Oct 24, 2009

Catemaco Ears

While my kids were growing up I probably became a major contributor to the financial wellbeing of whoever manufactured the drug Amoxicillin which supposedly cured ear infections.

Now in my "golden" years, in beautiful downtown Catemaco, I have been battling my own recurrent ear problems. So I went to see a 350 peso specialist in San Andres, who after prescribing one of each medication available in local drug stores calmly told me to stay away from Catemaco water. I tried to abide by that, but after a week, my Popoluca requested that I sleep on the roof  to protect her air quality.

Now I am stuck with a local doctor who proudly displays his sheepskin of being a graduate of the Swiss Institute of Tropical Medicine. He recommended I see his buddy, the local Belgian chiropractor, to have my neck adjusted, and told me that ear infections are very common in tropical climates. Do you want to know what I think of Swiss medicine?

My good local friend, fondly known as the Fool on the Hill,  recommended his Zapotec wife's cure of their children's ear problems consisting of inserting a funnel of paper in the ear and setting it afire. I tried that, and the newspaper I used burned off much of my remaining hair, but it did diminish the ear problem, probably because I had to concentrate on third degree burns.

My native maid recommended I stick chilis in my ear, so I went to the street market and asked for ear chili. I never knew these damn things came in hundreds of shapes up to the size of bananas. The little ones she gave me came with instructions to moisten them before plugging into the ear. That didn´t work either.

I had already tried my grandmother´s ineffective remedy of cotton balls with hot oil, so I went on the internet to seek relief.

I found a recommendation for vinegar and alcohol! Aha! finally a concoction to my taste. In consultation with my Swiss tropical medicine graduate I blended those two ingredients with liquid athlete's foot medication and some other ingredients and repeatedly dribbled the potion in my ear. I expected a miracle. WRONG!

So I decided to apply lots of alcohol internally. Now I have absolutely no problem.


Oct 15, 2009

Mexico jokes

What do you call a Mexican with a rubber toe?


Ironically there is no Spanish page of gringo jokes. They would probably be a lot more funnier than this collecton of largely racist Mexican jokes at Mexico Jokes. I'm glad I'm not Polish.

Catemaco Subdivisions

Selling tiny bits of Catemaco is BIG business.

Aside from the dozens of established colonias (neighborhoods) in Catemaco, there are also dozens of newer colonias in the hills of Catemaco that are sparsely populated, generally lack city water, electricity and paved roads. Almost monthly newer colonias are being promoted, and sold, without any municipal services.

Veracruz has a substantial, reasonable set of laws on the books that are supposed to control subdivisions (colonias). These laws require water, drainage, sewage and adequate roads.

All these laws in Catemaco and elsewhere in Mexico are circumvented by receiving permission from a municipal mayor to subdivide a terrain. Usually this involves a strawman purchase of up to 10 % of the lots involved in the subdiivision in favor of the mayor.

A current political aspirant of Catemaco announced a new colonia to house 156 families, offering the lots at 4500 pesos with a 2000 pesos downpayment, designed for extremely low income habitants in a federally protected reserve. Naturally none of the lots have any municipal facilities.

On a daily basis, inhabitants of the previously established colonias with a few built homes, demand that the municipal government provide them with water, electricity and drainage. And, as political expediency permits, rudimentary facilities are extended to these areas, primarily in order for the current mayor to garner good will and steal at least 10% of the cost of the projects.

The built out costs of these older and new colonias is enormous and an extraordinary hardship on municipal finances, primarily because of extraordinarily low property taxes in Catemaco and most of Mexico.