Friday, 24 December 2010

In the Belly of the Beast

     This comes to all from near the Estacion de Santa Engracia a few miles north of Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas.    I arrived here last Monday travelling in a small caravan with my neighbours who had been doing some (considerable) Christmas  shopping in McAllen on the week-end before the Feast of the Nativity.

      Suffice to say that the warnings from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the United States Department of State,  were a bit......shall we say.....over-inflated.     The traffick was heavy....there were no incidents.....and the biggest news on the television and radio down here has returned to drunks running into bridge-supports and Pedro beating up Maria after one or the other or both returned from a night of celebration at the local cantina.   One Pedro did manage to kill his Maria in Monterrey....but it did not count because she had a protective order out on him....therefore nothing happened to her.....Right?   Chalk up another great success story for passing a law...relying upon government...and then walking away to tell everyone that all poor children will be fed and we can read the law once we pass it.     Ah....democracy.

       You all will have another up-date next Monday or so.    It is amazing how lazy one becomes here.....I shall try to be more detailed in the next transmission. 

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Heading Back for Christmas

     The next few days means shopping for goodies for the and cat food.....paint, varnish, and other repair and maintenance supplies.   Sprays for bugs and other undesirable critters are high on the list that the Quinta is asking the Old Gringo for.     Our neighbour informed us that the last few nights have been chilly.   Morning low temperatures have been between 30F and 36F.      By the time I show up, the oranges will be bright yellow/gold due to these temperatures.   Some think that this bracing cool, crisp overnight is what makes the Santa Engracia area's Valencia orange crop the best in the market.
      There has been some anxiety about the quality of this year's harvest because of the over-abundance of rain during the Summer.   Usually this will make the fruit "aquada" or watery tasting....but early samples have been given high marks for thickness, as well as that peculiar mixture of sourness and special sweetness that one searches out when rating quality of citrus juice.
      We have stored up a good supply of firewood, and I shall have to be very good about not over-availing myself of the convenience.    Suffice it to say that the Old Gringo is dreadfully opposed to being cold.

      While I prepare to return to our little place it is necessary that I leave with an admonition.   Please be wary of any news you hear out of Mexico.   For the while that I have been in Texas, the news I have heard has been, depending upon the article and source, between 35% and 90% inaccurate.    The are categories of sources and types of news that need to be sorted out like the genealogy of ally-cats......but they do need to be sorted out.

Misleading and/or incorrect stories come in all sizes and styles:

        (1)     Purposeful, usually from leftist sources...LATimes, NYTimes, Washingiton Post,   almost all MSM outlets, Associated Press, McClatchy News Service,  who hate  Felipe Calderon Hinojosa because he is a centre-right Partido de Accion Nacional member (PAN) which makes him like a Republican, and therefore hated and despised as an enemy of  "progressives" .   Articles from these sources always include the sentence (or facsimile), "Over 30,000 people have lost their lives in the violence since Felipe Calderon initiated hostilities four years ago upon assuming the presidency".
       (2)           And sad to say....FOX News makes incredibly simplistic analysis of the situation in Mexico.   O'Reilly, Beck, Geraldo, Hannity, Greta, Fox and Friends....I watch them all...but when they do anything about Mexico, it is a combination of totally out of date, inaccurate, misleading, and negative.
      (3)        Overnight radio....including Charly Jones's Texas Overnight KRLD 1080 AM who goes out of his way to either not research his topics or invent from whole cloth his reports.   He presumes that since he has been to or heard of Xel Ha that he is an expert about all things Mexico...he is not.
                         Lamentably, the fellows at Midnight Trucking Report...WFAA 820 AM...who also make outlandish statements which reveal the fact that they know nothing about Mexico and understand less....must be included in my petty critique.
                        The above two...and the FOX crowd....are particularly painful for me because I am in accord, concurrence, or agreement with them about 96% of the time otherwise.

15 December 2010
     As an up-date to all of the above, there was a dedication of a new international bridge yesterday.   For some reason or another it connects the area arond Donna, Texas to the city of Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas.   The President of Mexico and the Governor of the State of Tamaulipas, along with various poobahs of importance were there.   The President was busy inaugurating several recently finished projects in Tamaulipas yesterday...from the frontier all the way down to the Tampico-Madero-Altamira area of southernmost Tamaulipas.
     A reporter from Channel 5 - KRGV - TV in Weslaco covered the story.   He spoke in low tones like an announcer covering a PGA event with Arnold Palmer putting on the 18th.    Terms such as "We ventured over, being watched by heavily armed people in military-like uniforms and over 15 "obviously security agents"....although they were dressed in business suits.  The President and the Governor of the State made speeches and then left after cutting the ribbons along with Congressman Ruben Hinojosa.   The President left for points unknown (? the President's itinerary was well-known and publicized two days before arrival)....but at least the people of Rio Bravo had almost an hour of peace.   The President had his safety guaranteed, but now the violence will return for the regular people of Rio Bravo and its surroundings."
     What is sad and humorous, simultaneously, is that the President spoke of the heaviness he felt in having to send men into harm's way in order to restore order for all Mexicans and their neighbours.    He celebrated the building of the bridge and its opening because it made for more commerce, less poverty, more industry, and more close relations with Texas and the United States.   The Governor, who leaves office tomorrow, repeatedly thanked the President  for his firmness in defending Tamaulipas and the northeast of Mexico against the "beasts and vermin"...comments which were heartily applauded by the "regular people"  and the poobahs all.   It should be noted that the President is a member of the conservative  National Action Party (PAN) and the Governor is a member of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).   The actual "news" in a journalistic sense is that throughout the entire has been reported in this blog....people are talking about...aware of....celebrating.....being optimistic within reason....that we have had almost one month of massive military victories and almost no response worthy of the term by the organized delinquency.   Even in Michoacan the incredibly deranged and violent Familia group has been heavily degraded and has proposed a "truce" with Calderon wherein they would join efforts to eleminate the Zeta gang.    Or as some Jewish kid wrote a long time ago...."Hello Muddah - Hello Faddah...."    
An Invitation:
      If there is any question about anything concerning the issues we are facing in Mexico with which the reader would like my private opinion, advice, or recommendation, please feel free to communicate via email at any time.   I shall be more than glad to assess and opine, and the reader will also understand where my point of view is based.    I will also give any inquiry serious...neither unreasonably optimistic nor pessimistic.....thought and response.

