YL: When did you move to the Yucatan and from where did you move?
Steve: We are originally from Vancouver and bought a place in Chelem 2 years ago and moved here full time in February 2012.
YL: Why did you move?
Steve: We love the climate and we love the Yucatecan people.
YL: Why did you choose the city you now live in over other places in the world?
Steve: I like the relaxed pace. There's no rat race to speak of. In my former life, I traveled the world extensively and almost everywhere else was unfriendly and impersonal. Yucatecans are the opposite of that: warm and polite. Plus I like the ocean breezes you get living on the beach.
YL: Did you buy a house right away or rent first? Do you think you made the right decision?
Steve: We bought a place right away. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and the place we bought seemed to be smiling when we saw the pictures of it.
YL: Are you doing now what you intended to do when you moved here? If not, why not?
Steve: Not really. I intended on retiring, but I guess I just can’t sit still or I would be bored. So when an opportunity arose to create Aerocretos de Mexico, I went for it. Now I am not bored and sure as heck not retired as I had planned.
YL: What are the most interesting things about living here for you?
Steve: Learning to speak Spanish or at least getting my thoughts across in my version of Spanish. The one thing I found is that everyone appreciates that you are trying and everyone seems glad to help you out.
YL: What do you absolutely love about living here?
Steve: I love the politeness of the people here. It is a flashback to the way things used to be where we come from, with people actually greeting each other with a “good morning” instead of ignoring each other when they pass on the street.
YL: What do you miss from your "former life"?
Steve: I miss some friends and family, of course, but modern jet travel is wonderful. I also miss our sailboat and sailing.
YL: What don’t you miss from your "former life"?
Steve: The busy streets of Vancouver and waiting at just about every airport in the known universe for planes that are late.
YL: What is your favorite local food?
Steve: Do I have to pick a favorite? It all tastes good to me, especially the Yucatecan Pork.
YL: What is your favorite time of year here and why?
Steve: April and May are a tad hot, but the pool is nice and warm. December and January are cooler and very nice with the odd norte now and then. In the winter, the pool is a bit nippy, to say the least.
YL: Where do you take guests who visit you here to show them something really special?
Steve: Depends on the guest, but we usually show them the Malecon in Progreso just to show them the tourist side of life. Then we take them to Xcambo or Dzibilchalutun to get a taste of the Maya culture before the Spanish arrived.
YL: The last time you went out to dinner, where did you go and why?
Steve: It was yesterday and we went to La Playa in Chelem. It is close to home, the food is good and the ocean breeze is refreshing.
YL: How is the city where you live different for residents than it is for tourists?
Steve: Well not too many tourists come to Chelem really. As residents, we try to blend in and do what the locals do.
YL: Do you have friends from the local community or do you pretty much hang with the expat crowd?
Steve: Most of our friends are a blend of both Mexican and expat. I tend to avoid the expat-only crowd.
YL: If you are working or own a business, what is it like owning and running a business here or working here? How is it different from doing the same thing in your country of origin?
Steve: Well paperwork here is always fun to figure out. What is required seems to change from day to day or minute to minute, in some cases. But on the other hand, you don’t have the mass of regulations that make small business fail north of the border.
YL: Do you find it more or less difficult to make a living here than in your country of origin?
Steve: Well that remains to be determined! I suppose I can always retire yet again.
YL: Are your work habits different here?
Steve: Yes! I keep joking I will have to go back to work in Canada to relax. We are in the middle of importing a Bobcat loader and it has been a paperwork learning experience, with a steep learning curve.
YL: Did you speak Spanish when you moved here? Where did you learn Spanish (if you did)? Is the language barrier a problem for you in your daily life?
Steve: No I don't speak Spanish really at all. I am learning as I go, a word or two at a time. It does create problems, but Google translate is my friend.
YL: What interesting Spanish word or saying have you learned lately? What does it mean and how did you learn it?
Steve: I can swear fluently... does that count? I also learned not to say “Tengo pesos” (I have pesos) when out to dinner with friends.
YL: Are you a Mexican citizen? Do you plan to become one?
Steve: Not yet. That might be a plan down the road.
YL: Have you traveled much within Mexico? If so, where and what has been your favorite location to visit? What did you see there that you liked so much?
Steve: I traveled a lot on the West Coast but I found it too Americanized. We drove down when we moved and the mountains north of Puebla were stunning.
YL: How are you treated by Mexicans? Do you feel resented or welcome?
Steve: I am a firm believer that if you treat people in a fair and honest manner, then you get the same treatment in return. Most of the Mexicans I have dealt with have been eager to help out, especially if you try to communicate in Spanish or in some cases Mayan. I really have not come across anyone that showed resentment.
YL: How do you feel about the economic prospects of Mexico? Of the Yucatan?
Steve: I think it is the land of opportunity. What I do not like are people who come down here from whereever and try to push the local business folks aside. They do so without the proper working visas. If you are here as a guest in Mexico, the least you can do is respect the locals and follow the rules. This is a sore point with me. That is why I have a Mexican business partner.
YL: What are some changes you are hoping for in the city in which you live? Do you see any progress towards these changes?
Steve: Being selfish for a moment, I hope it doesn’t change, but I know that is unrealistic. I just don’t want to live in a mini-Cancun. The one thing that drives me nuts is the garbage strewn everywhere. Just because it is not your yard doesn’t mean you can toss bags of garbage into it.
YL: What are your plans for the future here?
Steve: Since retirement didn’t seem to stick, I plan on getting Aerocretos de Mexico up and running and hopefully self-sufficient. We have good workers and I would like to see them prosper as we grow.
YL: What is the one most important piece of advice you would give someone buying property and/or planning a move to the Yucatan?
Steve: Do your homework and pick a realtor you can trust. The best way to find someone you can trust is word of mouth and to read everything you can on Yolisto.com.
YL: If you could say something to all the people of Mexico, what would you say?
Steve: Don’t change! Continue to be the friendly and polite people that you are today.
Steve Creagh and his Mexican partner own the concrete stamping, cement spraying and concrete finishing business called Aerocretos de Mexico.