8 Days

A week from tomorrow I will get on a plane, fly to LA, change to another one, fly to Mexico City, spend 4 1/2 hours trying to distance in one of the biggest Covid hotspots in the world, and then get on one final plane to Oaxaca. Two weeks later, hopefully having found and rented an apartment in the city, I will do it all in reverse. Back in Tucson, I will sell, give away, recycle, and throw away most of the stuff I have accumulated since the last time I purged. Then I will hop in my car, hopefully with a companion, and head south.

Am I crazy to do this during the pandemic? I don't think so. Even adjusting for underreporting, Cd. Oaxaca has less per capita infections than Tucson, and I am unlikely to get vaccinated here before summer. I can either get the shot(s) there, or get them when I bring my car back to the states in 6 months. The bottom line is that I have been planning this for a long time, and I am ready to stop doing things I don't want to do and start spending my time writing novels, capturing images, learning new languages (Zapotec), and just living life.

Why, you might ask, do I need to bring my car back? I wish I didn't. Mexico has some weird rules when it comes to importation of vehicles. If you want to take your American bought car to any border state and register it there, it must be between 5 and 10 years old. I have no idea why. If you want to do the same anywhere else in Mexico, your vehicle must be either 8 or 9 years old. My car is 13 this year, far outside of the Zona de Goldilocks. So, I have to bring it back here and sell it.

Even if my car were eligible, I am not. In order to register a car in Mexico, you must be a legal resident. That requires a guaranteed income of at least $2250 a month. My social security will be $1013 this year. That is more than enough to be comfortable in Oaxaca, but I now need to leave the country every 6 months to renew my visa, I can't register a car, and I can't open a bank account.

That last one was daunting until I found that Fidelity, where I have my paltry IRA, allows me to have a cash management account, which is exactly like a checking account except it earns interest (less than 1%), has no fees, and returns all ATM fees world wide. Problem solved. I also don't need a US address to maintain the account.

I will eventually want a car. The only way I see that being possible is to buy one there and register it in someone else's name. I'll work it out. In the meantime, I will have one for six months, and I could potentially drive it back down again. I don't want to make a round trip driving every six months, but I do have things I need to pick up from my sister in Vermont that are trapped by covid, so I may come to Tucson at the end of the summer, get vaccinated, and then drive to see her and my parents before heading south again. Then I would return, sell the car for good and fly down.

Oaxaca here I come! Oaxaca, aqui voy!


Amazon Advertising

So I have run three ad campaigns on Amazon for my book. One sponsored product campaign for the month before Christmas. Anyone who shops Amazon has seen sponsored ads when they buy stuff. Buy a book, they suggest several others and there is usually a sponsored ad on the page. The other two campaigns are lock screen ads. They show up when you turn on your kindle or other device. I ran two because I decided the text I had wasn't good enough. The first one started Oct 7, the second Nov 25. Both end Jan 24.

In the month before Christmas, my sponsored ad was shown to 1380 people. 5 clicked on it, none bought it.

Lock screen campaign #1 has been seen by 11,495 people. 37 have clicked, none have bought
Lock Screen campaign #2 has been seen by 18,834 people. 73 have clicked, none have bought.

In all, 31,709 people have seen my ad. 115 have clicked on it, and none have bought it.

I pay per click, so I have spent a total of $52.75. The pricing is weird. I bid how much I am willing to pay per click and they charge me less. I have no idea how they determine the amount.

So, is it worth $52.75 to have almost 32,000 people see my book even if they don't buy it? Approximately 1/3 of 1% of those who saw my ad clicked. Is that good or bad? Clicking and not buying probably means they looked at the first couple pages and decided it wasn't for them. That's fine.