Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Who are these people destroying the world with absolutely no conscience?

Half of the world's wealth is controlled by 85 persons.  Can you believe that?  And they are getting richer every day.  They have bought politicians, created wars, changed laws for themselves, and control the world's financial system.  With their greed, no wonder our world is in the state it is.

They control most of the important companies in the world, and their bottom line is driven by profits - and profits only.  They don't care about the environment, fairness, compassion or anything else that matters to normal people.  They only care about power and greed.

Are these people aliens, or just raised without morals?  Did any of them actually earn their wealth, or was is passed down from the previous generation?  How did they get this way?  How can they be stopped before they destroy the world?

Friday, April 25, 2014

I have a long term memory for companies that have ticked me off...

It all started with The Bay about 40 years ago.  Yes, that's right, I haven't shopped at the Bay for 40 years.  Not only that, but I have probably told my 'Bay' story to at least 100 people since the time of the incident.  I won't go into details, but suffice to say, the Bay's credit department refused to allow me to use my credit card to buy a $20.00 pair of jeans minutes after I had spent $3,000.00 cash on a mink coat for my wife for Christmas.

I will probably never buy anything in the Bay again, but now I have a new target on my list.  It is a little business called 'LG'.  I purchased a new LG cell phone for my daughter a few years ago, and as I watched her use the touch screen to enter a text (it was one of the first touch screen cell phones at the time), the screen immediately almost completely cracked.  The phone wasn't more than a week old.

We went to our local provider, Telus, and they instructed us that it was now a warranty issue and we would have to deal directly with LG.  They gave us a toll-free number, and we immediately called.  We were told by a very rude employee that we must have damaged the phone ourselves, and they would not honor any kind of warranty at all.  Unfortunately the telephone still worked somewhat, so my daughter used the telephone in it's broken state for another year.

After that, she wanted another model of LG cell phone, but no, I refused to buy another phone from them.  I have also refused to buy any other electronic product from them.

They may not be the only company out there that doesn't back up the products they sell, but they are one that has treated me badly.  I will never buy an LG product again.  It is weird though, they are everywhere down here in Mexico.  Oh well, I've told my new landlord here just what I think about them.  Up yours LG.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Canada allowing foreign workers into the Country to replace Canadian workers...

McDonald's has been in the new recently in Canada regarding this topic.  Now it is being discovered that other businesses and corporations are being investigated for the same thing.  Of course all of them are screaming that they followed all of the rules, but what exactly are the rules?

The first rule is "Canadians must always be first in line for available jobs".  God, it's just too easy to get around this policy.  Just lower the desirability of the job so low that no Canadians will want the position, and you have opened the door to foreign workers.

The other basic rules are simply that the business is in business to provide a service in Canada and that they will employ people fairly and follow Canadian employment rules.  Nothing really specific.  They have made it extremely easy to replace Canadian workers with foreign workers.   Shame on you Government of Canada.

McDonald's, being a large multi-national corporation, has taken this program and bending the rules to the next level.  They are not only reducing long term Canadian employees salaries, overtime availability and promotion abilities;  they are importing employees from third world countries promising them the world, and then forcing them to work and live almost like slaves.  Instead of being able to send money to their families back home, they are having to ask their poor families to send them financial help.

Because McDonald's appears in the forefront of this controversy, I would suspect that they were the corporation responsible for promoting this program to the Canadian Government and getting it pushed through.  Just my guess.  I think I'll boycott McDonald's, even thought I don't eat there often anyway.

If people keep letting unfeeling corporations, politicians and other greedy powerful people run our countries and lives based on their distorted priorities (money and power), the lower and middle classes of the world will continue to be abused.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mexican Men. How do their brains work anyway?

There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about legalizing marijuana.  This is happening in Canada (and British Columbia where I'm from) that I know of, and I'm sure, many other countries.  This discussion has now even reached as far south as Mexico.  You may ask, what does legalizing pot have to do with perverts?  Well let me explain.

A discussion on the pot topic was posted on Facebook here this weekend by a young Mexican gentleman.  His post was basically writing off the pot discussion as a waste of time, because he knew of other more important things that needed to be changed in Mexico.  I think this fellow may have been in his mid-twenties.

