I am a first generation Canadian and went to Belfast with my first-generation Italian friend, Joe. My Mum and Dad are no longer with me, so I wanted to go back to where they grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. THE last time I was there was in the early 70’s as a child.
It was so nice to catch up with my two cousins Rebecca and Andrew and their extended family. A police officer friend of the family took us on a personal tour around Belfast. We were so impressed with what he does for a living! He is in a gang riot police unit driving in a bomb in a bulletproof vehicle. He stated that the troubles between Catholics and Protestants is quiet now compared to the violence of the 70’s and 80's Wow, the stories he must have!
We took a political tour with a Catholic car driver. It was so interesting! We toured the Catholic areas, that is, the areas where people in Ireland from an independent country lived. Things looked normal, people living in cozy Irish communities. But, driving through some large Protestant areas, that is areas where people loyal to the British Crown lived, were much different. In some areas we drove through large gates which close 7pm and open 7am. Many are fenced off with large walls blocking out the outside world. We stopped at the large and decorated Peace Wall and really felt the isolation and turmoil of days gone by. Pete and I wrote our names on the wall along side the many millions who signed before us! In FACT, the Peace wall separating the Falls and Shankill roads contains some of the brightest artwork found in Belfast and forms part of the city mural tour. Murals consisted mainly of world countries struggling with cultural and religious differences!
We hired a taxi tour to see where my father was born and raised. The house is gone, replaced by an apartment building. It was a couple of blocks where Van Morison grew up. We took pictures outside his birth home and the Catholic taxi driver took us to the large street concert he put on for his 70 birthday a couple years ago! It was in front of a beautiful, old protestant church! He pointed this out on YouTube . I mentioned, we had a Catholic taxi driver because Van Morrison played his concert in front of a protestant church. While we were there, a couple of nice practitioners came out to visit and invited us in for a church tour. I asked our taxi driver to join us, but he declined the invite. Also, both sides did not want to shake hands with each other when we said our goodbye’s. Sad for us to see something like that. I think religion should stay out politics stop promoting hatred amongst people.
As a result of the troubles in Northern Ireland from 1970 to 2022, Northern Ireland is losing growth in their part of the country. For instance, during a 52-year span, growth in Dublin in 1970 was 771,000 total people vs 1,256,00 today [approx. 485,000 increases]. Population in Belfast 1970 was 417,000 and today 639,000[approx. 222,000 increases]. Northern Ireland has been missing out on a lot of growth potential…, why would any big company invest? Even with the 1998 Good Friday Peace agreement regarding all political parties, (good Friday agreement) , people have to let go of the past .Protestants kept Catholics from voting in the early stages due to strict home ownership policies,(hearsay that you did not vote by a person, you got to vote by the homes you owned, so for instance if you owned votes home you get six votes and the Protestants own most of the homes) now is that fair? As a result, in total political Protestant control.
Religion must stay away from government, politics, which may promote hatred and isolation. I believe that God DOES NOT promote hatred and disharmony. We are one people, striving for happy lives. Hopefully the walls come down in 2023 and I hope to be there to witness the big event! Hoping that Northern Ireland will be open for business…. Let go of the past and good things will happen! Check out Wikipedia the troubles.
War Queens and Kings of Ireland remove all walls 2023 Youtube Every year, Protestants only hold a parade, parties and bonfires to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, July 11/12th 1690 It began in the late 17th century, it is a night celebrating the start of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland. I believe this event should stop because it promotes separation and isolation between both religions. Wikipedia the 12th
Prayers for peace, love and happiness we are all one, we are all the same, just lose what happened over 300 years ago.
I think this will be my last blog, story.
