Monday, December 15, 2014

I've Been Called Many Things In My Life

But I've never been called a troll or a Mexican government spy who reads Facebook.   What an insult.  I received that reply from a Mexican who lives in the U.S. and because I don't believe the current wax on Mexico's problems I am being labeled.  I'm used to being the black sheep.  In fact, I was raised to be that.  My dad taught us to question the mainstream thought, think for ourselves, ask questions and not be afraid to speak up.  

Well, I've done that recently and quite a bit since the incident of the 43 missing Normalistas in Mexico.   It is a tragedy, criminal, and one that will never be forgotten much like that of Sandy Hook.  There are two sides to everything and I prefer to see both and not quite yet make judgement.

Ex-pats can be funny characters and I am no exception.  That said, I don't destroy my host country and tout that of my origin.   It is not mine to say, determine or make change.  I am and always will be a visitor here in Mexico no matter what my status is.  

All I ask is that people look inside themselves, their country and the globe and look for themselves that Mexico isn't much different than any other place.  It is easy to point fingers.   But the drum roll gets old when it's the same beat.  "Mexico has bad roads, too many potholes, corrupt police, corrupt gas station attendants, high fuel prices, don't drink the water, sterilize  your fruits and vegetables, don't trust anyone, don't wear jewelry in public, you can't find cheddar cheese, organic peanut butter, 100 grain bread, don't look like a tourist, don't go out at night, don't drive at night.  For god's sake, stay home people if you think it is that bad.  

Today someone made praises because the peso fell to 15 to 1 claiming their pension would go further.   Good on ya, that person probably lives here because it's cheap and they can't afford to live in their own country because they didn't follow the rules there either. 

I'm finished with forums and Facebook groups.  If you want to see me, visit me, listen to me, you can find me here but not there.   You can't change Mexico or its  culture.  As Contessa says, "it is what it is".  As my dad used to tell me and I took him up on his offer and everyone has a right to, "love it or leave it".  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Get It Done! One Week Left!

Security cameras come in handy even when you are at home!  I spent the morning giving the roof a good cleaning and an inspection.  I've found some opportunities for caulking and I happen to have one tube left of self-leveler.   

I just wish I throw that boat anchor of a roof air conditioner off to the side and put a dome in there.  It's a big waste of space and it won't run on our generator.  Worthless.   I'd rather have another fantastic fan there instead.

This is a short trip so there really isn't much else to do but wait until next weekend to saddle up and head out.   I'm sure we need some beverages of choice, some Navarro Cheddar Cheese made here in Mexico, yes, that's right.  I'll post a pic of it later because I don't have the camera with me now.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Preparing For Mazatlan

It won't be a winter get away by any means but a couple of weeks at the beach is good enough considering we were gone for four months this year.  We've never been to a west coast beach with the rv so this a first.  Contessa and Colin made it to their winter digs on the Isla de Piedra which is our destination.

It has rained now for over 10 days nonstop but it has been a drizzling rain.  I haven't done much to the rv and it needs a good wash and wax.  I am hoping  a guy up the road can wax the front cap for me.  It has oxidized to the point where I couldn't get a good shine on it.  

Everything is in working order so it is just a matter of packing a few clothes and off we go.  We were going to McAllen but we cancelled that trip.  Lack of communication and we got our wires crossed on days of the week.  Not a big deal, I ordered a new true sine wave inverter so we can use the electric blanket but I doubt we will need it.   I recently changed out the gas line hoses to the tanks and did some cleaning.   Other stuff from McAllen can be purchased here at a slightly higher price but with the exchange rate the way it is now and the cost of the trip it will be cheaper here.

Contessa squared away our reservations.  I had called and made the initial reservation but not knowing the park very well I waited for her to arrive and finalize things.   Here are some pics of where we will be.   Keep in mind this is facing toward the back of the park so looking to the front would be the ocean.  

Can't wait to see them again.  Remember I was under the weather when we were at their place and it was a bit of a bummer for them so I am hoping they have more fun with us.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Observation Or Two

Today found me at the U.S. consulate.  I could think of other things to do but I needed some documents notarized as we sold our acreage in Terlingua this week.  We only went there twice and as always, the best laid plans.   Oh well, we didn't lose anything and the new owners are very happy to have received such a deal.  

I arrived at 7:30 for my 8:15 appointment.   It was still quiet and I had to go through  rigorous security check.   It's a new facility and all steel and rock.   No penetration there not to mention the state and federal police who guard the place.   I walked in and took a seat only to see a woman about 35 years old, American and with two Mexican children, both obviously from different fathers.  They had obviously taken a bus and walked some distance as their shoes and clothes were a bit muddy.  The kids were bilingual and the mother spoke very good Spanish.   They looked a bit ragged and worn and I was wondering what their story was.  

Well, she was called to the two-inch thick glass window of which there are twelve, and when she returned she started to talk with me.  Turns out she is from Idaho and has spent eight years in Aguascalientes as an English teacher.   She said she was trying to get back to the U.S. but her kids weren't U.S. citizens and she was trying to obtain passports.   I felt bad for her but it appeared she violated the number one rule of traveling to a new destination especially to become an ex-pat:  KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.  So now her problem is getting permission from the two fathers to take the kids to the U.S.  She will likely have to show abandonment and the fact that she wasn't married to either one.  What a mess.  The kids look so disheveled that I wanted to take all three home for a bath and a hot meal.  I was called next, gave the oath that I was telling the truth, got the stamp and off I went.  I won't know whatever happens to her but I worry about the kids.  It has been cold, rainy and just downright ugly out this last week.

