Nuevo Laredo, Mexico Report of what it's like to live there - 02/22/09

Personal Experiences from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Nuevo Laredo, Mexico 02/22/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No.

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2. How long have you lived here?

6 months.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Work.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

Nuevo Laredo is across the border from Laredo, Texas. There are good air connections with Houston and DFW from Laredo's airport.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Air quality seems good to me.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

This topic is my main reason for sending in this mini-report. It's been nearly three years since someone posted the last report on Nuevo Laredo. Comments in the last report such as "Welcome to Baghdad of the Border" are perhaps witty but are grossly, absurdly inaccurate. Please actually talk with someone here and get information that's not years old if you're considering coming here. Everybody will be happy to speak with you and give personal impressions of the place. And don't make the mistake of generalizing all of Mexico. Security varies from one city to another, just as it does in the U.S. Please just call someone here and get up-to-date opinions and information on security and every other topic.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. Morale among expats:

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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9. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

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3. But don't forget your:

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

The SENTRI lane, a special lane for "trusted travelers" approved by DHS, is now up and running. It's great. Time to cross the bridge to the U.S. using the SENTRI lane is now perhaps five minutes max. (There's never much of a line to get back into Mexico.) So you can see a semi-pro ice hockey game or hit a restaurant or shopping in Texas without travel being a big deal. Call someone living in Nuevo Laredo to see how the SENTRI system works before you get here, apply for your SENTRI card before you get here, and start using it immediately when you're here. Sweet!

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