This is my view not yours Pete Montgomery, from WorldTripPete.com
Bus tour of Northern Ireland and the Titanic Museum.. Worth watching this YouTube about the Titanic This is the best of the Belfast segment of the Ireland & Emerald Isle episode of DIY Destinations, in this clip the host Charles Huang decided to visit Titanic Belfast, 12,000 square meters interactive museum dedicated the famous ocean liner RMS Titanic on the former Harland & Wolff shipyard. We'll showcase all the galleries and highlight from this museum and the ride, as well a visit on board the SS Nomadic, the only surviving White Star Line vessel in existence today Wikipedia SS Nomadic Joe wrote on Facebook Visiting history of the Titanic was awesome!…It was designed and built in Belfast by the former White Star Line on the very place where the museum now stands!…Museum takes you through the many stages from city history during the time , the build and builders,launch,passengers n crew,iceberg tragedy, rescue and James Cameron videos on the historic finding of the ship!…Just outside the museum lies the former White Star design offices and the marked foundation of the actual building site!…It was constructed to be the dream ship that was supposed to be unsinkable??? Another post on fb by Joe. Now in Belfast,Northern Ireland…
Wow! Lots to learn and see…Many people don’t know that Ireland has two languages ,English and a totally different Irish language….As well,Ireland consists of two countries; the Republic of Ireland in the south and The British rule island to the north. Joe Forzani and I started our tour on a Hop On Hop Off bus in the morning and then took a separate political tour with guide Henry in the afternoon.Wow! We learned so much to put in my next blog when we get home. Much to learn about the struggles of life in Northern Ireland. Catholics,who are striving for Irish Independence and Protestants,governed by the British Rule,each living in their separate communities around the city!
Sooo interesting to talk with local residents and hear their stories about the hardships of 2 different beliefs in a single country!
And,now on to the Titanic Museum!!!
We did a bus tour of Northern Ireland called the “Causeway Coastal Route” from Belfast to Portrush. We stopped at Whitehead, Ballygally, Cushendall, Murlough Bay, Whitepark Bay, and Giant’s Causeway. On the way there, Joe was telling me that the giant’s built it 50 million years ago? NOT!!! It was the same person who preached that if a race horse ear is up, the horse will win the race NOT!!!Here is the truth about the Giants Causeway Wikipedia Giant Causeway. We also stopped in Bushmills Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world, opened in 1608! Wikipedia oldest distillery in the world.
We also did the “Hop on Hop off Bus Tour, Belfast,” We started at Belfast City Hall, then on to St Georges Market, Grand Opera House, Queens University, Falls Road, International Peace Wall, Wall Murals and the Crumlin Road Jail. I have no idea why Joe was so attracted old Jails in Dublin and Belfast? Hmm, just maybe in his past life he was hardened jail bird…lol
The first three days we were in Dublin.
Joe and I stayed in Temple Bar, Dublin the first three days we arrived in Ireland.
We flew West Jet to Dublin and stayed in the main tourist area called Temple Bar. I posted me at one of the local pubs with a couple of Hells Angels bikers from Vancouver, Canada, I could not believe the response I got from the pictures. Lots thumbs up and bikers were great! I liked them and I learned not to judge people by the way they look! BTW, I handled them with ease lol! I must say that all the local Irish tour guides s, sales clerks, servers, policeman, cab drivers, hotel management and the general public were extremely courteous in helping fine our destinations! Very impressed!!!
Temple Bar is the main tourist area in Dublin, with loads of restaurants, pubs and hotels located on old cobblestone narrow streets. Many locals and tourists strolling along and dropping into colorful pubs listening to favorite Irish ballads and songs. Joe and I sipped many Guinness and Irish Lagers to go with the yummy Irish stews and tasty Fish n Chips! Our hotel, located in the heart of Temple Bar, was only a short walking distance to everything including McDonalds for breakfast!
We took the Hop on hop off Dublin bus a couple times. Samuel Beckett Bridge, City Hall, Dublin Castle, Glasnevin Cemetery, Henry Shopping Street & The Spire, St Stephen's Green, Trinity College Book of Kells, Old Library Exhibition, Mummies of Michan’s Church, Richmond Barracks, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Teeling Whiskey Distillery, The Guinness Factory, Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Goal Prison again Joe had to tour the prison on his own.
Joe's Facebook post about Dublin Two days in Dublin so far, wow, what city (Religion and Alcohol!) …We are staying in the trendy area called Temple Bar, full of Irish pubs n restaurants Today we took an open seat Hop on Hop off sightseeing bus tour of the city! We learned a lot!!!
Confused when they talk about churches, drinking Guinness and Irish whiskey in this city? They say that 10 million Guinness a day are consumed and the population of Ireland is just over 5 million (That’s 2 glasses of Guinness per person per day…Wow!!!) The part I missed is that maybe they talking about world consumption, and not just Ireland?
