(1) There is a boy who drives the pickup out to our Ejido, all the way from Cd. Victoria, with about 8 medium sized ice-chests every morning....five, six, or seven days a week. He sells pre-measured 1 kilo packs of freshly made corn tortillas that arrive still too-hot-to-handle. He will frequently dally at our gate, although El Gringo Viejo only buys about 1 kilo per week (13 pesos at the current time).
He likes to ask questions about his use of English, or how to say this or that. We try to tell him to speak English at the same level he speaks his Spanish, and to avoid VHI and MTV and such. Then, the time before last, he showed me a 1099 IRS form that showed his earnings for having worked in Wisconsin for five months during the last year. His earnings had been about 11,500.oo American dollars. The contracting firm had requested that he sign and send back the carbon in the return envelope that had been provided. He had been concerned that he was in some kind of trouble. He was assured that it was just a standard thing now. Nobody owes anything.
"I had wondered where you had gone," th Gringo Viejo inquired obliquely.
"We go up every year, except the year before last." the Tortilla Man says. He is a jovial fellow and smiles broadly after every finished statement.
"What do the people make or produce?" another question comes at him.
"The have farms and canneries and quick-freeze plants. I do building maintenance and machinery preparation in the early mornings and put the machinery to sleep sometimes."
El Gringo Viejo asks, "This is all money that you sent here? Don't they charge you for room and board or anything?"
"No, they tell me, no social security, no withholding. Then our contractor says, no social security, no taxes. He pays our taxes, but no social security. We are paid 12.50/hour and out checks show a net of 11.77 per hour after the income tax."
"And you receive the 11.77? No problem?"
"They send it to my house in Cd. Victoria in a money order every fortnight. My wife puts it on the debit card. But she's a good wife. She spends very little. Mainly the house and our daughter. They want me to come back again next year. They can't get anyone there to work."
"And they don't charge you for meals or a place to stay?"
"I ask them to give me 30 dollars every week out of my check to buy things. But they give me a small apartment at the plant. Sometimes trucks come early in the morning, and I open the locks on the gates for them. Sometimes I wash their trucks and they give me effectivo (cash)for that. But my apartment is nice. It has a bathroom with tile and I have a flat screen and cable, nice furniture. It's not fun being away from the family. But then I get to come back and help my mom and dad with this, and relax for seven months...at home all the time. Our Tortilla business is really good."
The mean old lady with the store near us is tapping her foot in the middle of our little trail, waiting for the truck to bring her delivery. The tortillas are a little too big, and very well made, so she sells about twenty kilos every morning. We state our departure good-byes and the boy "roars" off the 100 yards to her place.
Bebe the Labrador is happy, because he knows El Gringo Viejo will play a bit of tortilla Frisbee with him on the very short walk back to the front door. Bebe will catch it and bring it back a couple of times before just eating it. They really are good tortillas.
(2) We have communicated with the Quinta, and we have been informed that the security situation has been very, very quiet. Cd. Victoria and all the surrounding counties...quiet. Perhaps no more should be said.
(3) The better half continues to improve....well into the A- level now, but she took quite a mule-kick in the gut. So she is still not in the position to run any 100 yard dashes or 880 relays.
(4) We are prepared to wait for every convoluted, tax-the-rich, Romney's a polygamist, "the Republicans want to starve the children" attack imaginable. In Mexico, Josephina met with Fox in Monterrey and buried their differences (they clashed in intra-party[PAN] affairs before). She continues to gradually build her percentages. In the Pena Nieto (PRI) camp, there is grumbling that Ernesto likes to make sweeping ads, like intros to his wife's stupid telenovelas. The party poobahs are certain that the people will tire of the "ads that say nothing'', and begin to listen to the conservative candidata and the leftist nut-case and forget about the PRI....leaving them to finish in 3rd place like the last two times. We'll see.
Enough for the night. Thanks for your time and interest!
El Gringo Viejo