Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Personal Story May 2010

Lucky In Love

About 7 years ago, 
and shortly after signing my divorce papers,
a friend suggested I check out 
There, she said, I would surely meet some new
people and perhaps even the man-of-my-dreams.

What harm could a mere click of the mouse do?
So, I did.

Knowing I would probably be beginning a new life in Mexico,
I entered Mexico into the search menu and found 1 person.

This guy.

Miles Becker

Romance aside,
I'm not too big on Santy Claus beards,
I thought he'd be a fun guy to know in Mexico
and I dropped him an email.

We wrote for at least a year.
He told wonderful tales of life on his  
organic farm in Chiapas, Rancho Chichihuistan.
How he was desperately trying to introduce the indigenous
to composting and growing their food without the
use of pesticides and herbicides.

How they made him Santa Claus at Christmas
and paraded him around the jungle on top of a truck
so he could throw dulces (candies) to the kids.
And nuts and tangerines too.

Of fiestas and weddings, poor indigenous families
and missing dogs, river rafting and hiking, and
incoming WWOOF volunteers.

Then they asked him, because he was a lawyer,
to sit on one of the
Caracoles of Good Government organized by
Sub Comandante Marcos himself.
I was impressed!

Meanwhile I sorted, packed, and did my menaje de casa.

Finally, I was here in Mexico!
Life was full-tilt-boogie with new friends, ideas,
and places to explore.

I slowly lost interest in my long distance pen pal.
Emails became fewer and farther between
until we just stopped writing all together.

That was about 6 years ago.

Last weekend I was researching organic farms in
Mexico for a friend.
Reminded of Miles and his beautiful land
and lofty goals — I googled him. 

Imagine my surprise!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mexican Cell Phone Debacle - UPDATE May 2010

Part 2

Enough Already!
This will be the third and last post on this subject.

Personal Cell Phone Data Ends Up For Sale In Mexico 
Flea Market
May 13, 2010

 By Tracy Wilkinson for the LA Times   From Mexico City

The government had asked everyone to register their cell phones, but many refused, citing fears of spying or other misuse of the data.  It turns out they were right.

When the government launched a nationwide campaign to register cellphones, millions of Mexicans refused. And thousands of others registered with a familiar name: Felipe Calderon, the country's president.

The idea was that the registry would combat rampant telephone extortion rackets and kidnapping attempts. But even with the threat of having their lines disconnected, an estimated 26 million users (about 30% of all holders of cellphones in Mexico) hadn't submitted their names on the eve of the government-set deadline.

Some said they were convinced that the government would use the information to spy on dissidents or anyone else out of favor. Others said they feared the information would end up in the wrong hands.

They were proved right last month when the confidential data of millions of Mexicans from official state registries suddenly became available for a few thousand dollars at Mexico City's wild Tepito flea market.

"Mexicans left naked!" complained one columnist.

Threat to national security! opined experts.

In Mexico, unlike the United States, voter sign-up rolls and motor vehicle registrations are not a matter of public record. Mexicans, in theory at least, expect privacy. So when these databases began turning up in the chaotic Tepito market, Mexicans were not pleased.

In a country seized by the fear of kidnapping and held hostage by violent crime bosses, having this quantity of personal information on open display seemed tantamount to a death sentence, or, at the minimum, a magnet for trouble.

It confirmed the worst suspicions of many Mexicans: that any attempt to do their civic duty by registering property or signing up to vote would end up being used against them.

"This was a devastating blow to any effort to create a relationship of trust between citizens and the authorities," said Gustavo Fondevila, a researcher at the Center for Investigation and Economic Studies, a Mexico City think tank. "There is complete mistrust toward everything the government decides, promises and especially when it asks for personal information. And it is completely justified."

It is that suspicion that fuels Mexico's notorious scofflaw culture.

The personal data discovered at the Tepito market, part of an investigation by El Universal newspaper, also included lists of police officers with their photographs, which could easily be cross-referenced with other databases to find out where they live. The paper said a complete package of data could be had for about $12,000.

The revelations lighted a fire under the Mexican Senate, where a privacy law had been languishing. Senators quickly passed the law unanimously late last month and congratulated themselves for being able to give reassurances to the public that their private data would not be misused.

But, as they say in Mexico: They were covering the well after the child had drowned.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Mexican Ingenuity May 2010

A few months ago
our neighborhood water company moved!
El Centro de Llenado (the filling plant), as it is called,
decided to relocate about a mile away.

So what, some of you might say.
Well, if you don't have a car,
like most of my neighbors, and 
you're unable to lug a full 19 liter garafón
of water a few blocks or miles to your house —
watcha gonna do?

Some women elect to drag a little wiggly
shopping cart and hump it along the
cobblestones and dirt roads,
but for some of us there is
the new service of. . .

Carlitos Adrian and Juan José!

BTW, Carlitos Adrian is 4.

I caught up with them the other day to get on their list.

Now when I hear the squawk of a bicycle horn,
I grab the empty garafónes and run for the gate.
Within a couple of hours they are back with
my full bottles.

Cost of the water?  8 pesos/garafón (about 80 cents). 
Cost of the service?  2 pesos/garafón (about 20 cents).
Having Carlitos be my own personal water guy?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . May 2010

A Sign Of The Times

After speaking with the Santander Bank manager,
it was clear that this will last at least a week
and perhaps indefinitely.

When he offered no explanation but a shrug,
I asked if it was due to politics with the US.
He shrugged again.

I then went to Banco Azteca, 
same story.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Team James Don May 2010

Meet The Team!

Most of us already know James Don,
but you may not have met his new
business partner Alejandra yet.

  Originally from Guadalajara,
Alejandra has been living in the states
for the last 12 years
where she went to beauty school,
worked in the field and got her chops down.
Lucky for us here in the Lake Chapala area,
she has recently returned to Guadalajara.

Of course, she speaks fluent English
and Spanish,
but her PASSION is clearly COLOR!
It had become apparent to James Don
that he needed help in the salon,
but he wanted to find exactly the right person
and was beginning to get discouraged
until a chance meeting at Rubén's Ajijic restaurant
put them in touch — and the rest is history.

They are a perfect team,
both talented in cut and color,
both knowledgeable in their field,
and both fun and caring people
who listen to the client's wishes.

Stop by and meet Alejandra, say hey to JD,
and have a truly creative and inspiring
day at the salon.

Recently in New York for the Jacob Javic show,
James Don has returned with a gleam in his eye
and some all-new innovative techniques in cut and color.
 The results have been outstanding!

Updated menu of services:

The salon is located in Marina's Hotel and Suites
on the Carretera #40 in El Chante
- before coming into Jocotepec from the east -
and on the lake side of the highway.
Plenty of parking.
Phone:  387-763-1933