Monday, August 30, 2010

Life In Mexico

Today I had quite a bit of free time and headed over to the MexConnect forum to do some reading. I was really surprised by some of the information that was being given on the forum as well as some of the questions.

I read about dirt floors, home insurance, car insurance, living expenses and more. I found it interesting that for Americans and Canadians many had little or no first-hand experience or their information was very limited on the subject. Believe me, I'm no guru either, but everything that we do in Mexico in terms of modern conveniences, insurance, shopping and the like are just the same as in the U.S. Why would I use an international insurance company to insure my house when Mexican companies can do it for so little. Out of all the homes in Monterrey, only 6339 have home insurance. Because of that statistic, they practically give it away. Our damage to the house from Hurricane Alex came to a total of 50,000 pesos, we only needed to get one estimate, and we are paying a deductible of less than 5000 pesos.

Another is about legalizing drugs. Why not just stop drug abuse in the U.S. and help save our country from plunder? We are in dire straights right now and the situation here is critical. The consulate here in Monterrey is taking all the consulate employee's children out of local schools and sending them back to the U.S. next week. Bush and Obama haven't done shit in respect to the "drug war". They need to bring their soldiers home and fight the battle on their own turf first before trying to cure the world's ills. I'm serious, this is escalating into something bigger than most people are aware of.

The only ones posting on a thread about cost of living and expenses are the well-healed who think spending 3K or more per month is the standard for an ex-pat. Boy do I have news for them. Many Americans are living here on paltry social security checks and that is pretty much why they are here. Please, drive a stake through my heart, I'm bleeding. And they claim they spend most of that on entertaining. I hope I get invited to the party.

Sorry, but I am in a bit of a sarcastic mood, it just seems like Mexico is going to hell in a hand basket and everyone is standing around thinking it is all blue skies. If I could only discuss what is going on in U.S. prisons and major cities across the U.S. at this time including the deaths of teenagers in Chicago at a rate of one per day. That you don't hear on the news.

I have a feeling this blog has pretty much come to an end since we no longer have an rv and I doubt there will be much boondocking at least in the near future. It has been fun but I have nothing much to post about. We'll see.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Border Wait Times

This is a link to a list of all border crossings for Canada and Mexico. It also shows updated crossing time.

Border Wait Times

Monday, August 23, 2010

Return Trip San Antonio

Blue skies, white clouds and a quiet highway. We left around 8 a.m. thinking we would get caught in back to school traffic but it was just the opposite. We stopped along the I-35 for some breakfast tacos around Dilley, Tx. and took off again.

In Laredo I stopped at the Academy store for some new workout shoes. The price went up 12 dollars over last year, same shoe and a bad economy. Stopped in at the Goodwill to look for tank tops to use at the gym and found one in new condition. I don't buy expensive workout clothes, I sweat so bad I eat through the clothes in a couple of months. I'm not a fashion bug anyway.

We got to the border bridge and were stopped by the ICE, asked a few questions and waved through. On the other side it was green lights at both the bridge crossing and the 26 km. We didn't see anything unusual and enjoyed the trip home. The scenery was spectacular. Outside of Sabinas Hidalgo on the autopista there was a checkpoint of federales but they waved us through.

In Monterrey we hit some traffic, it was around 2 p.m. and we sailed all the way to the gas station near the house on fumes but I like to get my gas invoices at the same place when possible. The toll bridge between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey accepts cash, credit card, telepeaje but no dollars. The "libre" portion between the border and the autopista has now been widened and repaved making the trip even smoother.

Great trip, the cats were happy to see us and we were happy to leave the 104 degree heat in San Antonio although we did have a great time with my friend Sam. Temps are dropping this week and the rain may appear.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trip To San Antonio

Decided to come to San Antonio for the weekend. Ask me how the trip was on the highway? Very uneventful. Three federales passed us on the autopista, we had one checkpoint at Km 26. They waved us through.

The only delay was the bridge wait of 1 hour and 20 minutes. Texas has a no sales tax weekend on school supplies, school uniforms and shoes. Big deal. Shows how silly people are, they will spend 100 dollars in gas and tolls so that they can get 8 dollars savings on 100 dollars of purchase. Marketing.

