Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Furthest I Think I Will Ever Get

I haven't been blogging much.  With all the work I've had and more than that the travel part, I just haven't had the energy.  I decided to do it now.   I just got home from Puebla.   I left yesterday at 4:30 p.m. and arrived to the house tonight at 7 p.m.  A quick trip for sure.   I'm still on my Digital Citizenship tour and today I spoke to a group of mostly secondary and high school teachers from Puebla and the surrounding area.  There were 200 teachers, coordinators and school directors and owners.   It was a blast.   I love this part of my job.

Travel is so easy these days.   I took the toll highway to the airport yesterday and it took all of 35 minutes from the house.   Boarded the plane 45 minutes later.  AeroMexico makes it easy.   Boarding pass on your smartphone, no bags to check.  You enter the airport, do the automated checkin and head directly to the gate.   We live in a country that is safe from outside terrorists so we don't have any of the long lines and travel warning B.S. of other places.  Who wants to attack Mexico anyway?

I arrived in Mexico City at 6:15 and came off the ramp, turned the corner, bought a bus ticket and and 6:40 I was on my way to Puebla with a sandwich, cold drink, wifi and a great movie.   Took about 20 minutes to get out of the city being a Friday and for many a payday weekend.   I had a great seat and sat back and relaxed.   Arrived to my hotel by 9:20 and room service brought me a double.  Can't beat that.

Going to the title of the blog today, I've said many times I like being on a plane.  No one can bother you, call you or make your life miserable.   I have time to think about things, plan my life and watch the scenery.   60 isn't far off and for more than 50 years I have dreamed about space travel.  I think this is about as far away from the planet as I will ever get.    What a shame.  I love science fiction and really thought by now we would be traveling all over the universe.  That is why education is so important.  Doesn't matter if you want to be a plumber, electrician, a roofer or whatever.  Education makes a person well-rounded, includes arts, science, history and philosophy.   Innovation to change the current way in which we do things.  We still deliver water to houses through tiny little pipes the way they did thousands of years ago.  Electrical power lines have been around since the late 1880s and the space shuttle needs 200,000 gallons of fuel just to go 40 miles.  Talk about bad gas mileage.

Our trip to San Miguel de Allende has come to fruition.  The deposit has been made and the agreement signed.   The rest are all minor details and we'll work them out over the next few weeks.  The driving day may be a bit long but we've done it before and did it also with my SIL and brother from Idaho.  

I need to tell you about the Temazcal and spa day we had too.  It was fantastic and it lasted almost four hours including a complete body massage, teas and elixirs, chakra and energy balance.  It was a true spa day and one that was truly deserved and I enjoyed thoroughly.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Long Rest - Trip Preparation

Arriving to Allende

I made it home Friday morning as I had said in my last post.   I had some car issues once I crossed the border.   The clutch pedal disappeared and was jammed up underneath the dash.  I speed shifted all the way home.   Not to hard to do after passing city streets in Reynosa.  There isn't a red light between there and Allende.

Thursday night had me driving 2.5 hours in the dark on Texas roads.   Back roads are great during the day and at night they become a bit creepy not to mention the numerous deer that tried to cross in front of me.   Talking about deer in the headlights, I was just as shook up as they were.

Worked a bit at school after I arrived and then came home and crashed.  Literally.   I fell into bed and slept for an hour but couldn't get back to sleep.   The weekend came and I slept off and on during the day yesterday between working on mods for the rv.   Little things but they needed to be done.  

We had a wonderful dinner out in Santiago last night.   Simple Italian restaurant run by two friends who have moved out here from Monterrey.  The food was delicious, the atmosphere fun and exciting but not with noise.   The prices are excellent and I can say that I haven't had such a good meal out in a restaurant in a long long time.   We are going to take Norma and Croft there.  We had a fantastic pasta dish with shrimp, a small pizza appetizer, and a three-cheese panini.   

Last night had me in bed after dinner watching the first half of Saturday Night Live.   This new singer Adele is something else.   I'm not a fan of hers but one of her songs has gotten her over 1.3 billion hits on YouTube.  I've never seen that many hits before.

The contract has been signed for our house rental in San Miguel de Allende and Norma and Croft will be heading down a couple of days before and off we go.  We are really looking forward to the trip.   A friend of ours from Mexico City will hopefully accept the house sitting job so that the cat isn't left alone.   We haven't found Enrique yet but the search is on.  Who is Enrique anyway?

This week I'm home for three days and on Wednesday night I take off for Mexico City.  A meeting on Thursday and then Friday and Saturday I am speaking at a British event.  Good thing I'm bilingual in English.   Lots of travel but a good way to rack up a lot of  toboggan mileage.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Things Just Aren't Right

I've been working in Texas most of the last three weeks and this is my last week until hopefully the fall season.  I've seen more than I should have and wonder where we are going as a society.  

I have seen some real wonders while I've been driving Texas back roads.   All of them are two-lane no shoulder Texas highways.  Funny isn't it?  People always wonder how we can have no shoulder in Mexico and I've driven more than 2500 miles in the last month and that's all there seems to be out here in the country.   One good thing is there are no police.  I guess if you don't have a shoulder they can't pull you over.

