Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Well Deserved Post-Vaccination Trip To Saltillo
We waited our time after the second jab and decided there was enough waiting.  We took off for Saltillo early Friday afternoon.  I booked a room at the Marriot.  Saltillo continues to grow and they have opened a new section of town before you get to the downtown area.  It's called Galerias and is comprised of office buildings, parks, condominiums, restaurants, and shops.  Not really our style as it reminded me of my working days (ha, just a year ago).  It was a nice weekend though and we had a lot of memories and conversations.

First off was a good nap after arriving.  Then we had happy hour from our ninth-floor window overlooking the city.  It was just nice to be somewhere else.  I felt a bit uncomfortable walking around, so many people without their masks on and kids playing in the park.  I have to say though, seeing people out and about is a good thing.  We are waiting to see how the vaccination process actually works and not suffering the third wave.  That said, still so many who don't want the dose.  

Very comfortable and relaxing.  Having someone wait on you and bring you whatever you want.  I forgot my pillow.  I don't like resting my head where others have.  Too many hotels in my work life.

The trip's main focus was a visit to our favorite restaurant that, unfortunately, had moved.  El Tapanco has been around for many, many years.  We used to drive there almost every weekend on nights with a full moon.  The mountains with the moon's glow are an incredible sight.  Times change and so do places.  The restaurant was once located in a colonial house from the 18th century off the main square.  The home was beautiful and it kept its original ambiance.  Wooden vigas across the ceilings, the original well in the courtyard.  The service was top drawer, some may have thought the place was a bit stogey but we liked being waited on.  So now they are in the new Galerias but they were quick to point out that they maintained some of their original dishes from long ago.  The best was the rack of lamb with rosemary pureed potatoes. 

We opted for a bottle of very good cabernet, a rib eye, and spinach stuffed ravioli.  What a fun night out.  We almost closed the place.  We walked back to the hotel and you could see the storm clouds building.  The predicted rain for Saturday through Wednesday.   After, we watched The Crown on Netflix.  Man is it a good series.  Not sure how much is true.

We asked to be in a private area and only to have one person to wait on us.  I'm just not ready to de-mask and walk around freely.  It will come though.

On the home front, the pool is really working well.  I don't know what our gardener did to it for 20 years but it was always a chemical disaster, turning green and staining the grout.  Since we filled it up last October we use very little to no chlorine and no acid.  It's been a real charm.  The temps have been running high.  Seven days in the last month of 107F.  The water is warm but does the trick.

The rains we've had did a good number on the grass.  I also fertilized it and that really has helped the roots to retain water.  Well water doesn't work, it has little to no oxygen.  Mother Nature does the trick.

After years of begging someone to make us a screen door for the front of the house, I gave up.  We had used one of those tacky screen curtains with magnets.  It worked great but looked cheap.  I was at Home Depot and they started to carry this one model recently.  We are happy now, we can leave the door open at night and not worry about possums, mice, or raccoons coming in under the screen curtain.  The plus side too was the price.  

The car had not had anyone inside it since March of 2020.  I did little to keep it clean.  We hired a guy to come and clean the interior and also do the dining room chairs.  What a difference!  The total price for the car and the four chairs was 700 pesos (35 USD).

Wish us luck next weekend.  State and local elections are coming.  38 candidates have been murdered and crime is on the rise.  Please use caution on the Laredo bridge crossing.  Hold-ups, robberies, and kidnappings on the route south to Hwy 40 to Saltillo are on the rise.  In the last two months, 20 young men have been kidnapped on the highway between Laredo and Hwy 40.  All on their way to work in Laredo or Sabinas Hidalgo.  The government refuses to intervene.  I don't know how this will pan out but Presidente Dingus insists the only solution is to get the bad boys in school and get them a job.  What a joke.  I preferred the old method.  Kill the bastards, they've done so much damage to the fabric of family, country and economy. 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

How I Got The Second Dose Of SinoVac

A lot of time had passed since we had had our first injection of the Sinovac vaccine.  We had been told it would be two to three weeks before the second dose.  The clock kept ticking and nothing.  We had seen on the news that planes were landing in CDMX with vaccines but no mention of ours unless it was still for first dose patients.  

Last weekend I was getting very concerned.  Our state secretary of health had been giving daily updates on the virus, vaccines, and details of what would be happening.  He had commented several times that the Sinovac had a delay of 35 days maximum between the two doses.  

Monday of this week, I headed over to the city office (la presidencia) in Santiago to find out what was going on.  Well, we are in election campaigns with voting on June 6th.  More on that later.  The offices were pretty empty as city staff is out ensuring no one is breaking campaign rules.  I was told I had to go to the health department's office which was closer to centro Santiago.  I insisted on a person I could see in person.  I waited about 10 minutes and they ushered me into the human resources office.  The head of HR, a very young woman, told me that there was no one who could help me at the moment.  I refused and said I had to see someone at the moment and in person.

