Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Explanation of Previous Post

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

Bob posted a comment on my last post and was wondering if I could give more information about what I had written.  I don't think I have ever spoken badly of someone, at least not openly and definitely not on this blog.  The comments I made in the previous post were about some rvers or ex-pats who live in Mexico.  Keep in mind, I am saying "some" not all and it is a generalization.

One of the first things that happens is that travelers to Mexico for the most part, have a tendency to stay out of major metropolitan areas.  Sometimes for good reasons.  In the case of rvers it is usually because rvs are not allowed on major avenues, or to cross some overpasses and it can get tricky and they prefer to avoid transit police.  For ex-pats, major metro areas are things they either wanted to escape or because they are more expensive.

Another is the northern border territories.  This seems to be because of the "so-called dangers" that persist in the border region.  The border is an imaginary line.  If you live in a place like the RGV, watching local evening new on KRGV you'll find it is the same on either side.  It presents a false sense of security just as do the autopistas or toll roads.  In reality, the northern states have proven to be safer than the southwestern states by a long shot.  Here is an example:


In the above graphic you can see that the states most rvers frequent are the most dangerous; Baja California (both North and South) Chihuahua, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, Durango, Sinaloa, Morelos, and Edomex (State of Mexico).  Of course, Tamaulipas is in the top three.  That leaves the Colombia Bridge crossing coming down Hwy 1 through Nuevo Leon.  Nuevo Laredo, down Hwy 85, and I'll explain in a minute.

(Categories are as follows:
  • Homicidio - Homicides
  • Secuestro -  Kidnapping
  • Extorsion -  Extortion
  • Robo a Casa - Home burglary
  • Robo a Negocio - Business burglary
  • Lesiones - Physical assault
  • Violacion - Rape

Looking at the cities in the state of Tamaulipas, the danger zones are the far east coast. That is why I included  Nuevo Laredo which is in all green.  My point is that the news media has created this hype by painting the picture with a wide brush.  How many rvers travel through Jalisco, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Morelos, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Baja?  A lot.  Because it is their perception that those areas are safe.  In reality, for rvers and ex-pats it's pretty much true.  For some Mexicans and organized crime members, not true at all.

This is a graphic of Nuevo Leon where everyone is afraid to pass through the state including the city of Monterrey:


Believe it or not, according the graphic, my little town is riddled with break-ins.  In Monterrey, the issue is bank robberies.  We have had a few in the last couple of months which is an increase over previous months increasing the percentage by quite a bit thus the red light.  Think of a change from 2 to 10,  that is a 500% increase.  Little do people know, the majority of the robberies were customers in the bank with large sums of cash in hand meaning that someone knew they had the cash such as an employee of the company.  Cashiers in Mexican banks only have access to 2000 -3000 pesos in their till at any given time depending on the institution.

Making this long story shorter, some people have rved full time or have lived as ex-pats in Mexico.  Most of their experiences, because of their limited knowledge of the country as they  only live or travel in small communities or rural areas, have led to misinformation about the country.  Here are some examples of past and present:

  • There are no ATMs in Baja California
  • Electricity is free to poor people (in actuality it is stolen)
  • The border crossings are very dangerous
  • You can't find food stuffs such as peanut butter, cheddar cheese
  • Gas station attendants will rip you off with the 500/50 switch (people claim it happens, imagine how many times I have filled up throughout Mexico in 30 years and have seen or heard of it from anyone other than rvers)
  • Everyone is poor and that's why they go to the U.S.
  • People actual earn minimum wage of 58 pesos a day (it is actually a measure,  my pay is 10 minimum wages per hour as shown on my Mexican income statement, a seat belt violation from transito is charged as 4 minimum wages)
  • Things can only be fixed with bribes and corruption is rampant (could be but I hear Mexicans say the government is corrupt.  Okay, those people are our children, parents, relatives, neighbors, well, you get the idea)
  • Electricity is bad in Mexico (in actuality it is within the norms established by the CFE, the US published standard for electric is 120 volts, for Canada the standard is 120 volts but for Mexico the standard is 127 volts. With a variable of + or - 4 or 5 volts on every case and it turns out that Mexico is usually within it's published standards)
  • Public schools are not free (they are and I challenge anyone to the contrary)
What most people don't know and I have published this before is that there are a lot of programs for Mexicans.  One of them is that milk is free to Mexicans under the age of 16 or 18 if pregnant or lactating.  The problem is that people have to solicit the service from the government agency Linconsa and have a minimum of 100 members.  For those who have been to Hacienda Contreras, the milk cans we see on the roads are delivered to Sahuayo to the milk production plant on the corner as you come down the hill from the rv park as you enter town. 
There are a ton of services including money paid to all Mexicans over 65 "who apply" and receive between $1000 and $1500 pesos a month in addition to their pensions.  This money comes on a debit card and is used for groceries.  Doesn't sound like much but how many retired Americans receive that type of assistance plus free healthcare if they worked in the formal market? As many of you know, food in Mexico is very affordable and 1000 pesos buys a lot.

As you can see, most people base their knowledge on personal versus factual information.  So many times over the years I've heard people say, " I heard someone say that they knew someone who . . . .  '

Friday, August 15, 2014

Something I Can't Understand

 
Someday, a family member who may not even remember me will say, my Uncle Chris was there.
 
 
I'm slowly getting back into the blogging mode.  I have been a busy bee this week with my teacher training course.  It takes a lot of energy to work with teachers four to six hours a day non-stop.  I am not the type to sit down, I stand and walk around during the entire course. 
 
Something came up on Bill and Dot Bell's Facebook page this week.  It involved a couple who wanted to move their belongings to Mexico.  My personal opinion is that if you are changing countries, bring your personal memories and what can fit in your car.  The rest, like fulltiming, requires eliminating "your stuff".  Back to the FB story, some people posted things along the lines of, "boy are you going to get screwed, you're going to pay bribes" and on and on.
 
I said the following and I stick by it:
 
"I'm not sure why there is so much negativity from people who live in Mexico. The country isn't all about corruption and bribes. You "can" follow the rules if you so choose to do so. It puzzles me that so many people live in a country they have such little faith in."
 
The bottom line for me is that a lot of ex-pats who live in Mexico live here because they don't have a lot of income and Mexico is still cheap.  That is one reason their knowledge of the country is limited.  To live cheaply, you have to live in a small town in the middle of nowhere.  That's a fact.  I have met people in San Miguel de Allende who live on $700 or less a month.  Not an easy thing to do when you have NOB taste.   But they do.  They don't live in the "zona historica" and they don't own a car.    Rving isn't cheap because of toll roads and fuel prices although I have to say that Tioga and George did a pretty good job of it considering he started with nothing.  His life has changed and although I didn't agree with much of what he posted about Mexico (hence what I said earlier about limited knowledge) he lived a Mexican boondocker's life. 
 
In the end, I guess it takes all kinds, doesn't it?  People who come here for different reasons.  Some to enjoy the warm weather, food and drink, beaches, cheap, or they love the country, the people and the language.  Most rvers I know attempt to do things in Spanish and I could make a list but I won't because I always end up leaving someone out :)
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back To Work - Well, Not Really

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com

This is one of my favorite photos.  I think I have a hundred!
 


 
Okay, so where am I now.   We are in the middle of a family illness.  One of our nephews is very sick and death is imminent.  A sad story but one that will have an end.  Someday I will recount it.  Everyday is a roller coaster ride.  There is no turning back at this point even if miracles do exist.
 
I'm back to work so to speak.  I am teaching a certification course for this week.  My Texas seminars are starting to appear on the schedule so that is extra work and credits that go towards my social security in the U.S.
 
Speaking of social security, I will be giving up my private medical this next month and becoming part of the social system.  The price continues to increase and as age creeps up on me it will skyrocket.   I am also eligible for ACA in the U.S. based on my U.S./Mexico income so that will also be an option until Medicare kicks in.
 
