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@unimarter UniMarter Blog@unimarter
ponad 3 tygodnie temu
***Mexican Living: Haircuts, Doctors, and Things*** There is unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Haircuts, Doctors, and Things***

There is a universal, absolute, immutable, infrangible, and inviolable fact of the universe (like gravity and bad breath) that one rarely considers: No matter what you tell your haircut person (notice how nonsexist that was) about how you want your hair cut it will NEVER come out the way you want it, EVER!You will get the haircut the person who is cutting your hair wants to give you.This has always been true since Adam first asked Eve to cut his hair and it came out looking like the raccoon he just named. This is true. It's in the Bible.This has always been my experience whenever I went to the barber in the United States. He or she (there I am again acknowledging both sexes) would ask me how I wanted to have my haircut. I would mumble something incomprehensible, to which they would always say,"Alrighty, let's see what we can do."In addition, it would come out looking like the haircut person wanted it to. I would tell them thank you, pay them a fortune, and walk out with my head hung low.Now, imagine, if you will, having to try this in Mexico in Spanish! It is the same here. They ask you how you want your hair cut and you have to come up with an explanation.I prepared diligently for the day I knew would eventually come. I had this Spanish book with a dialogue in it called, "Let's get our hair cut!"I memorized the pertinent vocabulary. I even practiced hand gestures in the mirror to pantomime how short I wanted my hair and where to cut and how much. I had this down to a science and was confident that I was finally, for the first time in my life, going to get the haircut I wanted. You see I thought, stupidly, that somehow it would be different here.So, my wife and I went into the hairstylist place. She went, not that she needed a haircut, but to hold my hand.I told the haircut person, with unfailing linguistic accuracy, how I wanted my hair cut. He mumbled something back to my clear and succinct Spanish that I did not understand, and then got to work.When it was done, I put on my glasses. When I looked into the mirror, I looked like a taller and slightly skinner version of Drew Carey.I pulled my visor over my head, paid the guy, and slithered off.I let it grow out and tried this again only with a different "establishment." This time it was a woman who cut my hair. I went through the whole routine again. Only this time, I contacted a fellow expat, who is a fluent Spanish speaker, and got haircut-explaining lessons from him.I was even better prepared.I went through the ordeal but came out looking like a fatter version of Justin Timberlake.This is when the universal law of haircutting was first firmly established in my mind. No matter where you go on this planet, you will always get the haircut the haircutter THINKS you want and there is nothing you can do about it—ever!I knew I had to do something. I couldn't afford to go to the United States just to get a haircut.What I now do is take my passport with me to get a haircut. For my passport picture, I had my head shaved to a velvety shrub. I could use my head as a brillo-pad.This has been working every time. This leaves no room for creative license for the haircutting person and it comes out exactly as I want it each time. It is foolproof!I am happy. My hair is happy. It is one less worry. Except try going to the doctor and explain how you have the painful and embarrassing itch of hemorrhoids.Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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@unimarter UniMarter Blog@unimarter
ponad 3 tygodnie temu
***Mexican Living: Too Dang Fat!*** I thought I could avoid unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Too Dang Fat!***

I thought I could avoid this when we moved to Mexico. I thought being here would effect a permanent change. I didn't think I would have to struggle with this anymore. I was wrong!The doctor just told me that I am too fat.What happened? I was doing so well. I even wrote about my progress in the book my wife and I wrote.When we first moved to Guanajuato, I dropped about 40 pounds. This was exciting beyond my wildest expectations. We moved here without a car and vowed never to get another one. And we haven't. We ended up having to walk everywhere and everyday.I was in Spanish classes, so I had to walk five days a week to and from classes. In addition, wherever my wife needed to go, I usually would escort her. We both became walking freaks.I think another reason we walked so much is that we had a tiny apartment that wasn't all that comfortable. So, to keep from being bored and going stir-crazy we got out—a lot. There was also the issue of noise in that neighborhood. The people across from us had two yip-yip, demonically possessed poodles that barked day and night without end. This drove us from the apartment often.We eventually found a lovely little house in a quiet neighborhood and snatched it. The only thing is that it is far away from anywhere. There is a downside and an upside to this.Upside: To get to town, on goods days, we walk about thirty minutes to get to the park. We rest there, have a coke, and then proceed to the stores for shopping. Lots and lots of walking is required.Downside: It is so far from anywhere that we are often tempted to take the bus or just not get out at all. Whereas we were walking 6-7 days a week at the other place, now we barely get our fat butts out of the house 2 or 3 times a week.Result: Doug gained most of his old weight back and is now "fat, fat the water rat." In addition, my blood sugar is doing things it should not be doing.Tsk! Tsk!I admit it. I confess that I have fallen back into my old slovenly Americanized lifestyle of eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods and then not exercising enough.When I told a gringo friend that my doctor told me I was too fat, he told me to get another doctor. Do you think that would work? Sigh!So, here is the plan: I have to lose at least 2 kilos, according to my doctor, per month. He said to avoid all the foods and treats I adore and to walk my butt off. (I am convinced that's where most of the weight is located—in my butt.)He told me to show back up in a month for a weigh-in. That was three weeks ago and I haven't lost one ounce. What am I going to do?My options:· Fast for a week.· Find another doctor.· Fast and jog for a week.· Hide out from the doctor and then show up later claiming I lost track of time.· Throw myself at the doctor's feet and cry for mercy.· Tell him Weight Watchers only accept women in Mexico (Oh, wait! There is no Weight Watchers here.).· Go for the office visit and introduce myself as Seńor Fat, fat the water rat."· Send someone disguised as me who is really skinny.Seriously, obesity is a serious problem and though I am struggling with this, I am determined to overcome it.Write me at mexico03expat-guanajuato@yahoo.com and tell me about your struggles with weight. Give me suggestions and maybe I will use them in this column.Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.
His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

#blog #mexicanliving #expatriation #expatriate #Guanajuato #sanmigueldeallende #movetomexico #mexico
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***Living in Mexico: The Effects of Tourism*** Have you ever unimarter UniMarter
***Living in Mexico: The Effects of Tourism***

Have you ever wondered if mass tourism actually spoils the very thing it comes to observe in a foreign country? I've been wondering this a lot lately. Does the onslaught of tourists flooding into a particular place to enjoy what that place has to offer end up becoming the source of that place's ruination?This is both confusing and, of course, a bit hypocritical of me, a travel writer, to even suggest. It has, however, been on my mind.More than once, I've met or corresponded with those who have visited my adopted home of Guanajuato because of the articles my wife and I write. Based on our first two books, one couple attributes their moving to Guanajuato to us. So, in a very real sense I am a source of this problem. I am drawing people here. Hypocrisy?Massive tourism can put a strain in the infrastructure of any place. Basic services such as water gets stretched to the max. Water, something Americans take for granted, is not as renewable a resource in Guanajuato as it is in most places in the States.Guanajuato is a mountain desert with a Steppe Climate. It is dependent on the annual rainfall (or lack thereof) to refresh and replenish its reservoirs. The current problem is the last two rainy seasons have not been "up to snuff." The rains have been sadly lacking and now we're in trouble.The influx of tourism this year is making it worse. It seems the tourists just keep coming and coming. This is a good thing for the merchants but how will the city keep the water flowing? Normally, the city implements water rationing measures.The city cuts off the water supply to certain residential areas throughout the city in hopes of conserving water. Rationing in the neighborhoods is even more severe when the tourists come in hordes, straining the system in the hotels and hostels. The city officials cut water off from the residents so the tourists can bathe and flush the toilets.The priority here seems a bit a skewed. Are not the city services meant for those who support these services by paying their taxes? I mean, who should come first, the tourists or the citizens of Guanajuato?One of my wife's private ESL students told her a horrifying example of how this water shortage works:1. They have to take sponge baths with their bottled drinking water that they heat on the stove.2. They have to find a friend or family member somewhere outside the neighborhood with running water to take a weekly shower.3. Her husband and son have to walk to a public water source to fill buckets with water to flush the toilet.This goes on while water for the tourists flows freely. I can guarantee you the tourists don't have to go in search of water to go potty or to sponge out their pits.It would be lovely if there were a steady and renewable supply of water all the time for everyone. There isn't!
And it seems to me that those who live here, who raise their families here, should have priority.The main problem is the tourism season for most Americans and Canadians is June through August. That is our rainy season, and if the rains don't come?there is no water.Would the tourist season suffer? Maybe. But, the tourists would then be able to have an opportunity to see first hand how real Mexicans in Central Mexico are often forced to live.OUR NEW BOOKGuanajuato, M?xico--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of FrogsGuanajuato, M?xico ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, M?XICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http: / / mexicanliving.access.to / E-BOOKS
http: / / my.lulu.com / mexicanlivingTRAVEL WRITER E-BOOK
http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / PlainTruth / Home.htm

#mexico #livinginmexico #guanajuato #livinginguanajuato #learnspanish #spanish #movetomexico #
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***Living in Mexico: Telephones*** A basic service Americans unimarter UniMarter
***Living in Mexico: Telephones***

A basic service Americans have traditionally loved to hate and one about which they complain most vociferously is the telephone. Americans have scorned the phone company for years and yet few would think of living without it. In fact, though we've hated "Ma Bell," we knew that when the chips were down and the service went south, promises to show up to fix it were always honored.We trusted that which we despised.Here in Mexico, it is a different scenario. Many Mexicans still do not have a phone line in their homes. It simply hasn't always been available, even in fair-sized cities. Mexicans would have to go to a store that had banks of phones in small, closet-like booths inside to receive or place calls (for a price).When I was a telephone operator for the infamous Ma Bell, I would place calls to these phone stations. The proprietor would take the name and address of the person my customer was calling and have to send a "runner" to get him or her. Then I would place the call again after an agreed-upon time when the person would show up at the station.When residential phone service did become more widely available, it was still virtually impossible to obtain. This was because a "deposit" (bribe) was required to convince a phone company "official" (Mafioso) to get a phone line installed in your house. Even then it would take years to get it installed in your home. Sometimes more "deposits" were required.What a house rents for in Mexico is often determined by whether or not there is a phone line in the house already. If a phone line is in the house, the landlord can rent it (extortion) for more money.Today there still isn't universal phone line installation in Mexican homes as one finds in the States. Can you even begin to fathom a house or apartment in a fair-sized city in the States not having a phone line? Where would that be?In our present apartment in Guanajuato, there was already a phone line installed. For that reason alone, we snatched the place immediately. When we went to the "State Owned and Operated Tel-Mex" (narcissistic monopoly), they informed us the clearly visible phone line in our apartment didn't exist?naturally!We had to tell our landlady that without phone access there would be no Internet access. Without Internet access there would be no working. Without working there would be no money to pay the rent.Our landlady told her influential husband who knows someone who knows someone who knows everybody (and, by the way, getting along in Mexico is entirely dependent on "who you know") and suddenly a several-year wait turned into a two-week wait. The phone service mysteriously materialized.Some will go down to the Tel-Mex office and offer an "incentive" (bring lots of pesos) to the service guys getting into their trucks in the morning to move their service application to the top of the pile. This strategy apparently works for some with whom I've spoken.With the difficulty involved in obtaining service, try to imagine what happens when that service goes out on you. Try to imagine just how quickly Tel-Mex moves to come out and repair your lines.I will soon be able to tell you since our service suddenly, without a storm, without warning, stopped working.It will very likely take Divine Intervention to get our phone turned back on.As an American expat living in Mexico, you will sooner or later reach the point of giving up and giving in to a fact of life in Mexico. Problems in Mexico get solved when some mysterious, unknown force?totally outside you?decides to solve the problem. Solutions will never come before that point.You can do nothing about it but sit and wait. If it gets fixed, then it gets fixed. If it doesn't, then it doesn't. Do nothing but give in to this. The Mexicans say:"Ni Modo."THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT LIVING IN MEXICOInstant Download
http: / / www.universal-publishers.com / Merchant2 / merchant.mvc?Screen=BASK&Store_Code=upublish&Action=ADPR&Product_Code=1124570PDF&Attributes=Yes&Quantity=1Expatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country. Now the potential expatriate can benefit from their more than three years of pre-expat research to their more than three years of actually living in Mexico.http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / amazon2 / Page3.htm

