Saturday, June 22, 2024

Alberto Day Three Still No Power or Water

The Horsetail Falls near our house that many of you have visited.

The Santa Catarina River (dry river bed) that runs through the center of Monterrey.

We do have lots of water but it's not running through our pipes.  There is a backlog of repairs in the state and we're on the list.  Ours is an easy fix.  One of the switches on the transformer popped.  It needs to be put back.  I don't know what you call it but it's like the handle on the breaker box.

We charge the phones and laptops in the cars, ice and ice chests to keep things cool.  Coffee made on a stove top camp percolator.   

Clouds still hanging low and constant off and on light showers.  We had to go out for ice and stop by the power company.  No crews there.  They are all out on calls.

I'm posting this on mu phone so if there are mistakes, apologies.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Hurricane Or Tropical Storm

From yesterday afternoon.  I can't imagine what it's like now.

This storm takes us back to 2004 when we had heavy flooding with Hurricane Emily in 2005.  It started yesterday with heavy winds and light rain off and on.  We woke up at 3 a.m. and it was howling with rain so heavy we couldn't see much outside.

We sandbagged the front gate.  Our stinky neighbor in front has a very long drive and ramp.  The water runs out into the street and down under our gate when it floods.  This rarely happens but it does with a storm like this.  As we were putting down the sandbags yesterday, a worker from the quinta around the corner stopped and said they have the same problem.  The water passes our house, goes down to the end and floods all the properties.  That particular neighbor has a fairly new home that when it was built the construction was half a million.  We don't get water in the house but the worker said they have to sandbag the house, all the doors, and floor-to-ceiling windows.  

Some people have no common sense.  The neighbor in front relishes these events.  He sat outside his gates in his car and watched up sandbagging.  Dirtbag!  He's the same douche that dropped seven truckloads of cement blocks on the road hoping to make the road better.  Everyone complained so much we went to the city and he was fined.

The backyard has flooded.  The pool and the palapa are under 10 cm of water.  The back patio is 25 cm above the ground so it may rise but not affect anything.  

Monterrey is flooded and all businesses and schools are closed by the governor's order.  Looking at the Santa Catarina River that runs through the middle of Monterrey brought back sad memories.  Hurricane Gilberto hit with a vengeance in 1989.  We didn't have the safety and emergency measures then that we have today.  City buses were buried in the river with passengers inside and many people lost their lives.  We were living in San Antonio at the time while Juan was studying.  We watched in horror on television.  

We're happy with these minor issues with the water, pool, and a minor leak in the hallway ceiling.  It appears that the wind blowing pushes water up a loose roof tile or two and the water is getting in that way.  We have power, internet, water, and food.  Be happy I guess.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Take A Look At The Mummies - Guanajuato

Mummy of a seventy year old woman buried over 100 years ago still fully clothed and with all of her hair.

Yesterday we got up early and headed to the Mummy Museum (Museo de las Mommias). Good thing we had a head start.  When we arrived to the parking area there were over 100 students lined up as part of an end of school year field trip.  We walked to the entrance and were the first to open the doors.  We have our INAPAM card (senior discounts) and we entered for 15 pesos each.  Most of the museums here in Guanajuato offer the discount.  

We were met by independent tour guides who work for donations.  The tour touches on the highlights, is informative and interesting.  After the guided tour we were left to do our own investigation.  Why are the mommies on display and not in the ground?  First off, they are actually desicated bodies.  The climate in this area is perfect for the process.  It's dry and hot.  Bodies that are buried in the ground cannot be mummified unless, apart from perfect conditions, are buried in a woode coffin that has not been stained or varnished.  Bodies storied in walled musoleums allow the fluids to drain and dry out quickly.  Some of the examples in the museum may have been partially embalmed.