His suggestion was instead of all this talk about marijuana, we should be discussing the legalization of things much closer to the hearts of Mexican men.  And that is:  lowering the legal age from 18 years old to 16 years old.  Now I'm sure you can understand just what he was getting at.  On top of that, other males posted that they agreed wholeheartedly with his suggestion.

I have a daughter only five years older than this new proposed legal age, and my granddaughter is half way there already.  I don't know, but I think many of these Mexican men should start thinking with other parts of their anatomy.  Don't you?  I wonder if one day, after living here for a few years, I'll start thinking the same way?  Naaaaahhhhh.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter in Mexico.

Because Mexico is a Catholic country, Easter here is highly religious.  This is not to say that the neighborhood parties will continue every night all weekend (they actually started last night), and some of them may continue all night; like the one last night.  I went for my morning walk this morning, and the music was still blaring from one home down the street.

Tonight we will go to my landlord's Uncle and Aunt's house for dinner.  Uncle Pepe is dying of cancer and psoriasis of the liver, and this may be our last Easter together.  Hopefully not.  He was able to quit drinking (about a bottle of straight brandy a day), but is still smoking.  Gotta have at least one vice.

Easter is a sad time for me in some ways.  I now know that it is getting close to the time I have to return to Canada for five months.  My warm Mexican portion of the year is almost over.  I Skyped with my daughter last night, and she has one more final university exam next week, and then she is finished for the year.  Next September is the start of year four for her.  I have been helping her financially, and it will be nice to have some extra money in my account down the road.

One thing I am happy about though is that I'll be able to see all my children, grand children and other relatives and friends when I return Vancouver Island next month.  Also I have a lot of work to do to maintain my new yacht.  It will be a busy five months I'm sure.  Retired life is extremely busy sometimes.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morning Speed Walks in Mexico...

It's funny but now that I have been retired for almost three years, I find that I am looking after my health much better now.  Maybe it is because I have more time on my hands now, but deep down, I think it is strictly greed.  I am on a Government Pension, and it is guaranteed for life.  I want my life to be extremely long so I can get the most out of my pension plan.

I live on a cul de sac in Cuernavaca, and it is a very safe place to go for a morning walk.  I wake up at 7 AM every day, and I find that this is a peaceful time to take my walk, and the air is freshest at this time of the morning too.  Our neighborhood has a security gate at the entrance with 24 hour guards, so I feel well protected.

If I make one complete trip around the cul de sac, it is a walk of just about one and a half miles.  Just enough to work up a good sweat and get the old heart pumping for about 20 minutes or so.  I begin the walk with stretching exercises and finish it off with about two glasses of water.  While I'm cooling down after the walk, I think about my blog (and sometimes write one) and check my emails before getting into my morning of writing.

Not only may I receive my pension for many more years than planned, I am actually feeling healthier too.  Amazing.  Now some of the neighbors are starting to join me on my walks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm not a religious man, but is the Devil working on the Earth?

Mass murderers have been abounding over the past years, particularly in the USA, but also in other countries around the world.  They come in the guise of Presidents, Generals, and in some cases even religious leaders.  What kind of mind does it take to take someone elses life, and then feel absolutely no guilt over it?

Guns in many cases have made killing easier, but guns are the instrument, not the cause.  Lately there have been numerous murders in Canada.  Because gun laws are more stringent in my home country, murderers are using other handy objects - like knives.  To me this is almost as bad as murderers in Mexico using machetes.  They are knives too, just bigger.

In Canada recently, the murders are nothing but children or young adults.  What has driven them to perform these acts?  Why didn't anyone suspect they were having these thoughts?  I can understand how the victims didn't realize they were about to die because I believe they had absolutely no idea they were a target.  What a surprise to be sitting around with your friends having a couple of drinks and enjoying life; when all of a sudden a maniac thrusts a knife into your chest.  I can't imagine it.

My only thought is that there is something evil at work here.  If there is a God then there must be a Devil.  And these murderers cannot be doing it on their own.  Can they?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I feel sorry for stars today, particularly the young ones.

Generally I don't like to read the news about what all the movie and music stars are doing, but we are absolutely inundated with their daily stories.  Come on magazines and TV, they are really not that important.  I actually feel sorry for their lives being lived in a fishbowl.