She called the mayor's office (about 10 minutes away) and they gave me a contact and said that I should go over there.  Before I go on, our mayor, filed a petition six months ago to run for a senatorial position.  A pro-tem stepped in since then.  I made it very clear to many people throughout the course of the morning that any person, especially our mayor should not have applied for a license to run for another position during the pandemic.  I reminded them this was a historical event that occurred every one to two hundred years and a person with any morals or values would have passed on the opportunity and stayed to take care of the people who voted for him.

Off I went to the mayor's office.  We talked for over half an hour and the answer was always the same, "this is not a local event, this show is run by the feds".  Bullshit.  I finally said, "si el alcalde no habia dejado su puesto, se quedó y ayudó su gente, no tendriamos este problema.  Es el trabajo del municipio asegurar que la vacuna llega a tiempo.  Estamos hablando de vidas, no de un baile en la plaza".  Translation:  "if the mayor had not stepped down, he would have stayed and helped his people, and we wouldn't have had this problem. It is the municipality's job to ensure that the vaccine gets here on time.  We are talking about lives, not a dance in the town square".

They said they would call me and I left.  5 a.m. the next morning (I still get up at 5 a.m. every day) it was all over the news and the state and our municipality was scrambling to find answers as to when the vaccines would arrive.  By 10 a.m. the assistant secretary of health made an announcement that the vaccines were on their way and that the efficacy would not be affected by the delay.

Wednesday afternoon I received a call from the mayor's office to report to the vaccination site on Saturday at 7 a.m.  

We were there this morning, we got our jab and everyone is happy.  1500 people showed up this morning and it will be repeated again tomorrow.

Tonight we will go out for dinner (an outdoor venue with precautions) to celebrate both the vaccine and Teacher's Day!  Now we can begin planning our trips and we have already made a list and are adding calendar dates.

Friday, May 7, 2021

A Weird Week and One With Sadness For Mexico

I pass a field of trees every day on my exercise route.  These two remind me of Sal's tree in Hacienda Contreras.  

Another interesting place along the way is the Club Parrilleros.  This is a club for barbeque aficionados.  They have grills, or bring your own, smokers, a club house, different types of wood for grilling and outdoor spaces for gatherings.  It's quite the top drawer in "meats".  :)

As I mention below, the weather has been up and down.   I like it could and cloudy.  Even better when we were at South Padre Island or the Gulf of Mexico.  We sure miss all that.

It a strange week for sure.  We've been waiting for news of our second dose so we can take some trips here in Mexico.  Things to a turn for the bizarre.  As I began to write this blog post our doorbell rang.  Nobody ever rings our door bell although we were waiting for someone to come and fix our pool light.  That's another story and that fits into today's post.  As for the visitor, I'll save that for the end.

I'm sure everyone has heard of the tragedy that hit Mexico City.  An above-ground metro line collapsed and killed 25 people.  A real tragedy in the sense that it appears corruption was involved.  Worse yet, a story that begins in 2006 when the then governor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard announced the construction of line number 12.  During the years of construction and the billions of dollars it took to complete the work, three other governors including Claudia Sheinbaum (the current CDMX governor) presided over the construction, maintenance, and management of the metro.  Well, they are all part of the current president's cabinet.  Go figure.  Ebrard is the Secretary of State and after his rule in 2009, he disappeared for a couple of years to France.  He said to take a rest but he was actually under investigation.  You see how it all comes together?  But you can read all about it in the newspapers.  Very sad to hear so many innocent people lost their lives and needlessly.

The weather has been like a yoyo.  We have rainy and cool nights followed by 42C of searing heat and then the cycle begins again.  I have taken advantage of the cool days though and have increased my outdoor exercise.  We should be getting our second jab starting Monday as 600,000 SinoVac vaccines have arrived and are being distributed.

We have a sick friend who may need surgery and we may do some house sitting for that friend.  We also have been offered a house sitting in SMA for six weeks in a multimillion-dollar mansion.  I don't think we can stay the six weeks but maybe we can divide it up.  It's a great opportunity as it is in the hills outside SMA on the way to Dolores Hidalgo and next door to some very good friends.

The rv is doing fine sitting in the driveway.  We are almost sure that we will head to Valle de Juarez in July for a couple of weeks stopping out of our way at the famous Sierra de Organos Natl Park in Zacatecas.  We're very excited about travel again although we won't be getting on a plane for some time.

So the doorbell ringer.  What a shocker this was.   It wasn't the pool man we had expected.  Juan went out to the gate and the guy said he was from the state education department and was delivering a letter regarding Juan's retirement!  YES!!!!  Not final yet, but they did receive his demanding letter he sent them two weeks ago.  They are asking for confirmation via a list of documents.  Just goes to show you the bureaucracy that exists in big government.  Juan sent his letter via email and then hand-carried a hard copy to the education department in Monterrey.  

It is a Friday evening, and this state employee drove almost two hours in heavy traffic to deliver a copied response asking for said documents.  Couldn't they have just called?  Sent an email?  I can't imagine what will happen when I have to deal with the federal government to get my Mexican social security.  

A lot going on and let's hope we are on the final leg of Juan's second pension so he can give up his classes and we can hit the road.