Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
Here at Lakeside, we divide the year into two seasons: high season and low season. High season reflects that time when many of the “snow birds” return up north to the milder temperatures, and to qualify for their insurance. Low season is that time when the year-round residents welcome the “sun birds” who come to Lakeside to escape the heat of their part of the country.
The problem for Lakeside is that there are many more people in high season. The economy at Lakeside is much better, although driving through Ajijic is more challenging, and we have to leave a little earlier to make our appointments. But this year’s high season didn’t seem to hit the high points in the past.
Low season can be fun. We don’t fight as much traffic, but then, we get to deal with the potholes, and the rainy roads. We try hard not to splash the pedestrians as we drive by. The lines are usually lower, but the stock is also a little lower. Many merchants work very hard to make it through the low season financially.
My husband and I save our money for our projects and our dining out for the low season. We avoid the longer lines and waits for tables in the high season. Now is the time we try to show our favorite vendors and restaurateurs’ our loyalty. We try to eat out more often, and do things we have been putting off.
This year is particularly bad for our merchant friends. Rumors of businesses being down by 60% are running rampant. Restaurants are coming up with promotions to bring in business, while others are closing for a month to help save overhead. Some eateries are running two-for-one specials; others are running game nights, while still others are offering summer light specials, and light prices, or special music.
This year seems to be more difficult because the Mexican community is having a more difficult time with joblessness. The peso is down. The prices are up. The new tax laws have driven many shops and restaurants out of business. The locals cannot afford as much, and businesses all over are suffering. Some owners are dipping deep into their own pockets just to make it through this low season.
I know that these people work hard for their money. I know that these businesses support more than one family. I even know of employees who have offered to work a day for less money or for free to help the owners make it through. These are people who have little room in their own budgets.
I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage all the sunbirds, and those who live here year round, if their own finances can afford it, to move ahead on that project you’ve been planning for your house, or car. Buy that house you’ve been discussing for the last few years. Visit your favorite eatery a little more often, and to expand your horizons and visit some you haven’t tired yet. Take in more movies, and some local events. Do what you can to support our business owners at Lakeside. With the new tax laws, and the economy, they are all suffering. If we want them to be here in high season we need to all do our best to support them, especially this year.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com