Justin Bieber is a perfect example.  As far as I can see, he is too young and has not been prepared well enough for a life in the fast lane.  He is like a child drowning in a sea of popularity, and instead of throwing him a life ring, people throw him money.  Miley Cyrus is another good example of this.  What exactly have their parents done to prepare them for the lives they are now leading?  I can only guess.

Watching their antics in the news and on TV saddens me.  Was it their lack of upbringing that has made them act the way they are;  or did they totally ignore or rebel against their parents advice and decide to make their own life decisions?  Whatever the reason, they are definitely not the role models I want for my children and grandchildren.  However, I can use their actions to teach my family what NOT to do, and how NOT to act.

I hope the money they make is worth it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Money in Mexico...

Now that I am in my third winter in Mexico I am starting to learn a little about getting my money into the country.  I retired 3 years ago and my pension is automatically deposited into my CIBC account in Canada.  Sure I use my VISA here in Mexico to buy groceries, gas and other sundry items, but I always need cash too.

This year I became a Temporary Mexico Resident which allowed me to finally get a Mexican banking account.  I had a few choices, Bancomer, Santander, Banamex, Norte; but my landlord suggested Banamex.  I applied and received the premium Banamex checking account, and with a deposit of 20,000 pesos, there are no banking fees.  Also as my balance grows, I can transfer money online into an interest making investment account.

Because I have internet at the casa, transferring money is easy.  I established a Scotiabank account a few years ago, and having this account in Mexico is very convenient.  There are both Scotiabank and HSBC branches everywhere in Mexico, and although I cannot deposit to them here, they are handy to withdraw funds from - for free almost.

I watch the Canadian vs Mexican money market daily, and at the best opportunities, I withdraw funds from Scotiabank and deposit them to my Banamex account.  The dollar has been fluctuating quite a bit lately, but if I watch it closely, I can take advantage of a higher return on my money transfers.  Transferring from my CIBC account is easy online with their eTransfer system, and costs nothing at all for me.

If you plan on visiting Mexico regularly, and for over 6 months each winter, I would suggest applying for your Temporary Resident card at the Mexican Consulate in Canada before coming to Mexico next time, and then getting your bank account here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Veracruz, Mexico.

I can't believe I was sick all week and, even though I was given the opportunity to return to Veracruz one more time, I had to turn it down.  I didn't want to spend the weekend running for bathrooms if (you know what) hit.

My last visit was just after Christmas this past year, and I went with my daughter during New Years.  We were invited by a close friend of mine who's family live in Rinconada, about an hour or so out of Veracruz.  Even though Rinconada isn't on the coast, it had some of the best seafood I've ever eaten in Mexico.  My friend family not only own two restaurants in town, they also own a tequila factory - bonus.

Rinconada is a small community about half way between Puebla and Veracruz.  We had a fantastic visit there and New Years Eve was amazing.  The family set up a party area in the Tequila Factory, and guess what we drank.  I also brought a bottle of Captain Morgan's Rum and Coke, and shared with the other guests.  They even had karaoke and made me sing a Mexican love song.  One of the cousins, Sandra, had a crush on me and sang me a love song too.

Sandra was a big boned girl that drank, smoked and swore more than any woman I have ever met.  But for some reason she had a big crush on me, and it was obvious.  She had me on the run all night (away from her) and I called her my ton of love.  Anyway, the family tradition is to bring in the New Year with a straw-stuffed man - complete with wide-brimmed hat.  Just before midnight, a special song is played, and everyone takes turns dancing with the dummy.

After the dancing is over and New Years has entered, the dummy is taken outside and burned.  It has also previously been filled with fireworks, and as it burned it also exploded from time to time.  I've never heard of this tradition before, but after a few tequila's, it was quite fun.

We spent a couple more days exploring Veracruz and a couple of the nearby beaches.  Luckily I had bought a travel cooler on a previous Mexican trip, and we filled it with beer and headed to the beach area.  We found a place to park near the beach and it was only 250 pesos, or free if you bought lunch at their beach restaruant.  Horacio had a shrimp cocktail for about the same price, so our parking was free - sort of.  It was a nice, but windy, day and our restaurant was located right where the river met the ocean.  We got flooded out a few times, but had a great time.

