Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Made it to Hermosillo late last night. Got to the hotel around 10 pm.
The weather here is nice, hot during the day and cool at night. Great for walking. Today is a free day and we had a short meeting with people from the education department for the state of Sonora. Setting up plans for the convention the next two day. I will be flying home on Saturday morning. My attempt at getting to Kino failed, there is always a change of plans. For that reason I am very flexible.

Here are some shots that were taken at the convention in Ciudad Obregon. I had a great time and so did the teachers. This program is promote English in public primaries. So far the plan is going well and all the teachers are getting certification in English as teachers. They have various backgrounds but have degrees in other subjects. Their English, in terms of spoken language is great.
Opening Ceremony in Obregon
Teachers taking a practice TKT (Teacher Knowledge Test). The actual test will be administered by Cambridge University Testing Center. They will come to Mexico (they have an office in D.F., and will officially test the teachers to see if they will stay in the program). This is serious stuff.

That's why I always say to rvers, look for a bilingual school or a public primary. You will find someone to help you if you are having trouble doing something in Spanish or need help getting out of a situation, car trouble, fines, etc. or even a great tour guide.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hermosillo to Obregon

Finally I have a few minutes to write a few lines and download some photos. I left Monterrey on Sunday from my house by bus into town. The airport taxi charges 500 pesos from my house to the airport. Even though the company pays the tab, for me it is highway robbery. So I got on the bus and took the 25 minute ride into town and got off at Walmart.

Once there I took a taxi for 200 pesos. As a side note, I am a very careless person sometimes and have a tendency to lose things. Saturday when I went to the CostCo I lost my Banorte debit card. So I asked the taxi to drop by on the way. Sure enough, someone found it in the parking lot and turned it in. There are lots of good people on this Earth, a small percentage are rateros.

Arriving at the airport I checked in. The flight was AeroMexico from MTY to Hermosillo. The jet is a AeroConnect Embraer 145. Very smooth flight, I read Sunday's paper which was a real pleasure. The headline article in the real estate section was about the real estate boom in the area where I live and that everyone wants in and are willing to pay whatever. I hope my real estate agent is reading this.

The pics below show the mountain ranges and the interesting shapes that Mother Nature has created. Man, if they still made the heliocopter rv, remember that, I could get up in there and have a boondocking trip to remember.

Arriving into Hermosillo, my two co-workers Adrianna and Monica had rented a car and were waiting for me. We hit the road right away and it was smooth sailing. We took the route via Guaymas. Passing the exit to the Guaymas airport is a huge palapa that I recommend you stop at to eat. The food was great. I had my usual shrimp cocktail.

We passed this rv after the cutoff to Bahia de Kino. It is a Monaco Dynasty pulling a minivan. Do we know you? I hope to go there tonight as tomorrow is a free day all expenses paid.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

¿Crisis? What Crisis?

This afternoon I dragged myself out of the house to go to Walmart. I will be working in Sonora this week and will be flying out tomorrow. I have a plenary session on Monday morning about the "KEYS TO SUCCESS IN TEACHING", and I want to plant the keys under seats in the ballroom so that I can get people to participate. I was thinking about using those colored plastic keys kids used to teeth (v) on but I guess they are out of fashion. So while I was there I was surprised by the number of people buying Christmas presents, artificial trees with lights, luxury items, and the list goes on.
I ended up going to two Walmarts all within a mile of each other. Thanks to zoned-marketing, one has high-end items that attract a certain clientele, and the other everyday food products and different brands of products, clothes and foods. They were shopping as if there was no tomorrow. No panic here, at least in Monterrey. Casas de Cambio have no lines and the banks don't even bother to change their signs but once a day.
I bought dollars yesterday to transfer to San Antonio for a variety of reasons and the teller at the bank said there seemed to be no rush buying.
After that I went over to the CostCo to pick up a pizza. Tomorrow is my free-day for food and I'll be intransit most of the day so today was a good day. Same thing. After I ordered, I browsed around the store and took a look at what was in people's carts. This is in a higher end of town and there is no panic here! Three people in line in front of me, 5200 pesos, 2900 pesos, and 11,000 pesos. The parking lot was full. We have five Walmarts, two CostCos and two City Clubs. Just think of the exchange of money not to mention the four shopping malls, centros comerciales and the whole downtown area.
Wednesday this week is a free day and I may be able to escape over to Bahia Kino and visit some friends. Let's see what happens.
I will be posting my trip tomorrow, sorry, but no rving for right now. I will be traveling for work though. People wanting to rv in Mexico can also drop their rigs and fly places especially with all the new discount airlines we have. Please don't worry about maintenance issues. Mexico maintains the same standards as the FAA, most of our carriers fly to the U.S.
So you will be able to see some of the airports, processes, ways to move around as well as hotels.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Searching For Boondocking Sites On This Blog

I have had many people write that they couldn't find boondocking sites on this blog. Well, I didn't win the "best blogger of the year award" and I am not the swiftest computer person. What I can do is list most of the places that are on this blog. Check by major city, specific location or state. There is a search box located at the top for this blog.


Barra del Tordo
La Pesca
Ciudad Victoria
Viejo Padilla
Nuevo Leon
El Carmen
Congregacion Cantu
San Luis Potosi
Ciudad Valles
Ciudad Mante
Gomez Palacio
La Encarnación
Costa Esmeralda
Emerald Coast
Las Casitas
San Rafael

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mextesol Part 3
I haven't posted as Sunday was a travel day and I came back with a sinus condition. The plane ride helped quite a bit to open my head back up so I would say I am on the road to recovery. I'm posting the rest of the Mextesol convention and then back to Monterrey and life in Mexico. Being a teacher and a member of the organization I feel obligated to spread the word to other teachers who may see my blog.

Express Publishing Consultant giving an excellent book presentation.

Salepeople taking a break while teachers are attending workshops. Past and current presidents; Octavio Espinoza, Maria Isabel Arechandieta, Luis Gerardo Ramirez Friday night was the big Fiesta held at the convention center in Leon, Guanajuato. Food was served along with live music, beer, and a mechanical bull.

Sunday brought the closing of the convention and our farewells to all our old and new found friends. We exchanged business cards, emails and phone numbers with the promise to see each other at the next year's convention. We have decided to have a private party here on the ranch, by invitation only, and will be renting a bus to bring guests to the house and take them back safely.

The last talk I attended was with Connie Johnson and Louisa Greathouse on "Guidance on Writing Conference Abstracts". Next year I will be presenting and want to make sure my abstract isn't rejected.

One of the many buses that would be returning convention goers to their home destinations. Over 800 people came by bus and many universities and chapters chartered their own buses. Some came as far away as a 20 bus ride.
Teachers having their last breakfast before boarding buses or heading to the airport at the Hotel Real de Minas Express which is across the street from the convention center. We opted to have breakfast at VIPs with our friend Andreina. She works for MacMillan on their editorial staff. She's a great friend from Venezuela who lives in D.F. I think she's going to stay for quite some time here in Mexico.
A shot of the U.S. Embassy staff at their booth along with Debra, myself, Ruth Ban, Pia White, and Juan Manuel.
There are tons more photos if any Mextesol member would like them. Just drop me an email. It was a good time had by all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MEXTESOL Leon Guanjuato 2008 Part 2

The events continue throughout the four-day convention. Around 2000 teachers are here. Site selections have been made for the next two years. Monterrey 2009 will be a big event with estimates of 3500 teachers. Cancun 2010 will be a real hit with everyone but I would expect attendance to be much lower because of airfares and hotels.

We had a great dinner at El Bracerio restaurant on Thursday night. Live music with a trio. Several people from Comexus were with us and it turned out to be a fun evening. We didn't close the place but stayed until around 10:30. The food is excellent, great cuts of meat and best of all is the tableside service for salsa making. You choose the chiles and other ingredients. Fantastic.

A great trio played during dinner.

You can tell the juice was flowing that night. Left to right, me, Arcely, Jose Manuel, Juan Manuel, and Debra (U.S. Embassy staff)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leon, Guanajuato Day 2

In front of the convention center is a cross walk that shows the great strides Mexican cities are taking. The cross walk has a flashing light with seconds counting down the time left to cross along with a chirper for the blind to let them know it is safe to cross and when to stop. Leon is a nice city, clean streets and friendly people.

Last night friends came over from the convention to watch the debate. This morning we got to see who "Joe The Plumber" is. We drank wine and chatted throughout the debate and each of us gave our 2 cents.
I'm hoping to find an rv park so that I can do a review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leon - Centro de Convenciones and Lunch

Came back from the convention center to say hello to the staff and see how things are going. The plenary room is set up and here is a shot, it's empty now but tomorrow it will fill up with more than 3000 teachers.
Afterwards we went to lunch across the street. Higado Encebollado, liver and onions. Now that was something I haven't eaten in a month of Sundays. My SO ordered up a dish of carne en jugo.We walked across the street to the Hotel Real de Mina to see if our friends from the Comexus group had arrived. They hadn't but called to say they were on their way from Guanajuato. Tonight we are setting up in our room for the debate on TV. Here is a famous set of twins in the lobby along with an explanation.

Then we went to the supermarket to get supplies for tonight. Amazingly (well not really), prices are about 25% less here than in Monterrey.

Leon Guanajuato -- La Llegada

Arrived to Leon this morning around 7:45. Less than an hour. We took VivaAerobus. The name says it, "bus". Nice aircraft but Mexico has joined the ranks of cut-throat airfares. Everything has a price, albiet very cheap. Bags, bording pass, coffee, ground transportation, on board food, they charge you. The ticket round trip from Monterrey to Leon (El Bahio) was 1250 pesos with tax, around 99 dollars. I won't complain. The aircraft was nice and we saw some teachers we know that were coming to the convention.

Upon arrival it was a bit foggy and chilly. Good thing I brought a jacket.VivaAerobus offers ground transport via autobus for 50 pesos versus 220 pesos for a taxi. The bus ride is 20 minutes and is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, and movies.

Got to the bus station and walked to the hotel. Checked in to the room and asked for extra pillows, iron and ironing board, ice, ceramic coffee cups and more hangers. The hotel is across the street from the convention center.

Our hotel concierge brought up our requests and then we headed out for a bite.
You have to get situated by finding out where you can strategically eat while on the run at a convention. Very little time between seminars, book exhibitions, coffees, and chit-chat. Never work on an empty stomach. I told the cardiologist that I would take it easy on the trip. This is what we came across less than two blocks from the house. Looks good!
Cardiologist's Report

Blood test results: Color Red

Stress Test: I do have a heart!

Blood Pressure Monitor: something moves through my veins.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family Medical History

This morning I got up bright and early after being startled every hour by the monitor squeezing the daylights out of my arm. After that, the other monitor would start beeping for a minute and then things would quiet down.

Gave myself a sponge bath and washed my hair in the kitchen sink. I still don't feel clean. Went to the laboratory which is just at the first exit as you enter Monterrey from the South. Moriera Labs is a big network here in the North. I had a complete workup with additional tests for cholesterol, lipids, and liver. I don't know what these tests run in other countries but this was $130 dollars at the 12 peso exchange rate. Nurse LaFarge came into take the blood out. The face of a bulldog with no smile. I can tell her attitude is, "as long as there are sick people in the world, I'll be okay". I got her warmed up a bit when I asked her what color my blood was. She said very red and healthy looking, I told her I was hoping it was blue blood. By the time I left she was smiling. Good thing I'm not much of a talker!

They gave me an invoice that is deductible from my taxes as well as applicable to my high insurance deductible. I pick up my results via internet at 2:30 after my afternoon classes and head over to the cardiologist for the stress test.

There are 10 kids in my family, three have already had bypass. I think I'll ask my doctor to just remove the heart, it's cold as heck anyway, and then I'll be done with it. Maybe a 12 V water pump would work then I could be confined to my RV! Yippieeeee!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mexican Stock Market - The Peso

Forgot to add, the Mexican Bolsa closed 11% up today and the peso fell to 12.35. There were two attempted dollar auctions but nobody bought. So things are going well. We still have a reserve of over 80 billion dollars in cash. Good new! Looks like the rest of the markets are recovering, let's hope it lasts.

Monitoring My Vitals

Sorry, no pictures of this one. I just got hooked up about an hour ago. I am wearing electrodes across my chest with lost of cables and very tight net type T-shirt for the heart along with a blood pressure cuff that isn't going to let me sleep tonight. Right now it is timed for every 15 minutes and then later it will go to 40 minutes and then every hour until tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m.
I have a chart to fill out about all my activities; eating, taking vitamins, medications, alcohol, etc. So now I am having a glass of red wine before I start my fast. I have my blood tests tomorrow around 9 a.m. So I still have time to eat something light.
Also, tomorrow afternoon I go back to take off the monitors and they give me a stress test. The thing I don't like is that I can't shower. So I will have a sponge bath. Not a good camper here, I like to clean up everyday. You get very creative when boondocking.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Laguna de Tamiahua - Christmas Trip

I've been looking at my maps of Veracruz and doing some on line research. I have also talked to a couple of people about Veracruz and getting their take on places to visit. I traveled there extensively in 2006 for work purposes, Xalapa, Cordoba, Mendez, Veracruz, Coatzacualcos, Orizaba and Fortin along with one of our Christmas trips to Costa Esmeralda.

I think I have found the place, Lagua de Tamiahua. This laguna is South of Tamaulipas and it extends for quite aways. The town of Tamiahua is just North of Tuxpam. As I said the other day, I could see many "good" roads leading off the main trail to the ocean. I want to explore those too. Tamiahua is said to be the home of Mexican Seafood Cuisine so this is right up my alley.

Here are some pics I took off the web.

This week is going to be an interesting one. I start two days of tests for my recent high blood pressure event that still has me pretty scared. I can feel something going on in my body like anxiety but can define what the cause is. Tomorrow i have blood tests and will be fitted with a cuff monitor for 24 hours. Then on Tuesday I go for the stress test.

On the fun side, Wednesday I fly to Leon, Guanajuato for the MEXTESOL national English teachers national convention. That's right, 3000 teachers from all over Mexico. Guests will also attend from all the Americas, Australia and England. It starts with a cocktail party followed by four days of workshops, seminars and the largest text book exhibit in Mexico, Central and South America. I will be reporting on that during the week. A lot of nose rubbing if you know what I mean. Here are some pics from 2006
National Committee


Editorial Staff Grupo MacMillan de Mexico

Yours Truly giving a book presentation.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Los Cavazos - Looking For The Hule Man

This morning I got up early as a guy from the bank came to get an appraisal on the house. I decided to take advantage of my time and head down to Allende in hopes of finding someone who sells rubber moldings and gaskets. I want to replace the ones on the slide outs on the rv in Allende. Passing through El Cercado I thought I could ask a couple of places if they could recommend someone. Lo and behold the Hule Man was sitting there on the corner with his truck displaying all his rubber. He is going to meet me in Allende at 3 pm.

On my way back to the house I decided to stroll down Los Cavazos even though it is still early. I always ask permission to take a picture. I never want to offend anyone. One woman got mad at me and said, "para nada. ¿que vas a hacer con la foto?" I told her I would put it in my blog and she answered, "peor". When I asked her why she said people would steal her ideas. She sells paintings, but they aren't hers. They are factory paintings. We ended up talking for a bit but I came home right away and washed my hands. I shook hers and I think she has bad energy. But here are some that I took and I recommend you guys stop by and do some shopping on your way South.

Some merchants I know told me the "crisis" has already hit. But once I asked them based on what, or fact, they couldn't answer. Oh the humanity! Pyschology at its best. They haven't opened shop since last weekend so nobody knew anything. The place will be packed this afternoon.