#mexico #livinginmexico #guanajuato #livinginguanajuato #learnspanish #spanish #movetomexico #
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***Living in Mexico: What's in a Name?*** I wrote in our jus unimarter UniMarter
***Living in Mexico: What's in a Name?***

I wrote in our just-released book, Guanajuato, Mexico, that to avoid getting ripped off in Mexico as a Gringo Expat depends entirely on "whom you know." I made application of this principle to the issue of renting a house here in Mexico. There is the "gringo" price and there is the "Mexican" price. How do you prevent yourself from paying the higher "Now-We-Are-Going-To-Stick-It-To-The-Gringo-Sucker" price?If you want to prevent yourself from getting cheated when renting a house in Mexico, you have to develop contacts?influential ones?with renowned people. Then, you have to drop their names.If you meet someone who is influential at a party and he gives you his business card and tells you, "Call me if you need anything," then he is the person whose name you will drop when you try renting (or buying) a house.When trying to rent a place for which a Mexican would pay $200.00 less than the Mexican landlord is trying to charge you, drop the name."Oh, by the way, did I tell you I know so-and-so?"
The more influential the person is, the less likely the landlord will risk having his reputation ruined by cheating you. A perfect example of this salient principle of Mexican Living happened the other day.
We live in Guanajuato, Mexico. The city is doing major repair work on the street in front of our house. It is an unholy mess but they have to repair the sewer lines, the water mains, and the road itself. It has to be done. In the process, they have to turn the water off in sections of the neighborhood for days on end.A couple from the States, who come here for a short time each year and who live on our street, came back to this mess. They arrived at the apartment only to find that their water had been turned off. The woman found the project boss, El Maestro, and complained. She also wanted to know when he would get the water turned on so she and her husband could flush the toilet.The guy began the usual singsong, Mexican whine of why he couldn't help her and why the water had to be turned off, and so on and so on.I couldn't stand listening to another second of his excuses. This is the identical singsong whine you hear from anyone from whom you try to get any definitive information in this country. They all do it and they do it to Gringos. It was the same tune, just with different words.Finally I blurted out, "She lives with the governor's mother!"The current governor of Guanajuato's mother has a compound of apartments next to her house that she rents out to selected clients. This couple has rented one of her apartments for years. They are well-known in the city (though not as well-known as the Governor's mother).You could have sworn that someone lit a firecracker under this guy's butt. He jumped off the wall on which he was sitting, uttered a few vile profanities, all the while whipping out a cell phone to call for a crew to come out and turn the water on.This is how life works in this country. Do not underestimate that:It's all in a name.DON'T FORGET OUR NEW BOOKGuanajuato, M?xico--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of FrogsGuanajuato, M?xico ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, M?XICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http: / / mexicanliving.access.to / E-BOOKS
http: / / my.lulu.com / mexicanlivingTRAVEL WRITER E-BOOK
http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / PlainTruth / Home.htm

#mexico #livinginmexico #guanajuato #learnspanish #movetomexico #movingtomexico #expatriation
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***Living in Mexico: Culinary Surprises*** I once was asked unimarter UniMarter
***Living in Mexico: Culinary Surprises***

I once was asked by a tourist here in my adopted central Mexican town, Guanajuato, if it was true the culinary delights here were nothing to write home about. I wanted to slap him silly but resisted the urge. Instead, I regaled him with the many wonderfully prepared regional foods as well as the places where he could get his meals prepared by world-class professional cooks.And, it is true. We really have some classy cooks in this little mountain town who were trained professionally all over the world.Sometimes I wonder just what tourists think Mexico and Mexicans are really like. Are Mexicans nothing more than wild men who run around in tall, pointy sombreros with crisscrossed gun belts wrapped around their chests? Do they think the cooks run around back and butcher their chicken or beef orders for La Comida Fresca?I am continually surprised at what I find as far as eateries go in this little town. Just the other day, we met friends for Sunday lunch. They had ferreted out a relatively new vegetarian restaurant. Now mind you, seating in some of these restaurants can be in the living room of someone's home, so you shouldn't always expect top-notch d?cor or ambience. However, again I was surprised.This little place was indeed someone's home hidden away in a narrow little callejon (alley). So much of the town is a complex maze of callejones, some not much wider than your shoulders. We snaked our way up from the San Fernando Plaza to the restaurant / home of a lovely Mexican family. The wife seated us and cooked our meals while her two sons served the meals and cleared the table afterwards.This place was comfortable but basic. They had small card tables with metal chairs. The wife had made cushions for the seats and backs of the chairs so the seating was comfortable. We had to choose between two specials they offered that day. She rattled off the choices in the clearest "non-Guanajuato" Spanish I have heard. That was nice?I was able to understand it for a change.My wife and I had a large dinner-plate-sized salad of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sprigs of something green I couldn't identify but were fantastic. The salad was covered with toasted sunflower and sesame seeds. She served us each a large bowl of freshly cooked rice, a bowl of the best broccoli soup I've ever had, and a plate of soy meatballs and fried eggplant. Now, I am not an eggplant eater but this was beyond good. I loved it. The meatballs, though made of some sort of soy product, were absolutely delicious! She also served fresh Jamaica iced tea.The cute little boys brought the meal out to us on serving trays. They sat the trays right in front of us while bowing and scraping. I marveled at how this woman had trained these little kids to work in the family business and to act so politely. Maybe there's hope for the world after all.We discovered that this lady learned to cook vegetarian, and I mean really good vegetarian, from her husband who had been employed in a Hare Krishna temple in Mexico City. Then, they came to Guanajuato to open this little caf? in their home. I just love that!The entire meal, with drink, came to less than $3.50 USD each. It was a delightful experience and one of the many surprises this town throws at you when you least expect it.The only problem is that this town is built like a maze not even a rat would be able to navigate. You would have no idea how to find this little place without being led by someone who knew how to find it.And what a shame that is. This little lady's vegetarian cooking would be a hit with the tourist crowd.And that, dear tourist, would be something you could write home about!CHECK OUT OUR NEW BOOKSGuanajuato, M?xico--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of FrogsGuanajuato, M?xico ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, M?XICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http: / / mexicanliving.access.to / E-BOOKS
http: / / my.lulu.com / mexicanlivingTRAVEL WRITER E-BOOK
http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / PlainTruth / Home.htm

#guanajuato #livinginmexico #mexicanliving #movetomexico #retiretomexico #mexicanvacation #
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***The Realities of Mexican Living Part III*** I caught grie unimarter UniMarter
***The Realities of Mexican Living Part III***

I caught grief when I wrote a column about Mexican Beggars from none other than another Mexican. This fellow was incensed that I, an American, would dare to point out trouble spots in Mexican Culture. I mean, really, what am I but just another piece of gringo scum?My writing objective while living in Mexico not only has been to write the fantastic things about this country, her people, and the culture, but also about the things that are not so cool, fine, or appealing. Frankly, there are things in this culture that Mexico could afford to put out on the curb for the trashman to haul off. America, too, could afford to do the same with many issues and practices that make America a really scary place in which to live. One issue is America's hatred of Mexicans, something I find particularly disgusting.The above-mentioned Mexican gentleman wrote a letter to the editor of the magazine in which my column appeared. I actually wrote a letter to the editor myself about this gentleman's letter to the editor. It was the first time I've bothered to do that.It felt great!I wanted to explore what I said about this person's complaint. He acted as though I had no business writing about the weaknesses in the culture. I suppose he would be right in leveling an accusation of hypocrisy if I were hypocritical in the things I wrote. The charge of hypocrisy is one you use when the person saying nasty things about you is practicing the very things he finds appalling.But, I get up for pregnant women riding the bus.Here's the thing: I specifically mentioned that here in central Mexico, where my wife and I live, the government has to run public service announcements on all the local television stations about showing common courtesy while using public transportation.One commercial features a pregnant woman boarding a bus with a young toddler in tow. No one will get up for this woman to sit down. The person who finally gets up so this woman can sit down is a handicapped man on a pair of crutches. The stations play these commercials frequently because of the immense problem that exist in the buses. Handicapped people, pregnant women, and infants are being seriously injured because M E X I C A N S will not get up when someone in need boards the bus.Logic dictates that they do not have these public service commercials on television for the fun of it. They have them on because there is a huge problem.So, this Mexican guy wrote a letter to the editor complaining about my column, which pointed out some problems in the Mexican culture.What really got to me was the American expats living in San Miguel de Allende, who, in a furious rage, passed my article around town. They deluged me with emails, called me a bigot, and told me I should retreat back to the United States for my discriminatory article. Here is how little they know the country in which they are living.My wife had an incident on the bus today. The bus was crowded but she managed to score a seat. At the next stop, a small family boarded the bus. There was a husband, a pregnant wife, and two toddlers. Not one M E X I C A N would surrender his seat for this pregnant woman or her toddlers.The couple stared at my wife and evidently thought she could not understand Spanish. The wife said something to the effect of, "Why won't that gringa get up for me"?Eventually, when my wife saw that NONE of the countrymen of these people would get up for this woman, she got up and surrendered her seat for the pregnant lady. My wife is not a young woman. But yet they expected her, the gringa, to get up.When my wife got up and turned around, she saw two healthy teenaged boys behind her who were playing with their cell phones rather than surrendering their seats for this woman?OR FOR MY MIDDLE-AGED WIFE.My wife, on arriving at the school where she teaches, was livid. She asked her M E X I C A N director why Mexicans expect gringos to surrender their seats when their countrymen refuse?Out of the mouth of a Mexican woman came:"This is how Mexicans treat one another. They think, 'Oh she's pregnant, it's not my fault or my problem.' They expect Americans to show common courtesy. They've been taught that Americans are polite and more respectful. They expect out of gringos what they don't expect from their own countrymen."(I have been told this so many times from Mexicans that I could have recited the script.)Do not miss this point. This is a Mexican woman telling my gringa wife this bit of cultural information about her fellow countrymen.I do not know which wearies me more: the Mexicans who act offended when I write about the problems, or the American expats who live in artificial bubbles in cities that are no longer even Mexican (San Miguel de Allende) and who take such umbrage at my gall for reporting the truth.But, that's Mexico. Love or leave it; but that is how it is!OUR NEW BOOKGuanajuato, M?xico--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of FrogsGuanajuato, M?xico ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, M?XICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http: / / mexicanliving.access.to / E-BOOKS
http: / / my.lulu.com / mexicanliving