We went to another seafood restaurant for brunch and I had some coconut prawns to die for.  Horacio and my daughter had a local fish meal with a fantastic sauce.  Sorry I can't remember the name of it.  We finished off the day with a tour of the Veracruz malacon (waterfront) and coffee at La Parroquia, a famous local coffee shop.  The coffee was excellent, and watching them pour it four you was amazing.  I was so impressed that I bought a pound to take home, but this was a mistake.  Once home, I found the packaged coffee very weak and tasteless.  I guess you have to experience La Parroquia in Veracruz only.

We went to the beach on one more occasion with the cousins, and found a free parking area where it appeared, the entire community went.  Everyone had their quads on the beach, and we got a quick tour of the nearby dunes on our quad.  It was pretty amazing.  This day was again finished off with coffee at La Parroquia, and a little local Veracruz shopping for my daughter.  She would be returning to Canada soon, and had some gifts to buy.  While shopping, I found a cigar import store, and of course had to buy a few Cohiba's.

Some may describe Veracruz as an industrial ocean city, but I found it quite charming in many ways.  It did have a large port area, but it was also developing in other directions along the waterfront, and resorts were popping up all over the place.  I can see it one day being a very nice tourist destination.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mexican Car Wash anyone?

Now that I am a Mexican driver, I have to learn how to keep my car clean.  There is something about Mexico that just gets cars dirty - almost daily.  There must be a lot of dust in the air that I am so used to now I don't even notice it now.

And when it rains, which is almost never, instead of cleaning your car like Canada or the USA, the car actually seems to get dirtier.  Hence the car wash (auto lavado).  This should be plural because there are hundreds of them in Cuernavaca alone.  Anywhere there is room to park a few cars, and water is available, you may just find a car wash.

These guys are cheap too.  A typical car wash, which includes a full wash, vacuum, dash and window cleaning inside and a tire polish is 40 pesos.  The process takes almost a full hour, and usually we give the worker a 5 peso tip.  The total - about $4.00 Cdn.

Oh and did I mention, these are not drive-through car washes, it is all done by hand.  It was only recently that our favorite car wash bought a power washer to use in the first part of the process.  The car keys are given to the manager and when they are ready for your car, one of the employees slowly drives your car into position in front of a huge water tank.  These are usually young kids, or at least people that obviously don't drive, and watching them back up is hilarious.

Anyway the car is first given a complete spray with the power washer to get all the leaves and dirt our of the cracks and behind the hood, trunk and tires.  Then the worker takes his large towel and gets it soapy, and using two arms, goes over the entire car with soapy water.  Then the rinse.  Buckets of water are thrown onto the car, sometimes from as far away as 15 feet to get all the soap off.  These guys have good aim.

Then the car is usually backed straight (did I say straight, no way, more like a zig-zag) into another area with the vacuum.  After it is parked, the worker goes over the entire outside of the car with a new towel to dry and polish it.  Now it is ready for a vacuum and dash cleaning.  After this a solution is applied to all the rubber around the doors and trunk.  Finally, this same solution is applied to the outside rubber of all the tires.  All done - and for only 40 pesos.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cancun at Spring Break (and any other time too)...

Two of my friends from Cuernavaca are students and just flew off to Cancun for Spring Break.  I'm kicking myself for not warning them about the abominable prices of taxis into the city from the airport.  These guys may act nice and smile a lot, but I think they are really sharks in human suits.

When I was in Cancun two years ago, I arrived walking on crutches, and I remember vividly it was a rainy evening.  Because I was trying to walk and drag my suitcase along with me, these taxi drivers had me hooked.  I had to use them.  Only it was me being used to the tune of $50.00 US.  Yes, you heard me right, fifty dollars for a 20 minute ride to my apartment near the Ferry Terminal.

Just a few hundred feet past the taxi area, and if your flight arrives at a decent hour, you can always catch a city bus for about, geez, the price of a city bus.  But on crutches, I was stuck.  To make matters worse, the driver had no clue where I was going.  We had rented an apartment at the Amara Cancun for a few months, and because it was a relatively new building, no one seemed to know where it was.

I was tired and mad and it was dark and rainy outside, but I had luckily looked up the apartments on Google and memorized the photos of what the twin buildings looked like.  I thought that if I could get the driver near the Ferry Terminal, I might be able to see the apartment building.  Luckily I was right, and we made it.