We stopped at the Texas Stop Sign for a Blizzard and headed on into San Antonio. Had a long dinner at Olive Garden and now enjoying a few cocktails. Sunday is my birthday. Not a big deal, I really don't want to celebrate but hey, if they have fun making fun of an old fart, so be it.

The heat here is intense, 103 degrees at the house. San Miguel is looking better all the time. We are looking at an rv tomorrow in Boerne.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Double Edged Sword

Check out this video from CBS. Statistics that should make both sides act now. CBS Video

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What A Great Weekend

Saturday took us downtown around noon for a folkloric dance show. The purpose was to promote the deeply discounted sale of school supplies. This was sponsored by the state and local government and local merchants. They were selling school supplies, shoes, giving free haircuts, manicures and pedicures. No excuse not to return to school well-prepared and looking good.

The dance group is made up of younger students. These kids come from middle and lower-middle class backgrounds but are studying and dedicating their time and interest to dance. A good way to keep kids in school and out of trouble. They work hard at this and practice several times a week for long hours. Trust me, I've been there.

What kills me is how young they are and how old I am. I guess I can't stop the clock. Oh well. They are all swell kids, very out-going, polite and courteous.

On another note, I was surprised at all the emails I received regarding my comments on the desalojo that took place on the beaches of Tenacatita. Like I had said, I don't know the particulars of this case, however, I do know Mexican law.

I would hope that if people come to Mexico to visit or missionary work, they don't bring a bunch of old clothes and bibles. What we need are scholarships to encourage people to study. Most Mexicans are under the misconception that Americans go to school, including the university, for free and that the government gives out checks, food, and free housing to anyone for the asking. They fill their shorts when I explain that the reason everything looks so nice in the U.S. is that we are taxed to death. My property taxes are a mere 120 dollars here. Take the same house and put it in San Antonio would be over 8000 dollars. They can't comprehend that.

I also believe, as I stated before, that people like Mexico to be poor. It's good for foreign investment. For some reason they find an attraction to dumpy places on the beach where there are no sanitary conditions and they love cheap prices. Fine, but would you want that in your neighborhood?

I think there is a happy middle ground where Mexican can retain its cultural identity (I doubt it will ever be lost) and we can move into the 21st century with higher education, better paying jobs and a better understanding of globalization.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What About My Rights In Mexico?

Lots of chatter on the about the expropriation of land along the beaches of Tenacatita. I don't doubt for a second that politicians are being paid no more so than politicians in any other part of the world who receive kickbacks, pork barrel funding, lobbying, etc.

But what really ticks me off is when people talk out of their rear ends about a topic they know very little about. The first part is about the removal of palapas, small businesses and homes along this particular beach. Sorry, but you have to have either escrituras (title) or as a foreigner a trust since it is coastal territory. And maybe many of those at this particular beach do have title to their land and property, good for them. People have been squatting for the last 100 years in Mexico. Why? My personal opinion is because of the revolution. It was the biggest mistake in the history of this country. What they intended to accomplish and what actually materialized are two different things. The modern version of the Mexican revolution is our thorn in the side AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who is a hand holder of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. So with this alone you can understand the story and the outcome. The revolution was intended to take from the rich and give to the poor. Many foreigners say it was a great thing for those poor ole Mexicans. Well, look at the last 90 years of history and you can see what the Mexican revolution left us. First the expropriation of oil which has been in the hands of Pemex since 1938, is the caja chica (petty cash) for the Mexican government, and the largest failure of an oil company that has ever existed in the history of petroleum exploration and extraction. 52% of gross revenue goes to pay the union, their workers, their housing, their food, their everything.

People have come from all over the rural areas and just squatted. If they stayed long enough they would raise enough cane that the government would give in and give them title to the land or move them to a new and bigger piece of land and grant title for free.

All of my life I have heard about the American welfare program and all the dependence it created on the government and people standing around with their hand extended. Following that were the housing project, drug and alcohol addition, and unwanted children from teenage pregnancies.

Mexico has its version of welfare too and has had since the days of the infamous revolution. Most people don't realize how many handouts really exist in this country. For starters, worker benefits which include a Christmas bonus, vales de despensa or food coupons, vales de gasolina or gasoline coupons, utilidades or profit-sharing, first-time homeowner discounts and fixed credit at 6% for up to 30 years, home purchase subsidy free medical care for worker, spouse, children and any dependent extended family members, discounted or free childcare, and there is more. These are mandatory for anyone who is a registered worker. If you work for yourself and business or person is registered, you can create your own funds for the above which are tax deductible and some of the benefits provided by the government.