Back in the 1800s, a tax was placed on burial sites.  Those that didn't pay the tax for their beloved, had the bodies removed after five years.  Those that were mummified, were stored in warehouses.  Over the years, people came to visit and take a look at the mummies.  Like all good humans, people started to take body parts, identification tags, jewelry, even pulling wads of hair out of the skulls.  The place was eventually closed.  The practice of charging a fee for maintaining the cemetaries in Mexico still exists.  If after five years you have not paid, they will remove the remains.  We witnessed the exhumation of Juan's mother from one cemetary to another.  We purchased some plots in a private cemetary (she had been in a public cemetary for over 40 years).  In Mexico, embalming is only to preserve the body for a few days.  That's why when someone dies, the burial takes place the next day.  When they opened Juan's Mother's grave, (cemetary director and lawyer present), we found only a small piece of polyester clothing, the skull and a few bones from the arms and legs.  Those were put in a small coffen we purchased and taken to the new place of rest.  

Remegio Leroy was a French doctor who died in 1865.  Leroy had no family and taxes weren't paid and he was exhumed after the five years.  He was one of the first to be exhumed and brought interest to the citizens of Guanajuato.  This was the beginning of viewing mummies.  He was a good specimen, still fully clothed, beard, hair and his shoes and socks still in place.  I find the clothing and shoes the most interesting.  A close of view of how people dressed, the type of fabric, style of shoes and that striped socks were used over the centuries.

An example of a Chinese woman.  Durning the 1800s under the reign of Porfirio Diaz (the president/dictator who electrified Mexico, opened coastal ports, telegraph lines and built Mexico's first railroads) to build the railroads.  Many settled in Guanajuato and you will find many Mexicans today with Chinese surnames such as Lee, Woo, Chong, etc.  This woman was of short stature, and you can see her facial Asian facial features. 

Indigenous woman still in her native dress.

There is a display of infants and small children.  In one particular display which I did not get a picture of, there is the mother with her stitches from a failes caesarean and the fetus completely preserved.  The fetus is the world's smallest complete mummied human being that has been sent around the world.  

Today is Saturday and we will be heading back to San Miguel de Allende after we go to the Presa de la Olla here in Guanajuato.  It is an area where the wealthy and well-know of Guanajuato and Mexico had huge mansions.  I want to get some pictures and do some walking.  

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A Few Days In The City Of Guanajuato

We decided to take advantage of our time here in Central Mexico and visit the city of Guanajuato.  We know many places in Mexico but only through work trips; airports, hotels, universities and teacher conferences.  

We found a great Airbnb.  It's a full 3 bedroom 2 bath house in a gated community.  It is so large that it has two strip malls and two OXXO stores.  Homes are well kept but it's not an upper-class neighborhood.

A great terrace with lighting.  We had a great happy hour last night.  It reminds us of the work we have pending on our roof terrace in SMA!

We headed out around 10 a.m. Our check-in was 3 p.m. but they graciously changed it to 1:30.  The drive was very relaxing and only an hour and a half.  Beautiful countryside.  This jerk in what I think might be a Lamborgini, came up on me at about 160 km or more racing in and out of the curves.  I thought for sure he was going to bump me.  He was so close I could see his teeth.  His girlfriend or wife was freaking out.  

Coming into Guanajuato we drove directly to the Centro Historico.  Wow, what a great place.  We found a parking spot, there are many free that you can find right away.  The tunnel system that runs under the city can be confusing and you lose your GPS signal.  After parking we started walking and the first stop was the first church we crossed paths with.

Iglesia de la Compañia

Off we went walking!

The theater of the City is under renovation.

A ride on the cable car or teleferico.  Here they call it funicular!  15 pesos each way for seniors.

On the top of the teleferico is a huge statue dedicated to Pipila.  There is also a statue of Pipila in the intersection of the libramiento and Ancha San Antonio in San Miguel de Allende.  During the initial insurgency for Independence, It is said that Pipila carried a huge stone on his back to protect him from and bullets as he set the main gates of the fort on fire where Spanish soldiers were held up with their silver.  Pipila worked in the silver mines and later died there from gases that had accumulated.

Looking up at Pipila at night.

One of many callejones in Guanajuato where people take tours or callejoneadas, learn a bit of history, and sip on tequila.