I will also be receiving a pension from Mexico.  Although I have worked independently over the years, there were periods where I was an employee and paid into the system.  I am short quite a bit but the beauty of the Mexican system allows you to pay up in the last five years prior to retirement, building your account and also supporting the system at the same time.  To reactivate my account, I need to be an employee in a company for at least one year.  The school where I work/volunteer has offered to take me on as an employee and I will continue to work independently.  No time commitments either.  I work the hours I want and they pay me my consulting fee.  I will receive the medical insurance, Christmas bonus, profit sharing (private school) and Infonivit points (government housing loan, if not used, at retirement they pay out the account) plus more.   This is a real boost for me.  After one year, I will resign and then be able to sign up for insurance independently.
 
The money I earn in Texas will be paid into my SS account in Mexico and increase my final benefit.  I also have the Afores or Mexican 401K I pay into.  This is really working out but no check from either side until I am 62.  Well, that's life. 
 
The weather continues to hit 38C daily.  We hunker down in the bedroom in the late afternoon with the air on.  Nice.  The pool is getting back in shape and the deck will be patched and painted this weekend. 
 
That's about it for now.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Great American Tour - My Observations


 
On this trip we covered quite a bit of ground.  We passed through 19 U.S. states and 6 Canadian provinces.  It was a trip of a life time. We had the opportunity to see our Canadian friends who make the trip to Mexico every year.  Now we understand what it means to drive through three countries and we’re not talking about Europe here either.
This is a bit hard to put together because so much time has passed since the beginning.  As I write this the experiences that come to mind right away are the following: 
·         Brantley Lake in New Mexico where I had the great idea to open the screen door on a starry night to find I had let in thousands of swarming bugs.  It was my bright idea to park three feet from the edge of the water. 
·         The kind visitor’s center lady at the Langtry Museum in Langtry, Texas
·         The disappointment of Roswell, NM only to find their incredible art museum
·         Spending time with my big sister Dorothy who I miss all the time and the great food she prepares
·         Tide pooling with my brother Steve and his wonderful wife Michelle
·         Being yelled at by a Pacific Militia man in Winston, Oregon because we’re from Mexico
·         The kindness of border agents in Canada
·         Grasping the idea of why deposits on plastic, metals and glass is so important
·         Canada is a huge country, beautiful, incomparable, and last but not least, very expensive
·         Nova Scotians really know the love of their land (Argh, matey!)
·         Canadians know how to get things done
·         Bears really do eat people
·         There are big things in this world like mountains, mountain slides,  balls of twine, a pinto bean, a moose, a teepee, and waterfalls (Croft’s great-grandfather found that out)
·         Eating lobster
·         Last but not least, I love my new country and can’t imagine living anywhere else
The list could go on but I’ll stop there.  So many images go through my mind and here are a few of them.  This will be a long read so I will understand if you don’t do the whole thing.
A lot of this trip was planned but part of it wasn’t.  We liked that.  We went pretty much where we wanted in between visits and stayed days here and there and even did very short stints.  A couple of days we only made it fifty miles because we stopped to see so many things along the way.   I discovered that my love of history is still as strong as ever and I enjoy going through museums and art galleries.  We found so many things along the way;  antique furniture, machinery, Amish life, the Civil War, Chinese in Canada, Canadian history, well the list goes on.  We could do this all day while we’re on the road.  My only regret but it is easily remedied, was that we didn’t stay long enough in Kansas City to visit the Nelson Art Gallery.  It is a full day adventure and it is surely one of the best museums and art galleries in the world.  I hung out there as a teenager.  I love the smell of museums.