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***English Only Deli in Philly*** Oh, this is rich:?Philadel unimarter UniMarter
***English Only Deli in Philly***

Oh, this is rich:?Philadelphia's Geno's Steaks Adopts English-Only Ordering Policy Thursday, June 08, 2006 ?PHILADELPHIA ? Bistec con queso? Not at Geno's Steaks. An English-only ordering policy has thrust one of Philadelphia's best-known cheesesteak joints into the national immigration debate.?Does this mean when a visitor, let?s say a tourist, comes into this man?s deli, the tourist will be denied service based on his failure to become fluent enough in English to spend a week?s vacation in Philadelphia?Let me clue you in on something. When American tourists come to Mexico for any length of time, they expect every single Mexican they meet to speak absolutely fluent English.More cases of The Ugly American Syndrome surface over this issue than any other stimulus, I am convinced.So, this old coot in Philadelphia is explicitly barring all nonEnglish-speaking immigrants and implicitly barring all tourists who just want a bite to eat based on his judgment on what someone should or should not do.The hypocrisy is his fellow American conservatives, who no doubt support this sort of racism, have no qualms when they come to Mexico about not bothering to learn a word of Spanish, either as a tourist, and get this, or as an expatriate.He might as well put out a sign on the door that says ?I hate all non-English speakers.? because this is what he is implying.?Don?t speak a word of English and in Philly for a week?s conference with your job? Well, don?t count on eating at Geno's. Tough luck there, fella!?The very thing this ?gentleman? is demanding of simple non-English speaking tourists, much less expats, he probably would not demand of himself if he came to a non-English speaking country such as Mexico!Out of about one million Americans living in Mexico, few can string two words together in Spanish. Furthermore, many boast of their linguistic inability, telling me that anyone who works for them, in Mexico, has to speak English. They not only do not speak Spanish but also do not care to. If they go into a restaurant in their little American Gringo Bubble / Enclave / Colony, then the staff had better speak English or else.There is a little town not too far from where my wife and I live called San Miguel de Allende. At times, the town?s residents invade our city for a change of pace. We caught this woman standing at the entrance of a classy Mexican restaurant screaming,?I know you people speak English and are pretending you don?t!?Do you see what I mean? Do you see why I write about this so often in my columns? This hypocrisy galls me to no end, especially given the current American debate about Mexican immigration. Americans will not demand of themselves in other countries what they demand of immigrants who come to America. Now, it appears, they are demanding it of nonEnglish-speaking tourists too.When you read between the lines, what is this saying about Americans?So, let?s boycott ?Geno?s? in Philly, shall we?OUR NEW BOOKGuanajuato, M?xico--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of FrogsGuanajuato, M?xico ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, M?XICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http: / / mexicanliving.access.to / E-BOOKS
http: / / my.lulu.com / mexicanliving

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***I Love Living in Mexico*** I love living in Mexico. I hav unimarter UniMarter
***I Love Living in Mexico***

I love living in Mexico. I have never regretted our decision to move here. I love the people, the weather, the food, and the more relaxed pace of life that permeates the culture.Sometimes I write so favorably about Mexico that family, friends, and readers have asked me if there is anything about living in Mexico that I do not like. Is there a downside? Is there anything that makes my skin crawl, puts a bee in my bonnet, or makes me want to scream?There is.I have actually written about this before and it continues to be an issue with me. I have explained that the ?ma?ana? concept, which Americans could not go far wrong in adopting a bit into their lives, can have some most puzzling, if not downright maddening, effects on an American expat?s life here.The idea that there is always tomorrow, ma?ana, basically means if you do not get it done today, there is always tomorrow. There are nuances to this that I am convinced a gringo will never master no matter how long he or she lives here.What you have is Americans? anal retentive idea of structure and schedule versus the Mexican idea that structure and schedule is a relative thing that is not to be worried or fretted over. It goes even deeper, though. A Mexican will think that though a commitment is made to show up for an appointment on time, that as long as he shows up sometime, he has done well. If he shows up two hours late, then he has succeeded in keeping the appointment.?So, why are you so upset,? the Mexican would ponder, ?that I kept you waiting? I am here now. That is what counts.?I totally get this. We Americans and Germans have this idea that for someone to make an appointment with us and then not show for two hours or ever, that we were shown disrespect. It is saying to us that our time isn?t valuable. It is saying that we didn?t have anything better to do than sit around waiting for someone who made an appointment to show up. And mind you, the Mexican will rarely call to cancel the appointment or tell you he will be late.That is how we think.Not so the Mexican.Mexicans simply do not regard time in the same way. There are other things in their minds that they regard as holy. Time?as in keeping appointments?isn?t one of them.Where my wife teaches ESL, the classes are supposed to start at the top of the hour. The students show up fifteen or even forty-five minutes past the hour and act as though nothing is wrong. Or, they will pay for classes and not show up for weeks?if they even bother to return.In the Spanish schools here in Guanajuato, it is the same. The Mexican teachers, those you are paying, will not show up on time. They will come fifteen or twenty minutes late and act as though all is well. "What's your problem, you silly little gringo?"This even affects the television programming. I was waiting for a Steven Segal movie, dubbed in Spanish, that was to start at ten p.m. As usual, ten rolled around and there was no movie. They just kept playing the previous program. Suddenly, as though someone finally figured out that he was supposed to be playing the Segal movie, the movie began. They played exactly two minutes of the movie before breaking for commercials?right as one of the characters was in mid-word! They showed 25, I am not making this up, commercials before going back to the movie. By that time, I could not remember the name of the movie or what had transpired in the first two minutes they graciously permitted me to see.A very interesting mystery to behold is when a Mexican is behind the wheel of an automobile or is walking on the sidewalk. He is always in an all-fire hurry. I have never seen such fast drivers or walkers in my life. And yet, they are not rushing off to make an appointment on time! They just aren?t! Where are they going in such a rush?I have no earthly idea!Americans could afford to adopt a little bit of this. We could afford to shave a bit off of our anal understanding of appointment-keeping and things beginning on time or else, that might just reduce our national dependence on mood-altering and blood pressure drugs. We could afford to ?lighten up? and be a little more flexible.Mexicans could, on the other hand, afford to modify this culturally-bred idea that appointment-keeping and time management is not important, so why worry about it. They could most certainly get it into their heads that when you tell someone you will do something and make a commitment, by God, you?d better do it or notify the person with a reasonable explanation of why not. Don?t tell someone you will be there, make them count on your word, and then not show up without so much as a ?how do you do?.This cultural bugaboo makes you not want to trust one word out of their mouths! Sorry! But, this is how I feel!Here is a very practical example of how this works out in daily life.Where my wife and I expatriated, Guanajuato, Mexico, we have to get our potable water from one of two water companies. You must obtain bottled water. You cannot drink tap water. The way this gig goes is that the employees will walk up and down the street screaming the word, ?Agua? (water). If you need water, then you have to run to the nearest window and scream back, ?Agua!?. Then the two of you, the potable water employee and yourself, engage in what must look to the rest of the world as the mating call of two amorous beasts. Once you get the water guy?s attention and a connection has been established, then you scream how many bottles you need. He brings the bottles, you pay him, and off he goes until the next time.The problem is until the next time.The water guys could come on a Monday, then never again. Or, they could come on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then never again. They could come twice a week for a month, and then never again.They come when and if they want to come. When they think you need water, they will appear. There is absolutely no predicting from present or past water-delivering behavior when or if they will ever show up. It is as though they think you must have died or moved and that they never have to show up again to deliver water.You can call the companies and they will assure you that they will come right out. They never come. You can, as we have done, go looking for them on the street. You tell them, crying and pleading, that you are on the verge of death from dehydration. They will promise to come ASAP and then never show up.As I write this, we have been without water delivery for more than six days. We have called the companies, both of them, went looking for the delivery trucks, and have been told they would be right over. We are still waiting. They will simply refuse to show up no matter what you do.Let me assure you of this: If and when they show up, if I were to go all ballistic on them or were to calmly ask them where they?ve been, they will sincerely not understand my consternation because they are there NOW. This truly would not matter one iota to them. What would matter is NOW and that they are there NOW. So what?s your problem, you anal-retentive gringo?I?ve been wondering what they would think if I actually died. I don?t know. But that I would be standing in front of them questioning them for their inefficiency would really and sincerely puzzle them. They would be there NOW, I would be alive and yelling at them NOW, and the water would be there NOW.They would not get it whatsoever!Also, if you were to confront them, which would really be a cultural boo-boo, chances would be that you would not hear the truth. Mexican poet, writer, and diplomat, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, Octavio Paz, once said that Mexicans lie for three reasons: out of desperation, out of fantasy or out of necessity.Why I would be told for more than 6 days that they are coming right out with water?who knows!This makes for many sleepless nights and lots of aspirin-taking. I cannot for the life of me figure this out. I cannot wrap my mind around it. I mean, if they come twice a week for a whole month then suddenly stop, what are they thinking?Do they somehow come to the conclusion that I?ve died, moved, repatriated, or that my house fell into a hole? Do they even begin to wonder that this crazy gringo might be wondering what happened to them? Why do they establish a schedule of delivery and then, suddenly, it takes an act of God to get them to come back? Do they simply forget me? Do they hate me? Do they take a week off and forget to tell their relief person there is this gringo up the street who might die for lack of water?So, is there is anything about living in Mexico that I do not like? Is there a downside? Is there anything that makes my skin crawl, puts a bee in my bonnet, makes me want to scream?Now you know!Our Newest Book!My wife and I, Americans living in Guanajuato, Mexico, have co-authored a BRAND NEW print and ebook titled, "Guanajuato Expatriation Guide Starting Your New Life in a Genuine Mexican Town".We feel there is no publication available anywhere that covers the material we do with our unique first hand experience at settling in Guanajuato, Mexico. And the need for what we say in this ebook is much needed.Long time Expat residents of the other Mexican towns are now looking to Guanajuato to move since they are being priced out of the housing marketing in towns such as San Miguel de Allende. Also the cost-of-living in those traditional American Expat Enclaves has increased making it difficult for the expat to live. The issue is that living in the city of Guanajuato is nothing like living the Gringo Landias or Gringo Gulches of San Miguel de Allende or Puerto Vallarta.CHECK IT OUT: http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / eBOOKS / Home.htm