Our Airbnb is located about 15 minutes by car from the center of town.  We would have difficulty finding a safe 24-hour parking spot and if we did it would be more expensive.  Off we go today to a museum, a turibus ride, and hopefully to see the mummies.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

It Has Been Written Before And It Follows The Recipe

The first order of business was to watch foreign investment pull out of the country based on fears of previous experiences with socialist dictatorships.  The super-peso is gone and we have seen the spiral effect of announcing the win of a socialist candidate.  

The chart for today looks great if you have dollars.  Those who benefit are tourists, ex-pats, and Mexicans who receive remittances from the U.S.  Exchange rate fluctuations affect a country's economy because they impact international trade. When the peso's value appreciates, that discourages exports — because Mexican goods cost more than they used to — and increases the demand for imports, which are now less costly.  Mexicans will be those who suffer from appreciation of the peso.

What puzzles most of us in the opposition is why people would vote for a president and a party that has aligned itself with Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and others.  Can't people see the damage that those leaders have done to their countries, people, and economies?

The recipe for dictatorship is being followed to a tee.  We will see what happens next while the constitution takes a beating and receives up to 18 new reforms.  They might as well rewrite it, well, that's what they are doing.

We've been in San Miguel de Allende since last Friday.  The weather has been hot but not like it is in Monterrey.  The nights are windy and the temperature drops cooling the house down quite well.  We have two box fans we use to bring in air but at night it isn't needed.  I had to cover up last night.  

We're leaving tomorrow for a few days in Guanajuato.  Believe it or not, we only know the city from work-related trips.  I booked two nights in a beautiful house in a gated neighborhood at an excellent price.  We are anxious to get on the road.

Our friend and yours, Les Pearson, had a knee replacement.  We live just five blocks from his house so we offered to give him a hand when needed, running a few simple errands and taking him to his doctor.  He is recovering nicely.  Today he had his stitches out and is walking quite well.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Today I Was Found Guilty In A Mexican Court Of Law

That's right.  The judge in her robe and a court reporter.  She asked me how I pled and I said guilty with exception.  After I explained my case she said,   "You have never had a citation for any driving infraction or criminal activity.  However, we are here to protect the citizenry of San Pedro Garza Garcia.  You grossly violated the law by exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 km and will have to pay the price.  I sentence you to a 1600 peso fine or community service and a reduced fine of 38 pesos".  

She asked me if I had anything to say and of course I did 😎  I said that the ticket was handwritten.  Why aren't there handheld terminals to check the license and infraction record?  If I have such a perfect record and the officer could see that he could issue me a warning.  Also, I am a senior citizen and you have no discounts for seniors on a pension.  She said, "Well we aren't quite there yet".  I said, "This is San Pedro Garza Garcia, the richest municipality in Mexico".  She shook her head, picked up the gavel hit the desk, and said, "Case closed".

I chose community service for my infraction of exceeding the speed limit.  Off I went to watch a 20-minute video on driver safety and take a 10-question test.  Obviously, I passed.  The video is off on many points and I may send a letter to the editor of the El Norte newspaper (not the first time).

I was at the U.S. Consulate prior to that.  More than an estimated 500 Mexicans seeking work visas.  It's a daily thing.  It took about a 2.5 hour wait before I was finished but my passport will be printed in Guadalajara and sent to me via DHL in a few weeks.  I could write a diatribe on the cases I saw and the people I talked to.  One couple is from Venezuela, and lives in Eagle Pass, Tx. but have their children born in Mexico.  The hospitals and care are better in Mexico he says.  He says they will never return to Venezuela and he sees Mexico heading in the same direction.  Very interesting guy.  

He has a small import/export company and he says it works two ways; the long and tedious method that can drag out to weeks or pay the military in charge of the aduana and things will be done in an hour.  He says he's never in a hurry and can wait. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

With The Money, Dances The Dog

Con el dinero, baila el perro!  With the money, dances the dog!  That's exactly how the Mexican elections went.  Not only were the social programs put in place to give, yes give, money to the population to win them over, but in March 2024 just months before the election, the president offered double the money saying that with elections they would not be able to pay out money to the people because of constitutional restrictions.  Double money guarantees votes.  

