Friday, October 30, 2020

The Black Sheep And The Ostrich (My Last COVID Post)

It's obvious that people aren't happy with my take on the Coronavirus.  However, on Facebook and YouTube where people make their living traveling day after day showing van life, tour operators in Mexico, and the tourism sector in general, think we shouldn't talk about the virus and that their income is more important than saving lives.  

These pictures are one of the reasons why the virus took off in the U.S. versus all other countries and is still in the number one slot followed by Brazil and Mexico.  This was air traffic in the U.S. on April 4, 2020.  Below that is European air traffic on the same day.  No wonder people are dying at a faster rate along with the pigheadedness of the general population not to follow the rules. 

Many rvers intent on coming to Mexico justify their travel by saying they will have no contact with anyone.  Here is an example of traveling "safely" in Mexico and stopping at a Pemex to fill up.  You can't pump your own gas.  You shake hands with the dispatcher.  Then when he finishes he takes your money or credit card and gives you change or returns your card that his greasy, grubby fingers have manhandled.  Where have his hands been?  He has probably been picking his nose, wiping the sweat from his brow, using the toilet without washing his hands (we know that most men don't wash their hands), and a myriad of other activities.  And then the rver wants to say, "all I'm doing is buying gasoline to get to my destination where I will hunker down in an rv park with other people who are safe".  Stupidity and sheer ignorance.  You cannot avoid touching things, having contact with people without masks, and who are not social distancing.

Baja has become a peninsula of controversy as well.  They want you to come so badly that tour promoters, hotels, rv parks, restaurants, and more are saying the Mexican government has declared rv travel into Mexico is "essential".  Boy, people will eat that S--- up and they are.  Heading to the border like bats out of hell to be able to cross before anything else might happen.  Are people that desperate to go somewhere? 

 I'm not sure what Canadians think of their PM, but he hit the nail on the head yesterday in a public address.

In an interview Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country is committed to keeping the border closed until the United States gets control of COVID-19.

"The U.S. is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders," he told the hosts of "Smart Start," which airs on Canada's Global Television Network. “We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place." 

OTOH, I think it's pretty silly to make such a profound statement and then turn around and allow people to fly in and out of the country, the same as in the U.S. and Mexico. A Mexican friend just returned from a week trip to Houston via air. He is not a U.S. resident but has a U.S. visa. He went right through immigration and they checked his papers, took his temperature, and off he went. It was that easy.  Ludicrous.

Just got word last night that one of my great-nephews went to a party.  He was sick days later from COVID and passed it on to his parents and sister.  Sick for three weeks one with oxygen and a close call with being in ICU.   His 80 something grandmother lives with them but was isolated in time.

So that pretty much wraps up my posts on the pandemic of 2020.  Now they're just numbers and no one really seems to care much anyway.  I dropped out of Facebook also, only posting on a group a couple of times in the last six weeks.  It's all silly stuff as if people are looking for an escape.  I always thought Facebook would make a great social media center where important information could be disseminated.  If you get a chance, watch the Netflix documentary, "The Social Dilemma".  

Friday, October 23, 2020

Who Moved Mexico's Cheese?

"We're not interested in private enterprise, public enterprise is our interest.  The ones that should receive the most attention are public enterprises because we are public servants".

Where are we headed as a country?  Nationalization and possible dictatorship.  The above statement refers to the president's main interest, PEMEX.  He is going to pour more and more money into the dying oil industry as he doesn't believe in sustainable energy.  Also, he wants private initiatives out of energy production so that he may have complete control of the CFE electric company.  

Now on to the cheese.  As I mentioned the other day, Mexico's BBB ( PROFECO) played a major crackdown on the Mexican dairy industry removing and destroying millions of pounds of cheese, yogurts, and processed meats.  According to their studies, the products did not meet government standards such as; ingredients, labeling and additives.  Less than 48 hours, most of the decision was reversed as major dairy producers proved that their products met government standards.  One case in particular, Leche Lala, you may know the milk products.  The name Lala comes from the area of production in Mexico, "La" Camarca "La"gunera, which is in the area of Torreon, Coahuila.  Their cheese was removed for not stating the country of origin on the label although it did have city and state, an error that did not deserve to have their products removed from the shelf and destroyed.

This chart represents COVID deaths in Mexico.  Today we are at 88,000 deaths and according to the forecast below, we will hit 90,000 this weekend.  What will it be by the end of December?  This chart doesn't include those that died at home and received no official autopsy so according to six ex-secretaries of health in Mexico, we can easily add another 18,000 to 50,000 deaths.  People say deaths due to influenza are higher.  B.S. In the U.S. last year there were 36,000 deaths from influenza and in Mexico only 848.  That's a low number for Mexico, but that's what happens when you don't do proper reporting.