#movetomexico #movetoguanajuato #guanajuato #liveinguanajuato #studyinguanajuato #expatriation
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***Internet Hijackers*** The other day, the young woman who unimarter UniMarter
***Internet Hijackers***

The other day, the young woman who just moved into the studio apartment across the sidewalk from us came bursting out of the door, quite exasperated.?I can?t get a signal. I just can?t get it to work.??Whatever do you mean, you young waif???I can?t get the wireless Internet signal to work.?I had told this young girl that my wife and I were writers and had DSL Internet. She assumed it not only meant that we had wireless DSL, but also that it was perfectly ok to use our Internet service for her personal needs. We do not have wireless, thank God!Then her boyfriend appeared. I told them that we do not have wireless. He informed me that was ok; he could run a wire from her apartment to our phone connection and get all set up for the Internet.Now excuse me, but is there something wrong with this picture?After informing these two potential internet and phone hijackers that I was not keen on their presumption of using the service I was paying for, they told me that it was ok since they could simply run a wire into someone else?s apartment.I would love to report that this was an isolated incident and that, in Mexico, this sort of thing doesn?t often happen. But I would by lying.We know a young, married couple that is here in Guanajuato studying Spanish. A month into their new living situation, their electricity suddenly went off. They went outside and could plainly see that someone had cut the wire that brought power into their apartment and rerouted it to another apartment. The couple called the electric company, only to be told that it wasn?t possible for someone to hijack their electricity.These poor kids had to wait until their landlord returned from a European vacation, a month later, to get their power restored. Someone had indeed hijacked the couple's electricity.I am beginning to see that Mexico is different than life in the USA in more ways than one. Life here definitely functions on a different wavelength.The couple that wanted to share my Internet connection acted as though they saw nothing wrong with this sort of behavior, behavior we in the U.S.A. would call criminal. As I have begun to ask around, I have found that there is a flood of people trying to find apartments near cafes that provide wireless Internet service so that they can hijack the signal. This is going on in a neighborhood near us.So, what?s with this? I am not so na?ve as to assume that this does not go on in other countries. However, why am I so shocked at the brazenness of the couple that expressed exasperation that they could not catch my wireless signal?Are ethics sometimes culturally determined? Probably. Am I being too simpleminded because I want to believe that a normative, prescriptive ethic of honesty should reign cross-culturally? Probably.The end of the story with the Internet hijackers went something like this:?Oh, wait! I heard the lawyer in the next building has wireless.?Happening to know that this was true, I stupidly said,
?Yes, I believe so.??Oh good. I can run an antenna up the side of this apartment and catch that signal! Thanks for your help.?I did what I always do when I encounter cultural affectations in this county.I went inside my apartment, lay down on the bed, and uttered a few well-chosen profanities under my breath.Our Newest Book!My wife and I, Americans living in Guanajuato, Mexico, have co-authored a BRAND NEW print and ebook titled, "Guanajuato Expatriation Guide Starting Your New Life in a Genuine Mexican Town".We feel there is no publication available anywhere that covers the material we do with our unique first hand experience at settling in Guanajuato, Mexico. And the need for what we say in this ebook is much needed.Long time Expat residents of the other Mexican towns are now looking to Guanajuato to move since they are being priced out of the housing marketing in towns such as San Miguel de Allende. Also the cost-of-living in those traditional American Expat Enclaves has increased making it difficult for the expat to live. The issue is that living in the city of Guanajuato is nothing like living the Gringo Landias or Gringo Gulches of San Miguel de Allende or Puerto Vallarta.CHECK IT OUT: http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / eBOOKS / Home.htm

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***Men Asking Men for Directions*** Men, that is males of th unimarter UniMarter
***Men Asking Men for Directions***

Men, that is males of the human species, are genetically designed to be unable to take or give directions. This is a fact. There is no use trying to deny this. If you do, and you are male, then you are most certainly in a deep, psychopathic denial.Women all over the world already know this. This transcends culture and even time itself. Adam no more knew exactly where the Tree of Good and Evil was in the Garden of Eden than he knew where God was hiding watching him and Eve. This is a fact. It is in the Bible. Eve found the fruit. Adam could not. I could rest my case here but I progress.I am one of the few men of the human race who actually accepts this fact of genetics. I do not fight it. I admit it freely. I cannot find anything, even if someone draws me a map.One of the perks of writing a column is that readers will often write you. Some of them tell me that I miss the point of life itself and should never write another word. Others, actually interested in what I have to say about my life in Mexico, write for clarifications of points in my articles and sometimes?directions!I recently wrote a piece about cheaper, middle-class accommodations here in my adopted Mexican town, Guanajuato. This guy wrote me for a clarification about whether I was describing a hostel or a hotel. Then, amazingly, he asked me how to get there.Do not miss the irony of this. Here was someone who identified himself as a male asking a male author for DIRECTIONS!I could not give directions out of a paper bag even if my life depended on it. The reason is I am a man. Though I have lived in Guanajuato for more than three years, have walked the streets endlessly, I have no clue how to tell someone who has never stepped foot in this town how to get anywhere. I know how to get to the places where I have been (where my wife has taken me) and that is about it. Unless someone is familiar with the same landmarks, I cannot tell someone how to get anywhere.Let me make a point here for you gals out there whose men actually try to ask for directions. If your man jumps out of the car to ask someone for directions, he is doing this for your sake. He does not want to appear the directionally-challenged oaf that he is. So, off he goes to ask for directions.If he encounters a direction-giving woman, he will most certainly act like he understands every single twist and turn of her directions. However, in reality, he will not have heard one word she told him. When he gets back into the car, he will say, ?Well, my turtle dove, there was no one who knew anything about where we want to go.? or something to that effect.If he encounters a man, they will have a beer together while laughing hysterically that you are sitting out in the car while your guy is pretending to obtain directions to your desired destination from another guy. Your hunk will return and with the appropriately sad face, tell you that no one knew a thing.That is why, for all you men who are in denial about being able to give and take directions, you should send your women to get directions! Don?t allow your pride to get in the way. Send in the woman!Well, what compounded the problem was that the reader said, ?I could not find it on the map of Guanajuato.?The reason he could not find this hostel was because 1) he is a man and 2) the maps of this town were drawn by other men.The existing maps make no sense whatsoever even if you are a guy who is particularly good with directions. I do not know why anyone bothers to keep producing these maps. The Spanish, who settled this place, could not make maps of the impossible Guanajuato topography. Why do modern men continue to try?My wife, who knows every street by name, had to get online and send directions to this reader. I am sure that he had to get his wife to read them since he would not have been able to follow directions. That is his genetic imperative.Do not deny it!If you are considering retiring or expatriating to Mexico then you need to read our book, THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT LIVING IN MEXICO. As an incentive to read this book we are offering a special deal. Buy our PRINT book and get 2 eBOOKs absolutely FREE!Buy my book, THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT LIVING IN MEXICO at:
http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / Special_Offer / Home.htmThen send me the receipt from Amazon.com that you bought the book and I will send you--via email--two FREE eBOOKs...One about learning Spanish and the other about living Central Mexico. I will send them to you as PDF eBooks and instructions on how to read them with your Adobe Reader.That's right--buy ONE book and get TWO free!!!For full details Click on this URL: http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / Special_Offer / Home.htm

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***A Tour Guide, I'm Not!*** When you are the author of five unimarter UniMarter
***A Tour Guide, I'm Not!***

When you are the author of five books and a host of columns and articles, something in the back of your brain speaks to you. ?Just because you?re published, don?t get it into your head that people care a rat?s fundament that you have had 45,000 people read your articles and columns, not to mention your books, and that someone, somewhere is even syndicating your material to the tune of 700 publications and counting.?That would be the voice of reason talking.I know this because one source I use to track my writing recently issued a report that people are actually reading what I write and doing so in great numbers. This does not mean that I am famous and most certainly does not mean that I am rich. But, what it does mean is that I am currently having to wade through a bevy of e-mails from readers who think because,1. I live in Mexico.
2. Because I write about Mexico.
3. That 1 + 2 = I must be a tour guide, an interpreter or translator, an expatriate mentor, a hotel reservation-maker and confirmer, and that if they write and say, ?Oh, tell me what I need to know to retire to Mexico,? that I have nothing else to do with my time but try to come up with an explanation to the general question, ?What?s it like to live in Mexico??I am writing about this because, for real, I am getting not a few, but a lot, of readers who write me and ask me to do these things for them.For those of you who do not know what I do, I live in Mexico with my beloved wife, Cynthia, and I write. I write books and I write articles and columns. I have had some modest success but not enough to say that I am well-known because I am most certainly not. Nor do I live in a mansion with an army of servants. We live in a one-bedroom apartment that my wife cleans herself.People who do not know what is like to live in Mexico are understandably curious and want to know the skinny. That is why we wrote a book called, The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico. We wrote the book so that neither of us would have to repeat ourselves in answering untold e-mails which ask what has to be the most general question in the known universe, ?What can you tell me about living in Mexico??Where would I possibly begin to answer this question for the scores who e-mail me? I wrote a few books that do just that.I?ve met American tourists that are checking out the possibility of living here. They ask me what I do all day with my time. Now, that is a good question. It is good because if you move here to retire or simply live, you will have to come up with something to do or you will find yourself making a hasty retreat back from whence you came.However, when I tell people what I do all day, you would swear that I had just told them that I engage in methodical serial killing. One guy said to me once, ?Oh, I could never do that!? And another, ?Oh, I would have to do something REAL with my time.?Alrighty.If you are wondering what it is I told them that garnered those responses it was this, ?I sit in the park a lot.? And, I really do that?a lot!I get most of the material I write about when I sit in one of the many parks in this Central Mexican town. Perhaps that gives the appearance that I have nothing better to do with my time. Maybe these tourists go back and report this to others?others who write me with these assignments that they think I can do for them. Maybe they are thinking of my well-being. Since I am such a do-nothing schmuck, I must need some work.I do not know. What do you think?I am very grateful that people are reading my work. It makes me feel good and spurs me on to keep writing. I even had a travel book publishing company tell me that they will contact me later in the year to give me to write for them. They actually liked my writing enough to want to hire me. That is good.But, for the record, dear readers, I do not interpret, translate, book hotels, pick you up at the airport, find you somewhere to live, run an Expatriation Mentoring Service, nor have the time to tell you how to move to Mexico or what it is like to live here.I have written a few things you could check out at the bookstores if you really want to know.###So that my readers are not left in out in the cold, here are some resources in the event you do need help in coming to Guanajuato.Check out the site of Mr. Hugo Rodriguez. He offers all sorts of helpful services with vacationing, studying in Guanajuato, or finding a place to live. He does this for a price. http: / / www.avantel.net / ~guanajuatorentals / This site will help you with your tourism needs. Check out the web site and get their email address. Someone there will be able to figure out your questions-eventually. http: / / www.guanajuato.gob.mx / turismo /
sayala@guanajuato.gob.mxTourist Office Information
Plaza De La Paz No. 14 Col. Centro
36000 Guanajuato, Gto.
Tel: (473) 732 76 22 Fax (473) 732 42 51
###Our Newest Book!My wife and I, Americans living in Guanajuato, Mexico, have co-authored a BRAND NEW print and ebook titled, "Guanajuato Expatriation Guide Starting Your New Life in a Genuine Mexican Town".We feel there is no publication available anywhere that covers the material we do with our unique first hand experience at settling in Guanajuato, Mexico. And the need for what we say in this ebook is much needed.Long time Expat residents of the other Mexican towns are now looking to Guanajuato to move since they are being priced out of the housing marketing in towns such as San Miguel de Allende. Also the cost-of-living in those traditional American Expat Enclaves has increased making it difficult for the expat to live. The issue is that living in the city of Guanajuato is nothing like living the Gringo Landias or Gringo Gulches of San Miguel de Allende or Puerto Vallarta.CHECK IT OUT: http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / eBOOKS / Home.htm