As you know, when we planned our trip we budgeted for it too.  We used $5 a gallon as an average for fuel.  It was pretty much right on.  I still haven’t done the expenses but as you know the big one was fuel.  Mexico fuel prices are climbing too so hang on if you are returning.  I put them, now with the exchange, around $3.65 a gallon.   I hate to say it but we need to find a cheaper mode to rving.  After al l the travel and time together on the road, we think we may want a Roadtrek or a Class B.  We’re good on sharing space, that has never been a problem.  Easy to park, fuel savings, generator ready, solar, looks like a good stealth vehicle.  By that I mean we would have to modify it a bit.  Roadtreks on the non Sprinter chassis look a bit flashy.  We have also given thought to a small 26ft Lazy Daze Class C.   It was always a shock to stop for fuel.  The most expensive we found was in Langley, BC at $5.77 a gallon and the low was in Alberta at $4.48 a gallon.  Chicago was another high spot at $4.20 a gallon.  Once we returned through Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, the prices leveled off and dropped as low as $3.19 a gallon.  As a side note, I think the whole fuel thing is BS.  I say that because I have always heard from people that gas stations only make pennies on the gallon of fuel and depend on their income for sales from convenience stores and oil-based products.  If so, how is it possible that if you get a $10 car wash, they will give you a .50 discount on each gallon.  At thirty gallons, that is a savings of $15 dollars and the sold you the car wash for $10?  Or the big one that bites the bullet; cash discounts up to .15 a gallon.  How does that work when the commission is .35 for accepting a debit card?   It’s a game and if you don’t shop around for gas you deserve to get screwed.  We used GasBuddy in the U.S. and Canada until we got to the point where it didn’t matter because fuel was below $3.25, we thought we were in petrol heaven.
We found that taste changes as you head north, west, east and south, very interesting.  As we approached the coast of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, we were in seafood and fish heaven.  Reasonable and very, very fresh.  Clams, mussels, scallops, salmon, halibut, well you guys probably know more than we do.  Crossing toward the east it gets a bit bland and very fattening.  Entering the east coast it is “lobster time”.   A true highlight of our trip.   I am satisfied for now but will need a refill in the next year I am sure. 
Cities also change.  Small towns in the U.S. are pretty much that, small towns.  They have lost their essence, many are abandoned or run into the ground.  Education is almost non-existent although millions are poured into the system.  It seems that in the U.S. the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) is the way to go.  After that anyone can get a minimum wage job.  Hispanics abound in the areas of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona but with one caveat.  They are not first generation but many are third or fourth generation.  We met many people along the way whose grandparents came to the U.S. back in the 50s to work in the potato fields for example and have settled in but they still work in the same industries.  Work seems to be abundant as I had reported with fast food joints paying $10 to $12 an hour not to say that that makes a career but for a town of 500 it is much better than digging up potatoes.  No takers for those jobs so it makes me wonder if the welfare system is well-entrenched.  As you head north and to the west, the small towns take on a much different flavor, more white, poor, but with a certain quaintness.   In Canada the picture changes completely.  Small towns do have their issues but they are still operating.  Jobs are supplied by local merchants and government.  Good or bad, it sure made our trip a lot nicer.   We enjoyed our stay in those towns.  It is almost as if they not only survive but thrive as artists, small business owners, and they all have something to offer.
I’ve probably run this into the ground but one thing we noticed all through Canada was a certain pride in ownership.  Maybe it is the short Spring and Summer season that exists but almost every house, business, town, even city seemed to take pride in their yards, homes and gardens.   Very rarely did we see overgrown grass, or weeds around a business.  It looks surreal in a sense.  Many of our friends have flower beds, vegetable gardens and our friends in Ohio have farm animals and veggies which they eat from.  Really something to see.  We used to have a garden that started out as a compost pile and began growing all kinds of vegetables and fruits.   We have more land than ever before and don’t even grow a flower.  Sad isn’t it?  But this trip brought us to many realizations about these things.
As you might remember, I fell into a short spell of homesickness.  This occurred as we headed for Chicago and it was compounded by the fact that we were visiting friends from Mexico that we had known most of our lives that live in the Windy City.  We spoke in Spanish, ate Mexican food, stayed in a Hispanic neighborhood.   I was struck by the bug.  Always looking at the map on our trip to calculate mileage, where we were going and what we could see I was aware of the fact that from Chicago it was a quick four day drive south to Monterrey.   Juan made it quite clear that we would continue the trip as planned and continue our route.   After two days I was back on track.  I’m sure this is a common thing.  Most of it was brought on by leaving an almost 14 year old cat at home albeit supervised, watered and fed, and the fact that the house needed attention.  Leaving it in the hands of someone who really has no stake in our property leaves things open for disrepair and all the details of home ownership.  In fact, now that we are home, some minor things took place that may have been avoided or fixed before they became worse and now a greater expense.  I got over it and enjoyed the rest of the trip.  However, in the future, it would be best if we didn’t have a house.  As many of you know, we talked about our plans to move south to San Miguel de Allende where we would live in an rv until we decided if we really needed a sticks and bricks.
