Tuesday, January 27, 2015

No Time For Sightseeing - Mexico City


It was a long day yesterday.  You know how I hate hotel beds. The air in Mexico City is very dry and it makes my skin dry and itchy.  Sunday night I tossed and turned with fears of something in my bed.  It's becoming a real phobia to sleep in hotel beds.   Although I'm in a very nice hotel and well-located, it still bugs me (no pun intended).

The meeting started at 9 a.m., we had a great break for lunch but not time to do anything else.  We stayed until six in the afternoon and then out for drinks and dinner.  No doubt it was fun but I really wanted to get together with my friend Darren who lives here in D.F.  I now know I will be back and probably with some frequency. 

Mexico City is a wonderful place as many of you know and it is very cosmopolitan.   It's nice to be in a place that offers so much in terms of tourism, food and theater.  I should be home before eight this evening.  I left my car at the airport. 

I'm not suffering and I'm with a great group of consultants. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

In Mexico City


I had a nice flight yesterday.  Getting to the airport in Monterrey has something new.  They completed the second level that takes you directly to the 35 peso autopista to the airport.  Three lanes wide, elevated, super smooth and best of all fast.  In less than an hour from Monterrey I was sitting in the lounge waiting for my flight. 

AeroMexico, like many other airlines, is experimenting with new boarding procedures.  This one I like but I'm not convinced yet.  They have five groups and five lines.   There are a couple of questions I want to ask when I fly home tomorrow to make sure I understand their procedure.   It was a 737-700 and the seats are shrinking.  Legroom was good but the width is about 17 inches.

I'm staying at the Holiday Inn Express right next to the World Trade Center.  The office I am going to for meetings is two blocks away.   

I will take some pictures today and post them.  It is a very nice area.   A friend and I had dinner last night at Sanborn's.   We went walking around the area.  Lots of people out and about, I couldn't have felt safer in a city with 25 million people.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Things Rvers Usually Don't See


This is true in much of Mexico but rvers don't go to big cities and metro areas leaving them with a false impression of Mexico.  The picture below paints the Mexico that is on the move and growing.  A huge middle class, a burgeoning economy and yes that includes the recent changes in oil prices.  One false statement is that Mexico lives on Pemex.  Not true, we only pull 30% out of the oil company.  The rest comes from tax payers like myself and big businesses which pay through the nose.  If you can't read it because of the size, go to http://9gag.com/gag/a9Moz26?ref=fb.s

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Buying Certified Meat Products In Mexico


An interesting conversation with a teacher the other day led to my investigation.  The teacher works part-time as a TIF (Tipo de Inspección Federal) beef inspector.  There are TIF inspections for poultry and pork as well.  She is a veterinarian with a specialty in protein analysis.  Three days a week she leaves in the late morning to her job as a TIF inspector at a local slaughterhouse (if that's what they are still called).   She does an inspection of beef, takes samples that are then analyzed and sent down to an office located in the same plant.  This office is staffed by federal employees who work for SAGARPA ( SECRETARÍA DE AGRICULTURA, GANADERÍA, DESARROLLO RURAL, PESCA Y ALIMENTACIÓN) for a second official inspection.  Yes, SAGARPA also regulates the fishing industry as well.  

All Mexico Walmarts, HEBs, Sorianas carry TIF inspected animal products.   The logo above can be found somewhere in the meat department.  Carnicerias also carry TIF products and one of them is Carnes San Juan here in the north of Mexico.   If this is something that concerns you, ask about the TIF inspection.

My teacher friend says that they check for types of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other growth related drugs as well as to certify that the beef in this case in not another animal product such as horse which is a highly respected product here in Mexico as well.  In our area, carne seca which is used in machacado or machaca, carries the TIF label on the package.  

I thought this was interesting because we here rvers and others living in Mexico talk about the lack of sanitation and inspection of Mexican products.  This only confirms the fact that we do have meat inspection and logically so as Mexico exports beef and other animal products to the U.S of A and China among many others. 

We enjoy eating Mexican beef as it is of good quality, excellent flavor and much much less than buying imported USDA Choice from the U.S.  It also supports the Mexican economy.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Here Comes The Cold . . . Again!


