Updated December 14, 2009
by Rick Hepting
This is the story of two US Expats and their move to Puerto Vallarta.
As Rick and Sarah Hepting we owned a small ranch in Northern California where we raised horses and ran a mail-order rare plant nursery. When Sarah’s daughter graduated high school and headed off to college, we took advantage of our new freedoms, sold off our business and home, and moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
We had visited Vallarta a few times previous to this decision and had fallen “in love” with the place. These stories were originally written for the Puerto Vallarta Expat Forum, VallartaScene.com. Unfortunately, many more of these stories were lost because of hacking attacks on that forum. I’ll post them here as I recreate them.
Click on each title for the full story.
FIRST NIGHT AS AN EX-PAT
…This is a first (last?) step in my master plan to move here. I’m not sure it’s a wise decision. I have a good business and a nice house up in California. Sarah, my wife, isn’t totally sold on the idea, yet, but she’s tolerant of my whims. I’m here without her on this trip….
SECOND WEEK AS AN EXPAT
…Finished most of the necessito repairs on the house this morning. The hot water works, the Internet works, the TV works, the sewer works. Still don’t have any locks on the doors, but that will come….
THE EXPAT A YEAR LATER… BUYING A HOUSE
…I’ve flown back and forth from San Francisco to PV at least once a month during this last year because I still had to work up in California. I felt a lot like some of the kids I’ve met here who cross the Northern border for a few months to a year to make enough money to get by down here for an equal amount of time. I admire their persistence and ingenuity and bravery for heading off to a foreign country to earn extra money for their families….
BUYING A HOUSE, PART 2
…On the day I was to leave, a ton of rebar was delivered and a dump truck pulled up and dumped a load of sand and gravel on the street in front of the house. I was a little worried about this because a few nights earlier the street was a river with enough water to wake board on….
TRIP TO PUNTA DE MITA
…Took a short trip to Puta de Mita (a colloquialism) today. Damn, that’s a lousy trip. The destination, itself, is OK, if you like ‘beaches’ that don’t have any sand but do have expensive restaurants and a large, overbearing Four Seasonal Hotel hovering over the whole town….
June 20, 2006
TIMELINE TO THE MOVE
…Today is June 20 and I’m finally packing the truck up here in Laytonville, California, for the final phase of our move to PV….
July 3, 2006
MORDIDAS, RIPOFFS, TRUCKSTOP WHORES – THE MOVE ENDS
…They don’t say directly that you must pay. They say that you have a choice, either pay or go through hell with the broker and US customs. The choice was always mine and the people I dealt with were always “friendly” in a non-Kafka-est manner….
THE OLD GRINGO STARTS A BUSINESS
…Most people I talked to about starting a business either said, “Don’t do it and just stay under the radar” or “Good luck, it’s a lot of bureaucracy and bullshit and bribes and fees, etc.”
Well, not being the brightest entrepreneur, I decided to give it a go….
1 YEAR IN PV
Most gringos are used to laws telling them what to do. In Mexico, people are used to laws telling them what NOT to do. The difference, culturally, is extreme. You have to understand this one basic principle if you are to fit in here.
December 14, 2009
SETTLING IN » AFTER THE HONEYMOON
There are gaps in this narrative. I’m trying to fill them in, but it’s slow. My original concept of moving to Mexico to retire has fallen through totally. Retirement is the last thing on my mind here now….
TO BE CONTINUED…