Canada, like many other countries including the U.S. and parts of Mexico know how to take care of Mother Nature.  We road on a ferry to Vancouver Island, crossed the Canadian Rockies, passed through the beautiful rolling hills of Alberta and Saskatchewan, we passed through farmland in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri and Arkansas. We drove the Okanagan and stayed in the lap of luxury in Kelowna.  Tasted wine in more than few wineries.  We saw the Grand Canyon, hiked parts of it, marveled in its sunsets.  We visited historical sites with historians, people in native dress.  Along the route we met Mexicans from all parts of the county.  Visiting big cities was a great part of the trip too, Chicago, Reno, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa to mention a few.  I think for the money (not speaking literally) we did a good job of seeing what decided were interesting or important to us. We could have stayed five years and still not have seen it all.  It’s like Mexico, no one visits all the states in one winter not that it couldn’t be driven but you wouldn’t see very much although get a good idea of what to see on return.
Rv parks.  What a huge disappointment.  I am discounting Capilano River Rv Park in Vancouver, and staying with our good friends Colin and Contessa at their Holiday Resort.   Those are exceptions and both are well-worth what they charge although in the case of Colin and Contessa, they made arrangements for us which were incredible and the payback difficult to do.  Rv parks are not for us.  Oops, I forgot one,  Winton Woods in Cincinnati which is  a Hamilton County run park, excellent for an in-city park.   The parks we found were dumps pretty much and in all cases we could have found accomodations in nearby hotels for the same price, less, or just a bit more.  One of the shockers was the Skagit Casino which is also a Thousand Trails park.  How do you spell dump, D-U-M-P.  Another was also a casino in Newport, Oregon.  Nice parking lot but why would I pay $38 a night so I could gamble and eat in their casino? 
OTOH, Oregon state parks are amazing but to charge $20 for a night without any serviced not even water is not reasonable.  We are pretty good boondockers but I don’t tolerate 35C temps very well in high humidity.  BLM land and forest service thoughout the western U.S. and Canada is truly a boondocking experience.  Remember Botanie Lake in Lytton, BC?  Now that is boondocking.  Many of the parks we stayed in were well-established and I couldn’t justify the prices.  Of the few parks we stayed in, none of them were ever full by any stretch of the imagination.   We signed up for Passport America and as they say you get your money back with the first few stays.  Very true but we found is that in the Canadian summer PA doesn’t count and in the U.S. there are too many exceptions to even figure it out especially after the first happy hour drink.  Forget it!   Still not a bad deal, but we won’t renew our PA membership.  Home Depot in both countries wins hands down and a shout goes out to Kevin and Ruth for turning us on to the place.  Who can refuse free wifi, security cameras and employees and managers who never refuse and always have a smile.  We still think that Pilot, Flying J, TA and other truck stops could make a good business by offering a parking spot with/withour electric for $10 to $15 a night.  Machine run, just like their dump stations, you put in the money or get a code from the cashier that you enter in the machine and you have power for X number of hours.  The dump works the same.  Once you pay, you enter the code and it electrically allows you to open the drain.   Wifi is available to all at these places.  Once your power runs out, off you go.  Just like Walmarts, rvers always drop a few bucks.  Okay enough of that and just my personal opinion.
Now on to what made the adventure a trip of the lifetime.  You guys!  Everyone was more than generous, kind and provided very well for us.  From the time we stayed with our friend Michelle in Arizona until we said our goodbyes to David and Marina we felt welcomed and part of the great Canadian experience.
The best way to say thank you to all of you is by the following pictures.  In the end, what we discovered is that we have many friends who we love and cherish.  All of you made this trip very special for two guys from Mexico.  We will never forget this trip.  Thanks again so much for seeing us, being great hosts, and showing us all your beautiful places.  We hope to see you in Mexico soon.

