Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Message Of Hope CDMX

Things are really coming together.   Even at my school we have formed an official collection center.  We're going to survive this.  After only 30 hours into the earthquake, thousands of volunteers have come together in CDMX to move rubble bucket by bucket, make sandwiches, form collection centers, distribute water, canned goods, hardhats, gloves and vests.  Companies have donated the use of heavy equipment, fuel, generators.  Truly pulling together.

The latest message from my friend and coworker in Mexico City, very emotional to read:

Afortunadamente, los mexicanos hemos sido mucho más contundentes que el sismo de ayer. Docenas de miles de personas se movilizan, se empieza a hablar de los lugares donde ya no se necesita ayuda. La ciudad está invadida de gente con casco y pala, jóvenes repartiendo víveres en sus bicicletas y automóviles, y mesas dispuestas con agua y alimentos preparados que han aparecido por todos lados.
En algún rincón de nuestra alma colectiva guardábamos una vasta reserva de compasión que ahora nos desvivimos por vaciar. 

Fortunately, as Mexicans, we have been much stronger than yesterday's earthquake.  Tens of thousands of people have mobilized, they have begun to talk about places that don't need help.  The city has been invaded by people with hardhats and shovels, young people handing out food on their bikes and from their cars, tables covered with water and prepared food that has appeared miraculously from all sides.

In some part of our collective souls, we have kept a vast reserve of compassion that we are will now do our utmost to let out. 

As I stated on a forum, let's not make this a "woe is me" Mexico issue.  Mexico is strong, able and willing to pull together to overcome this natural disaster.

Looking back to 1985, The event caused between three and four billion USD in damage as 412 buildings collapsed and another 3,124 were seriously damaged with an official loss of life at 5000 when in reality it was in the range of 25,000.  With social media and internet you can't hide the truth as easily anymore.  This time it was 40 buildings and we are now at 300 dead.  Not to diminish life, but we are much further advanced now than before.  

We are in the month of patriotism.  Viva Mexico!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Messages From CDMX and The Earthquake

As you all know, Mexico was hit with another earthquake this time covering six states including the Ciudad de Mexico.  I've been glued to the tele all afternoon and have received messages from friends and coworkers there.  Here is one:

La escena en la Ciudad de México. Hay gente que lleva horas caminando a sus casas, y no encuentra donde comprar comida o usar un baño porque todo está cerrado. El ruido más común, las sirenas y los helicópteros. Socavones y edificios colapsados han hecho que cierren varias vialidades importantes. Muchas personas han salido a ofrecer ayuda: Dirigen el tráfico, regalan botellas de agua o comida, llaman a las estaciones de radio para avisar de edificios dañados y el estátus de los hospitales. Todos, absolutamente todos, transformados por el temblor.
Qué frágiles las ficciones que componen la paz de nuestras vidas. Colapsan con solo unos segundos de vislumbrar la muerte. Repararlas realmente puede tomar incontables días.
The current scene in Mexico City.  It is taking people hours to walk to their houses, the streets, traffic, public transport are paralyzed.   You cannot find anything to eat or drink because every shop is closed and there are no bathrooms.  The most common sounds are sirens and helicopters.  Sinkholes and collapsed buildings have closed major arteries.  A lot of people are outside offering help and forming lines to remove rubble and search for people.  They are directing traffic, giving away water and food to people working to excavate and calling radio stations to give more details on collapsed buildings and hospital status.  Everything, absolutely everything hass been affected by the earthquakes.

How fragile are the stories that make up our lives.  Collapsed in just seconds of death.  To repair the damage and return to normal will take endless days.  

A good friend from Canada who lives in CDMX sent these pictures of his two dogs and his apartment building.  He said they had just attended an earthquake drill an hour before as if they knew something was coming.  He is reporting from a nearby Starbucks but is unsure where he will spend the night as he cannot return to his building until it has been inspected.

Out of 17,000 buildings only 29 collapsed.  You can see what great work the Mexican government has done since the big quake of 1985 when tens of thousands lost their lives.   The new structures are built to code and older buildings before 1985 have all been steel reinforced.  

Let's hope there aren't more replicas this week.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Democracy and Blogs

To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. 
Louis L'Amour

I've noticed over the last couple of years, a trend in blogging.   It used to be that a blog was a place for someone to share their life, their ideologies and to also allow others to share in those thoughts.   The new trend I've seen is to 1) approve comments before they are posted or 2) at the click of a button delete a comment that may not sit well with the writer or blog owner.   YouTubers have also done the same now by disabling the comments section of their vlog posts. 