Outside of the above, we have programs in rural areas to subsidize farmers and small business. If you have children and you promise to keep them in school, they receive a monthly stipend for each child through high school, steep discounts on school supplies and uniforms and because they are rural they must be poor so they are eligible for breakfast and lunch programs. Remember the U.S. welfare program and its outcome? Well, lookout because we have our own fallout from these programs too. Remember the farm subsidizes? Where do you think the money really goes? Because most people in rural areas have no formal education which is provided free by the Mexican government and located right there next to their farm, they don't know what to do with the money. It gets flittered away. The money from the Oportunidades program gets spent on chucherias and alcohol and no more crops are being grown.

I feel no sympathy for people who are squatters. Some say, oh those poor souls, they have no where to go. Well where in the heck did they come from to begin with? They just didn't roam around forever. They had a place, didn't like it or it didn't do what they wanted it to do so they just pack up and found a leader who will support them and fight the government until they get something for free.

So what about my rights and those that bought land along the beach? If they purchased their land legally, have title or trust to the land, they may still lose the land (eminent domain) but will be paid fair market value for it if the government deems that the new projects will benefit the area, provide "formal" jobs (those jobs pay taxes and provide the worker the benefits listed above), brings infrastructure to the area, and increases overall property values for those that hold legal title to land and property in the area. This increases the tax base and provides more state and federal funds for the area as well.

I own my property, it's in my name, and I can sell it at whim under legal conditions. My rights are guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution and if a foreigner carries an FM2 or FM3 their rights are protected under the provisions provided. Both carry different guarantees and stipulations.

What you are reading on the forum for the most part is bunk. in terms of foreigners rights in Mexico. If those things were happening near your property on a beach in your country, what would you want to happen? Have people to continue to run illegal businesses out of shacks, not have to follow health requirements, environmental violations, and not paying taxes? I don't think so. Stop feeling sorry for Mexico and its people and push them to do what is right by any standard around the world. We are mediocre people that need to be brought into the 21 century.

I don't know all the particulars at Tenacatita, but I do know about my legal rights, squatters and eminent domain in Mexico.

The more the government gives you, the less rights you have.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Has Rving Become a Dilemma?

The news this year hasn't been good on either side of the border. I feel the pain as we are just beginning our retirement and our plans having been in constant change since the increase in violence in Mexico. Now the cards are changing suit and the trouble for rvers seems to be on the other side of the fence. Two rving couples have been murdered in the U.S. and that is troubling. We had hoped at best to be able to rv this winter in Texas and New Mexico visiting our friends we had made in Mexico.

We are very close to purchasing a new rv and I know many of you think it isn't a big deal. "Go buy the damn thing." Well, I'm just not that kind of shopper and have other concerns to think about. If you have never imported an rv into Mexico, there are certain details. Once crossing the border the agente aduanal pretty much drops you off and says good luck.

Although I have to say that in 2004, and many things have changed for the better since then, I was told to stay out of sight at the border as we crossed. "Sit in the truck and don't get out." The papers were stamped, no mordida paid and off I went to the 26th km to get the approval for the pedimento. It was easy. I left McAllen at 6 p.m. and was at home pulling the trailer into the driveway at midnight not knowing if it would fit or not and making it in on the first try which I haven't been able to do since then.

Some things are changing and for the better. There seems to be a bit of backlash from certain groups. One for example is the group of federales in Juarez that attacked and expelled four of their comandantes for involvement with the "you know wh0". Does that say something about loyalty and honesty or what!

There is now debate in the house and senate about the legalization of drugs and the impact on the criminal element. They are not winning the battle against the army or the marines. The military is kicking their butts. One interesting comment made by our comandante from Kino the other day regarding the statistics on criminal arrest and that only 15% make it to prison. Well sure, just like any other country, if you can't prove their involvement in a crime you have to let them go but you do have their photos and fingerprints on file with hopes you'll catch them again. The actually percent, as the comandante likes to exagerate, was actually 25% that are imprisoned.

There also seems to be a growing confidence in the denuncia anonima or anonymous police reports and they are getting these guys left and right. In the last week alone the military and local police have rescued 26 supposed kidnap victims here in the metro area. That is a record and I say "supposed" because we don't know if they are the opposing gang or what.