   Clique below for a little "Happy Solstice" treat.....

MERRY CHRISTMAS.....FELIZ NAVIDAD...!!!!!!! And a very prosperous, rewarding year to come!!!.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Dry, Cold, and Hopin' for the Bloomin'

Some of Summer 2009 harvest
     Right now, oddly enough, my thoughts are about taking avocado, mango, and guayaba fertilizer to the Quinta.   This is the time to have the plant food in hand, because it needs to be applied during the depths of Winter.   It will also be time to put down some zinc on our wild pecan trees that line the Rio Corona, and the couple that have prospered a bit since the clearing of our lot, 10 years ago.

     The pecan trees are "nativos"  and not grafted to an improved or designer type "Texas Indian" race of pecans.    Because of this the nuts are small and hard, but the meat is very oily and has an exceptional flavour.   So, it is worth the trouble to help them along.   The other fruit trees are ornamental mainly, but their production is actually magnificent.   The quality is better than perfect to the palate of an old farm-born rustic like your humble servant.

This is how Avocadoes "flower"

      Last year, because of a very cold Winter and an extremely wet summer we had no set of blossoms for the Royal Poncianas (flamboyanes), or for the avocados and guayabas.   So, this year, we are really hoping for a "Royal Flush".....of fruit set and blossoms.

     My children will be furious with me perhaps, but sometimes people might think that those of us who own property in a foreign country and abide, while in  that country, with that country's laws and customs.....are anti-American or "escaping" from our  Americanism.   In my case, this is certainly not the case in the least.     I considered myself to be one of those people the media elite sneer about and of those people who attend Tea Party rallys and makes sure there is no litter, trash, or garbage left behind.  

     My dealings in Mexico come from working there for many years as a business owner in tourism....and from following my parents, my grandmother, and my great-grandfather into the venturesome trap that Mexico always sets for the unsuspecting.   My investment in the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre is just investment.   It is close to Texas (225 miles away), and it is in a very pleasant, secure, and dull area which is surrounded by intense agricultural pursuits and by profound geographics.    It  was done to provide a bit of a business and to provide a decent retirement situation, and as a place for my children, friends, and grandchildren.....after Obama throws my carcass onto the dung-heap.

Of, course, everybody knows
avocado trees are made for providing
shade for Smokey the Cat

      Also, I ceaselessly dig into the background of my children, through a tedious peeling back of generation after generation of Garza and Newton presence in the New World....and to some extent in the Old World.   SO!  Going back to the original point, this next inclusion speaks more to the origin of what kind of eccentric would feel comfortable in this  rural Mexican environment.....even in spite of ....or  because of, the nature of that environment.

     This is the note I  wrote my tezquintles ("pups" in Nahuatl) which speaks to their blood line and home regions on their father's paternal grandmother's side.

Hello, Children!

     This is a really great geo-cultural survey .....on one screed....of the Hudson Valley....Several of the places, especially in Lower Hudson and Middle Hudson Valley areas are where a lot of your dead people live. The first ones went into the area before it was New York...but rather New Amsterdam....1620 - 1640. You have people there who are doctors, nurses, Paint & Body Works, Auto dealers, farmers, Hardware Store owners, and so forth....I have found many of them, still in the area or within 75 miles radius. Since they would be something like 16th cousins to you, I determined that it would be best not to crash their next family reunion. It is interesting to note however, that they have been there, literally, for over 20 generations. They, like your Southern Cousins, became melded into an American "Race". These people of the Land of the Headless Horseman were produced with Germanic (Saxon, Prussian, and Hessian) 50%, English (Normanic, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic) 43.75%, and Indian (Quinnapiac, Iroquois, and Mohegan) 06.25%.  This is an estimate, because my DNA machine is down for maintenance right now....but it is a fair estimate.

       The web-site is about this year's Autumn-type events all along the Hudson, so it can be lengthy....but it is worth returning to a few times....You can see yourselves at times.

    I do not know for the life of me if this web site is going to open, but we'll give it a try ...and you will know me a bit better.   As usual, I remain

Grateful for your time and attention,

The Old Gringo