Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Holy Moly it's been 10 years blogging

Man did 10 years go by fast!

I started scribbling , ok not scribbling but typing thoughts and messages on this blog. The counter says there have been a total of 115568 pageviews  in that time frame.

Originally I started writing this to share the experiences of the passage to Mexico. The good, the bad and the ugly. Lots of things have changed in 10 years, some good some bad.

I was having lunch with a very good friend of mine  the other day who is the same age that I am, and we both agreed that our bodies are slowing down, even if our brains are still racing forward. This last year for me has especially been taxing. I have been in the hospital a couple of times and let me tell you being in the hospital is not fun. If it wasn't for the morphine IV, I  think I would have found a way to surrender to the grim reaper.
 But too many friends of mine convinced me that if I am still breathing and waking up in the morning I am more fortunate that a lot of my friends who are no long here. And be thankful for what I have.

The trick is to be able to maneuver and get around good enough to have a decent quality of life. That is the hard part to tackle.
 In the last year I have seen a lot of people who are hanging on for life for some reason when they cannot enjoy any kind of decent quality of life or even self sufficiency. 
 I may change my mind when and if it comes to that point but we'll take that subject on at a different time.

We should be talking about the rain, being without power of a couple of days while CFE moves the power lines to the other side of the road. You remember they destroyed our rural picturesque road that had nice trees and winding roads and replaced it with a 4 lane highway in front of our  property.
Well this last week they have been moving the power lines to our side of the road, for some reason unknown to me or the workers whom I asked why.

This has been a kinda weird weather year, lots of rain and lots of lightening, I am looking forward to drying up a little, just in time for it to get cold.  We'll that's what Zihuatanejo is for anyway, a quick 3 hour ride down the mountains to the beautiful quiet resort with nice sand, nice pool and nice bar drinks....
Daily life.....yeah!

On second though if you are reading this, you are better off going to Ixtapa because it has lots of nice high rise hotels, restaurants and Zihuatanejo is way too quiet and we don't need any more people there than there is.
Ok, I am being selfish, but I have earned that right. 

In the 10 years, I have covered lots of topics, the day to day bureaucracies, the insesant lack of logic in dealing with some local businesses, and the haphazard day to day life in this beautiful neck of the woods. We are in the middle of the Sierra Madre mountains, and we still have lot of pine trees surrounding the home.
In the last 10 years Patzcuaro has gotten ( sadly) modern.
We now have stop lights on the periferico which a lot of the time are ignored in order suit one's self driving methods.
I find myself adapting to local driving customs to the chagrin of my wife. 

Patzcuaro now has two large supermercados which we didn't have 10 years ago. 
As well as a  large well lit Autozone car parts store, which opened up  a few years ago. It's a nice store which allows one to wander through the isles gazing at well displayed auto parts and accessories. 
Now if only we  had a Steren store,  for me to spend even more time at...

10 years has also brought some fresh new friends and sadly has also brought the necessity to say goodbye to a few also. The goodbyes are sad because they seem to be escalating faster than the gathering of new ones.

We've also been through many changes in how we use the ranch. From growing various vegetables in addition to having head of cattle has required us getting rid of the cattle because stealing cattle is way too prevalent here. When we start talking of thousands of pesos insead of hundreds, then something needs to happen so we just couldn't keep being the source of free beef anymore.
 Gone are the cattle, what I really miss is the fresh warm milk from which we made a variety of cheeses and I had my daily yogurt fix.

Well, if the last 10 years is any indication of how fast the next 10 years are going to go, I better get prepared for jamming in a lot of stuff that I have on my bucket list.

Thank you all who have been reading and especially to the ones who have contributed by responding with your comments.  I may start more regular writing again, if I get some more interesting topics of which to write.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Music then and now

As I was tuning the dial across the radio while driving the other day I noticed that most of the radios stations are playing modern music which today happens to be some derivation of rap. I call it ungabunga rhythm music.

I personally find it hard to make out the words to the message they are trying to purvey. Perhaps it is my untuned ear, but I also found it hard to decipher hard rock or whatever the rock was called where they were screaming at full volume into the microphone the whole time.

I know there were aficionados of that style of music because one of my employees years ago was obsessed with that music or should I say noise. It didn't seem to have any rhythm or melodies just a constant high level of shout.

There is a radio station here in Patzcuaro, which I am sure is a pirate station since technically it is not up to par, having a 60 cycle hum on their carrier that happens to play music that I enjoy.

It is not on all the time and when it is, after some music there is a 5 to 10 minute period of silence where I assume they are scurrying back to find another tape to put on the player or perhaps load a few CD's onto the player.

They play a variety of classical and middle of the road music from decades back, so I would also assume the purveyor of melodies is in their late 50's+.

The kids today listen to rap exclusively and copy body movements designed to look like robots for some reason. I think they call it dancing.

