Apr 29, 2009

Catemaco Killer Bees

While Mexico is going ballistic over the swine flu, I instead am searching for one of those white monkey suits with sting proof visors. According to personal experience and reports from a major Veracruz daily, Catemaco is under attack by killer bees. Fortunately the local civil defense outfit is on the ball, and wiping out almost 10 hives a day.

But noone cares about that in my household, instead they are running around with face masks and getting hysterical over rumors of hundreds sick and dying in Catemaco. All a bunch of hogwash!

Today the US CDC reported a total of 64 "confirmed" cases, while the Mexican government officially reported 49 "confirmed" cases. But who believes Mexican statitics anyway.

Apr 16, 2009


I've been checking some statistics of beautiful downtown Catemaco and am thinking of changing my favorite phrase to "depressing downtown Catemaco".

On a financial health scale, Catemaco ranks right in the middle of 2458 Mexican municipios at 1303.

Of a total population of  46,702, 9,441 are illiterate and 20,037 adults did not complete primary education
1,206 have no toilets, 2,709 lack electricity. 4,030 have no piped in water. 21,519  live in overcrowded houses and 5,668 live on dirt floors.
32,172 (69%) make less than 2 minimum wages (US$7.50 in 2009).
and 100% cannot drink tap water.

Expenditures for 2008 were app. 73.8 million pesos, about 1,580 pesos per person (US$120 in 2009).
Of course figures for income per capita or total tax revenue is a federal government top secret.

The figures are from 2005 and you can look up your own favorite location at CONAPO.

Meanwhile this time of year "gorgeous downtown Catemaco" is in full bloom, and even broom sticks are flowering.

Apr 1, 2009

7 year itch

How many years does it take to chuck up on Mexico and look for greener pastures?

Judging my unscientific cursory readings of blogs published by gringos moving to Mexico, the 7 year itch usually occurs within 2 years. The ones that hang on longer barely make it to the 7 year mark, and the devoted, or perhaps "hard core" crowd keeps lasting longer, usually till death do them part.

Personally I'm stuck because a Popoluca caught me. Anyone else who has not sunk roots in Mexican culture needs to be pitied for sustaining his stay beyond the first 7 years.

By then, if they are at all financially active, they will have become used to the extraordinary corruptness of the Mexican judiciary, police forces, the day to day  government involvement, and the ridiculously nonchalant attitude of inhabitants towards their institutions.