Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Mexican Food In Kansas City

We have spent the last few days with family mourning the loss of our niece. It was difficult but we all pulled together and poured over our memories of Laura. My brother, Laura's father, gave a beautiful, true yet funny eulogy at her funeral as well as her burial. We had a nice dinner in a private dining room on the Plaza at a place called McCormick's. Yesterday again we gathered for lunch at M&S. Food seems to be the center of most events and this wasn't any different.

Most everyone has returned back home but we decided to stay for a couple of days and visit with my brother and sister-in-law. Today we went out looking for some good Mexican food and ran across this little jewel on 16th and Summit not far from downtown. There are actually quite a few Hispanic areas in K.C. but this place was just like home.

This afternoon we are taking my brother to the art fair which is going on down here on the Plaza. I hope to take some pictures to share.

We head home tomorrow for McAllen and then drive to Monterrey. It has been another journey home and I am sure now that we are all getting older it will become a familiar trip. We are hoping to get some family trips in over the next year so that will mean that rving in the U.S. will be part of the plan.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Trek To Kansas City September 2009

We left Monterrey yesterday at 3 p.m. Just as I picked up Juan the heaviest downpour in years took us by surprise. It took us an hour to get out of town and as we followed the highway along the river Santa Catarina, you could see the waters rising. Brought back memories of Hurricane Gilberto back in 1988. Chilling.

We had pretty good weather the rest of the way to the border. Got to Reynosa and got in line at the bridge. Took about 15 minutes. Juan needed a permit. That was fast and they didn't check our bags or the car.

So here we are in McAllen. We had a cocktail last night and went to bed early. Too many cable channels! We got up early this morning had coffee and off we go to the airport. It really hasn't hit me yet that we are saying goodbye to my niece. A real tragedy and I can't wait to see my brother. All my brothers, sisters, in-laws and nieces and nephews will be there. I guess as you get older this becomes a part of your life.

I will be updating with pictures our trip today. We fly to Dallas at 11:20 and then on to Kansas City. We have a rental car waiting and we will stay on the Country Club Plaza.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mexican Building Codes - Nuevo Leon

Disclaimer: This blog was never intended as a feel good forum. My goal is to develop and encourage tourism in Mexico, goodwill as well as fellowship. Based on a current post on Rv.Net regarding the temporary closing and takeover of a Michoacan rv park, I have been informed the thread has gone political and my information about land and home purchases in Mexico is bogus.

Well, I have to disagree with some of the posters. First off, I feel extremely sad about the rv park being taken over by a group of indigenous people. Supposedly the land dispute was settled in 1964 but now the group has taken up arms again in hopes to regain their land. What happens in most of these cases is that someone realizes that the land that they forfeited at one time has now gained value and or popularity and they attempt to reclaim it. In the case of La Placita, I believe that the indigenous group took physical action before legal action could settle the dispute. This probably wouldnt happen in the U.S., I cant say as I am not an expert in this area.

One thing for certain, is that Mexico does have a comprehensive set of laws that govern and regulate the use of land, construction, building codes and the like. Below is a list that is required homework for any home builder intent on establishing a residential neighborhood. The law is by no means in favor of the builder. The problem lies in the home buyer who, in many cases, does not have the education to know their rights and thus scrupulous land developers at times take advangtage of the common public.

Here is the list and I will attempt to translate it the best I can:

Para desarrollar un terreno mediante un proyecto de vivienda se requiere entre otras cosas lo siguiente:
To develop a land/home development you are required among other things the following:
1- Obtener la licencia de uso de suelo por parte del municipio, los usos de suelo pueden ser habitacionales, comerciales, de servicio etc.
Obtain a land use permit from the city, land use can be residential, commercial, services, etc.
2- Obtener las factibilidades de servicios como agua, drenaje, energía eléctrica, etc. estas factibilidades te las dan las compañías prestadoras de los servicios y en ellas te confirman que si te pueden abastecer del servicio y te marcan las obras a realizar, como tanques, tuberías, estaciones de bombeo. Etc.
Obtain accountability of utilities such as, water, sewage, power, etc. this accountability is to be provided by the utilities to confirm their ability to provide said service and to approve the services needed such as water tanks, water lines, pumping stations, etc.
3- Diseñar tu proyecto urbano el cual debe cumplir con una serie de requisitos como:
Design a residential project that should comply with a set of prerequisites:
a. Áreas de donación para parques (17% del área vendible)
Areas set aside for public use; parks, sidewalks, (17 percent)
b. Ancho mínimo de calles
Minimum street width
c. Frente mínimo de lotes
Minimum lot width
d. Pendientes máximas en calles y lotes
Maximum incline in both streets and lots
e. Radios de retornos
Return radius
f. Largo de manzanas
Block size
4- Obtener la autorización de PROYECTO URBANISTICO, este es el plano autorizado del proyecto urbano.
Obtain authorization from Urban Projects, this is the plan authorized for the residential neighborhood
5- Obtener la autorización de PROYECTO EJECUTIVO, aquí se autorizan todas las ingenierías de las redes de servicios
Obtain authorization for the engineering designs for all the utility networks, water, power, sewege, etc.
6- Obtener la autorización de VENTAS en esto se garantiza la ejecución de las obras garantizando con fianza y este plano se inscribe en el rgistro publico de la propiedad.
Obtain authorization for the sale of homes that have been guaranteed with financial backing, and the is registered with the city.
7- Obtener la constancia de TERMINACION de obras y entrega de parques, alumbrado publico y parques al municipio.
Obtain a letter which provides proof that the project has been completed and compies with the requirements of green areas based on population, street lighting and city parks. This section also includes setting aside space for primary and secondary schools.