In fact, in one of the president's two-and-a-half-hour morning indoctrination, he stated and I quote, "The strategy to win the elections is to give the poor people money.  Because after receiving the money, they will vote for you".  You may be wondering why he was able to get away with saying that; 1) the press has been squashed and the public fed that the press is "all" liars, and 2) who can watch his morning tirades if they are busy working, 3) most Mexicans don't have sufficient education to be able to understand what he says, and that is not an insult.  The average educational level in Mexico is less than secondary school.  Would Bob the Builder be interested in watching something educational after hammering nails all day?

Interestingly, minutes after announcing her presidency, Sheinbaum (the new Mexican president) was congratulated in person by Evo Morales, ex-president of Bolivia taken out of office for his socialist/communist reign, and Alberto Fernandez another socialist both who had destroyed their countries and their economies.  

So here we are, and in the next year, we will see the country's direction.   Trump will win in the U.S. which will be the beginning of the end for Mexico/U.S. relations.  Border walls will be created, and Mexico will begin to close its borders to trade and immigration.  We will follow the same pattern as Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Cuba.   This will take years and I am sure that I will be in the twilight of my life. 

Many say that Cuba suffers because of embargos created by the U.S.  No longer true.  The EU, China, and Russia are Cuban trading partners.  The issue is that Cuba no longer has anything to offer in terms of trade.  They produce nothing and the Cubans live hand to mouth and tourists do more damage than good visiting the country.  It leads the people on a very fine thread but never really feeds, clothes or helps them out of their misery.  

We will see a decrease in the middle class which grew exponentially in the last 35 years.  Yes, poverty decreased by 2% in the last six years but only because they were given a stipend which raised them to the line just above extreme poverty.  Without that, and no further investment in education, they will surely fall back into the abyss.  If people believe there is an issue with illegal immigration into the U.S., hold your horses.  Venezuela has lost half of its population which fled to the U.S. and other countries because of Chavez/Maduro and their socialist regimes.  

Mexico is now paying Venezuelans stuck in Mexico $110 U.S. per month for six months, to help them return to their country.  At the same time, Venezuela's inflation rate has been reduced from 350,000% to 75% through one significant change.  Madura is slowly returning to a capitalistic economy and has stopped nationalizing companies and raping them of their capital, employees, and real estate.  You can only take so much before you run out of cash. 

End of the story and hopefully not the end of Mexico.

BTW, the peso is already weakening as I write.  Need I say more.  So long super peso!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Today Is The Day - Passport Time - Leaving Town

This guy did his part and voted at 8 a.m. this morning.  We checked out the location yesterday as it had changed since the last election.  Bad idea, people probably need help finding the place.  The Google maps is not correct and sent us to a dirt road.  Was this an attempt to keep people from voting?  Long lines, lack of organization and a lot of voters complaining.

These are the final numbers of candidates who have been killed since the fall of 2023.  As you can see the majority are from the president's party.  They have all been murdered by the cartels.  People remind me of how safe Mexico is.  Heads in the sand.  Many voting places in Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan, Guanajuato, and Colima have been either closed or moved to other towns because of cartel threats and takeovers.

We'll know late tonight who the winner is.  If MORENA wins, could some of you offer me posada until I can get relocated after deportation?  I do good yard work and housekeeping 😎

This Wednesday I have an appointment with the U.S. Consulate to renew my passport.  Their website is very confusing.  One part was not clear at all.  After the appointment, I have to go to a designated DHL location and buy one of their envelopes.  And then?  So I sent a mail to the consulate hoping they would answer soon and they did.  I pay for the envelope and DHL will take it to the consulate when my new passport is ready.  They say it is two to three weeks, let's hope so.  We need to get out of this heat.  Destination is unknown at this time.

Even though the daytime temperatures are not much different in San Miguel de Allende the evenings cool off to about 16C.  Sleeping will be better and we will only stay for a short while.  Our friend and yours, Les, had his knee replacement surgery and we will be there if he needs something or a ride for a doctor's visit.  Very few people in SMA have air conditioning and the elderly are suffering quite a bit. 

 The SUV is repaired and running well.  New A/C and a repaired transmission leak.   I took the VW in the day we picked up the Durango to have it inspected.  It received a tune-up up and everything else checked out just fine so we will be good to go on Thursday or Friday.