the world.
care is even more available
has always had
decent medical care available. Even getting to Guadalajara for a
specialist or for a needed operation was simple and easy.
addition to our many clinics, we have several new hospitals. Many medical
services can be taken care of right here at lakeside.
Tooth implants (dental surgeons), cardiologists, dermatologists, orthopedic surgeons,
and more are now living in the area.
the increasing Gringo population,
assisted living facilities
have been built to service this growing health field.
roads, bicycle lanes, Uber, the malecon
Gringos like having their own vehicles, but for those who don’t want to bother
with the expense and hassle, there is lots of public transport. Taking a cab or
hiring a private driver is very affordable, Uber is available, and we have wider
roads and both pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
Chapala, Mexico before the malecon was
years a walking street running along Chapala Lake has been constructed both in
Chapala as well as Ajijic. On weekends, families walk along this
enjoying the home made ice cream, the live music, lakeside restaurants and the
beautiful view. During the week, faithful power-walkers and those who stroll
with their pets can be seen. These malecons are a huge feature for both towns.
The malecon today
olden days" we hitchhiked or waved for a bus anywhere on the road to stop
for us. Billy never had to wait more than 5 minutes to catch a ride from another
Gringo in their car, whether we knew them or not. Local Mexicans would stop for
us too. It was standard procedure - one road between towns. You were either
going to Ajijic or coming from Ajijic to Chapala. Anyone, anywhere would pick
cars speed by with the driver's eyes glued to the road ahead of them and no one
stops now. No one. We don't know any of these people, and they don't know us!
to be one traffic light in Chapala that often did not work.
Billy said if the city government ever put up more lights or got this one to
work regularly, we'd leave town and live elsewhere. When the city did just that
- we have several traffic lights at Lakeeside now - we moved to
there is more traffic. But when
traffic gets bad on the Carretera (the main road that ties the towns
around the lake together) then there is the Libramiento which avoids this
traffic and puts you out by Laguna Central and Wal*Mart. Laguna Central is a new
shopping center area with restaurants, cafes, art stores, bakeries and sports clothing.
more Gringo communities, more tennis courts, more theaters, clubs, culture
been a Gringo enclave since the1970s but today, there are many gated communities
and upscale homes to choose from in other towns dotted along the Libramiento and into the hills.
When once there were only four run-down City
tennis counts in Cristiania Park,
there are six, four of them
Years ago, there were a few singular courts way out of town, but now these gated
communities offer many of their own quality facilities - tennis courts, pickleball courts, and swimming pools.
the day, there was one theater and an auditorium. Now there are several venues
for performing artists, and restaurants around town offer live music on weekend
nights and Sunday mornings. We can even order Eggs Benedict! Today we have more
movie theaters to choose from and even a casino!
bridge clubs, animal rescue groups. hiking clubs, garden clubs, yoga lessons, even bird watching
into the future cannot be stopped. Some changes are great, and others cause a
havoc. We love having the variety of organizations and the talent and
experience of all the Expats here. Many services including medical are open
24/7 which is a great convenience.
general, Chapala is safer these days also. Our friendly police force is
ubiquitous, and the Red Cross has new ambulances to assist in emergencies.
traffic has multiplied, and in some towns around the lake the local Mexican
culture has been diluted by the influx of Gringos. Prices have gone up due to
this international migration, and unfortunately, those who have left their home
countries due to political chaos have chosen to bring that same discord here.
Mexico is still freer from governmental regulation than the countries North of
the Border and that is appealing to many who move here.
affordable and having the international airport in Guadalajara provides access
to quick getaways.
all, even with the significant changes over these decades, living in this small
city environment has proven to be very satisfying.
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha