Monday, May 25, 2009


What a short but fantastic visit to Aguascalientes. I gave an opening speech to teachers at the Panamericana University on Saturday. I arrived on Friday around noon. I flew into Leon, Guanajuato and took an autobus over to Aguascalientes. The bus ride was about one and a half hours and the ride was incredible. The highway is high tech, very smooth and only two toll booth stops. I watched part of "The Notebook" with Gena Rowlands. The bus ride was so quiet I fell asleep. I have started this movie several times but have never seen the whole thing. I love Gena Rowlands, I don't think she gets the recognition she deserves though.

Here are two shots of the university campus. Very nice place. It is on the outskirts of town and there are lots of new middle and upper middle class neighborhoods going up around it. I was surprised to see prices starting at 8000 pesos a month, not heard of here in Monterrey. Try 25,000 pesos for starters for the same homes.

I had time on Saturday to go for a walk around the plaza and take some photos. Aguascalientes is a very clean city. It is well-known for its extremely lower corruption rates, so much so Nissan relocated to Aguascalientes from the North of Mexico. Other companies have started their factories here as the government officials have open arms and enjoy the employment they bring with them.

In the plaza here at the cathedral, you can see the horse carriage waiting for a newly married couple. I hung around for a while but they took too long coming out of the church.

This is also where the presidencia municipal is located. As you can see, the interior is beautiful.

There are many murals on the interior walls with the history of Mexico.

City law requires all office buildings to separate their rubbish into plastic, metal, etc.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rolling Homes Comes to Town

What a surprise to receive a call from Mike and Terri Church. They were passing through Monterrey checking out rv parks. They were spending the night at the Imperial Hotel in Saltillo and drove down for the day for lunch and a quick look at Bahia Escondia ( ).

We met at the main plaza in Santiago, N.L. at Las Palomas restaurant, a well-known landmark restaurant and hotel. We spent all afternoon talking about rving in Mexico, roads, rules, experiences and Mexican law.

Mike and Terri are great people and they write the most famous book on rving or camping in Mexico "Travelers Guide To Mexican Camping". They have a website . They are a treasure trove of information and we learned quite a bit about the rv market in Mexico. We don't spend much time in rv parks so Mike and Terri gave us a very enlightening talk about how good many Mexican rv parks really are and the improvements that are taking place and what to expect in the near future.

We also expressed our desire to develop an rv park here in the area and the reasons why we felt, as a business, it just wasn't feasible.

Lots of chuckles, story-telling and personal experiences here on the road. It was good time had by all and I hope we meet up again, but the next time on the open road.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Teacher's Day!

Today is Teacher's Day here in Mexico. Public schools are closed along with some private. Many private schools decided not to close in a way to recover the missed days from the influenza scare. BTW, Mexican schools will run through July 14th as way to do that.

This morning I was invited to the education department's celebration for retired Mexican primary teachers. Wow, it was a great event and there were three groups; 30, 40 and 50 year retirees. Imagine teaching little ones for 50 years or more.

The event started out with a speech from the Secretary of Education followed by a our state governor, Jose Natividad Gonzalez, who has really done an excellent job the last three years here in Nuevo Leon.

There was a video dedicated to teachers. It was filmed in various classrooms around the state. Two primary students presented the heads of the table gifts and a short speech about how they value their teachers.

We also had a wonderful breakfast. As you can see in the picture we had pan dulce and machacado con huevo served with beans and a delicious tamal veracruzano.

I saw many people I knew or have worked with over the years.

What I learned from today is that we really need to value our education system. It isn't broken but it may be damaged a bit. It can recover if we focus on what is important. At the recent meeting of Latin American countries, we were reminded by the president of Trinidad and Tobago that Latim America was once a strong power house and has lost a lot economically and politically over the last 50 years. The cause; education. We need to ensure our youth continue their education and realize the value of it. Education isn't just about more money, it is a tool that helps to well-round a person, connect them with nature and give them a perspective of where we are and where we need to go.
On another point, I am reaching a major decision in my life. I believe I am ready to become a Mexican citizen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hate Mail And Other Things

From time to time I receive hate mail. Most cases it comes from people on the They get p.o.'ed by some of my posts and send me a private message telling me what an awful American I am and that I should give up my citizenship. I could almost write them myself as I have received so many over the years.
I am surprised people are so hateful. You would think I was a traitor or something worse. Who would ever thought that an American living in Mexico could stir such emotions in people. I know sometimes I say things that are controversial but hey, I was raised to be open and honest. I think I tell it like it is.
The rains are coming this week and we really need them. I drove by the lake the other day and for the first time I saw a small sandbar sticking up out in the middle of the lake. Water levels have really dropped. Well water doesn't do much either for keeping the grass green. A small rain and everything is green the next day.
We are still looking on taking off for a couple of days but just haven't had the time to decide where and when to go.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Time To Go Rving

It's time to hit the road and go somewhere for a couple of days. Alls well here on the ranch and everything is under control.

Hmmm. Now where to go. We are talking about the beach. Sure, it will be hot during the day, but with the generator and the air conditioning during the day, it beats staying at home in my bedroom to escape the heat.

You can only be in the pool so long and then you start to get all pruned up. I get restless if I am in one place to long.

I assume we will go to Barra Del Tordo, if not maybe South Padre Island. No one will be around as it is back to school.

Decisions decisions.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Check On The Land

We got up early this morning and decided to head out for some tacos and a quick tour of some property. Under the bridge in El Cercado you can find Tacos Mundo. Some of the best jalepeƱo de queso tacos around. I had two of those, two desebrada and one picadillo. Delicious!

Down the highway we went, the Hwy 85 has been widened and repaved all the way from Monterrey to Allende. As we arrived to Allende and got to our place in Los Corceles, we realized that it was already 90 degrees, and we're talking 10:30 in the morning. Wow it is really hot here.
The place in Allende is in good shape, I forgot to take a picture of the skirting that was done last month. The grass was cut and in good shape and we did a walk around talking about how we are going to accomodate the land.

After that, we headed down to our club, Monte Sur, just south of Montemorelos. Man has it gone through some major changes. We all pay dues based on the number of lots we own and maintenance, remodeling and updates are done based on the monies available. It is so nice now we are thinking about selling Allende and moving to the club. We owe nothing on it, and the monthly fees are 25 dollars plus electric and water and entitles us to the club facilities year round. There are only 10 couples living there full time so winter would make it our place. Out of the 4000 lots, only 25 have a permanent structure on it. So most people use it during Semana Santa and summertime for camping and swimming. The nice feature is that the club facilities and the 100 palapas and grills are 1.5 kms from our piece of land, no noise, no trouble, just peace and quiet.

Here are the remodeled bathrooms with a steam room in both the men's and women's bathrooms:

On the way home, we saw another good example of Northern palapa building. This was is with premolded columns, steel or wood trusses and the galvanized tile roof panels.

So it appears that maybe the plan will change. Hey, with us you never know.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Swimming Pools, RVs and Heat!

I guess it's true when they say all things get better with time. I have just had so much going on at one time and it seems like it is one thing after another. I try not to let it get to me but it does. So the pool was filled, when the worker attempted to turn on the filter nothing happened. The motor ran and water never moved. Now what! I was really pulling out my hair. Then I remembered something. Oh sh--! How stupid can I be? Should I answer that? Oh, you guys know me so you know I'm not the smartest bird on the planet. When I first had the pool tested, the knitwit architect said he had to cut the return line. He also said he would repair it once they had opened up the deck. That was four months ago. Now I remember! We started digging, not much, about 2 feet and there was the open return pipe. All good so far, an easy fix. So the line is repaired and I was being told it just won't work. I went out there, using my under the breath vocabulary, and it started right up. Wow! I actually did it. The return pipe is not quite right though but a little tightening and adjusting and it will all be back to normal. At least I know that everything is working.
Now on to rvs. I have seen more posts the last two months about the rv industry. Why it is doomed, why it won't get better and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Some real truth to all of this. As I asked in one thread, Where are all the great U.S. engineers and designers? We all know that the only thing that has changed in the last 20 years of rving is that rvs have gotten bigger and heavier with up to six slideouts now. Bigger. Oh, I already said that. You can't push a 22,000 lb box down the road at 70 mph and expect miracles.
Where are the innovations folks. I know that there might be some limitations but come on now. Hi-Lo, Trailmanor, Chalet and Aliner make some frail attempts at low profile rving but they don't have any reason to change. They are a niche market and their products are price prohibitive. A new Trailmanor 3326 lists for over $35,000. We had one, used of course. It had a lot of good things going for it, but it also had some downsides that everyone would talk about on the TM forum. Finally, TM took notice of the owner's forum and took many of the suggestions and ran with them. I really find it hard to believe that no other TT manufacturer cannot come up with a better design over the Hi-Lo. The darn thing even has a slideout. But they're noisy, expensive and their curtain bathroom walls really need a makeover.
What are the rv manufacturers thinking??????????????????????????????????
So now it's on to the heat. It's hot. What else can I say. This week 100 to 104, no rain, no clouds. This is May. What's going to happen in August. So my thing for the future is not to be here in the summer. Winters here are amazingly mild and really beautiful weather. Why even our early spring where the trees come back in February. But by the end of April it is time to haul ass out of here until October.
Hey, it turned out to be a great day if these are the most of my worries. Sorry no pics today. I need to carry the camera around with me, I don't like leaving it in the car while I am running errands.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Finished The Day Victorious!

What a day. It started out pretty stinky and has ended pretty darn good! I got up early today and headed to the gym. I had a feeling it would still be closed but I prepared myself to go running in the park that runs the length of Las Torres Ave. Sure enough the gym was closed so I left my car at the OXXO and took off.

I started thinking about all the things on my "to do list" (pendientes) and I felt overwhelmed. I was determined to get that pool cleaned and filled if it killed me. I got home, showered and headed to my neighbor's house to see if their caretaker was going to help me out. I had mentioned it to him several times during the weekend. He had taken off for Allende to help someone else. Fine.

That's when it hit me. I had stopped using bad language after I came back from McAllen. I was told in McAllen by "you know who" that I have a filthy mouth, I could even out beat a sailor. Well, it's true but when you are small you mouth becomes mighty. I learned that early on. Under by breath I used all the dirty words I know is Spanish that started with "P", "C", and "J". I got in the car, I went into town and bought 4 meters of hose, four gallons of acid, and a push broom type brush.

I got in the pool and I started. And I didn't stop until it was done. I turned on the water, I added the chlorine and let the water rip.

After a short cold shower, I drove over to the guy in El Faisan to have the lawnmower fixed. I had stopped by coming back from the gym but I was told he didn't open until 11 a.m. No wonder the bum charges so much so he can make up for working a short day. Well, he was there reading the newspaper and I asked him how long it would take. "Oh, about a week more or less". I grabbed the mower and headed for the car and told him that just wouldn't do. Again, under my breath, I used all the nasty and foul words I could think of starting with "P", "C", and "J" in Spanish and then my usual litany of words in English and I don't need to tell you what those are. All of a sudden he came running after me and said, "uh, I can have it tomorrow if you'd like". Oh, so now we are using "usted" a sign of respect. "That's better". "I'll be back the same time tomorrow".

As I returned home with my porta-envases (the little CocaCola carrier for six soda bottles) in the car I stopped by the Super 7 to get four cold beers and some diet coke (great combo, right!).

The first thing I heard out of the clerk's mouth was, "we don't have any Carta Blanca in medias (regular size bottle)". Well, you know what started going this old gringo's head and I don't need to repeat it. I said, "you mean to tell me that you don't have any Carta Blanca after I drove all the way here for just four cold beers?". "You'd better check in back". And they did. And they produced for ice cold Carta Blancas that I put in my little red porta-envases.

I went home, fixed a great lunch of chicken chorizo with eggs and beans and drank down one very cold Carta Blanca.

I have decided to continue using my usual repertoire of colorful language as it helps me get through the ------- day! (mostly under by breath).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is SiteMeter Not Working?

My site meter shows no one has seen the blog in over two days? Is this true? Send me an email if you are viewing the blog. Thanks!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pool Leak Found

We haven't used the pool all winter because there was a leak. The water level would drop two to three inches a day. We waited until winter, emptied the pool and then watched our electric bill drop to almost nothing. One reason was because we finally passed six months with less than 400 kwhs per month. So our rate now is next to nothing. Gotta watch the air conditioning now.

Turns out that the leak was caused by tree roots. The previous owner had planted huge trees all around the pool. Since then, we have removed all but two shade trees and replaced the rest with palms. Lesson learned for the next house we build if we ever want a pool. Never say never.

You can see in the picture how the roots literally broke the joint apart.

These guys are brothers and work for the water department. They have taken their on the job training and experience and are slowly forming a business finding water leaks and repairing them. I am very impressed with their work so far. Considering today is Labor Day in Mexico, when most people stay home and do nothing, these guys are hard at work in the 95 degree heat. Good thing is we have heavy cloud cover and a soft breeze which helps a lot. Once in awhile, I get lucky and find someone who can help me fix something and do it well.

This is good news, I want to have the pool ready for SOs homecoming on Thursday. I can start cleaning the pool a.s.a.p. and not get in these guys way.

Oh, and take a look at this. This little fella was living in the drain for quite sometime. He came out with the vibration from breaking the cement. No wonder Missy the kitty has been hanging out around the pool. For weeks now I couldn't figure out what the attraction was. Did you ever have this problem with your kids?