COVID cases are picking up as we are in our second wave.  Eight states have now changed to "red" again.  People just aren't getting it.  Rvers from the U.S. are planning their trips saying that Mexico needs tourism.  Mexico, like any other country, always needs business but we don't need people bringing more of the virus or vice versa.

I'm not against people coming to Mexico but now is not the time.   As much as I love rving and boondocking in Mexico, rving contributes very little to the Mexican economy.  The two major expenses are gasoline and rv parks.   Rv parks don't employ many folks and 41% of the money we spend on fuel goes right back to the broken down PEMEX oil company to keep it afloat.  Other than that, groceries are cheap and many rvers now shop at Costco and other big box stores.

I'd say the majority come here for the weather and the cheap.  Especially if you are boondocking very little money trickles down into the economy.  Many rvers bring their food and booze into the country as they can't find those relished treats such as cheddar cheese.  Some people literally bring so much that they can't make ice in their freezers and only purchase a few veggies here and there. 

I know this sounds negative, but it is better, to tell the truth than to be all cheery and happy that people are coming.  It's just not a good year and people just seem to not give a shit.  It's as if life is all about them.  Imagine if we all stayed home just for a couple of months.  If you want to help Mexicans, stay home, stay safe and wear a mask

Friday, October 16, 2020

Being Busy and Gasoline Prices In Mexico Will Increase In January

The price of gasoline that drivers see at the pumps is made up of five components: international references of gasoline prices, exchange rate, logistics costs, tax (IEPS and VAT), and profit margin of the service stations.

So far in 2020, consumers have paid an average of 7 to 8 pesos of taxes per liter of Magna, Premium, and Diesel gasoline, which represents around 42 percent of the final price, if you consider a final price of 18 pesos per liter for the Magna and 19 pesos for the Premium and Diesel.  We filled up yesterday at 17.88 a liter, the lowest price in months. 

The price increase will be via the IEPS tax.  IEPS (Impuesto Especial sobre Producción y Servicios) Special Tax on Production and Services.  The plan will be to increase this tax when the price of oil drops so that the PEMEX oil company won't suffer any losses.  This is exactly why the world does not need government-controlled businesses or nationalization.  

How does this affect you?  As a Rv'er or ex-pat, you will never see a major decrease again in the price of gasoline in Mexico.  Prices are and will fluctuate by each individual oil company or franchise that owns gas stations but the owners along with the consumers will be the big losers.

We are getting closer and closer to a socialistic regime and one that is not fair and balanced.  This week, the government cracked down on dairy and processed meats saying that there are added ingredients such as water and corn starch to name a couple.  These are commercial products that Mexicans can afford and are a part of the everyday diet and they will be affected.  An artisan cheese producer in Oaxaca exclaimed, "those products aren't even cheese".  Well, they certainly cannot compete with artisan cheesemakers but it does fill the stomachs of some of America's poorest people.  We have a saying in Mexico, "donde comen seis comen siete" or "where six eat, seven can be fed as well".  How does that work?  Well, when company comes to visit, you add water to your frijoles charros so that everyone gets something to eat.

On the home front, even I was forced to clean out my humble closet.  I found an old shirt that wasn't black, lordy be, will miracles never cease?  This is easy as everything on the left side automatically goes to charity and the 20 items hanging on the right go back in the closet.  That will happen on Monday as the yesero (plasterer) is redoing my closet.  20 years ago when we moved to this house (I thought I would never be saying that), the walls were covered in the old Hollywood style of rough stucco with hay mixed in it to give it that "look".  You could never match it so we had the complete house replastered.  Don't ever do that by the way.  But, for some unknown reason, probably laziness or stubbornness, my closet was never done and the false ceiling never installed.  Now's a good time and we have no contact with the worker as he has his own entrance and the bedroom to himself.

The weather is taking a turn today and we will have a wonderfully cool few days ahead.  Leaves are falling faster today along with the light breeze that brings the cool air.  

