Looking for a new life, a new way to be an active baby boomer in a new place? Follow Mark Saunders, who has made it work. And keeps finding new things to figure out about his new life.
When I’m back in the States and people find out I live in Mexico, they always ask the same three questions:
- Is it safe?
- What do you do for health care?
- And, what’s on TV?
Because I’m not sure how much time I have left in life, I think it’s a good idea to prioritize and tackle the most important question first: namely, my TV viewing options.
We have plenty. Our standard cable package includes about 80 channels, and, as in the USA, most of those channels are filled with spouses screaming at each other, boring community board meetings, and the same sexy woman who appears just about everywhere in the world, wearing a tiny bikini and showing viewers how to tighten their abs.
Much like how they keep old Detroit beater-cars from the 50s and 60s running, Mexicans are also keeping old American television shows alive and well. My favorite is the “Bonanza” channel that runs the old Western show starring Ben Cartwright & Sons around the clock—and in Spanish. Have you ever gotten a good look at those three boys? Adam, Hoss, Little Joe? They don’t look anything like their father. So I’m guessing there once was a ranchhand named Big Joe who was pretty handy with a lasso and branding iron.
Curiosity got the better of me one afternoon, and I did a little research and learned that the threeboys all had different mothers. By the time the series began, all those moms had died. Hmm. Makes you wonder what’s buried their ranch, The Ponderosa, besides fir trees.
Watching shows in Spanish with English subtitles—or English with Spanish subtitles—is an excellent way to improve one’s foreign language skills. But, it has its limits. In an English-speaking show, for example, when a character, usually male and usually in a violent scene, wildly drops the F-bomb as if he were carpet-bombing a jungle, the polite Spanish subtitle shakes its head in dismay and merely writes “malediction.” Or, in other words, “bad word.”
That’s one of the things I love about Mexico, the politeness and awareness of others in the room. Unfortunately though, if you find yourself in a heated argument in Spanish down here, I doubt shouting malediction at your opponent will get you anywhere.
San Miguel full-time resident Mark Saunders is the author of Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak, a humorous memoir about dropping out late inlife, selling almost everything, and moving to the middle of Mexico, where you don’t know a soul and can barely speak the language. The book is available at Amazon.com. Click here for a link.