Apr 29, 2006

Catemaco boycott

Mexico mistreats its Central & South American migrants more harshly than anything the US "Migra" ever considered.

Mexico for the past 100´s of years consistently has kissed the behind of its oligarchy monopoly of politics, economy and society to the detriment of the majority of its population living in abject poverty. Mexico abets the export of many of its people to the US to avoid facing the reality that its government in truth cannot serve its people. Mexico hungers for every dollar that its expatriates return to Mexico to sustain a dysfunctional economy with less growth than most third world countries.

SO NOW Mexico sides with the ongoing boycott of American products to protest proposed US immigration reforms.

Well, this week I will hold my own boycott in beautiful downtown Catemaco.


No more enchiladas, coctel de tegogolos, turnedos Azteca, mojarras a la Veracruzana, memelas, or tacos de nopal.

Instead I will eat only pizza, pasta and anything else Italian. Unfortunately that is my only non-Mexican choice in beautiful downtown Catemaco. But I hear an Argentian steak house will open soon in San Andres Tuxtla.

Apr 27, 2006

Catemaco water

Catemaco & Los Tuxtlas have more rainfall than most places in North America. Laguna Catemaco is the fourth or fifth largest fresh water reservoir in Mexico, depending on who does statistics. But Catemaco has a freshwater shortage. DUH?

I recently changed residence in beautiful downtown Catemaco, and installed a sprinkler system to water my miniature tropical forest. Promptly a local snitch complained to the water police and 5 of them showed up intending to dig up my yard and install a water meter. My partner blew them off with legalese. I just sat there dumbfounded, ogling my existing water meter, which works very well, installed in front of my porch. Now I am told there is a 500 peso fine to use a hose to pass water. I might as well just piss on my plants.

Catemaco has a water problem because it has not updated its well fields since considerable population growth and has economic problems, because of some ridiculous law that prohibits it from collecting its bills by turning off the water. Since most people know the water company cannot turn off the water, many do not pay their bill (Carlos Slim of Telmex should take over the installation. Within a week thousands would be dying of thirst).

And anyway the local manager seems to be is angry with me for using his colors to paint a stripe on my fence, next to what used to be a junkyard until I cleaned it up a little, and which below the grime read CMAS - Comisiones Municipales de Agua y Saneamiento. So, in order not to match my exact color, the poor bureaucrats had to buy a more expensive paint to refresh their logo. So now, I need a new meter, cannot use a hose, and if it were up to them, I would have to walk downtown to get a cup of water to make coffee.

Screw them. Next week, my well digger will dig 3 to 4 meters down, tap the Laguna Catemaco aquifer and permit to me to sprinkle anything within a 100 meter circumference, including any meter readers. That´s a lot better radius than my adopted male dog Bobbi can cover. Anyway, I´ll reserve him for the meter reader.

Catemaco Pollo

I had been building a home in beautiful uptown Catemaco for 2+ years and forced myself to stop because I had trouble walking my hillside terrain on the edge of Laguna Catemaco. It was a big job and employed many workers. I had been in construction for many years in another life and found my albañiles (construction workers) to be better or on par with anyone I ever worked with.

And that was after paying them only about 15% of my labor cost in the USA.

So, today, my last survivor from the original crews, whom I had converted into a maintenance gardener, advised me he is heading north. His cousins have work for him in Canada.

Since I pay this person well (at least 20% above the going rate), pay his insurance, which is unusual in Mexico, provide him with dozens of opportunities to earn extra money, allow him benefits of free cement, paint, any fruit he can pick, firewood, etc, - pay him a 15 day year end bonus, plus holidays, sick days, vacations, etc, plus use of my property for baccanalias - I began to think I´m not just a patron (boss, in Spanish), but also perhaps a little patronizing.

So, this extraordinarily hardworking man, who now has a tiny concrete house with gorgeous wooden windows just meters away from Laguna Catemaco, and 2 lovely children, a very accomodating wife who daily delivered his lunches, 2 cows, several small pieces of terrain, and a bicycle I bought for him after I drove over his old one - he now heads for Canada.
The pollero (people smuggler) that will take him to Canada will collect 25,000 Mexican pesos, around US 2,200.

So I told him Canada does not require visas of Mexicans, just a passport, and some reasonable responses at the immigration point in Canada. And I told him, a Mexican passport is obtainable within a few days, if you have a Mexican birth certificate and voter registration card and costs as little as 700 pesos for 1 year´s validity.