Tomorrow’s visit is St Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse and Teeling whiskey tours!
Love Peace and Happiness, God loves all his creation all religions.
This is my view not yours Pete Montgomery, from WorldTripPete.com
My new condo in Playa Del Carmen ckick here
It all started off with a thought I had back in February 2021. I was thinking of retirement and where? So I got thinking of two of my favorite places I like to travel to in the past 20 years that are not on the other side of the world. I was looking at Panama or Mexico? They are both great places. After months of research, I chose Playa Del Carmen, Mexico over Panama. Mexico uses the Canadian dollar whereas Panama uses the American dollar as its currency! The American dollar fluctuates too much, difficult for me! Also, there are direct flights Calgary to Cancun twice daily and the flights are not direct to Panama.
I began to do some research about retiring in Mexico and discovered that there was a Consulate office in Calgary. I contacted, the person and he asked me when I was planning to go there. I told him probably October or November, so she told me to call back in September. They also emailed me the link to see if I qualify. I called in September and they said I can’t get in to see them until November 15! They gave me an appointment without a time, I sent many emails with no reply, so I went down to their office for the first time in early October with all my documents in hand. Luck was on my mind that day as I got in to see a Consulate agent that day, so instead of my meeting November 15, I was on a plane to Cancun the first week of November!
After Arriving in Mexico, I received a 30-day visa That will give me enough time to make an appointment to finalize my permanent residency. During that time, I began looking at buying a condo! Things began to get overwhelming for me again, lucky me, I saw this young lady, Miriam N Olivera, helping someone else who was English. I asked her if she was an interpreter and she responded, yes! She gave me her card and I noticed she was also a lawyer. Thank God I sent her a message asking her for assistance. She was amazing, took everything off my plate. I have kept her on for the buying of my new condo. I highly recommend Miriam N Olivera as a true professional! It took 8 weeks to get a meeting with the Mexican immigration, but well worth the wait. They are very busy with people from all around the world moving to Mexico!
In the meantime, while waiting for my permanent residency, I went shopping for a condo to purchase! I went out with a couple of real estate agents that were amazing, but I found out there is no MLS in his part of Mexico. I had to find agents that worked for the same company. I was staying in Real Ibiza at an Airbnb a place where I stayed a couple of years ago for the winter, I was looking to buy there because I love the area but everything I was looking at while I was home in Canada was sold? While riding on a bus to downtown Centro, I noticed some new condos being built and liked the look of them. I got off the bus to check it out, something in my gut was telling me to do so! As soon as I walked into the sales office, the sales lady approached me Norma was her name and I asked her if I can have a look at their new condos, she told me that they have a promotion for the month of November! Thinking that this was a normal sales pitch, I looked into it further! Clearly, this was a good deal! That same day, the deal was signed because I knew prices in the area and it’s even a better location than Real Ibiza, Wow, I can walk to the mall and Real Ibiza and Walmart in about 5 to 10 minutes. Everything I need is around me.
Now it’s time for me to learn after buying a condo in Mexico when you buy a basic condo down here in Playa Del Carmen, it does come with a kitchen and bathroom sinks but that’s about it, Really, there are no light bulbs in the lights. Lucky, I bought what they call furniture meaning kitchen cabinets, stove, closets that are equipped with dressers inside and 3 air conditioners that were not installed. The installation was another story! I am still waiting for all the above to be installed except for the stove and air conditioners and had to pick them up myself, Patience is key in Mexico. I just laugh and put my hands in the air, why get upset? Just laugh. Also, Covid is to blame around the world. At the end of the day, I got a great deal all in total $1.65 million pesos base price $1.5 million to $150,000.00 extras, BTW, the price went way up January 1 2022 to about $450,000.00 more. For the people that know me, I am always good and maybe a bit lucky in real estate…And no my new condo is not for sale!!