Also, Calderon and Fox are going at it via a debate on legalization of drugs. One good point brought up today in congress was that legalizing drugs in Mexico would do nothing to the illegal market in the U.S. In other words, the U.S. would have to legalize drugs also to make any type of impact.

I know I have been staying away from this issue on my blog but in my little town of 23,000 we no longer have a police department. 11 were killed this year and the rest of the 25 total quit and took off in fear. Now, we call the military base if we need assistance.

I've not given up yet. Our trip to SMA was uneventful except for the bad food incident from which I am now fully recovered. We traveled freely from Monterrey some 1400 kms without a problem and the return trip was even better knowing we were safe and having a good time. Next test will be with the new rv. Anytime soon now.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Got Bit

Sometimes your instinct is working on one side and you just seem to resist it. On our way back from SMA we stopped at a gas station that had a small convenience store and a restaurant. We had been driving all morning and it was afternoon. All I had eaten was that wonderful multi-grain bread and a yogurt.

We walked into the store and it was cool and fresh. In the next room was the restaurant. As we crossed the threshold the heat from the galvanized red tile roof was unbearable. One person was there waiting for their order.

I asked if we could turn the fans on and they sent someone to do it. The kitchen was open and I could see the cook/waitress was not very organized. We had some eggs and beans and it tasted pretty good but the heat was very uncomfortable.

Come Friday afternoon I had severe stomach pains, swelling and a headache. I knew I had been bitten by something and it was in my stomach. I am now taking Imodium but it doesn't seem to be working very fast. I also have one more resort before seeing a doctor.

I feel much better but the bathroom visits persists albeit much less than yesterday or early this morning before starting the Imodium.

It has been 15 years that I have had a stomach issue. I hate it. I still have a great appetite and the body pains and headache have left.

I'm gonna get that bug.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Got The Electric Bill For June/July

Just got the electric bill in my email this morning. I saw the meter reader yesterday. Man thats fast.

Of the 800 kwh allotment, we used only 631. The bill ran from June 7th to August 7th. We could have used the air conditioner more than we did until we reached our limit of 799 kwh. The total bill for two months with tax was 999.00 pesos (79 dollars). So that works out to about 40 dollars a month.

For me its a big deal. If we stay below 799 the maximum bill would be 1428 pesos. If we hit just 1 kwh more than that or 800 the price would change to 3016 pesos. We can afford it but why pay more than double for a difference of just 1 kwh. The DAC (rate) stands for Domestica de Alto Comsumo or high consumption residential.

We still have the month of August but I think we can beat it again. I have learned how to be a good meter reader and track our average daily consumption which this bill was 10.69 kwh. Worst case is I am doing something good for the environment apart from being cheap, which I am known for.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back To Monterrey

We got up early this morning and headed home. It was a great week in San Miguel de Allende. I want to move there and we may just start looking. We took advantage of the time there and checked out many new neighborhoods, colonial homes as well as condos for sale. Much slower pace, no violence and lots of activities.

The drive was uneventful. The highway was packed with traffic in both directions. I have been reading about a decrease in border crossings and I found a wonderful site that appears to be unbiased. I will be posting a chart of border crossings tomorrow and to some there may be a surprise. To those naysayers it will be a big blow, for those that enjoy traveling in Mexico there will be encouraging news. Not all border crossings are alike.

We stopped just north of Matehuala for lunch. It was a small Pemex with a convenience store and restaurant. The woman running the kitchen had little concept of managing a kitchen as each dish would come out on its own good time. Even though it was afternoon, we had only eaten our delicious multi-grano bread and yogurt. We ordered eggs with beans and rice and some mouth-watering flour tortillas.

The VW got 29 miles per gallon driving 80 mph. Imagine if I had slowed to 55 mph I would have gotten 33 mpg or more. What a deal. The air conditioning works extremely well and all the VWs I have owned have had great air. It's that damn technology. I have the hardest time with the stereo; programming, tuning, MP3, USB, and so on.