#guanajuato #mexico #expattoguanajuato #movetomexico #liveinmexico #learnspanish #expatriate
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***Mexican Bus Riding Part I*** I am sitting on a bench in G unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Bus Riding Part I***

I am sitting on a bench in Guanajuato, Mexico, trying to determine why Mexicans board public buses the way they do. I am determined to figure this out. I?ve staked out a seat in front of a bus stop for my scientific observations. This is important and here is why.I will not lie to you. I have a vested interest in this investigation. Living in this beautiful Colonial Mexican city, I ride the public buses almost daily. Riding the bus to get around can be a convenient way to save on transportation costs. Convenient, yes. Comfortable and safe? I don?t think so.I was sitting next to a woman with multiple packages, multiple kids, and with a look of utter desperation on her face. I mean, who wouldn?t be desperate? She had more bundles to carry than any human should and kids in tow to boot. I watched her carefully. She seemed the stereotypical Guanajuato Mexican bus rider. She would give me valuable empirical evidence. She would teach me.Miles before this woman?s bus came roaring up the street, she somehow knew it was coming. This amazes me. I see this all the time. My wife and I can show up at the bus stop and wait for an hour for the bus. Mexicans know exactly when the bus is coming and do not waste their time waiting for it. They just show up when it shows up. I can only assume this capacity is part of their Mexican genes.This woman jumped up while gathering her bundles and screaming something to her children. The kids were already snapping to attention without being told to and were at the ready. They, too, knew their bus was coming.Next, a surge of people appeared mysteriously at the front door of the bus. Where these people came from I do not know. They were just suddenly there. Mexicans do not stand in line, they surge. It is like when your two-year-old decides to unravel the entire roll of toilet paper into the commode forming a perfect ball of white glob bouncing and floating in the water. Mexicans blob into buses in no orderly fashion.If you are a giant gringo trying fuse yourself into the blob of human flesh attempting to board a Mexican bus, here is what happens. The smaller Mexicans (and most will be smaller than you) can and do duck under the arms you are using to grab the bus door handles while trying to board it. They will simply see this as something to exploit and will duck under your arms to wiggle ahead of you.So picture this. There you are trying to board the bus. You think, ?Oh boy it is my turn to board this bus.? You grab the handles to haul your carcass into the bus only to have fourteen four-foot-high Mexicans dash under your arms ahead of you.Once, a nine-hundred-year-old woman grabbed my waist, jerked me back off the bus?s step, and jumped on ahead of me.Now here is what is worth noting: Mexicans never show up on time for anything. This is culturally endemic. It is nothing to shake your American head at nor something about which to click your tongue. It is just the way it is here.So, where are they going in such a hurry that they need to push you out-of-the-way and get on the bus before you? Bus boarding is the closest thing you will find to witnessing panic in a group of Mexicans. They will rush the door of the bus, seemingly coming from nowhere, in an almost panic to board the bus and yet they are never in a hurry to arrive anywhere on time.I truly do not get this at all.I watched that small family rushing the bus in typical Mexican fashion. They were assimilated into the huge blob of humanity trying to board the bus. I can only assume that since no one was left standing when the bus pulled out that they all boarded successfully.Lessons:1. Ask any Mexican you see at a bus stop where they are going. If they are waiting for your bus then watch them carefully. They will know when the right bus is coming before you can even hear it.2. Watch your mark like a hawk. Watch for any sign of movement. Jump up when they start gathering packages or shouting at their kids.3. Run for all you?re worth to the front of the bus and board as quickly as you can. Do not pause for even a nano-second.4. Try walking to avoid bus riding.More bus riding stories to come...Freelance writer, Syndicated Columnist, and book author, Doug Bower, has written a compelling new book titled, AMERICA'S ANTI-MEXICAN XENOPHOBIA. Have you wondered if the Minuteman Project is really on the "up and up"? Have you wondered if they represent all that is good and right with America?paragons of patriotic virtue? Doug Bower may have the answers you've been looking for. FREE CHAPTER: http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 140958

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***Mexican Bus Riding Part II*** After experiencing the writ unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Bus Riding Part II***

After experiencing the writhing blob-surge of Mexican humanity getting on the bus, you will experience the same blob-surge of Mexican humanity inside the bus only it will cease to writhe. You will be immobilized. All you can do is think?moving will not be an option. If you multiply the number of seats in a Mexican bus by three, you will have number of people with which you will have to contend when riding the bus in Mexico.I knew the number of seats in each bus at one time. However, the city of Guanajuato has been upgrading their buses and I no longer know exactly how many seats are in the new buses. No matter the number, it is an irrevocable fact of life in Mexico that three times the safe occupant limit will somehow be jammed inside a bus.This happens in other conveyances as well. All one must do to observe this fact is stand on the street and watch cabs and cars roll by. A car in Mexico, designed to seat four, will in this country comfortably hold twelve. And my Lord, a truck! A simple Ford pickup will comfortably hold an entire neighborhood. The habit of stuffing many people into vehicles is nothing new or unusual in Mexico. This is also not particular to Mexico.Our friend, Saiko, tells us that Mexico is nothing compared with Japan. She lives in a little city outside Tokyo and must ride the train to Tokyo each day to work. The train stations and subways also have the blobbing-surging boarding technique. Instead of Mexicans, you have a writhing blob-surge of Japanese humanity trying to get on the conveyances all at the same time. But what is unique is that they have ?stuffers? to assist you. These are people with what sounds like gigantic push brooms who will actually push the blob-surge of people into the door of the train so it will close. They literally ?pack? you through the door and into the passenger compartment.We need ?stuffers? in Mexico!In the last six months, I have had the privilege of ?sitting? on the bus exactly three times. Another irrevocable fact of Mexican bus riding is that you can almost count on having to stand. This is usually ok. Since you will be packed tightly, sandwiched between people, backpacks, packages, and maybe a goat, there is almost no chance of falling when the bus driver makes the unavoidable death-defying hairpin turns.Mexicans are a close and not easily embarrassed people. They have to be from generations of Mexican bus riding. When you stand on the bus, you are mashed into parts of other people?s bodies of which you would never speak in mixed company. You simply cannot afford to be squeamish and still use public transportation.My body?s parts have been places where no married man?s should go. (God forbid if I had eaten beans that day!) I?ve had fundaments mashed into parts of me that leave me traumatized for days afterward. If I am ever lucky enough to score a seat on a bus then I can be guaranteed to have my face smashed into parts of women?s bodies?parts only their husbands should touch.My wife, however, is a good sport about this and gets a good laugh (all the time) at my expense.If body parts do not smash you then bags, backpacks, machine parts, or any one of a variety of objects will threaten to smack you in the head. It is almost worth having to stand to avoid potential injuries.Getting off the bus can also be a feat in human athleticism. Imagine thirty Junior High kids riding the bus to class, all standing in the aisle, and all wearing backpacks. They are packed tightly into the aisle with their backpacks interlocked like a series of cogs in a machine. If one turns, they all turn. Imagine getting past that to get out the back door of the bus!As you can see, life as an American expat is not all fun and games. Between four-hour lunches and sitting in beautiful parks watching the world go by mainly not doing much of anything in our new lives, one must consider how we Americans struggle so valiantly with the vast differences in this culture. My God in heaven, the things with which we must contend.Next time?Mexican StreetwalkingExpatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country. Now the potential expatriate can benefit from their more than three years of pre-expat research to their more than two years of actually living in Mexico. The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico answers the potential expatriate's questions by leading them through the process from the beginning to the end. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn not only how-to expatriate but will learn what to expect, in daily life, before coming to Mexico.
BUY BOOK HERE: http: / / www.zyworld.com / theolog / PlainTruth / Home.htm

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***Mexican Living: Bathroom Warnings*** You potential male e unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Bathroom Warnings***

