Retired in Mendoza

I am a Canadian retired and living in Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of 2010, Mendoza had a population of 115,041 with a metropolitan area population of 1,055,679, making Greater Mendoza the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country.

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Fireworks over the Peace Tower, Ottawa

Fireworks over the Peace Tower, Ottawa

THINKING OF RETIRING ABROAD?

I guess I should talk about packing up and moving to another country.  Its not an easy decision to make.  And of course there is always the afterthought:  Why the hell did I do this??  My main reason was the weather.  I just couldn’t fathom spending so much time indoors.  Winter is a long cold season in Canada-land.  Being born in the north-western part of Ontario, I know what I am talking about.  I remember walking to school when it was -50 (F) when I was a kid.  There were times when I would walk to work in Toronto as I didn’t really live that far from where I worked.  And when there is a new snowfall or it has melted and then frozen overnight, it gets a bit difficult.  I did fall one time and fractured my left arm.

I like to be outdoors.  But not when its cold.  Even here in the winter, where it seldom goes below freezing and it almost never snows, I don’t like it.  But the winter here is short, July being the coldest month, with temperatures rarely going below freezing and the warm summer-like season is 6 to 7 months long.  Humidity is normally quite low, and so when its 35 degrees (C) its a dry heat.  At least your drinks don’t drip all over you!!  This is my yard and the front of my house in July, 2015 after a little snow storm that was gone the next day.snow_palm

Of course we do get snow once in a while

Of course we do get snow once in a while

snow2_150710

The city of Mendoza is really a lovely place, and there are quite a few foreigners living here.  The cost of living is quite low, recent inflation or not, and even living in a private barrio, where we pay about $520.00 per month in expenses, which covers cleaning, security, garbage pickup (6 days a week) etc. Our total basic living costs are about $2500 per month, and that includes pretty well everything, except going out.  One of my favourite things is being able to go out to dinner and sit in one of the many, many restaurants half the night, watching the people wander around.  A year or so ago they required restaurants to offer vino turista (tourist wine) which costs about less than $10 a bottle.  Usually a very drinkable wine, depending on the restaurant.  Or, select from the menu.  A decent wine costs anywhere from about $12 up.  We usually have something in the $15 to $20 dollar range.

Mendoza

Mendoza

There are always things in other countries that are different from your own.  Even just going from Canada to the United States, things can be very different.  Different areas have different customs, different foods, etc.  And of course there is the language.  My Spanish is quite terrible, really.  I have a great deal of difficulty understanding what people are saying.  It almost seems as if they are all speaking different languages.  But, I get along, somehow, and always run into people who do speak at least a bit of English…better than my Spanish.  As soon as they hear my accent they speak English.  Keep thinking I should take some courses, but after all this time I still haven’t done that.

I must say that I do miss Toronto.  I have been back several times to visit friends there and family in Winnipeg and Fort Frances. Toronto is now such an exciting city…growing and so alive.  Very different from when I moved there in 1965.

toronto_panam

 

 

Ok, if you have been following this, I promised to talk about banking.  Now, let me tell you that that is a difficult subject.  If you are going to a first world country, this will probably not be a problem.  If you are going to a third world country that’s a different kettle of fish.  Here, in Argentina (a third world country) I do not personally have a bank account.  My partner does, and we deposit only enough money to cover household bills which we pay online.  There is also the option of standing in line for several hours every month to pay your bills at places set up for that very purpose.  Paying your bills, that is, not standing inline…although sometimes I wonder.  Here in Argentina there is RapiPago, and Pago Facil.  Neither one is rapid or easy. You can also use an online service called pagomiscuentas which we prefer.  And I don’t stand in line for anything.  Even banks have long, long, long line-ups at the beginning of each month when people are paid.  I deposit in a machine.  The machines are usually pretty quick and easy.

So, I don’t have a bank account here, although I could as I am a permanent resident.  I have a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad).  A National Identity Card.  These cards are used for just about everything, but the only thing I really use it for is to get the retired person’s 10% discount at the supermarket on Mondays.  I maintain my accounts in Canada, and use my sister’s address for them.  Therefore, when new credit cards are issued, they go to her address and she sends them to me via UPS.  I don’t believe banks want you to have a “foreign” address, so this just makes it easier.  I do maintain two credit cards, but seldom use them here.

 

Toronto Harbour

Toronto Harbour

Mendoza, also known as Ciudad International del Vino…is a wonderfully green little city in the high desert.  This is a view of the city from Av Libertador which runs through Parque San Martin, a park that is about 1/4 the size if the whole city.  This is the route from our house to the city…about 10 minutes.  The city is in the distance.

Av Libertador

Av Libertador

A smart phone or even a simple cell phone will cost about 4 times what it cost up north.  We also bought a smart phone and a chromecast thingy to make our TV “smart”.  It is a beautiful drive to Chile through the mountains.   The customs and immigration are over 3000 meters (more than 10,000 feet).  Once you pass the customs in Chile you must descend to almost sea level.  This is the route:

Caracol at Los Libertadores

Caracol at Los Libertadores