And I told him, excursion round trip fares from Mexico City to Toronto are in the neighborhood of US 600 dollars. (He needs to show a roundtrip ticket to fool the immigration officer).
And I estimated he will have to work for 3-4 months to pay for his trip there and back before sending 50 centavos to his family.

I guess, that´s where the "patronizing" aspect comes in play again. He would prefer to go the pollero way. Incidentally, the pollero does not guarantee work, the cousins do.

At least he is not as dumb as the son of an American friend here in beautiful downtown Catemaco, who advised his dad he will cross the border illegally to make some some effort to support the woman he impregnated. Apparently my American friend never got the idea across to his Mexican son that he is entitled to a US passport.

I wish all of them well. Frankly, if I were a countryside youth in Mexico, I would go NORTH.
Unfortunately most of the ones who do, come back to Mexico, build a second story on their home, throw a giant party, and revert to their previous life.

Apr 26, 2006

Catemaco mayor behind bars again

Catemaco´s relatively young, relatively handsome, and definitely feisty mayor managed to hang himself at the entrance of Catemaco to welcome the hordes of visitors arriving for Semana Santa, (Easter vacation).
Life plays tricks and so does sunlight.The mayor, with a popularity rating considerably higher than George Bush, was railroaded into prison 5 or 6 years ago in the second year of his 3 year term. Partially vindicated, he ran for office again in late 2004 and trounced his heavily favored opponents. So now the sun puts him behind bars again (Actually, just shadows of the support structures for the sign).
I wonder what he´s up to now?

Apr 24, 2006

Are Mexicans backward?

Over the last few years I have accumulated a plethora a Spanish reading material, mostly about Los Tuxtlas and beautiful downtown Catemaco.
So recently I had to clean up my library shelves and I noticed most Spanish titles were upside down. The book or magazine spines are designed to be read upside down with the item lying flat and its title page facing up. Spines of English books are readable when lying down.
So, since I´m a neatfreak, I turned them all upside down to match my mostly English reading material, whose titles I can now happily read while scanning to the right.
Arabs and Chinese scan to the left.
Why do Mexicans? Very curious!

Apr 22, 2006

Catemaco Fishing

Licking my chops. One of the finest fighting & eating fishes in the world.

Now look at the Mexican coastline.
Veracruz to Coatzacoalcos. What do you see? Zip, Nada, Zilch.There is NO sport fishing within that range.

Now, if you want to sit on a 5 foot wide panga and reel in the BIG ONE, --- be my guest (only first 2 accepted, conditional on having life insurance valid in Mexico), else hire one of any surf enabled boat to do your own thing.
The gulf of Mexico is terribly overfished, species are disappearing faster than I can eat them.

Apr 21, 2006

Catemaco dog tale

Here in beautiful downtown Catemaco hundreds of dogs wander the streets: big ones, little ones, pretty ones, ugly ones, hairless ones and ---- tail less ones?

A curious adjunct to the local macho culture is the cutting off a puppy´s tail if the dog is too aggressive.

As part of the package of changing into a new rental home, I was offered the dog. I took the offer to provide a playmate for my Pinche Perra. (another Catemaco street dog that managed to find a "rich" gringo. She naturally has chewed up his ears to demonstrate who is boss around here. So now the poor dog misses a tail and Pinche Perra is working on his ears. I´m about ready to tie spurs to their front paws and shout "Ole".

Meanwhile I wonder about what I could cut off the next person I catch doing a chop job on a male dog. Any suggestions?

Catemaco Art

Most touristic places have a gallery or two stuck away in an alley or on a hill, but beautiful downtown Catemaco apparently prefers to serve its art with "Made in China" stickers.
The last known artist in Catemaco, a wonderful fellow named Hector, who made many of the molds for Nanciyaga, fled the city for Montepio more than a year ago.
I know art or beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and my friend Art weighs more than 200 pounds. Nevertheless, Catemaco is dying for an art colony specializing in mysticism.
Ok, so they won´t sell anything to the mostly cheap tourists that come here. Yet, they would add a cultural dimension to beautiful downtown Catemaco that is missing at present.

If they can sell the above "thing" on the internet, then there is definitely some room for "art" in Catemaco. Now! Would you pay US 139.95 plus shipping for the above view? If not - how about US 39.99? (search for Catemaco in Google purchases).