The top hits when I was in high school was  Herb Albert's  The Lonely Bull and Washington Square by the Village Stompers.

Yes rock was starting to become more popular as was the Motown sound, but imaging having instrumentals be on top of the charts. That is something that would be unheard of today.

I guess it was the time for folk music which I still enjoy today
The Kingston Trio, The Brothers Four, The Limelighters, Peter, Paul and Mary, where all groups that you could sing along because you could actually hear the lyrics to the song.

Scanning my Internet radio providers like Spotify and Songza so much of their selections are devoted to Urban which is Rap.  I wonder how many years it will be before the oldies of the 50's and 60's are no longer popular to listen to?

Meanwhile let me see if I can find that Ed Ames album I had in the box.....

Thursday, March 17, 2016

And you ask why I am losing my hair.

Couple of months ago I lost my wallet.
Not a good thing.
It had my Drivers Licenses, My Residency Card, couple of credit cards and an ATM card.  It also had some miscellaneous cards which were not that important.
So, the first thing I did was to call the credit card companies that I could remember and cancelled my cards.
No problem.
I wasn't even thinking of the hassle I was going to have in getting a new Drivers License and Residency Card.
Out of mind, I would handle one thing after awhile.

So about a month later my Telcel cell phone quit working. I don't get too many calls on it, I usually ignore the text messages because they are always some commercial interest or Telcel trying to upgrade me to something I don't need.

After a few days, I needed to use my phone and figured I would see why I couldn't make any calls.
Seems  that it was turned off for non payment of the monthly bill.

I forgot to get a hold of Telcel and give them my new Amex card since that was the one that they had on file for my phone.
Shouldn't be a problem, I'll give them a call and simply give them my new card number.
So, I call and talk to someone who says that they will transfer me, because the billing is handled by another office.
No problem.
After about 15 minutes I didn't want to wait any longer and hung up.

Figuring that my wife was going to get involved in this project sooner later, because there would possible be something that I might misunderstand and agree to some plan upgrade jacking the bill I got her on the project.

So she had to start from scratch.

In the meantime my phone is dead for outgoing calls,  but I am getting texts from Telcel telling me that I need to dial their number and clear the bill up
So, while we were out and about, I told my wife, let's just stop by at an OXXO store and pay the bill so they turn the phone on.
Sure why not, she has an Amigo phone which she reloads every month or so at the store so why not just pay the bill on my phone.
Not so easy.
The system won't take the cash payment because the account is in suspension. So we call them on the phone when we get home.

No problem just give us the new card number and we'll take care of it.
Ok, that was easy.

They tell us the service will come back later on in the day.
Next day, still no service.
We call and after getting transferred a few times they tell us that they cannot accept the new card because there is an outstanding balance on the account using the old card.
Ok, just use the new card to put that on and pay it.

Sorry, our system will no allow that.
You have to go to a Telcel office and take care of it.

We arrive at the Telcel office a few days later and explain the whole situation. We pay the bill and are sent back to the window.
Seems that we have passed out contract time and we need a new contract. Ok, let's do that.
After all that paperwork again, we go  to the cashiers window and pay that bill and return to the window.
"Your phone will be working in a few hours," she said.
Next day, still nothing. So we call, well it should be on,
They assure us that everything is taken care of and that the phone will be operational.

This continues for another few days until I finally decide that this is enough of dealing with Telcel, I talk to a friend of mine and he tells me that he has been trying to cancel a number that he no longer uses for over 9 months and still they are billing him, and not stopping the billing.

He says, that he went to Nextel last week and switched all his remaining family phones and is happy.
So, the next trip in town I get a Nextel phone. I was in and out of the office in about 20 minutes, I have been paying the bill via a credit card via the phone and my phone actually covers the ranch 100 times better because their antenna tower I can see from my back kitchen door.

So, about a month goes by and I get an internet notification that Telcel has originated a bill, 30 days later onto my Amex card.
I call Amex and have the charge declined.
Now I wonder how long this is going to happen.
Well, it happened again , so again we call Amex, tell them to decline the charge.  

Now, the good news.
After all this, I found my wallet underneath some stuff in my closet. It must have slipped out while I was hanging my pants or something.
All that hassle, my fault.
I can blame old age,  so that people will be easy on me.  My own hassle creation.

On the positive side, I love the Nextel phone, I get more data, the coverage is better and it's a few pesos cheaper than the old Telcel phone we had since we started building the house years ago.  And I got a new number so all those solicitations are not happening anymore.

And every couple of years we had to go to the Telcel office and redo the contract, the procedure usually too about half and hour if things were moving smoothly.  My whole transaction at Nextel took about 15 minutes.
So, if you are trying to call me on my cell phone number and you get an recording, it's because I no longer have a Telcel phone.  I didn't want to move my number since most of my calls were bogus anyway. So, I do have a new  phone number for those people getting a recording...