Now for the tough times, I went through and thank God I had the sales lady Norma and my lawyer Miriam with me every step of the way. I will start off with the Canadian bank I was dealing with. I knew to ship money down to Mexico. I had to go to Canada to do it or have a trusted person I have a joint account within Canada. I took my daughter Tiffany to the bank with me to make a joint account. After finding out how much, I think she was having second thoughts on how she can spend the money lol… So now time for the transaction to happen. It normally takes 3 to 4 days for Canada and Mexico in trust to come through, but a week and a half later, nothing, $500,000.00 pesos were missing and all of us were worried. Tiffany, my lawyer Miriam and the sales lady Norma, anyways in the end, Tiffany was the only one that could stop the transaction and she did. I ended up losing about $5000,00 Canadian from the day. I first thought one point is big, Canadian $$$$ started at $97,423.60 to $103,425,09 I will talk to my bank when I go back to Canada in the spring. I asked them to send pesos they sent Canadian dollars. I started at 17.04 Mex went down to 16.05 Mex today we are sitting at 15.91 Mex.
So many good things happened and I learned so much. Number one meeting my lawyer Miriam N Olivera. I’m going to call her my new Mexican friend, I strongly recommend using her service in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico She really did help with my residency, I only had to go in and get my photo taken and it was done for as little as $5000.00 pesos. I also kept her on for the buying of my condo, helping me with everything and finding me the right handyman team (Jesus and his partner) at a really good price, of course! I paid them a lot more than what they requested $350 pesos per fan/light, much to low! I also got them got them to change every light as well as putting in the three air conditioners, that was a lot of work. Also, my friend, lawyer Miriam N Olivera set me up with my electricity, gas, water and so much more…Thank you so much Miriam my friend!!!
A couple of other friends I would like to thank for their help with translation, Josh long time friend in Cancun and Marcella from Aguascalientes, Mexico also long time friend I first met in Canada quite a few years ago, we had a mutual friend Carolynn, a neighbor I grew up with in Toronto (rip) we miss you and when I did my road trip Calgary, Canada to Panama City, Panama she and her mother let me the stranger in their place 6 years ago.
I took possession of my new gated paradise condo in the community of Punta Estrella in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico on January 28th/22. I’m getting so excited about my new life in Mexico! So much to see, do, and learn still, like buying a 7-passenger van or car, a scooter and get a golf membership, I heard of a great deal for a Mexican resident like me!
Pete now Pedro Montgomery WorldTripPete.com
It was so easy to apply for my permanent residency to Mexico, as long as you qualify and have all your documents required! The last document I was waiting for arrived Wednesday October 20. Next day I went Mexican Consulate office in downtown Calgary. I could not believe how fast it went? Less that an hour and ½ and only $57.00 Canadian.
The interviewer told me that I was a very lucky guy! I was not scheduled to be there that day and they were very busy this time of year. I answered by saying that everything was meant to be! The dots connected quickly when my final document arrived!
My Canadian friends living in Mexico suggested that it is better to get my Permanent not Temporary Residency. Many great benefits to me! I also discovered that I cannot drive my campervan to Mexico. The Mexican government requires that a permanent resident must purchase cars in their country! All trucks, rv’s, suv’s and scooters are not permitted entrance to Mexico from another countries. I will get great savings on healthcare, dental, golf, travel and so much more….
They also have nine Mexican Consulates offices across Canada.
So my new life begins… Pete from WorldTripPete.com
Now that I’m fully retired, I have been looking at residency in Panama or Mexico, each having its own advantages and disadvantages. I am deciding on Mexico because it has direct flights to most places around the world. Panama uses the US dollar and could hurt me when the dollar increases in value. The Mexican peso is always less than my Canadian dollar, giving me greater value there. The Mexican Consulate has an office in Calgary and I have a meeting with them next month to discuss residency status. The US border then opens November 8th 2020 allowing me to drive my campervan “Old faithful” to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. (I drove the same van to Panama City, Panama 6 years ago from Calgary, Canada.)
Another reason I picked Mexico over Panama. I can buy a nice condo in a gated community with pool and gym for about $90,000.00 USD. A comparable condo in Panama would cost me more than $200,000.00 USD.
I am now focused on my road trip to Mexico. I started the first part of the leg (one third) from Toronto where I picked up the campervan from my friend Tim. His hapyhipi instagram place is one of my favorite hangouts on earth. I drove 31 hours Toronto to Calgary and plan to drive another 62 hours to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Cost of the trip is going up! Six years ago my road trip to Panama cost me $20/hr and today cost will be $22/hr. (Most people go by miles per gallon but I go by gas/hr!)
Looking forward to Change, life is good!.... Pete from WorldTripPete.com