I dont feel the need to defend anyone or anything. At the same time, I dont appreciate people saying things that may or may not be true about the place in which I have chosen to call home. As proud as others are of their country, I too am proud of where I live. We have laws, rules, and whether or not people follow them, they do exist and knowing what they are and your rights are of great importance. If someone or people in general choose to not follow the rules that is their problem.

I have lived here, worked here, traveled here, earned a decent wage, built my life, paid my taxes, followed the law to a "T" and have yet to encounter any problems. I cant speak for the rest but this is how I feel. Unless your country is free of problems or trouble, please dont knock mine.

As I stated in my post on the Rv.Net, a list of reasons why you would not want to come to Mexico other than suck on shrimp and drink beer it might be wise to just stay home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Change Is In The Air!

Wow, you can really tell that Fall is on its way! The rains came for a couple of weeks and it appears we will have some more this next week. Everything went from brown to green and things are back to normal. This is my time of year when you can sleep with the windows open and cover yourself with a blanket. Mornings are so much more pleasant than in summer. It still gets a bit hot during the day but the house stays nice and cool. I took this picture this morning.

Tomorrow I am driving up to Saltillo for meeting at the university. Then on Friday I will be giving a course there. So now I am thinking I should just take the rv with me in the morning and spend tomorrow night at the Hotel Imperial and then come home Friday afternoon after work.

On a sad note, I mentioned the other day that something was up with my family. Next Wednesday we will be flying to Kansas City, driving to McAllen Tuesday night to catch the flight. My niece passed away Friday. Details are still sketchy but we now know, according to the coroner's report, it wasn't foul play as previously suspected. She was a beautiful girl living a happy and fulfilling life in California. She is really going to be missed by all. My brother and his wife need our support so we will be there for about five days. More on this later.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eating On The Road

People often ask me what I eat when I am on the road working. I can tell you from experience that all of my hosts are gracious and invite me to eat at nice places or even in their homes. But I have to watch what I eat. You may come here for a couple of months in the winter and eat tacos, flautas, enchiladas, gorditas, tamales y menudo but after that you return to your routines in the north.

Sometimes I have no time to leave the place where I am working. That was the case this last week in Chihuahua. The course was at the Fiesta Inn from 8 to 5 everyday. By the time I had finished friday night, I went to my room and collapsed not to mention a tragic event that has hit my family. More on that as the story develops.

Hotel food is very tempting and can turn you into a large potatoe if you aren't careful. Now in Mexico we have more diverse and interesting menus. At Vip's, Sanborn's, and many hotels you will find heart healthy, low-fat, low or no-sugar foods listing their approx. contents in terms of calories, fats, sugars and carbohydrates.

This was steamed chicken stuffed with baked apples and smothered with a low-fat yogurt sauce sprinkled with crushed walnuts served with a spinach and apple salad and a bowl of the best veggie soup ever. It was fantastic.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back In Chihuahua September 2009

I'm back in Chihuahua until Saturday. I came to give a certification course. I haven't been posting much but all I have to report is daily activities and to me it can get quite boring. We may head out on Saturday for Bustamante, N.L. to visit a friend is not doing well suffering from cervical cancer.

Here is my room where I am staying, nice but I have some minor complaints.

The view from my window of the mountains which are calling me to travel again to the Copper Canyon. Beautiful mountains, pine forests and excellent highways.

I never got around to posting pictures from my surprise birthday party. It was also the day of the big game between Rayados y Tigres.

I love my Mexican family and all the joy they have given me over the years. We drank, we played, we swam, we ate, and ended the evening at 2 a.m. all of the people in the picture and more, on the living room floor, in the trailer and tents in the backyard. The next day we hung out, fixed breakfast, talked, read the paper and had a really good time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hurricane Jimena

The thing is that the hurricane has done little destruction and local and government officials up and down the Baja peninsula took the necessary precautions to protect life and limb not to mention tourists who flock to Los Cabos.
On the other hand, if you are asking me what is wrong with Mexico, read the quote below:

"Instead of giving out a few sheets of roofing every year, they should give us materials to build real houses — wood, or even bricks," said Paulino Hernandez, an out-of-work mason who sought haven at the school. "Every year it's the same thing: They (officials) give out a few sheets of roofing, and the next year it has to be replaced" when a hurricane comes.

This is the result of what the PRI did over a period of seventy years. They convinced people that the government would take care of them although they never really did. Get an education, get a job, create a business, do what you have to do to live. In a discussion yesterday with local businessmen we came to the conclusion that life in Mexico is just to easy.
Speaking of parties and presidents, Calderon will be giving his third presidential address on September 2nd. Some interesting statistics related to the war on crime in Mexico. Since his inauguration his administration is responsible for the following related to the drug trade:
  • the seizure of 22,000 vehicles
  • 50,000 high power weapons
  • 80,000 arrests
  • enough illegal drugs to provide 80 doses to all Mexican youth from the ages of 15 and 30

Now if we can just get the population to participate in the program we may make some headway.