Taxis and buses around the city are the same as everywhere else in Mexico - cheap.  In town I found taxi prices even better than Cuernavaca.  And Cancun, what a beautiful little oasis.  There is nothing to describe the ocean colors in the bay, and Isla Mujeres is fantastic (especially the ferry ride at night).  Maybe next year I'll drive there with my new Mexican Driver Licence.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Haven't written a word in five days....

It's funny how a temperature of 103 F. or so for a couple of days throws your ability to focus on basically anything, off.  I know, this is a pretty poor excuse to not get the job done, but when I can't even get out of bed in the morning, it is darned hard to sit down at my laptop and write.

Having said this though, I must admit that most of my dreams during this illness still revolved around my stories and books.  It seems that whenever I daydream now, even when I'm not sick, I'm creating plots and developing my characters.  I guess this is a disease that writers have.  Instead of thinking of cute girls/guys or what we are going to do this weekend, we are caught up inside our stories and refining them over and over again in our minds.

This is probably why friendships at this period of my life are not at the top of my list of emotional requirements - even though I have numerous friends in both Canada and Mexico.  I seem to be doing just fine at the moment with the friends in my mind, thank you very much.  I hope this isn't disassociating me from my current friends though.  I'll have to ensure I don't block them out altogether.

I'm starting to feel more normal today and the fever is gone;  knock on wood.  Maybe I will actually get back in the saddle today or tomorrow.  Book #3 in my series is calling me.  The life of a writer is quite the juggling act  and difficult sometimes - oh, and don't forget to eat sometime during the day.

If I didn't have this blog, I wouldn't have written a thing all week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I could have sworn I was woken up this morning...

by a bird snoring outside my window.  Do birds snore?

I actually thought it might be a dream.  I have had a high fever and headache lately, so I thought it might be delirium or something like that.  But after I was sure that I was really awake, and was actually hearing what sounded like snoring, I knew I wasn't going crazy or imagining it.

It was a rhythmic sound just like regular snoring, but bird size.  Let me explain.  I live the winters in Mexico, and outside my bedroom window is a large palm tree.  The tree sprouts branches with tiny berries on it periodically, and these beautiful birds with yellow breasts love to feed on them.  I also think they spend the night sleeping in the tree to be near their food supply.

I got out of bed and went to the sliding glass window.  I sleep with the screen door only to allow an airflow through my room at night.  The noise of me waking up must have woken up the bird also, and the snoring immediately stopped.  I'll have to see if it happens again.

OK, I wrote this post a couple days ago and am almost over my illness.  i haven't heard any more birds snoring, but I'm staying vigilant.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Driving when you are tired..

My daughter just had one her friends die in a single car accident, and two others were injured.  There were no skid marks and the car ran directly into a metal lamp post.  It is thought that the driver and passengers were all asleep.  I believe they were trying to drive home (about 200 km) after a night at a concert.

Life is all about taking chances, but there are some odds that are just too high to take a chance on.  Drinking and driving is one of them.  Another is driving when you are extremely tired, unless you have a plan.  One of the passengers has to keep the driver awake.

There are so many dangers out there, and we have to be aware of them, analyse our chances of survival, and make our decision on whether or not to take a chance.  I used to be a working musician and remember numerous nights driving home at 3 or 4 in the morning.  There were times that I had to pull off the road and have a snooze, and other times that I miraculously made the trip.

My best advice to kids today is not to feel invincible, but to make sound decisions based on staying alive.  You only have one life so don't throw it away.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Winston Blackmore in Bountiful, near Creston BC...

I am writing a series of books about growing up in northern Idaho and southeastern BC, and believe it or not, I was born in Creston, BC.  And even more interesting, one of my later stories will be including a small tidbit about the Blackmore family in Creston.  I knew some of them.

So to let the cat out of the bag prematurely, what I learned about the Blackmore family was that they had a kind of hillbilly attitude and lived out near Wynndel and didn't come into town much.  I had personal contact with Dean Blackmore on a few occasions, but of course at the time, I and my friends didn't realize that they were a family of polygamists.

Our impressions of them, being teenagers, was that they were all a bunch of bullies.  They bullied their way everywhere they went in town.  They had this inherent attitude that they were better than everyone else, and now I realize that they actually seemed to believe they were gods or at least going to be one day.  I disagree, I think they are simply bullies that bully everyone around them, particularly their wive(s) and children.