The scenery was spectacular as you can see in the photos below. We only saw one check point and that was heading in the southbound lanes between Matehuala and Saltillo. We even saw a few rvs heading south. Good for them. I am now ready to return to rving and we have a purchase plan. It may materialize before we know it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day Trip to Atotonilco and San Benito Monastery

Set the alarm for 6:30 this morning so we could get a head start on our day. Did our last day at Wolf's Gym and said our goodbyes to everyone there. They were all curious as to when we would be coming back. We said either in September for Independence or in December. Walked back to the hotel to shower and we grabbed some of that delicious multi-grano bread and a yogurt and off we went for Atotonilco. It is just a 15 minute drive to the town on the way to Dolores Hidalgo.

Once there you will find a very small town and of course a main square with a church. The church was established in the early 18th century and it is said that the holy water from that church has curative powers.

We went because Juan wanted to buy some rosaries for his sister-in-law who always takes good care of us. We found several vendors in front of the church selling the same rosaries as in Dolores Hidalgo but half the price. Not that your religion should be discounted by any means :). I picked up a couple of rosaries made of wood and we took a tour of the church. They were handing out holy water, hey, I need all the help I can get.

We walked across the street and ate a gordita. I had one filled with beans and some goat's cheese. It was cooked over an open fire. Oh the smell of leña (wood) early in the morning with a handmade real corn tortilla. The best!

When we bought the rosaries, the vendor told us about the monastery which is just up the road a kilometer or two. You leave Atotonilco and 300 meters out of town on the left is a dirt road with a sign that says monastery. What a cool place. I should have chosen another career. It is so peaceful there. They make it very clear that it is a place of silence and solitude and there is to be no noise, loud talking, keep a check on the kids and so on.

The road to the monastery

Monasterio San Benito

We entered and I just sat there in awe. The wooden chairs are lined up on each side of the altar for the monks to come and pray. They chant every morning at 7 a.m. This is a new monastery at least the church and chapel. The windows are simple stained glass but very soothing colors. You can hear a pin drop inside and as you look up there is a small cupola with windows. You see blue sky and white clouds float gently by.

I could have stayed there for several hours but we needed to town for lunch. We had comida corrida. 40 pesos included a chili relleno (cheese), rice, beans, and lentil soup with tortillas and a pitcher of lemonade.

Tonight we are going to a concert at 7 p.m.

BTW, last night we were walking around in the main plaza talking and watching all the activities. They were setting up to film a telenovela (soap opera) at 10 p.m. As we were walking we heard a voice behind us in English say, "I read your blog". Spooky, huh? A very nice guy named Ike read the blog as he looked for info on SMA. He found my blog through another blogger, Carol. We talked for quite awhile and hit it off. He is here for the summer with his great-niece. We may get together tonight at or after the concert.

You just never know.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Road To Dolores Hidalgo

After another great sleep last night, we took off for the gym. Not too many people this morning. On the walk there, I passed an older Mexican woman about 80 years old, no teeth with her hair pulled back and a knee-length apron on. She started speaking to me in English. She said, "oh you beautiful American man. Ay papasito, que guapo!". I guess I made someone's day. It must have been the workout shorts.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for a beet and pineapple juice. I thought I had more money in my backpack to pay for the juices. They were 40 pes0s and I only had 27. I thought he would let me pay him later but he insisted I go across the street and use the ATM. So I did. I brought him back a 500 peso bill and made him find the change. The juice wasn't very good anyway.

Off to Dolores Hidalgo. What a difference over last year. The highway from SMA is like a super highway. Fast, 25 minutes, in excellent condition with plenty of pullouts. It is one and a half lanes on each side all well-marked. As we pulled in to town we drove around the rotunda and continued into the "centro". All the streets and sidewalks are new. As I reported last year they were preparing for upcoming Independence celebration on September 16. They have really made themselves proud with this project. The town of 135,000 is really humming. Groups taking tours, people filling the restaurants and the plaza full of visitors eating ice cream, cotton candy, candied apples and balloons and balls being sold on every corner.

First stop was lunch at El Carruaje del Caudillo. We had breakfast there before so I thought for sure that lunch would be good. I wanted enchiladas but she said the didn't come with beans or any side dish. I asked how the Fetuccini Alfredo was cooked. She brought me a sample and it was soggy and overcooked. I could see this wasn't going to be a good experience. While we ordered a soda, I asked if they had any chips and sauce. She said we could order some guacamole as it comes with chips. "Alright, whatever and I'll take the enchiladas." Well prove me wrong. The enchiladas come on a bed of lettuce, served with avocado and tomato slices and covered in sauce and cheese. The guacamole was one of the best I have ever had and she brought a plate of pickled nopales, carrots, potatoes and chayote. I told her at the end that she surprised me. She said she thought everyone knew how they served their food. She got a great tip!