Sister Dorothy and BIL Bill, Reno, NV


Norma and Croft, Vancouver Island, BC

 
SIL Michelle and brother Steve (Boise, ID) Oregon Coast

 
Teresa, Derek and Cassia Merrit, BC



Contessa and Colin, Kelowna, BC
 
 Michelle, Phoenix, AA

Sue and Brian, Fountain Hills, AZ

Donna and Leo, Monticello, MN

Fabiola and Enrique, Chicago, IL

Lin, Lori and Charlie, Sally, Christine, Ada, OH (Ohio Northern University)

Mike and Pat, Simcoe, ON

Kevin and Ruth, Cabri, SK

Mark and Jean, Cabri, SK (from Saskatoon, SK)

Marina, David, Sylvia, Frank, Susie, Cam (somewhere), Perth, ON

Mexican Fiesta-Nancy and Terrie, Paula and Jerry, Jill and Andrew, Karin, Kingston, NS

Paula and Jerry,  Aylesford, NS  (argh matey!)
 
Lindsey and Justin, Nova Scotia (sorry, I forgot the town)

 
SIL Barb and brother Bob and family, Cincinnati, OH


Maggie and Leyah, Fayetteville, AR

Virgina, Patrick and Nick and brother Phil, Kansas City, MO

Margaret and Francisco, Fayetteville, AR (from Baltimore, MD)

Friends Keith and Sam, San Antonio, TX



 

 

 

 

 

Monday, August 4, 2014

It Was A Trip Of A Lifetime!

 
Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted on the blog for a week.   San Antonio was mentally exhausting.  We took off last Thursday planning on a leisurely trip to Laredo for a night at Casa Blanca State Park.  As we headed down the I-35S I turned to Juan and said, "let's make a run for it".  He agreed.  We had checked two other rv parks in the Laredo area and neither have wifi.  One park wanted $45 for the night without wifi.  Casa Blanca has wifi but only at the office which is a drive around the lake.  Better to go home.  We stopped and dumped at the Flying J.  Thanks to Juan we only paid $3 instead of $10.   He went in to pay and the woman said, "honey, you don't have a Flying J card?"  He said no and she whipped one out.  Thanks for the discount Flying J.
 
We got to the bridge and ICE had taken another break.  We never see them anymore.  I guess they are assisting the weapons crossings, I can't think of any other reason.   We crossed the bridge and were stopped by inspection.  The agent said "Esta chida la casa remolque" (this is a pretty cool trailer).   Off we went.  At the 26th Km they checked the pedimento for the serial numbers and off we went.
 
Get this.  It has been hotter than Hades here in South Texas for the last two weeks.  In San Antonio it was 103F everyday at the house.  We took the libre home and the drive was amazing.  Great asphalt, good stops along the way and friendly people.  However, as we crossed Mamulique, the mountain pass, the temps rose to 120F for over 30 minutes.   When we got home it was 104C.   Incredible.  Maybe we should have stayed in Canada another month.
 
All is well on the home front and the cats went nuts as we opened the gates.  Juan had to keep them out of the way as I backed in the trailer.  Needless to say, we jumped in the house, turned on the a/c in the bedroom and all four of us had a nice long nap.  The cats snored for two hours.   I think they're happy we are home now. 
 