You potential male expatriates must bear something in mind if you plan to move to Mexico. Apparently it is a normal sight to see women walking into men?s public rest rooms while one is trying to take care of business.I don?t see this happening daily but often enough to warrant a warning. I have, in fact, experienced this four times since our moving to Mexico. It is strange, unnerving, and takes some getting use to.The business of women entering men?s public bathrooms is because of two necessities. One is that they hire women janitors to clean them and the other is when some gal needs to make potty really badly!The first time I saw this was on my 50th birthday. My wife and I went to Leon, Guanajuato, to celebrate. We were eating at a steak place when my 20th glass of iced tea finally demanded to escape via my bladder. Finding the men?s room, I got a little surprise.It was a fair-sized bathroom with the usual wall lined with urinals and three stalls. The urinals were ?occupied? with a row of middle-aged gentlemen. Directly behind these guys was a woman dressed in a janitor?s uniform mopping the floor! Neither the men, who kept on tapping their bladders, nor the women acted like this was an unusual event. I was freaked out!When one man finished his biological duty I knew that I could not step up to the vacated slot. I would have had bladder lock or died of embarrassment, so I ditched it into a stall.I was sitting there taking care of business when I heard, in the next stall, a woman talking on her cell phone. At first I thought I was hallucinating but it was a lady (or some guy sounding much like Michael Jackson)!I left the stall at the same time she did and, though I felt weak from the shock and almost swooned, she exited while more men entered the bathroom like this was an everyday occurrence.The other three times were at this local department store where you can, for three pesos use their bathrooms. The first time I walked in, I found two female janitors talking together. Apparently the ?janitor?s closet?, where they store supplies and equipment, is in the men?s bathroom. Can you believe that?We stood there for a brief moment staring at one another when they said, almost in unison, ??Buenos Dias!?, and then resumed their conversation that my presence had interrupted. My goodness!So, once again, I ditched it into a stall, which by the way was built for midgets, and took care of my waste disposal while they kept on talking as though this was a normal event.I cannot possibly explain this since I am much too embarrassed to ask anyone about it. I am sure there is some culturally specific explanation. I don?t know. I don?t know if I want to know. Don?t let anyone tell me!This would not fly in America. I can recall that some lady once got arrested for entering a men?s room for a pee-pee emergency. The women?s room was either out-of-order or occupied. The poor thing could not wait.What am I to make of this? I guess that we Americans are anal (absolutely a pun intended!) about our bathroom needs and habits--we should get over it.Meantime, perhaps Mexico can have mercy on us male expats and put warning signs on the doors:?Caution: Women may be working or using the bathroom. Prepare for a shocking experience. You may be prone to fainting to the floor.? -- Vicente Fox, President of the Republic of Mexico.Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: San Miguel de Allende*** Long, long ago i unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: San Miguel de Allende***

Long, long ago in a faraway land called Mexico (you may have heard it) was a small, insignificant, flat piece of real estate located in the highlands of Central Mexico. Ringed by mountains, this "low region" was founded and by a lowly and humble Franciscan monk named Juan de San Miguel in 1542.This town played an important role as "an important stopover on the Antigua Camino Real, part of the silver route from Zacatecas." [1]But alas, this role was soon to evaporate as the amount of silver the filthy-rich could squeeze out of the mountains played out. By the 1900's, San Miguel de Allende looked doomed to become a ghost town. What was to become of poor San Miguel de Allende (from here on it is SMA?I tire from writing out that entire name!) no one knew.Hark! Lo and behold! Someone had the idea to make SMA a national monument in 1926. How this was to save the poor town, I have no idea. What happened next gets a little muddy.Some would say that SMA survived until the 1950's because of Mexican tourism. SMA's resort-like qualities of natural beauty and natural hot springs were the attraction.SMA did revive as a tourist attraction shortly after World War II, but the reason for its sudden population boom was because of American Influence.The creation of The Instituto Allende, An International Institution of Higher Education for the Arts, Crafts, and Spanish, brought a flood of American art students to the town. Eventually, an expatriate community of more than 10,000 followed. Many of these expatriates are mostly rich Americans.One cannot help asking the question what this gigantic gringo population has done to SMA. A screaming gringo pointed out that the locals in SMA should appreciate and thank the Americans for all the money that has been thrown at them.What is this? "Look what we've done for you?now kiss our hands and feet?" Is this what my in-my-face, screeching gringo meant? I just don't know.I would attribute what GOOD the gringo population has done for the citizens of SMA as Divine Providence rather than the (un)righteousness of American money. Money may improve a standard of living but it cannot buy friendship or love.And, there is no doubting if the gringos were to vacate the real estate tomorrow, economic horrors would result. But, I must ask, there has been economic improvement at what cost? Standards of living have gotten better but at the cost of losing a distinctive Mexican identity. I don't think the gringos would say this.The Mexicans, however, do.It is hard to get the locals to discuss this issue especially when they instinctively understand on what side of their bread gets a healthy application of butter.Those who have talked to me have told me that the following bothers them a great deal. I am sure you've heard this from your fellow SMA expats:1. "I don't have to learn Spanish. All those who come to work for me have to speak English."2. "Why should I have to learn Spanish when one can live one's entire life here and not have to utter one word of Spanish?"3. "I have plenty of English-speaking friends. Why should I have to learn Spanish?"And the list goes on.Another specific thing said to me from those I interviewed is, "Why won't the gringos associate with us and why won't they learn our language?"Perhaps another way to phrase this is,"Why do the Americans expect of us, when we expatriate to America, what they are UNWILLING to do themselves when they come here?"You cannot very well associate with someone with whom you cannot communicate, now can you?Think about it![1] http: / / www.sanmiguelguide.com / history.htmOUR NEW BOOKGuanajuato, M?xico--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of FrogsGuanajuato, M?xico ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005. Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, M?XICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http: / / mexicanliving.access.to / CHECK OUT OUR E-BOOKS ==>http: / / my.lulu.com / mexicanliving

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***Mexican Living: Solving the Ugly American Syndrome*** We, unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Solving the Ugly American Syndrome***

We, and who I mean by we are those who moved to Mexico to spend the rest of our lives sincerely absorbing the culture and language, have to got to come up with a solution to the Ugly American Syndrome.I think I have?at least partially.If you have been reading my columns (and hopefully memorizing them), you know that I've been reporting the Ugly American Syndrome is alive and well in the expat communities in Mexico.You see it as well in many of the tourist and students who come here. They come to Mexico with huge chips of their little psychopathologies on their shoulders daring any Mexican to knock them off. They expect nothing less than to be waited on hand and foot and to have their every need anticipated and met.In short, Americans generally run all over this country acting as though Mexico's very existence is to serve them. They are doing it because they believe their American dollar earns them the right to do so. They act out like children.What has bothered me for the longest time in my constant observation of the gringo behavior is this,"Why do they bother to spend the hefty sums of money they do to come here if they are going to act so unhappy?like depressed, spoiled children?" (Some of my Mexican neighbors have even asked me this.)Ok, here is the partial solution I've come up with: "They act like this, when they come to Mexico, because this is how they act all the time no matter where they are!"No matter what country they are in, they are simply being themselves. Let me explain.I wrote an op-ed piece a while ago called, The Liberal Solution: Assault a Conservative. In that piece, I reported on two incidents involving two conservative speakers in which they were physically assaulted while speaking onstage to a hostile liberal audience. I asked, in that piece, whether this would be what we could come to expect of a liberal's ability to deal with a cogent argument. If you don't like what you hear then commit assault and battery on the speaker.Well, low and behold, I guess I was prophetic. This behavior has escalated and reoccurred recently with conservative pundit Ann Coulter. You may have heard of it on Fox News. [1]Whatever you think about Ann Coulter and her conservative position on ANYTHING, the woman should be able to speak (isn't that what free speech is about?) without the fear of having some thug college student rushing the stage and attacking her with a pie. He missed her, thank God.Here is my point: Americans act like jackasses at home as well as abroad. Believers in free speech and tolerance apparently will now physically attack those with whom they disagree. If they act like this "at home," why should we expect any better behavior when they move to another country? And indeed, you do not see better behavior!It is no surprise when these conservative-attacking liberals come to Mexico they act the same way they do at home in America. Oops. Was that a generalization?I think not.When we vacationed in Puerto Vallarta, with an unbelievably large liberal expat community, we weren't sure we would get out of there in one piece. Never had I heard such vitriolic pontification about the President of the United States or anything remotely Republican. There was bitter hatred spewing faster than the booze they were guzzling.These were the liberal grandparents and the mommies and daddies of the miscreant conservative-attacking college students back in America.The Ugly American expat, tourist, or college student is just being himself or herself. They act like an Ugly American abroad because it is how they act when "at home."Now "we" have to figure out what to do with them![1] The Pie-Proof Ann Coulter on Hecklers; http: / / www.foxnews.com / story / 0,2933,155550,00.htmlDoug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: How Many Does it Take?*** How many people unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: How Many Does it Take?***

How many people have to come forward with horror stories of gringo behavior coming out of San Miguel de Allende before someone realizes there is a problem? Last week, a gringo walks into a restaurant and announces to an Australian expat, "All Mexican women are bitches."My Australian friend finds out from the American nutcase that he has been traveling all over Mexico and that while in San Miguel, some Mexican woman "bumped into him" and did not say "excuse me." Convinced that this woman had plotted all her life to bump into him "on purpose," he went on a cursing streak calling this woman every nasty name known to the English language.Just two weeks ago, a dear friend, who would have no reason to lie or exaggerate a bit, told me of being in San Miguel at her daughter's art show when there was a band of tattooed, body pierced Mexicans playing music in the Jardin. One surly American expat decided it was his duty to stand in front of the band and give them the finger. And I think you know of which finger I speak.What is going on in San Miguel?I did an informal e-mail survey of gringo expats in San Miguel, revealing 100% of those surveyed being unaware of any miscreant gringo behavior. Give me a break!My wife and I have written an entire chapter in our book with stories from former San Miguel expats (who now live in Guanajuato) and tourists who have told us the most horrific stories about San Miguel's gringo population.Routinely, we introduce ourselves to new gringo faces we see here in Guanajuato. Without having to ask, some of these tourists ask us if we know what "the deal is" in San Miguel. They explain their observations and, folks they are not good!I think I have an idea that would solve this problem;? The sane San Miguel American expats will start sitting incognito in the Jardin waiting for the insane Americans to begin their nasty business.? Seeing someone getting out of line, the sane American expats will begin blowing whistles--Much like in England with the English Bobbies when they see a crime being committed and they whistle for back-up.? All the sane Americans expats, who will be hiding behind their newspapers munching on bagels, will leap into action.? The offender will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into some isolated callejon and beaten senseless.? The offended local Mexican will receive profound apologies and assurances that this crazy American will never again bother them.? The beaten senseless American will be escorted, hogtied, to the airport in Leon and flown back to the United States. His passport will conveniently be found missing.Seriously, it is a problem?this ugly American Syndrome--and it drives me batty each time I hear one of these stories. I do believe that self-policing will be a big step in solving this problem.Those San Miguel de Allende gringos who do know how to act in someone else's country need to confront those who do not. And I mean confront them in groups. Get your friends together and go knocking on the doors of these Americans who have brought their little pathologies with them to San Miguel.Tell them, and I mean this, that you (the good guys) don't want them in Mexico if they don't know how to behave as a guest in someone else's country. Remind them that this is what they are?guests. Put their names in the paper, post it on lampposts, do what it takes to pressure them into a compliance of decent behavior. Document everything, get your witnesses together, and put these ding-a-lings out of their Ugly American Syndrome business!Do whatever it takes!For more info on San Muguel go to this link: http: / / www.sanmiguelguide.com / Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: ¿Habla Usted Espanol?*** If you ar unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: ¿Habla Usted Espanol?***