That's a real shame as it takes away from the writer and the reader.   I love sharing comments and I let Blogger tell me when there is a comment that may not be appropriate.  The only comments that I do delete are advertising.   I could let them run but I doubt readers are interested in sexual toys, condoms, condominiums and webpage builder news.   

As for comments in general, I love a little public tete-a-tete, a bit of a rumble, a little controversy.  It's good for the spirit, the soul and it opens the writer's eyes to things they may not have seen or discovered.

On this blog, feel free to let'er rip, as they say, and write what you want.  Speak your mind.

Regarding other matters, I received an email today alerting me to a credit card breach.   I called immediately only to find out that my card number had been used in Malaysia, Thailand and Zimbabwe.   It was cancelled and a new card is on the way.  Only problem being is they don't send cards to international destinations and they may not send it to a bank branch in Texas which presents a major problem for me.  I need that card for my trip next Sunday to Dallas where I will work for three days.  Hmm.  Let's see what happens.

We spent last night with family and friends celebrating Mexican Independence.  It was a fun time had by all and ate some real homemade goodies such as pozole, enchiladas, tostadas, and of course a delicious cake.  You may have seen some of the pics on Facebook.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Finally, My Time Of Year

With the changes in the last few weeks; hurricanes, earthquakes, climate change, etc., the weather has changed in my favor.  This is my favorite season, fall, and also winter and spring.  The weather is so good even I don't want to get up.  

With this weather I can now use the oven and it helps in the evening to warm things up a bit.  I'm sure for most of you, my cool, is your hot.   

I'm back to making bread and this first loaf turned out pretty good.  No oil, milk, butter, just whole flour, yeast and some water.   I did add one teaspoon of honey to get the yeast working well.  Next is some banana bread, and I want to try potato bread as well.   

This guy turns 18 years old this month.  Still spry, jumping, playing and chasing things in the yard.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

That Was "Suite"

I was invited to speak to parents at a private Catholic school in Ciudad Juarez this week.  The titile was, "Bilingualism In My School".  I was told in advance that I would only have 45 minutes but I extended it to a little over an hour.  I guess they really wanted me to speak at their school.  I arrived to the hotel and the front desk called a bellman and said, "please show Mr. Bauer to our master suite".     I arrived in the afternoon just after 1 p.m. and left the next morning at 8 a.m.   Fun trip, great people and they want me back!

Sounds cool, doesn't it?  Not really.  I'm just about through with all of this.  The pay is good, the strokes are always welcome.  In the end,  I'd rather be rving somewhere sitting under the trees with smell of pine, chirping birds and wildlife and watching the sun come up and go down with the stars above me before I turn in.

Ciudad Juarez has come a long way in the last 10 years.  It's safe at night, the streets are clean and the avenues wide.  New housing is everywhere and their not typical cheap, tiny houses.  This is a shot of the Mormon Temple and the surrounding neighborhood.   There are many now.

Lots of gated communities, new strip malls, restaurants, car dealerships, and private schools.

Did I mention that the house in San Antonio is up for sale?   I've notified the tenants and we sign the contract on November 1st.  Looks like we're making some changes.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Thinking About Going To A Vlog

Yes, my blog seems to get dry when we're not on the road.  I have lots to say but many of my readers are not into politics, religion or sex (I don't mean the act, I mean all that goes around it).   I'm a natural guy and believe all that we do is driven by Mother Nature not some imaginary figure that lives in the clouds.

With a Vlog I can ramble all I want and there is always someone to listen.  There are lots of Americans, Canadians and even Mexicans who would enjoy learning more about living in Mexico and boondocking versus only rving in Mexico and using rv parks.  I have nothing against it but we don't have a 45 footer nor do we need to have FHUs.   I find so much misinformation regarding Mexico, rving, and living here.   In most cases, I find information that is based on a short superficial visit or hearsay.   If you've only traveled to Puerto Peñasco and stayed in a classy rv resort and drove around Guaymas your experience is very limited and cannot base Mexico on that.