I would actually compare them to the fundamentalist groups like the Taliban in many ways, but unfortunately they are either Canadian or American citizens; so their actions are apparently accepted on our own countries soil.  I am amazed at what they can get away with here, but don't be a Muslim and try it, you'll get bombed (and I don't mean drunk).  Of course the Taliban were much worse - or were they?  Domination and subjugation of women, raping young underage girls (sorry, marrying them with their parents consent, yeah really), human trafficking across international borders, slavery.  Okay I guess they may be as bad as the Taliban.

My cousin and I used to play pool after school at our local pool hall.  Dean was five or six years our senior, and a good foot taller than us.  He had probably received what little schooling he was to get by that time, and by his mental attitude, I would consider him to have the mind of a very big child at best.

He used to go around the pool hall and tap all the smaller kids on the top of the head with the tip of his pool cue.  He did this to my cousin a few times laughing all the time, and well, you'll have to read the book in a year or two to find out what happened.  Let's just say he never did this again, to anyone.

Now that I know that his father figure was also probably a bully, you don't have to go far to realize where the Blackmore children got it from.  Take that training and apply it to your wives and children, and then use your faith as a cover for this abomination, you have a perfect cover (in Canada, behind the charter of rights and freedoms).  Unfortunately they believe one day they'll be gods - but I consider them to be following a much less godly word; and 'Black' is definitely the color they remind me of.

Maybe they should be sent to Afghanistan to practice their religion there - then someone might do something about it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are all writers introverts, or just a little different????

I can't speak for all of us, but I am definitely not one, or at least most of the time I think. It's like saying all blondes are dumb or all Mexicans like to fiesta (well, okay maybe they do all like to party).  I have always had many friends, I've been in numerous relationships, I've played bass guitar in a multitude of bands;  but I must admit that since I've began my new career as a writer, I am acting a bit more introverted now than in my extroverted past.

I wonder if I am perhaps a closet introvert, and this is my coming out.  If feeling comfortable spending hours each day with my own thoughts, with only a few friends in the garden out behind my apartment to spend my time with (two iguanas, three squirrels and the occasional tlacuche), then I'm an introvert.  I have discovered that I am actually quite happy in my own thoughts, and don't need as much outside stimulation as I used to.

Maybe it is just a part of being single and/or getting older.  I no longer seem to need another person to fulfill me or make me happy.  I find that I can do that all by myself.  Of course this may have something to do with living in sunny Mexico for seven months a year, and spending the remaining five summer months living on my yacht in Canada.  Nothing too depressing about that.

In conclusion, I think writers have to be introverts while they are writing, and can be whatever they want after that.  That's what I think.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Photo of Miley Cyrus kissing her dog....

I saw a photo of her kissing her recently deceased puppy yesterday, and it reminded me of some of my friends that do the same thing.  I'm sorry, but this absolutely disgusts me.  I love animals (I've had numerous pets) and I can understand that many people think of their animals/pets as family;  but come on people, cats and dogs clean themselves by licking their butts.  And dogs sniff other dogs butts when they meet them.  Gross.

You are really going to let a dog or cat kiss you on the mouth after cleaning their private parts?  I guess if you think of them as family, that somehow makes it alright - you know, their germs are my germs.  But what if your child was able to clean themselves in the same manner?  Would you let them kiss you on the lips right after?  Not me.

I'm sorry you lost your loved pet Miley, but please, no more photos of kissing animals.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

All Mexicans are definitely NOT lazy...

Anyone that has spent any amount of time in Mexico, you know, more than a week at an all inclusive resort, knows this for a fact.  In my third winter in Mexico I have been able to experience not only the beautiful weather, but have been able to observe the Mexican people working at their various jobs.

I have noticed that the weather here, even throughout the winter season, can be extremely hot sometimes.  For example, it is now the beginning of April, and the weather here in central Mexico has been in the high 30's for over a month.  I don't know if you can appreciate it, but working outdoors in weather this hot can be very difficult.  No wonder I like my beers in the afternoons -- and I'm only spending my mornings inside writing.  I am in a cool area of my casa, with a fan going all day and the doors and windows open.  If I had air conditioning, it would be running full time too.

Watching highways workers, street vendors and various other outdoor workers makes me sweat just looking at them.  I can't even imagine how they do it during the summer months.  Try working on the railroad or highway crews in Canada or the USA in temperatures over 38 C, and I think you will move pretty slow yourself.