Some of the great things I've seen are some wonderful sunsets.   Too many that we should head out this way with the rv for a month or two.   It has to be in the winter because it's too darn hot in the summer.   Wild turkeys, two bobcats, deer in abundance, a pair of javalinas and their piglets, not to mention an occasional coyote and pretty big ones.   Also lots of hawks, buitres (sorry but the English word won't come to me right now and I'm not looking it up) and two owls.  It's very beautiful country in the areas of Uvalde, Hebbronville, Encinal, Batesville, etc.   Weird, we used to drive to San Antonio and back via Laredo stopping at the Dairy Queen at the exit for Batesville.  We always thought it was Batesville but it's only the exit and the town is 37 miles away.   

Here's the downside.  Most of these towns and all the smaller ones in between are severely depressed, abandoned or rundown.  Some beautiful old homes, farmhouses and main street buildings dating back to the late 1800s are in terminal decay.   

The schools I am working at on a special project are on the verge of closing or falling down due to lack of funds and maintenance.   You can tell by the kids shoes, clothes and general appearance.   One school on has 224 students in their high school and the principal could seem to care less.  He's from a long line of gringos that run the town.  This particular high school didn't allow hispanics until the mid 1950s.   Where they went I don't know but all the school pictures that line the halls, going back to 1937, are all whites and the last names are few and repetitive.  

Like most public schools, there are lunch programs.  This school is so poor that they bring in breakfast in coolers for some of those that qualify and also offer an early dinner at 4:30.   I have to say, this school only had 38 students in the course but they were the best behaved of all the schools this season.  Good kids all of them.  Times are hard with corporate farming and the oil fields have pretty much closed down and that's where most of them went after they sold or rented out their farmland.  Others have land to go back to but it takes a couple of years to get things up and running again.

This week I am in Eagle Pass and will teach for three days heading back to Edinburg on Thursday afternoon and then home on Friday.

If you haven't heard, we are renting a house to share with Norma and Croft for Semana Santa.  Where?  San Miguel de Allende.  Can't wait, it will be a blast.

As for the election debates, Hillary screams a lot,  Trump is, well . . . Trump, Christie cracks me up and Ben Carson should be come a political whisperer.   Bernie is way to socialist for me and I don't think either side is really interested in fixing anything other than winning the presidency.   End.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Back To Texas and a Three Day Weekend

Today is Constitution Day and a Mexican holiday so it was a great three-day weekend.  Friday I flew to Mexico City only after having been on the road in Texas for a week.   I was in Laredo for three days, San Antonio last weekend, back to Laredo for a couple of days and then home on Thursday.   I spoke at a small convention, 500 teachers.  I gave the opening and closing plenaries and a workshop in between.  It was a great time and I always love visiting Mexico City.   I arrived Saturday night in time for happy hour.  Sunday I had a meeting with the board of trustees from a school.  It was an informal breakfast delivering what I thought will be a good five year plan for the school.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because I'm not in the rv like all of you.

This is half of the ballroom where I worked.  There was a screen on both sides for my presentation.  It looks a bit messy because we were doing activities.  I also raffled off some books and an iPad.  Teachers were happy.

It's been a rough few weeks and there are more to come through the beginning of March.   I have to say though, my work is not full time, I'm not in an office, and I take what I want and don't want.  I get to fly places, stay in fancy hotels and have rental cars.  It's good but like everything else I don't want it to last too long.   We're almost there.

Semana Santa is coming up and I turned down a few opportunities but we'll need a break.  I'm trying to find something exotic but inexpensive (I know, good luck) like maybe going to Paris or Madrid.  South America is always a good get away too.   I keep searching.   Fuel in the U.S. is so cheap that going there is also attractive like maybe visiting Norma and Croft in Arizona.   We'll see.  I just don't like seeing the rv sitting in the driveway.

I've thrown in a few pictures of what is going on around home too.   We lost a good part of our grass in the front yard over the last two years.   We had such a shady canopy from all the trees that the grass just gave up.   We hired a company to come and cut down the trees to almost nubs.   It will all come back once we replant.  The person who did the work says we should plant monkey grass but I have always thought monkey grass for trim and decoration.  I need to check.

Speaking of my post and my conference on Digital Citizenship you wouldn't believe what happened on the flight home that shows we all need to get involved in DC.  As they were serving free drinks, the guy next to me had the huevos to take out his cellphone and put on music.  Not using earphones but for everyone to hear.   After three passes by the flight attendants, they finally asked him to turn it off.  But wait, here is the best part.   As we came down just below 10,000 feet and announcements were made, the guy behind received a call on his cellphone.  Everyone went ape s@# crazy.  He just kept on talking.   The guy in the picture just refused to take his seat during pre-flight instruction.

The day I pulled out of the driveway over a week ago.  Fufi looked so lonely.  

So that's what I'm up to.   All is well and we are both healthy, wealthy (in friends and life) and a bit wise.