I might lose a few readers but at the same time pick up a lot more while I attempt to spread my word.  This won't happen in the next week as I need to work on the project.  Should I decide to do it, I'll maintain the blog but with reference to the Vlog on YouTube.  Just like here, you can skip through it if something doesn't interest you or go directly to the good parts.   Something tells me there is a big adventure coming up sometime in December that could last a few months.  Wait and see.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Chihuahua - Even Time For Sightseeing

Layover in Monterrey dreaming of my escape home!

It was definitely a long week but very productive.   I worked in several schools as well as an event in a hotel that included three sessions.   Lots of flights and even one that brought me home to Monterrey only to have it be a stopover on my way to Queretaro.  That was weird.  When I get to the Monterrey airport I'm ready to pay the parking and head home.   While I was waiting I thought about the car sitting there in the long-term parking and I was just 300 meters away.  I was ready to jump ship and that was only on Wednesday night.  

In Chihuahua this week, it is all about helping teachers prepare for the new school year.  I had to assure that they had all of their resource materials, online platform licenses and had some idea of how to write their lesson plans.   A good part of it was getting them to relax understand this how we do things in education.  Some schools were a complete mess as they were remodeling and others, such as those run by religious orders (nuns), were tip-top and ready to roll.  

Throughout all of this my coworker in Chihuahua was a great tour guide and host.   On Tuesday we had an event in Delicias which is about an hour from Chihuahua.   It was raining hard when we arrived and he called ahead so that the guard would meet me at the car with an umbrella.   Great school, great teachers and believe it or not, two of them had spent many years as children growing up in Kansas City.  That was a first for me.   

Spill over at Presa de las Virgenes, Rosales, Chih.

Presa de las Virgenes, Rosales, Chih.

The hills of Chihuahua 

After, we took a drive to Presa de las Virgines in Rosales about 20 minutes outside Delicias.  We had had some heavy rains and the lake was full not to mention the spillover.   It is a great route to take for boondockers heading to Parral de Hidalgo.   Excellent two-lane road that winds up through rolling hills.   At the presa, there are places to boondock that are secure.  Obviously, on weekends and holidays the place is packed with boats, ski doos and fishermen.   We can add that to the list of places.

Finishing early on Wednesday, my coworker took me out for a great shrimp lunch, a la diabla.  He said he had a surprise for me after we finished our lunch and wouldn't tell me.   Big surprise.  We visited the quinta of Pancho Villa which is near the downtown area.   It is now a federal monument and managed by the military.   The house is as original as it was when Pancho's wife passed away in 1981.   There is an underground tunnel that takes you down to the main plaza downtown and it was used on several occasions by Villa riding on horseback.  

I'm not a fan of the Mexican Revolution.  I think it is what has put us in the position we are in today, or I should say finally working our way out of.  I'm not an historian but I am a fan of history and reading about it.   As stated before, over 200 revolutions worldwide in the last 300 years and only three were of any true value or change.   The Mexican Revolution brought about the nationalization of banks, oil companies and factories and the rise of unions that today keep the members poor while the leaders suck up all the wealth.   As you can see with Pemex, all that is imploding and we are seeing change.   Take much care with MORENA (Movimiento Regeneracion Nacional) which is a socialist party gaining ground in Mexico under the guise of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), an ally and follower of Castro, Chavez and Maduro.   Good thing Bernie didn't win as he would have fueled the fire here in Mexico.   I digress. 

The history of Pancho Villa is very interesting and most of all it is really a part of modern history that we can feel, touch and see.   His wife (one of many but the one who represented him after his death and kept his patrimony) was quite a celebrity with U.S. actors, politicians and presidents, always on the front pages and in the news.  

This hotel in Celaya is near three Japanese-owned factories.  Many Japanese work here off and on.  The hotel prepares a special breakfast buffet for them along as well as the Mexican buffet.  

Ending up at my hotel in Queretaro after 12:30 a.m., I was able to get some rest before work.  Soon after that, I was whisked off to Celeya which is not a pretty town.   On this trip, we were on a budget and that included budget hotels.   I stayed in City Express but to my surprise, they are on a campaign to upgrade their hotels to suites.   Clean lines, simple but very well done.   I wasn't happy at first with my reservations but soon found out they were comfortable.  Nothing worse though than having to put on a pair of pants at 5:30 in the morning to go to the lobby for coffee.  Arghhh!

Home now and all is well.  It appears I'll be traveling quite a bit this fall in the U.S. working in high schools and my trip to South America.