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Mexico Got Caught In A Lie

Being at home we have taken to cleaning out closets and storage sheds.  One thing I've been carrying around in my little VW is pet supplies such as pet carriers, cat baskets and beds, medicines, and unopened dry food and cans of wet food for both dogs and cats.  We won't be having pets anytime soon again so we drove to a cattery downtown and donated all of the items including some extras such as cat litter.  What an eye-opener.  This woman has 22 cats at home, has neutered 190 cats this year so far, has over 30 cats in the cattery that are having some type of surgery or treatment while they are awaiting new homes.  She says she does pretty good with adoptions as people are more conscious.  A good thing to hear.  The best part of the visit was getting to play with the cats for a while.  I told her to call us if she had someone looking for a pet sitter. 

Mexico is now over 80,000 dead and it turns out that not all COVID deaths were reported.  The Mexican health department is now changing its methodology for counting deaths.   Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mexico has asked people to stay home if they were sick and they would send someone to come see them.  That rarely happened so many people died at home and because they weren't tested for the virus, their deaths were recorded as some other illness such as respiratory failure, pneumonia, heart failure, etc.  

When you die in your home in Mexico you need two things; a doctor and ministerial police.  The doctor writes the death certificate and the ministerial police confirm that there was no foul play.  There is no official testing unless the family wishes to have an autopsy which you have to pay for at a private hospital.   The question now becomes, How many people have died at home from COVID but we'll never know?  Estimates are another 20,000 from health officials, epidemiologists and virologists.   That would take us over 100,000 multiplied by 3X our rate would be higher than in the United States.

The talk now is that if you can't cross the border from Canada, you can fly into the U.S., rent a car, and then go come to Mexico.  For cryin' outloud, it's just one winter season.  Enjoy a few cold winter rv trips like Slim Potatohead on YouTube.  That guy gets a kick out of rving in the sonw at -20C.  

Other than that the weather is going crazy.  We've had two delicious cold fronts and now we are entering temps of 36C for the next week.  The trees are going nuts dropping leaves and then budding again and drying up.  We are now beating the record here for the lowest humidity ever.  The air is so dry you wouldn't know it's 36C and the nights are down to 13C.

Sunday, October 4, 2020


Friday, October 2, 2020

Should American RV'ers Travel To Mexico During Border Closures?

This is becoming a hotly contested debate.  Borders are officially closed to non-essential travel until October 21st.  That includes Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.  Daily reports say that the Mexican aduana is allowing rvers as well as other non-essentials into the country and that the U.S. pretty much does the same depending on the border crossing.  Again, as I have stated many times, in the U.S. as well as in Mexico (I can't comment on Canada although I am hearing pretty much the same), each port of entry has its own criteria.

In Mexico, the aduana is currently under dispute because of disagreements with Presidente Dingus.  PD insists that the aduana is so corrupt that it requires a complete change of command.  He has attempted to put the Mexican Marines in charge of both land and sea ports.  The Marines as well as the SCT (Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transporte) agree that should not happen.  This is a main part of the discrepancy in Mexican border crossing rules for COVID as they are defying presidential orders.

Unless you are a Mexican or a Mexican resident, temporary or permanent, you need to stay home.  What part of a pandemic do people not seem to understand?  We know for a fact that we can flatten the curve within six weeks.  That was part of the plan by providing stimulus checks as well as extended unemployment benefits.  

You cross into Mexico, you pick up the virus, travel back to the U.S. and only aggrevate the situation and it works in the opposite direction.  For some reason, air travel is being permitted because aircraft can cleanse the air using HEPA filters.  Again, if you are a temporary or permanent resident, you have the right to move to either side of the border.  

The U.S. has over 200,000 deaths and Mexico will reach 80,000 this weekend.  Mexico has a third of the U.S. population, 120 million, so you could easily multiply the number above by 3 and come to the conclusion that Mexico is actually in worse shape than the U.S.  

Again, why is this so difficult to understand?  Why run the risk of infecting others?  The vaccine will be coming soon and the situation will slowly improve over the next year.  Enjoy your home country traveling as far south as possible to enjoy the warm weather.  Canadians are in an even worse situation because of climate but much better off in terms controlling the virus with lower infection rates and deaths as well.

It's like taking a year off of life.  Schools should do the same.  Cancel classes for a year as a good percentage of both Mexicans and Americans are not able to participate in online classes due to location, lack of internet as well as technology.  It would become part of history.  It has happened many times during world wars where students skipped a year or were behind a year.   

This is just my take on how it should be handled and as I have said, just because you can doesn't mean you should.  Governments are more worried about economics and not human beings.  I have now lost a dentist, a retired friend,  and seven retired teachers to COVID in our circle of friends.  How many is too many and how many are we willing to risk?  Every number has a family, children, coworkers, neighbors and friends.

Stay safe, wear a mask and "BE THE EXAMPLE".