Because Mexico is still a labor intensive country, not many of the outside workers get to perform their jobs in nice air-conditioned vehicles.  Along any stretch of hot-as-hell highway, you may see as many as a hundred men working and sweating with shovels, picks, brooms and a variety of other implements.  They are moving very slow, and I can see why.  Driving by in our cool vehicles, I do not envy them at all, and really can't appreciate how hot it is out there.

Not only are they almost killing themselves doing these difficult jobs, they are doing it for a measly few pesos a day.  I'm amazed they can even afford to buy a few beers at the end of the day, but if I was them, I'd probably spend my entire days pay on Dos Equis or other similar beverage.  Here's tipping my sombrero to them....

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Water in Mexico..

Okay, you shouldn't drink tap water, creek water, river water, lake water, or any untreated water in Mexico.  I buy 5 gallon plastic containers of water for both drinking and brushing my teeth.  But not only is water for drinking, it is for watering lawns, supplying homes with water to do dishes, wash your hands and a multitude of other uses.

The house I live in was previously just that, a private home.  My landlord, Raul, and his mother and business partner, have converted their home into 10 separate apartments.  The house sits on a large lot with lawn in the front and back and numerous fruit trees scattered throughout the property.  The complex requires a lot of water to keep the vegetation green.

The rainy season in Cuernavaca runs from late May to September, and water is not an issue during this period.  But for the rest of the year, it doesn't take long for the grass to turn brown and the leaves to start falling off.  Raul and his mother water daily during these periods, and it is fun to watch them.  They actually do have a sprinkler, but seem to prefer to hold their finger on the end of the hose and water the entire yard that way.  I guess it gives them time to think of other things.

Their house was originally built with a 500 gallon cistern located under the cement near the kitchen.  Also on the roof of the house is a 500 gallon water tank.  Water comes from the city water supply (when the city decides to turn it on for the neighborhood) and starts filling up both the cistern and the water tank.  The cistern is basically an emergency water supply in case the water tank runs out.  They have a pump located outside the cistern to pump water to either the roof, or to a hose for watering the lawn.

Now that there are more than just one family living on the property, they have added two more 500 gallon water tanks to the roof.  Water management is now an almost daily chore for the landlords.  The cistern is now too small for all the occupants, and the cistern is definitely not large enough.  For example, Raul's uncle recently built a house for he and his wife in the city, and their cistern is 2,000 gallons, and they have two 500 gallon water tanks on their roof.

Why the water tanks on all of the roofs down here you ask?  Well the water is pumped to the roof, and gravity provides the pressure to the taps and showers below.  This is why there is not usually a lot of pressure coming from the taps in Mexico.  Having the water tanks on roofs also allows them to heat up the contents inside, and some Mexican homes don't even need a hot water tank because of this.

An interesting side note.  One day my water pressure in my bathroom tap started to decrease drastically.  Raul and I pulled it apart, and we couldn't believe what we found.  A gecko had somehow crawled into my water tank above and drowned because it couldn't get out.  It then was washed down through the pipes and into my bathroom tap.  Quite a surprise finding this in the workings of the tap.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bars in Cuernavaca, Mexico, be careful international students...

There was an article in the paper a few days ago explaining that the local universities were distributing leaflets to their international students.  They were warning them about some of the local hangouts that students like to attend on weekends.  Some of these bars are managed or have employees that are known criminals, and like to slip innocent young ladies drugged cocktails.

One of the worst places mentioned is called "El Bull".  Recently two young ladies were given free shooters from the waiters/bartenders.  One of them got extremely sick and ran to the washroom, and went home.  The other woke up in someone's apartment the next morning, and she had been raped.

It really upsets me in Mexico that all of these criminals get away with their crimes, in general, then they complain that tourism is decreasing and their incomes are going down.  Don't you think that if the Government actually protected international visitors, and prosecuted these predators and violators, that people might again want to visit this beautiful country and actually feel safe here.

I have said in the past that people visiting Mexico have to be aware of their surroundings to protect themselves while visiting here;  but there reaches a point where it is just not a good idea to visit here at all.  If the lawlessness continues much longer down here, tourism will be a distant memory, not one of Mexico's largest industries.

Here is a link to the article.  Please feel free to share, particularly if you have a child attending university in Cuernavaca.