Sunday, November 24, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE World's Coolest Ceilings

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, Mexico City

Courtesy of Andrew Paprocki

Overlooking the Zócalo in Mexico City’s heart, the Gran Hotel is decorated in Art Nouveau style with a Louis XV–style chandelier in the lobby and gilded elevators. But its crown jewel is the Tiffany stained-glass ceiling in the lobby, installed in 1908 with 150 lights. It continues to make a big impression on viewers. “They say, ‘Wow’ because it’s so beautiful. People will just stay in the lobby; they have an emotional response to it,” says concierge Jose Luis Valadez. “Everybody who visits Mexico wants to visit this place.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE World's Prettiest Mountain Towns

Cuetzalan, Mexico The lush green hills of Mexico's Sierra Norte—punctuated by cascading waterfalls and steep cave-studded limestone cliffs—surround this remote indigenous community. The residents here are Nahuatl, direct descendants of the Aztecs that inhabited the region centuries ago.


 Get some mountain air: Every Sunday locals flock to the market in Cuetzalan, where local farmers sell a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown coffee, and home-spun fabrics. If you’d rather get out into the landscape, try exploring the area’s extensive network of underground caves, reportedly the largest in Central America.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TRAVEL + LEISURE Best Places to Unplug

Rancho La PuertaTecate,Mexico



Here’s how Rancho La Puerta, a resort and spa in Mexico’s western Baja Peninsula, describes its approach to wellness: “You don’t need an ‘app’ to unplug from life’s clutter—our Mindfulness/Reflection classes will help you tune in to your own spirit and navigate your inner terrain without the constant bombardment of outside distractions.” If that sounds like your speed, you’re probably ready to leave your iPhone 5S at home and take a cooking or art class, go for a hike in the 3,000 acres adjoining the property, or learn more about work-life balance during one of the resort’s lectures.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

International Living Presents This Explanation of the Affordable Care Act for Expats


A Doctor Explains: What the Affordable Care Act Means for Expats
By Timothy J. Garrett, MD, MBA
October 1, 2013 saw the beginning of the enrollment period for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Along with the news about glitches with the health care website came lots of questions for expats: Do expats have to enroll? Will there be penalties for expats who do not enroll? Even if expats are not required to enroll, is there a benefit to enrolling?

Here are three things that every expat should know in regards to the ACA:
  1. U.S. citizens who are bona fide residents of a foreign country are notrequired to have health insurance as mandated by the ACA.In general, U.S. citizens living outside of the United States for at least 330 days in a given year and who meet the IRS requirements to be a bona fide resident of another country are exempt from the ACA. (You’ll find the full list of requirements for bona fide residence in Form 2555 on the IRS website.)
  2. U.S. citizens living outside of the United States but who are not bona fide residents of a foreign country are required to have health insurance or face fines.
    If you:
    a) have told your country of residence that you are not a resident of that country
    and
    b) are not required to pay income tax in your country of residence,
    then you are not a bona fide resident of that country.
    If you don’t meet these stipulations—or any of the other listed IRS requirements—and you do not purchase health insurance, then you could face fines in 2014 of $285 per family (US$95 for individuals)—or 1% of your income, whichever is the greater amount... That amount will rise to a whopping $2,085 per family (US$695 for individuals) or 2.5% of your income by 2016.
    To avoid these fines, it’s in your best interest to purchase at least minimum essential coverage.
    Good news if you are entitled to Medicare, however: Medicare qualifies as minimum essential coverage. If you’re eligible for Medicare, you won’t be at risk of fines.
  3. It could make sense for you to have minimum essential coverage under the ACA even if you are a bona fide resident of another country.
    Many expats are fortunate to live in an area with high-quality, affordable, and easily accessible health care. Those who are bona fide residents don’t have to pay for health coverage in the U.S. But even if you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country, having extra cover in the U.S. could help you to secure your own peace of mind.
    If, for any reason, you think that you or your family might have health issues that will require treatment in the United States, it’s worth thinking about purchasing a low-premium/high-deductible U.S. plan that’s coupled with a medical evacuation policy. There are several medical evacuation companies that will provide evacuation from almost any location in the world to the U.S. hospital of your choice for a reasonable membership fee.
Next steps:
The most important things you can do next are to determine whether or not you are a bona fide resident of a foreign country...and then to carefully consider your personal needs and requirements for health care.
Then, if you find you’re required under the ACA to obtain health insurance or that your circumstances make U.S. health insurance a wise choice, the next step is to shop around for the insurance plan or medical evacuation membership that best fits your needs and budget. A trusted insurance advisor who is well versed in the intricacies of the ACA can help you find the exact U.S. coverage you need.
Editor’s note: Now that you know what coverage you require in the USA...it’s time to get your overseas health plan sorted. You’ll have all the tools you need to devise that plan when you discover one comprehensive resource. It’s called the Health Care Roadmap...and it could enable you to save hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on health care every year.
With information on everything you need to know to get top health care overseas, like the types of coverage available in the best retirement destinations worldwide...where to make your health care dollar go further...where to find the best health care in the world—at the lowest prices...and much more, it’s an essential part of your "retire overseas" checklist. You can get it—with a discount—here...until tomorrow at midnight.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Sonia

"Tropical Storm Sonia has increased in strength and is expected to make landfall in the area between Mazatlan and Altata late Sunday night or early Monday morning, Nov 4th, 2013.

 The Mexican Weather service is calling for 3-6 inches of rain with up to 10 inches expected in isolated areas. Residents should expect flooding in low lying areas and possible flash flooding in mountainous regions."

Our prayers are with you!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review: The Fifth Codex By John Scherber

342 pages Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. (September 19, 2010)

"The Fifth Codex" is the second in the murder series by John Scherber. Scherber lives in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and he makes this expat favorite city the centerpiece of his novel. The reason he recently said an interview is the "...exotic backdrop with a lot of color and history."

The main character is Paul Zacher, a painter, who with his long time Mexican, girlfriend Maya, and friend Cody, an ex-policeman from Peoria get innocently roped into a deadly situation involving a Codex that could inflame Mayan separatists. Scherber describes his "...villains as flawed people, not demons or monsters. "I’m interested in the way they rationalize the crimes they commit."

The book is a page turner. Scherber is a fine writer with a witty take on events as they happen. I.m on to the third book in the series. Won't you come along?