My other observation is that many people read these blogs about Mexico and the bad guys.   I followed for awhile and then left them.  First, I really don't think they are a good source of information, are extremely right-winged and the majority of posters are true Mexico haters.   The comments are so foul and vile it is hard even for me to read.   To think someone could have so much hatred for another culture amazes me.  In actuality, the sites are nothing more than a clearing house for Mexican print that have been translated along with some home videos of shootouts and dead bodies.   Imagine if a Mexican wrote and posted a blog about the criminal element in the U.S. posting all the tens of thousands of murders, crimes committed by gangs, cartels and the like and slaughtering the very fabric of the country.  It just wouldn't happen.   As a actor stated on PBS the other night, "my director wondered if our new program would appeal to the American market.  I told him since when does the American market wonder what would appeal to the Brits".  Amen on that.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Even The Best Things Can Change

First off, we found Blackie a new home.  We picked him up last week on the highway and it appeared he belonged to someone.  We made signs and posted them but with no response.  We decided to take him to the vet for adoption.   When we got here, the vet said he had a customer who was looking for a black lab to go with his white lab.  Done deal and now everyone is happy except for me.   There was something between us and even though I avoided the dog like the plague he was behind me all the time.   He sat and watched me work all morning yesterday and would rest his head on my shoulder.   He would have been a lifer but we promised no more pets.  On that same note, my oldest sister who has never been much of a pet person adopted a dachshund/chihuahua mix.  Funny.

Friday a teacher and colleague from Mexico City was here for work.  Last night we invited him out for dinner.   We don't eat out much anymore and especially in Monterrey.  Apart from the Christmas rush traffic and the rain it took a bit to get around.  We went ot a place called San Angel where we had eaten for years when we lived in town.  It has a reputation of good food as well as excellent service.  Most waiters have been there for years.  In fact, while we were eating a waiter came up and said hello and that he missed seeing us there.

When the waiter brought the menu my jaw dropped.   Many pages with color pre-staged food pictures.  I knew then that the Sysco truck was around the corner.  Que decepcion!  Yep, they had given in to pre-cooked, pre-prepared foods.  The kind of thing that Gordon Ramsey would just tear to pieces.   Even the beans had no flavor.   I ordered shrimp tacos that consisted of chopped up fried shrimp with cheese in flour tortillas.  They were good but not what that restaurant stands for.  Juan and Felipe ordered arrechera and sirloin and of course the meat was cooked on the grill and was very tasty.   

Get this though.  While we were sitting there talking, in walks a guy with a rain poncho, motorcycle helmet making a food delivery.  Our waiter had ordered his dinner.   Case closed.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Event And It Was A Bus Load

Yesterday the school where I am working rented a bus to take 40 students to Monterrey for a Christmas event.   The state association of DIF (Desarrollo Integral para la Familia) which provides services for disabled, handicapped and infants in need, put on a Christmas show and invited various schools.  Most of the children in the show are Down Syndrome children of all ages.  They performed ballet, a Christmas pastorela, modern and Mexican folkloric dance, as well as a play.   

Needless to say, it was fantastic and really brings home what humans are made of and what some have to do for things that most of us take for granted.  There was even a dance with people in wheelchairs which was incredible.   The students we took have not had much exposure to students with disabilities and I think were a bit shocked.  In the audience were senior citizens who are Down Syndrome or special needs such as mentally challenged.   Several of the kids asked why they were so old.  I told them that all of the children with disabilities grow up just like everyone else and they are our neighbors, friends and relatives.   I think it really hit home.

The bus ride back and forth was a challenge to me.  Once teacher sat in front and an assistant sat in the very back.  I was in the middle.   With me there, the kids had to maintain order and stay in their seats.   I don't think they liked me being on the bus with them because they usually jump up and down and run around.

The governor's wife was there along with all the other mayors whose wives serve on the board of DIF in their municipalities.   They served us a box lunch and we headed home.  Kids today seem more concerned with when they're going to eat chips and sodas and get to turn on their cell phones.   I guess that's the future and I need to accept it.  I still think a good book is in order.  

Overall it was a fun day and I hope to post pictures later today.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Just In Time For The Holidays

We had seen this handsome young fella over by the OXXO the last couple of days.  He was shy but very friendly.   Yesterday I went to a Mextesol meeeting and when I came home he greeted me at the gate from inside the yard.  Yep, someone had brought him home.  Today he had a bath and we discovered his nails are trimmed nicely so he must belong to someone.  We took pictures and will hang a couple of posters here and at the vet in hopes we find his owner.  If not, he will go up for adoption before we leave for the holidays.

And speaking of holidays, the tree is finished and we will enjoy it over the next few weeks.  The cats look at it in amazement although they no it is off limits and they always respect that.   

I have a new list of things to get done before we take off near the end of December.  Lots of things on the rv need to be done and also the house.  We think we found a roofer who will remove the roof tiles, repair any cracks and, here's a word most people won't know in Spanish although very popular, impermeabilizar the roof.  Same word in English but a bit difficult to pronounce.   They no longer use chapapote (tar) but new rubberized coatings with a mesh underlay.  They come with a five to ten year warranty depending on the product.

In Mexico, we will now have digital television.   I may have told you that people over 65 receive a stipend from the state in addition to their pension and social security.   Now, those same people, if they apply, will receive a flat screen LED television so that they can enjoy digital television.  Pretty cool, isn't it?