If you are an average American as in GI Joe and Mom's apple-pie, did you know that you suffer from a debilitating condition called, xenoglossophobia? Before you go running off to the nearest emergency room let us define this mouthful of a word.Xenoglossophobia means the "fear of foreign languages." It is a genuine phobia that has symptoms."The problem often significantly impacts the quality of life. It can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates. Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, although everyone experiences foreign languages fear in their own way and may have different symptoms." (http: / / www.changethatsrightnow.com / problem_detail.asp?SDID=4837:1925)This fear or xenoglossophobia has been a significant phobia in American history. There was a time in U.S. history when 22 states had laws prohibiting the teaching of foreign languages. It was in 1923 that the U.S. Supreme court overturned those laws.By 1954, 56% of public high schools still had no foreign language courses available for their students. In those schools that did, only 14.2% of high school students were enrolled in a foreign language course. (Clifford, R. (2004, Jan. 16). Remarks at National briefing on language and national security, National Press Club, Washington, DC.)Even today, schools with available courses are thinking of dropping any foreign language requirement or making it an elective. Today, 30 states have no foreign language requirement for their students to graduate from high school. (A retreat from foreign languages? By Patrik Jonsson Special to The Christian Science Monitor from the October 29, 2002 edition KAREN SCHNEIDER - STAFF ATHENS, GA)These xenoglossophobics are expatriating to Mexico and most do not bother to learn Spanish. Because of their fear of learning a foreign language, they doom themselves to living in areas of Mexico where there are enormous gringo English-speaking populations. I totally get that. It is sad but I sympathize with their fears of the language barrier. How sad. They miss so much!Is this an incurable condition? No sir, it is not!I would like to offer some suggestions that might help those afflicted with xenoglossophobia to overcome it. To do so will open a Mexico to you that you would never know otherwise.The key to mastering Spanish is in two words: motivation and methodology. If you are highly motivated then all you need is the right method. I would like to suggest that you do use the following methods in the order I suggest. These methods are based on the way you learned your native language?like when you were a child. I have used them and they worked for me.Consequently, I am able live in an area of Mexico not dominated by English speakers.? Pimsleur Language?Spanish: http: / / www.language-programs.com / pimsleur / language-programs / spanish / ? Learnables Spanish: http: / / www.learnables.com / ? Immersion Plus Spanish: http: / / www.pentonoverseas.com / immersion-cd.htmThese courses are not cheap. However, look at it this way: You would waste hundreds of dollars on Spanish classes in a school so why not do something that works? Then, once you have some confidence in spoken fluency, you can take some conversation courses and maybe a grammar class or two with a native speaker.I am so convinced that you can overcome culture shock if you develop a high degree of spoken fluency in Spanish before moving to Mexico. In addition, the added benefit is that you demonstrate to your Mexican neighbors that you respect their culture enough to try to learn their language. This will immediately elevate you in their estimation and they will accept you quickly into their lives as their friends.Now, if you are wondering if I have any financial interest in these courses I have begged you to buy, the answer is I do not!Damn it!Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.
His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: The People of Mexico*** There is simply a unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: The People of Mexico***

There is simply a plethora of wonderful things about living in Mexico?the consistently calm climate, the cheap cost-of-living, the best foods on the planet, dodging dog-poop on the sidewalks. These are just a few. By far, the most amazing thing deserving the highest adulation is the Mexican people.When we moved to this little town of Guanajuato, we were accepted, without a noticeable exception, into the lives of our neighbors as if we were their long-lost distant cousins from America who had finally found our way back to our real home?Mexico! The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker all took it as their responsibility to watch out for the new gringos in the neighborhood and turned out to be protective of us.After our first six months of living here, we had to go to San Antonio, Texas, to visit a terminally ill friend. On our return, the produce guy came running out of his store, virtually in tears, to see us. The little old abuela (grandmother) who owned a little snack shop did the same. They both expressed the fear that, since they had not seen us in days, we had to go back to the U.S. and neglected to say good-bye to them. They were worried, they said, about us!When was the last time you walked into the supermarket and had the produce guy, or any store personnel at all, run up and embrace you tearfully because he had missed you? Would the word, never, be accurate?We are wondering if our neighbors in Kansas City yet know we have left America and moved to Mexico in August, 2003.In our former neighborhood, we did have some trouble with some neighbors who were not liked by anyone at all. They had two wild and savage French poodles that would turn any dog lover into a dog hater. I wanted to kick them each time I saw them. They would be running loose when we would try walking by the house?they attacked us often.In desperation, we told the neighborhood Internet Caf? owner of our despair. He told us not to worry; his wife would take care of everything. And she did, too!She gathered a little confab of neighborhood ladies and stormed the house where these two evil curs lived. She chewed the dog owners up one side and down the other. She informed them that these two gringos were a part of the neighborhood and demanded we be treated accordingly.Can you even fathom that happening in America?Sadly, we left that neighborhood for a quieter one where we've been just as accepted into the neighbor's lives and homes.We contracted some intestinal ailment shortly after moving to our present neighborhood. Our landlady, who lives on the same property, got wind of it and was soon on our doorstep to nurse us back to health with herbs that did work to heal us!We had some thief wannebee try to enter the house with me standing in the kitchen. He calmly walked off once seeing me. I told a neighbor minutes after the event and she went into action.All the neighbors showed up to catch and thrash the long-gone intruder. One fellow crawled on the roof of our house to see if the thief could be hiding. The ladies calmed us and offered us tequila for our nerves. One lady was going to bring her dog over to spend the night with us. They stayed with us for as long as it took for us to be comfortable.The would-be thief got away.The people here are dazzling and remain so in our estimation. We have grown accustomed to this communal fellowship and would never consider to going back to a country where this type of community is long forgotten.Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.
His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: Respect Your Elders!*** A question sent t unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Respect Your Elders!***

A question sent to me by a reader was, "How are the Elderly treated in Mexico?"Our personal observation has been that they are venerated to the point of being called sages. I have heard more than once of Mexican young people referring to their Elderly relatives as sages.I recall the first time hearing a young 26-year old Spanish teacher of mine calling her abuela (grandmother) a sage. I almost cried. Could there still be a culture where the Elderly aren't considered as so much chattel to be discarded as an old coat; to be locked away when someone perceives their usefulness to be over?The property on which we live is owned by La Se?ora Martha Carrillo. It is a huge complex with several houses in which her sons and their families, and your humble columnist, lives.Martha had to raise her four children alone since she was 32 years old. Her husband died of a brain tumor leaving her to raise these kids. She not only accomplished this monumental feat but built a real estate empire to help support herself and to provide for her sons when they had their own families.Martha's time is now spent managing the rental properties and taking care of her 89-year-old mother. Martha is 69. She does this with a strength rare among men much less women. She labors day and night with her rental properties and with her mother.She does not complain.When her mother's needs become too overwhelming Martha is patient but finds other activities to take her mind off the constant demanding needs of her mother. She would never in a million years lock her mother away. Never!We see, in the community, this being played over and over again. We see the younger ones taking their mothers and fathers by the hand and escorting them to one of the Plazas for an outing, to the doctor, to get their hair done, or just to get out.A tearful sight I once witnessed was a young 16-year-old boy who had his grandfather by the hand walking him. The viejo (old man) told the boy to go be with his friends who were calling him from across the street. The boy said to his grandfather, "No, I'd rather be with you, abuelito."This is typically Mexican.That's why I go through the roof in a bit of rage when I hear American anti-immigration pundits talk of Mexicans as thugs and terrorists who want to sneak across the U.S. border to rob and pillage America. What a load of caca (that's Spanish for crap?as in poo-poo).No matter the social status in Mexico, no matter your economic standing, caring for your elderly relations is considered the sole responsibility of the family. And by God, it sure should be!
"Since pre-Hispanic times, family links in Mexico have been extremely strong and as a result care-giving of the elderly, sick and poor is a socially recognized responsibility of the family, including all members of the extended family." [1]If a pre-Hispanic, ancient civilization could get this most fundamental principle of family life what the devil has happened in that so-called developed country, uh, what do they call it, America? Americans will generally drop their elderly like a bad habit and faster than you can say, "Pass the Geritol."I fear happening in Mexico what happened in America. Some of the younger Mexicans are beginning to do what Americans did. When Mama becomes too inconvenient then her needs suffer while the younger ones go off to do their own thing. This trend is starting. [2]Mexico currently has some government, workplace, and community services for those 60 years and older. The indigenous person, however, as is always the case, hasn't the access because of their remote locations.I've quoted this before but it sure bears repeating:"It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."Hubert H. Humphrey (1911 - 1978)[1] Elderly Care Across the Globe; Natasha Curry; http: / / www.careguide.com / modules.php?op=modload&name=CG_Resources&file=article&sid=965
[2] IbidDoug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexcian Living: Traditional Mexican Eating*** I have been unimarter UniMarter
***Mexcian Living: Traditional Mexican Eating***

