Dec 28, 2007

Poor Catemaco

While I was not looking, Catemaco, Veracruz suddenly became richer.

The municipio moved up from #1209 to #1303 on the descending poverty scale, out of 2445 Mexican counties. And it has now joined the glorious ranks of medium poverty places just one rank below low poverty.

In addition, only 64% of the working population now earns less than 2 minimum wages per day (95 pesos), while just 5 years before the report, 82% were in that position. Furthermore, only 23% now live in houses with dirt floors and only 43% of those older than 15, have less than an elementary education.

Beautiful downtown Catemaco has thus become the richest county in Los Tuxtlas, distantly followed by neighbor San Andres Tuxtla at #1107 and really poor neighbor Soteapan at #141.
The local and state governments are fighting almost daily over responsibility for this magnificent achievement since they were published.

Personally I attribute it to my having arrived here and my spending a lot of money on the proverbial wine, women, song and construction projects. A few more benefactors like me, and Catemaco would probably rise another 10 points.

Meanwhile though, I will bet anyone 12 3 pound mojarras, that Catemaco is in the top 1% in the world of number of Christmas light bulbs per inhabitant, (excluding Chinese light bulb factories). Arriving in Catemaco now is almost like entering a “magic village”.

At least until the helpful locals steal the rest of the decorations, which are now disappearing daily from the 1/2 mile stretch before entering downtown. This is obviously an attempt at decreasing the 2 1/2 peso per KW electricity cost for the municipio.

Now that is what I call Christmas esprit!

Reference: CONAPO -Índices de marginación 2005

Dec 8, 2007

Catemaco quetch

I have turned into a cripple.

The vaunted Telmex Prodigy broadband internet service is now often only available at dialup speeds. Complaints to Telmex are useless because the problem is intermittent, and when the line is checked, the service is on par. Five minutes later it is in the stone age.

Temporarily I tolerate this bullshit, although I do not understand why Catemaco users are not planning a revolt.

For the last few months I have been busy renovating our new casa/office and trying to heal my right writing arm whose tendons are very resistant, without much time for chit chat..

Meanwhile my right hand index finger is still functioning and I give that wholeheartedly to Carlos Slim, presidente of TELMEX.

Catemaco paper towel holders

I introduced my Popoluca to paper towels.
Big mistake!

Now, everywhere I look, shelf surfaces are covered with paper towels.

Paper towels are almost unavailable in Catemaco. Until the invasion of Walmart/Aurrera and Soriana I made monthly trips to Veracruz to purchase humongous quantities of paper towels and toilet tissue that appeared to not disintegrate within sight of water.

Purchase opportunities near Catemaco have improved, and I now feel the soft touch of whatever on my butt, BUT I still cannot find one of those 1.99 dollar paper towel holders.

I realize I could easily make one with 3 pieces of wood, two nails, less than a pint of paint, concrete anchors, assorted screws and nails, etc.,
-- instead our "in use" roll of paper towels slumbers upon the massive knife holder I purchased at Sam's Club 5 years ago, which still has instruments that I or possibly a coroner would never use.

Obviously this a market niche that the Chinese have not yet exploited. Possibly one of the social benefit agencies in Mexico could declare a paper towel holiday, similar to other agriculturual festivities which have almost as much application, and provide everyone with free towel holders, and as usually forgetting that "it's between that counts."