My Life in Mexico -- a Picture Story
The near-by Sierra Madre Mountains and Rio Nazas.

This is a picture story of where I live and what I have seen living in Mexico.  

In May 2000, I left Tarzana (Los Angeles) and moved to Lerdo in the state of Durango to live in a little house in the back yard of my friend Juan Enrique Valdepeñas.

Lerdo is a working-class bedroom community for the two adjacent larger industrial cities of Gomez Palacio and Torreón. (Total of about 1,250,00 people)  Together the three cities are known as Laguna because they lie on an ancient lake bed. They are located where the desert meets the Sierra Madre Mountains. To the north and east the land is pretty blah; ten minutes to the south and west are the mountains as pictured above.

The rest of the boring text on this page is for those who want to know:  Why did you move to Mexico?  For those who, wisely, don't care, just look at the pictures and skip on to the next page.

The street view of our compound. The front patio and the front of Enrique's house.
Oso by my house behind Enrique's.  He was Enrique's dog, but now he's mine. Jason is my sweet pit bull who came with me from California.
Bougainvillea by Enrique's house. My patio and card parlor.

Enrique went to Los Angeles in the late 1980’s for the purpose of making money to build a house for his family. When I met him in 1991, he had purchased the land in a new development area of Lerdo.  In the seven years that he worked for me (that’s another story), he saved enough money to build his two bedroom house.  His long-range plan was to add two more bedrooms for his children.

In 1999 my landlady sold my happy home of 19 years, so I had to move.  I considered various options, among them was Enrique’s invitation to move to Lerdo and live with him and his family. During the years that we worked together, Enrique and I had developed a strong father/son relationship, so the idea of spending my old age with him and his family was very appealing.

I had been retired for three years and was in serious need of a new adventure in my life. So why not? I didn’t speak Spanish, but that had never been much of a problem on my many visits with friends in Manzanillo over the preceding ten years.

We agreed that I would build a house in his back yard (of course he did all the work) and live in it as long as

I wished. When I am gone (moved back to the States or whatever), it will become bedrooms for some of his  5 children (4 still living at home). So the house was designed with that eventual use in mind.  

I designed the house and drew the construction plans in December 1999. Enrique began construction in January 2000. When I arrived in May, the house was not quite finished. We completed it about six weeks later.

The lot is 10x30 meters or 34x100 feet. By US standards that is a small lot, but in Lerdo it is uncommonly large. In the older parts of town as well as many new developments, homes have no yard or perhaps just a small patio for hanging laundry. So to have a second house in the back yard is rather unusual. And to have enough space left over for a patio and garden is very special.

We elected not to have a lawn.  With two big dogs and neither Enrique nor I wanting to mow, grass was not an option.  So we have gravel which holds down the dust and avoids mud in the rain season.  The dogs kick lots of the gravel on to the sidewalk (as you can see), but it sweeps off easily.

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