We have a lot of folks to thank for our great adventure and I also want to post the highlights of our trip not to mention the pros and cons.   We did it, and we ended up covering a total of 10,000 miles without driving to Nova Scotia. 
 
My goal is to post all of that info in the next few days.  Sorry for not posting sooner but after San Antonio and getting home, I literally sank in bed all weekend.  Never left the house.  Today was a productive day; house cleaning, preparing for some work I just received and I hope to return to the gym tomorrow.  Moooo!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fayetteville, Arkansas - Home of Walmart

 
We've been in Fayetteville for two days and are now heading to Dallas.   Best day of the year to travel, it will be over 103F along our route!  We will leave by 8 a.m. in hopes we get to Dallas before we melt.  
 
 
 
Juan had the opportunity to speak to a group of teachers from Iraq and Mexico who are in the Fulbright program here in Arkansas.  We met with our friend Leyla who is the director of the program and we had a lovely dinner with a group of friends and then drinks at her house she shares with her partner Kirk.
 
 
 
Yesterday I did laundry while Juan was at the university and attempted to find a new water intake for the rv.   It is getting worn out and water is dripping at a greater rate.   We are using the water tank instead until it's fixed.  We will be in San Antonio and there is a great rv store near our house.  If your ever there, stop by the Texas Rv Supply on Austin Highway.
 
 
 
After a wonderful nap, we headed out to Crystal Bridges.   This is an outdoor park with trails and an incredible art gallery, architecture, restaurant, guest services, and most of all, it's free all the time.  Saturday night Wire and Wood will be playing, too bad we can't stay.  I won't say much more about it as the pictures tell the story.  The interesting part is that this arts center was paid for by the Walton family.   Walmart has its critics although we all shop and rv in their parking lots across the Americas.  
 
 
 
Bentonville is the actual home of Walmart and it is amazing how many companies have moved to the area.   Suppliers, providers, builders, finance, the list goes on.  With have come jobs, new housing, well you get the idea.  Evil Walmart must have an ulterior motive.   But I don't need to go on. 
 
Turned out to be a fun afternoon and if it weren't for the Waltons we wouldn't have enjoyed such a wonderful day.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another Family Visit - Kansas City

living.boondockingmexico@yahoo.com


Spent Tuesday night in St. Charles, Mo.   The weather was so hot and humid we had to use the A/C.  We found a county park that was reasonable and also gave us a great place to take a morning walk.  We had some leftover pizza in the freezer with a fresh salad for dinner.
 
We headed out for Kansas City.  I have been closely tied to the news this last week reading the newspapers, online as well as NPR.   What a mess that is going on in Isreal.   It appears the U.S. sides with Isreal as they have nuclear weapons and they are pointed at the U.S. enemies.   The Palestinians have nothing so they are not a concern to anyone.   Israel continues to chip away at Palestine and this will end in a few weeks when people get tired.   It will pick up again in about three years as the underlying issue of territory will never be resolved.   Isreal will continue to take more and more pissing off Hamas.  Why does Hamas exist?  Hmm, I wonder!
 
Also, China has made strong relations with Venezuela and Argentina preying on their failing governments and economies.   The U.S. could have made some headway into the Americas to improve the continent of the Americas instead of worrying about everyone else's problems in the Middle East.   Build a strong country, neighbors, and then a continent before butting into other countries issues.   Central America is the mess it is because of U.S. intervention over the years and the installation of dictators.   Countries like Mexico get left holding the bag.
 
Anyway, here we are with my oldest nephew Patrick and his lovely partner Virginia.  Patrick is a professor at the university and Virginia is a registered nurse.  Their son Nick is 12 and enjoying summer.  They head to Germany next week for the rest of the summer.
 
Today, Thursday morning, we are heading out to Denny's for breakfast before heading to Fayetteville, AR. where we will meet with people from Washington D.C. for a meeting.   Juan will solicit their help with his PhD.