Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Don't delay in ordering your maps. It has become so easy now to order on line. In fact, Target is selling Mexico state maps on line. These maps are from Ediciones Independencia. I like them because they seem to show more detail than the Guia Roji and are easy to read. Here is a description of the maps from the Target website listed below:
Spanish-language map of Mexico with state boundaries outlined in color. Inset maps of greater Mexico City and 14 other popular tourist areas. Includes a comprehensive table of distances between major cities and a guide to highway/street signs. Scale 1:3,350,000.
Maps Gone Tomorrow offers both the Guia Roji and Ediciones Independencia. http://www.mapsgonetomorrow.com/mestma.html
Also order direct from Guia Roji. I don't know what their shipping charges are but I assume it is shipping direct from Mexico. http://tienda.guiaroji.com.mx/products/category.aspx?id=1
I did a survey here on the blog a couple of months ago regarding interest in purchasing maps from me. Just so you know, I am not selling maps although I would have sold the Ediciones Independencia. They are a smaller company and produce an excellent set of Mexico state maps and atlas. I always like to give the small guy an opportunity.
The Guia Roji offers their maps on CD and now have the IntelMap for major cities (very expensive at $1000 (u.s.) ).
Friday, August 29, 2008
This morning I was listening to Imagen News with Ana Maria Salazar. Ana Maria is very interesting. She once worked in the U.S. as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support. She is now living in Mexico City and has a radio and TV show. Her show comes on at 5:30 a.m. and again at 11 pm. She also has a great blog, Mexico Today that is filled with great news on Mexico in English .http://www.mexicotodayblog.com/
Anyway, they were talking about getting Americans to vote in the November election. Did you know there are over 3,000,000 registered Americans living in Mexico? Wow, what a huge number. Isn't that like 1% of the total U.S. population?
I checked the INM (Instituto Nacional de Migración Mexicana) today and they have a webpage in English that answers the most common questions about working and/or living in Mexico. Check it out: http://www.inami.gob.mx/EN/index.php As I said the other day, you can become a Mexican resident by showing a monthly income of $1500 dollars and even less if you own property here.
On another page, you can see the graphs and statistics regarding Mexican immigration as well as statistics for repatriated Mexicans (illegals that are returned to Mexico). You see them at the immigration offices at the border getting off buses and signing in. This number only shows those that are deported from the US. which is over 500,000 a year. What about all of those that have returned because of a slowing economy. They say it is over 11%. Statistics for 2007: http://www.inm.gob.mx/estadisticas/enedic07/sintesis.mht
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I needed to go through our trip pictures to find some sunshine. It has been raining for over a week and will continue to do so. I'm getting moldy! Hopefully these pics will shed some light on the sunnier side of Mexico. I think I'll fix a drink, it's five o'clock somewhere!
Barra Del Tordo, Tamps
My friend from Merida questioned the comment I made yesterday about not being able to participate in the march Iluminemos Mexico this weekend.
I stopped by the Immigration office this morning and they said there was no problem as indeed it is not politically motivated. However, do not take my word for it. Check first with your local immigration office.
So I'll be there on Saturday, I hope I get pictures.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The Mexican government and Pemex have raised the price of diesel to 6.48 pesos per liter. This is a 10 centavo increase. I am also finding that the border price is set at 6.21 pesos per liter but I haven't confirmed that yet.
Transport companies and bus lines are complaining about the increase although city bus routes continue to have price increases on a yearly basis depending on the rate of inflation. This could push to make it go up again but it will be a minuscule rate hike for consumers.
Here is a link: http://eleconomista.com.mx/negocios/2008/08/25/1544/aumentara-el-diesel-10-centavos-mas-el-litro-costara-648/
North of Tampico (Barra del Tordo & La Pesca)
Copper Canyon (Chihuahua)
It would be interesting if you would post your Winter destination in the comments section to give people an idea of where Mexico rvers are headed.
Monday, August 25, 2008
It has been raining all weekend and the forecast if more rain this week. I left the gym this morning heading to my morning classes and the rain just came down in sheets. Black clouds are hanging low over the city and flash flooding is occuring.
I had some trouble getting to the house. I past this creek about 5 miles north of the house. I found a way around it but I saw this guy coming through. The current was a bit strong.
So I started to get worried as there is a dry wash that crosses the road to my house. It was pretty high and I took the risk of crossing it.
So now I am at home preparing my classes for this afternoon. I dread heading back into Monterrey but the job has to get done. Now that I see out in front of the porch, I may need hip boots to get to the car. Last Thursday's Lunch With Andreina
I forgot to post the pic from last Thursday's lunch with my beautiful friend Andreina. She was here in town from D.F. for work and we were able to talk for about an hour. We met at the Fiesta Inn where she had stayed the night with the rest of her coworkers.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Then I grew up and well, the rest of the story is all down hill. I'll end up just like I started in the beginning. This shot was taken around 1987 when we went to AstroWorld in Houston. That was a fun trip. We rented a car and drove up to Houston and stayed in the Residence Inn.
I received a gift from my sister Dorothy. She is the oldest girl of my 10 brothers and sisters. I know I have mentioned her before but she is a real hoot. She's fun to be with, always looks after me and is a great cook. She makes wonderful snickerdoodles and Waldorf salad. We like to rv together, although it has been a couple of years. She likes to walk and we talk and laugh about all kinds of things. She's like my second mom. Anyway, I sure love her a lot and she sent me a homemade soy candle for my birthday. Thanks Sis! That's her, second on the right with the navy blue T-shirt.
Mexico has another gold medal winner! Maria del Rosario Espinoza won the second gold medal in Taekwondo. Congratulations to Maria, a woman wins a gold for Mexico. I am still looking for her picture so I can post it.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I added a new link for Mexican border Pemex stations that are supposed to be selling ULSD diesel fuel. If you have problems with the link, please let me know. I tested it twice and works for me.
This information was received from Pemex via email based on a request I sent the end of June. I hope this helps and that they really do have the desired fuel. There are over 100 stations that stretch across the border.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I've received some very good suggestions in the last couple of days about the name for the Durango SUV. This one, Charles Starrett, was a good one. Bob from Tlaxcala sent this to me. How many people remember him:
The Durango Kid
I'm still undecided and would like to see a few more suggestions.
La Mordida - Paying A Bribe
This has always been a bone of contention with me and I feel it is worth sharing. Bribing a transit official in Mexico has been common place since forever. However, over the last five years there has been a big push by the Mexican government; federal, state and local, to try and eliminate this illegal activity. There are many sides to the coin and I happen to have my own.
I have never paid a bribe. Well, that's not true. In 1986 I paid a transit official because I had Texas plates and I was stopped for not having a front plate on the car. He told me I had to pay him. I did. But that didn't last long. When I arrived at my friend's house he went through the roof. He took me down to transito and we asked to see the Comandante. He pulled out a large book filled with photos of all the transit officials and found the officials working in the area where I was stopped. I identified him, he was called into the office and had to return the money. Keep in mind that was 22 years ago.
I am here to tell you the truth. No one in a uniform can ask you for money. When you are dealing with a transit official, even less. There is nothing he can do to you but maybe intimidate you or threaten you with false possibilities. DONT PAY ANYONE ON THE STREET ANY MONEY. You have nothing to fear, there is nothing that the official can do to you. He can't take your vehicle for a moving violation unless you have had an accident and no one wants to claim responsibility. If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, have hit a pedestrian, of course they can impound your vehicle. It becomes evidence.
Apart from being illegal and immoral, it makes no sense to pay a bribe. There are many solutions and in most cases, when the officer realizes you are not going to pay him money, the idea of him leading you through town with a rig and down to the station where he will have to explain to his superiors why you are there, he will think twice and let you go.
The issue that is created by paying bribes is that it sends a message to the transit officials. "We are foreigners, we have money, and we are afraid of you". By paying, it just gets worse. More and more rvers will be stopped and asked for bribes especially in areas where rvs are known to pass.
What I would like to see this Winter, is to set a standard for rvers coming to Mexico. Get the word out that we will not pay bribes. We are willing to take the time out of our day to pay our obligation whether or not it is justified. Spread the word to rvers and to those officials that attempt to extort money from you.
- carry copies of all your documents, car title and license
- do not hand over your license to the official (show it and hand him a copy)
- be polite and friendly, do not get angry
- do not be afraid (there is nothing to fear. They can't hurt you in any way.)
- ask for his name, identification and his badge number (the passenger should start writing these things down)
- offer to follow him to the office to pay the fine
- DO NOT PAY HIM ANY MONEY
In fact, only a police officer can force you out of your car. A transit official does not have the jurisdiction.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Follow a few safety tips:
- smell, taste and spit
- use a filter system on your rv (cheap from Home Depot, you can buy them here too)
- Brita pitcher model for drinking and coffee brewing
- use your own hose
- add chlorine to the tank (one teaspoon for every ten gallons)
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Many years ago on our first trip to Maui, we had the great fortune of finding Astrud Gilberto. My brother had loaned us his condo and his music chest. There we found our first Astrud CD. In case you don't know who Astrud is, she is the "Girl From Ipanima". Buried down in the CD was this fantastic song, "Take Me To Aruanda". The lyrics described the place I always wanted to find. Well, I did find it here in the quinta, hence the name "Quinta Aruanda". The new quinta will become Aruanda II. Here are the lyrics and you'll understand my feelings about where I live.
There's a land, Aruanda
Diamond sand, Aruanda
Silver stars on the hilltop
Take me to Aruanda
Lots of fish in the stream near,
Lots of dangers to dream there,
Golden sun in the valley
Take me to Aruanda.
There where nobody worries,
There where nobody hurries,
Easy life waving your welcome,
Take me there.
Leave my sadness behind me,
Let sweet paradise find me,
Heaven waits over yonder,
Take me to Aruanda.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Someone suggested I use an online translater. Sorry, but they can't do the work of the human mind. It cannot digest culturally sensitive words or Mexican Spanish.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Don't forget to take the survey question in the upper right hand corner!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This morning I met with a friend, Robert, at Sanborn's. Sanborns's is famous for their Enchiladas Suisas. They are chicken enchiladas covered with a fresh green tomatillo sauce and Swiss cheese. No, I didn't order that. We each asked for a plain old omelet.
I met Robert at one of the companies I teach in. He was working in an institute at the time. I had promised myself that when I was nearing retirement I would find someone to carry on my work and to teach them the best way to make money as an English teacher here in Mexico. Most institutes charge companies lots of money for many years and offer bad service by hiring people who speak English, not teachers.
Well, I saw something special in Robert. He is from Panama but is also an American citizen. We began talking one day and he seemed interested as well as a good teacher. I asked around town about him and only got good reports. So now he works as a consultant and makes much more money than he ever thought he would. He recently married Brenda and they are starting a life together and I wish them the very best.
Today we got together to continue working on his business plan. He is young and has good ideas. I know he will do well. He recently got married to Brenda and I wish them the very best.
Sometimes you have to pass on your good fortune to others, it only seems right.
No News On The Durango
As of this evening, the price has dropped on the Durango an acceptable amount. As for the price to trage the Nissan X-Trail, we are at a standoff. So far, I'm not budging. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
If you are interested in my study guide tip sheet, send me an email. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Getting ready to leave in a few minutes for Laredo, TX. The mailboxes office in Laredo closes at 1 p.m. I checked yesterday with Federal Express and the MAF sensor had arrived.
It looks like a great day for driving so I will be taking pictures.
Back From Laredo
Turned out to be an interesting trip to the border. Beautiful scenery on the way up.
We stopped by Walmart and I saw an office for the "manifiesto". Manifiesto is a system where the state of Texas returns sales tax to Mexican nationals and Mexican residents, FM2. You pay a percentage of the total tax for the service. This 8.25% sales tax return can help offset any tax you pay going into Mexico for declared items.
And get this. Here we are at Walmart picking up vitamins and I hear some calling me. I turned around and it was a friend, Walter, from Mexico City. Walter works for the U.S. Embassy and also for a publisher. I hadn't seen him for a while because he was working in Ecuador. He is now back in D.F. and came to pick up his U.S. car to do the temporary permit. I told him to use the Columbia Bridge for faster and more corteous service. Then we ran into a couple from Monterrey. Of all places to meet. Small world.
Heading home I took a photo that may help to clear up any confusion. As you come to the Mexican checkpoint, KM 26, there is a split in the road. The signage can be confusing as it is in Spanish. Well, unless you are an over the road driver and have an 18 wheeler, stick to your left.
My Friend Geoff Sends Me Information
Geoff, of Geoff and Sandy, sent a comment listed below the blog for today. He says the Durango with the 5.7 Hemi should be good to go for up to 8900lbs. That's what I thought and he is doing some checking. Thanks Geoff.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I Smell A Rat
The last two days I have come home and smelled a faint odor. Not strong but it was for sure some kind of funk. So this morning I went through the refrigerator, cabinets and checked the trash can in the kitchen. Couldn't find a thing.
This afternoon after my doctor's appointment I came home and it was a bit stronger. So I started looking under all the furniture with a flashlight. To my surprise my housekeeping skills are quite good. Spic and span, but that's beside the point. I went over to the living room with my good sniffer and it was getting stronger. I looked behind the bookcases, I moved some things and nothing. What else could it be???????
I moved the sofa and lo and behold, there was the evidence. A big mouse in a not-so-good state of decomposition. Gross. Now it all comes back to me. Last week I caught the cats playing with a baby mouse. I took it outside and got rid of it. Then came another toy and I took that away from them. Little Bit has a habit of opening the patio sliding door. I close it at night before going to bed but last week I forgot. Mama must have come in and gave birth and the cats got the babies and momma died under the sofa.
The house is now decontaminated and smelling like "home sweet home"!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Beth has a blog and she makes pies. http://www.theworldneedsmorepie.blogspot.com/ Check it out.
So the plan is to get together sometime soon probably in Saltillo. I told her though how much I just luuuvvvvv apple pie with lots of cinnamon. I was hinting at anything though.
She sent me this photo of their trip to Potrero Chico this last weekend. Her husband road his bike and she went running. They enjoyed their trip out there.
It was a great afternoon. Thanks Beth.
I love it when people stop by for a visit and I am always willing to help newcomers or rvers when they come this way.