I have been a little preoccupied lately with my diet. The reason being is that I am too fat! The doctor told me that I am now Se?or Tubby and I need to lose some weight. I am suffering from some blood sugar issues and this is, as you know, not good.Therefore, I have been looking at my diet and have been doing so in the context of Mexico where my wife and I live. What I mean is that when you travel around this great country you can see a wide range of fit to unfit Mexicans.For example, here in Guanajuato where there are fewer car owners (it is my theory that cars make you fat), there are more walkers and thus thinner, fitter Mexicans. There are some fat-butts but there are fewer than you would see in Leon or Guadalajara where there are more car owners, fewer walkers, and a Burger King on every corner.Here's what I am thinking:? You take massive car ownership where driving stresses you out to no end.? This makes you want to eat to soothe your stress.? You see on each street corner an American (note I said American) fast-food chains, all you can stuff down your gullet buffets.? And there you have the formula for a bunch of diabetics in the making!I know, if you've been following my columns, you must think I am an anti-American malcontent. Well, listen very carefully to what I am about to say: I am an anti-American malcontent! Let me explain why.Here is just one good example about America with which I am malcontented:Everyone goes along in their humdrum existences pretending there is nothing wrong with America. When the truth is Americans are dropping dead by the lard bucket loads because of American businesses that could care less that you weigh 450 pounds as the result of eating at their coronary-inducing food establishments.Am I right here? Am I on the right track?Do you think for one moment that these American fast-food chains look at a Mr. Blimpy (like me) who comes through the door topping the scales at about 580 (I am really 280) and think to themselves,"Well gosh, maybe we should say something to this guy. He doesn't look like he needs to be eating our triple-decker 100% fatty meat, four pounds of cheese, sandwich?"No they don't! Their "bottom line" is not the healthy well- being of their customers. It is how much food they can convince you to buy. That is their bottom line. They care not about you but your pocketbook.These fat-makers are now in Mexico and are here to stay. They have hooked Mexicans just as they have Americans and it is showing in the Mexican women's breasts."The study published in the August 2004 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention clearly reported more breast cancer in women who ate more calories, protein, total carbohydrates, sucrose, and fructose. Sucrose is table sugar and fructose is the primary sugar found in soft drinks (sodas); usually reported as high fructose corn syrup. Eating more fiber and starch (often referred to as complex carbohydrates), both only found in plant foods, meant less breast cancer according to the study." [1]The traditional Mexican diet, one of corn (tortillas), beans, fruits and vegetables, has been associated with lower incidents of not only breast cancers but of other diseases of Western Civilization. Let me ask you this: Do you think these American fast-food chains are offering a traditional Mexican diet?Breast cancer is on the rise with younger Mexican women who are the targets of the slick advertising of these American food chains. These women are the prey of the American marketing predators!So for your humble but Blimpy columnist it is more corn (tortillas), beans, fruits and vegetables, and getting off my pompi (this is buttock in Spanish).See what you can learn from reading my column?[1] McDougall Wellness Center; http: / / www.drmcdougall.com / news / high_carb_cancer_myth.htmlDoug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: Christmas*** I have no memory of Christma unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Christmas***

I have no memory of Christmas, 2003. Now before you jump to one of those, "Oh, yeah we know," conclusions let me say that both my wife and I were deathly ill from some flu bug that we contracted while visiting San Miguel de Allende.We spent Christmas, 2003, crawling to the bathroom and then back to bed. We were not even able to celebrate our wedding anniversary that was the day after Christmas.This was to be our first Christmas in Mexico and we were disappointed to say the least.Christmas, 2004, we were able to see a Mexican Christmas in Puerto Vallarta where we vacationed with some friends.Christmas in Mexico is familiar and yet delightfully different--foreign. And, I must add, an exhausting month of celebrations.The celebrations begin December 3rd with the LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE. This is the Patron Saint of Mexico whose celebration lasts until December 12th. They say The Virgin is "the Mother of God" as she appeared on Tepeyac, the pre-Hispanic site of the temple to Tontanslin.Being more a symbol of Mexican nationalism, the Mexican devotion to her seems, at least to this author, to surpass the real religious veneration. The Virgin is what unites the normally strict and obvious social classes. She transcends class structure.Though the celebration of the LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE seems foreign to the American's experience, the Mexican Nacimiento is all too familiar.Spanish monks first introduced Nacimiento or The Nativity scene. It has since taken on some of the local tradition and influences.For example, there is the "rooster crowing" to announce the birth of the Christ child. There is Satan lurking in his cave to tempt the shepherds on their journey to see the Christ child. There is also another uniquely Mexican twist to this Nativity:"Foreigners are frequently confused when confronted by nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations all through January, and even into February. Even more puzzling to newcomers are 4 inch figures of Mary and Joseph and a nearly life-size Christ child. Nevertheless, there is tradition to explain this, too. On January 6, during the fiesta to honor the arrival of the Three Kings at the manger, a special ring-shaped bread called the ?Rosca? will be served. Baked into the bread is one or more small plastic figures of the Child God. The guests who find these images in their serving of bread are named the Godparents of the Christ Child from the Nacimiento. It is then their responsibility to host a party on February 2, El Dia de Candlelaria or the Day of Purification, the final celebration of a Christmas holiday which began on December 3 with the beginning of nine day celebration of The Virgin of Guadalupe." [1]There are, of course, The Posadas. After the arrival of the Spaniards, this tradition of nine days of children's processions, a reenactment of the birth of Christ, the monks invented this as a means to evangelize the Aztecs."This procession symbolizes the journey made by Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem and Joseph?s search for shelter (Posada) at an Inn (also Posada). The peregrinos (pilgrims) include Joseph leading Mary on a burro, an Angel, shepherds, kings, and a large flock of excited, giggling, jostling, bumping, wiggling, shiny-eyed others, most with bright ribbon and flower decked shepherds? staffs which they tap in time to the music." [2]The children march from house to house with "Joseph" asking for "room at the inn." They are refused until they hit the prearranged house where they are finally admitted and a party ensues.There is so much more: The Pi?atas, The Pastorels, La Noche Buena, Navidad, the giving of La Flor de la Nochebuena, Dia de Innocents, and A?o Viejo and A?o Neuva.Check out this web site for additional information:http: / / www.mexconnect.com / mex_ / feature / xmasindex.html[1] Christmas Hoildays in Mexico: Festivals of Light, Love, and Peace; by Judy King
[2] IbidDoug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: The Things that Charm Us*** When you move unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: The Things that Charm Us***

When you move to another country, it those things that you have there that you did not have from whence you came, that you may find the most charming.Mexico is a place of exquisite charm for no other reason than because it is Mexico! There are things here that you would never dream of seeing in the United States. Wild parrots flying in the treetops, genuine Mexican foods (unheard of in the U.S.) to satisfy the most discerning tastes and swell the waistline, men riding horses and burros to work in the streets right alongside the car traffic, a fiesta happening somewhere all the time, etc.Another charming thing, which you might find a bit bizarre, is Mexican television.Mexican TV is much like TV in the States. You have certain programs that are immensely popular and those that are not. Some are interesting and some boring. They are supported by commercials, just as in the U.S., with both Mexican and American products. They have their news programs that are half-hour shows covering local as well as international news.
What you will find different about Mexican TV, that I find jarring even to this day, is how they break for commercial sponsors, and how they end the programs they are airing. It is bizarre almost beyond description.Let us say you are watching an American-made movie. In the plot, the good guy has finally uncovered the murderer of his girlfriend and is beating the crap out of the bad guy. The bad guy finally submits, gives up the fight, and is about to tell the good guy his evil and dastardly motive for the murder.
"Why, why did you do it you evil bad guy?" The hero screams.
Bloodied and broken with no more energy for the battle the evil bad guy moans, "I did it because_________"BOOM! A commercial selling cell phones appears suddenly on the screen!Or, it can be right in the middle of some inane dialogue between two characters.Chad rummages in the fridge. He turns to his chum and hollers,
"Hey Becker, you want something to_______"Ka-Pow! They break for a commercial for panty liners!I do not get this at all. I know I say that a lot in these columns but the reason is that, when I ask my Mexican friends, they just shrug their shoulders or say, "?Quien sabe?" They are no help at all!Another thing about Mexican TV is how they end a movie. You could be watching one, it ends, and before the credits have a chance to play, or before you can get over the emotional impact of the end of the movie, the next one has started. What I mean is that one scene is the end of the first movie and the next is the beginning dialogue of the second with nothing in between. No commercials, no good-byes, no closing or opening credits, not so much as a "The End."Think of the implications of this. You could have been sitting through a real tearjerker with a sad ending. The sad and tragic scene ends and before you have time to reach for the Kleenex, the beginning words of the next movie are already blasting you in the face. This isn't right?it is not normal!Moreover, if you think this is strange listen to this:
If you go to the movies here, they will turn off the film to change reels right when the forty-story monster is about to eat the busload of nuns. I mean the T-Rex has the bus tilted up and is about to shake out a few nuns like M&M's rolling out of a bag, when the film goes blank. There should be some International Law against this practice!I think the United Nations should be investigating this. What do you think?Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.
His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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***Mexican Living: Bus Travel Mexican Style*** When I was in unimarter UniMarter
***Mexican Living: Bus Travel Mexican Style***

When I was in college, in the prehistoric days, I was a veteran bus traveler. I am not talking about the city buses but the kind you would take from city "A" to city "B" three states apart.You know the kind of which I speak. I am talking about the long-distance ones that smelled not unlike you were stepping into an ashtray on wheels. There was always the peculiar smell of cigarettes, beer, and that nursing home smell that you encountered when you went to visit your 900-year-old aunt.The seats in those nastiness-on-wheels buses were positively nightmarish. I still dream about them. I think I suffer from (among many things) a post-traumatic bus-seat stress disorder. Those seats were little butt seats. I mean you had to have the butt of a 10-year-old dwarf child to sit comfortably in them! And, if you were lucky, there would be some duct tape covering the hole where someone smuggled drugs or where there was a spring ready to impale one of your butt cheeks.The floors! My God, the floors! There was always something sticky covering the floors and they were a necrotic-tissue color--black. I am positive they contributed to the assortment of smells that wafted into your nostrils on entering the bus.
The bathrooms in those buses were virtually impossible to use. If you managed to drop your britches to use the toilet and sit down, you were assured of a skull fracture from being propelled off the thing as though someone suddenly jerked the toilet up and forward when the bus driver (probably drunk) accelerated.
Once, I had to take a bus from Clarksville, Arkansas, to York, Pennsylvania, for Christmas break. The trip, boring and tiring as it was, wasn't that bad and we were making good time. I was going to have to spend three days, count them, three days traveling in a bus.Well, somewhere in Tennessee, I think, the bus driver decided to stop somewhere in the middle of the night for a bite to eat. It was, as I said, in the middle of the night and while we all slept he took a little extra time to do God only knows what.
His little rest stop put us late getting into somewhere (I forget) which caused me to miss my connection. In addition, it was snowing, delaying the next bus I could have taken.
I had to spend two days in a bus station, with no hotel money, waiting for the worst snowstorm in the history of mankind to clear up so the appropriate bus could get there.I called my parents and made them swear they would fly me back to Arkansas after Christmas should I survive this ordeal.
That was the last time I ever rode a bus in America.Now come with me to Mexico: My wife and I went to Puerto Vallarta for Christmas, 2004. We took the ENT bus line. This thing was, and I swear to you, like the first-class section of the most expensive airline only magnified to the power of 1000.
As you got on, they served a lunch and drink. There was a galley for your tea or coffee pleasure. There were two bathrooms in that bus. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? The seats were big-butt seats, like on a first-class airline, and were actually comfortable to sleep in. There were private headphones for music or for watching the movie. You heard right?the bus had video screens for a movie!Get this: They insolated the bus walls because you could hear nothing from outside the bus.Can you begin to fathom how a so-called third world country can offer this most astounding bus traveling experience while the United States?developed country??still offers (so I am told) basically the same torture that I suffered in the 70's?Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico.His new book Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country can be seen at http: / / www.lulu.com / content / 126241

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