Since January, Charles Smithgall III has been living in a 250-year-old house in the safest city in Mexico, studying Spanish daily and eating elegant breakfasts for the equivalent of USD $4. “I’m the only American here. They call me El Gringo,” he says proudly. On weekends he goes deep-sea fishing, and chats with his 50 closest Mexican friends, all of whom speak to him in Spanish. His wife has elected to just visit from Atlanta for now, he says, of his new home away from home. Once he’s mastered Spanish, he’ll move on to another project, piano lessons—and perhaps live part time in Spain. “My wife says if I move to Spain, she’ll go with me,” he says with a hint of a smile in his voice.