We walked around town visiting the main plaza and the cathedral. I stopped to print some reports I need to turn in tomorrow via Multipak Mensajeria. We headed home for a well-deserved nap and here I am.

Looks like it will be, as Croft put it, a two grain happy hour!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Moving to the Plaza El Jardiin

Got up early this moring and had a great cup of coffee. It was nice sleeping with the windows open. No hot air here at night. Last night it was 12C, that would never happen in Monterrey. Took off for gym and had a workout with people we have met there on previous occasions. They didn't expect us until December.

Back at the hotel we had a light continental breakfast and got our things ready to move to the main plaza. We went to the Canadian Bakery and picked up a loaf of multi grano bread. Couldn't help it but we started picking on it in the car. Delicious! We are going to the movies later and when we get home I am having a slice with my cocktail.

We moved into our new hotel Del Portal that is situated on the main plaza. They are very friendly people and gave us a nice room. It is very quiet and has skylights as there are no interior windows. Some rooms have windows that look into the central patio but they were all taken.
A view overlooking the main plaza

The cathedral in Plaza El Jardin

It was time for lunch and we found a great place to have enchiladas and a cold beer. I don't normally have a drink at lunch because it makes me sleepy but this set me up for a nice nap. We sat in a window and had a view of all the tourists passing by. It made for great conversation. The desserts for calling me but I held out for a small ice cream in the plaza on the way home.

Enjoying lunch and a cold beer.

Ah, time for a nap. Slept like an angel and now it is time to get ready for the movies. We're seeing night and day. BTW, the last time I went to the movies was in December 2009 here in SMA.

Selling flowers in front of our hotel.

Wonderful music as we came back from lunch.

I'm a stubborn ole mule and still convinced that rving is the only way to go. Plus it's lighter on the wallet.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Made It To San Miguel de Allende

A view from our room at Los Pablos.

Nice day today. Left Matehuala around 8:45 and continued down the road towards Mexico City. I'm trying to get rid of excess weight and I don't mean an SO :). This morning was bran flakes and a Yakult.

The highway was pretty busy today. Lots of traffic mostly cars. I am surprised at so much movement. The current problems don't seemed to have stopped much of anything. We passed another checkpoint and were waved through.

I was a bit tired this morning as I went to bed late which isn't normal for me. It was a quiet drive, listening to music and talking about what we had done in the past on our trips. One thing we talked about was not having and rv and that it is fundamental for retirement here and in the U.S. How can you just sit around home and water the grass, sorry but I have better things to do.

We stopped for gas and a coffee. One thing I wonder about are all the people who live along the Hwy 57. They have land and a house, some have jobs in gas stations, restaurants and convenience stores. Others see tunas, chilis, strawberries with cajeta and cream. I guess they make a living at it. I'm just curious how they got there or decided to settle down there. There aren't any towns just a couple of houses here and there.

We stopped one more time to use the bathroom and asked how much further to SMA. The gas attendant said about 20 more minutes. Before you know there we were taking the exit and heading into town.

We had a reservation that we made over the phone but when we got to the hotel it was nothing like in the pictures so we said thanks but no thanks. We decided to head over to La Siesta where the rv park was and check hotels on the way. We passed La Aldea and it was okay, 963 pesos a night. As we left, right next door was Los Pablos. Only five rooms but look what we got. A two bedroom suite with living area. What a steal at 900 pesos a night. This is only one night and they are moving us to a sister hotel in the main plaza, Los Portales. We already checked the room and it is very nice too and they are respecting the same price. Wow, this will be great, right there in the middle of all the SMA action.

We swung by La Siesta and old cranky pants was sitting at the front desk. We had had our run ins with her before and she remembered us. She even said, "you didn't like it when I sent someone to knock on the door to collect the payment for the rv park. If you didn't like it you should have paid on time". That ole stinky pants. We looked at a room but it paled compared to Los Pablos.

Here we are and we will enjoy the week piddling around. We found out that everything is booked for Mexican Independence and we kind of figured that. Oh well, our little town of Santiago puts on a quite a celebration.