Not the most exciting week of my  life but a good one.   Lots of maintenance going on around the house.   A plumber came with his crew and changed out all the traps under all the bathroom sinks.  They were old and full of crud and in the spare bedroom it smelled a little funky.   The sealed everything, reseated the toilet so it wouldn't wiggle while you were there.  The spare bathroom was a challenge for the last year.  I had changed just about everything and it would continue to run anyway.  Fixed.

After we installed the security cameras we were left with an extension cord running from the studio to the kitchen.   The internet, phone line, DVR and cables were all there.  We now have an outlet and my next job is to get rid of the small table that holds all this junk.  I am thinking about a small mounted wall cabinet to hide all the electronics.  Next project is to tackle the roof.  That takes removing tiles, fixing cracks and sealing before putting the tiles back up.

The cold front hit last night.  I got home yesterday at 5 p.m. from a meeting in Monterrey.   It started to chipi chipi (drizzle) and get yucky again.  This morning it is 4C here on the ranch.   

Sunday I am heading to Mexico City for two days of meetings and hopefully walk away with weekend work for a few months traveling around Mexico.  Let's see what happens.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Camping Close To Home


We were invited to a birthday party for our friend Lorena in Bustamante.  It is 135 kms north from our house to hers.   Lorena and her husband own and run the hotel there.   They put on quite a party last night.  We rented a room and spent the night.  Good thing, we left at midnight and the party continued.  

Bustamante is located on Hwy 1 between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo.  This highway belongs to our great state of Nuevo Leon.  It's a two lane highway with no shoulder but in pretty good condition.  There are lots of towns between the two cities and they are all worth a visit along with some great boondocking.

We had done a tour of the state back in 2008 and visited all of these small towns.  It was great.  Things here are much different now and that good feeling has returned.   On our way home from Bustamante today I started working on a plan.  Instead of driving back and forth every weekend to visit again, we could just leave the trailer there and pick it up on a Friday and take off for a few days, drop it off again and head home.  All of these small towns have so much to offer.  If you cross at the Colombia bridge you just head south on Hwy 1.   Easy drive, very light traffic and you can pull out just about anywhere.

Well, the party was a gas and we there were about 50 people there.   We had drinks, then a nice buffet style dinner and then music, dancing and some party games.  We divided into teams and had a blast.  Something different that doesn't happen much anymore at parties.  

Up early, out for breakfast and then a drive up to the gates of the Grutas de Bustamante.  It was early and we needed to be home so we didn't take the tram up to the entrance or take the tour.  But it is a place we will visit again next time we come back.  Great parking area and palapas!   The Canon de Bustamante State Park is nearby and has natural springs as well as camping with palapas, restrooms and electric.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Left For Better Weather - And A Week's Worth of News


And off they went for warmer climes.

It's been a long week and I am beat.  It was nice to have company and we always welcome visitors to Mexico.  The door is always open and we hope people aren't shy about stopping by.  Marina and David have been here before and we hope that they can stop by on their way out if it is on their route.   We'll miss them and our conversations, meals and happy hours.

The week went by quickly but there just seem to be so many minor obstacles in the way.  School is one of them and I have to remember that it is a part-time semi-volunteer position and need to stand back sometimes and let people do what they normally do.  I can't manage the whole operation and that isn't what I want to do anyway.  I can't help but not get involved when it comes to children and their lives especially when there is no guidance coming from home.  So much need at all levels.

The weather had a big impact on me this week and last as well.  It has been so cold and wet.  I'm tired of the mud on the road and the temps hovering around 3C every night if not lower out here on the ranch.  There seems to be some respite this weekend.  Tomorrow the temps will climb to 23C during the day but with chilly nights around 7C.   Still too cold.  Oh well, the day will come when we can truly travel with the weather.  The right weather that is.

Tomorrow we will take a 125 km trip to Bustamante, Nuevo Leon.  They have a cave system there with a modern cable car to take you to the visitor's center and a guided tour.  We are headed that way to stay at our friend's hotel.  It is her birthday and a group of about 50 people are headed out there to spend the night and have a grand celebration.  It is always a good time and their restaurant serves the best regional foods.  We were going to take the trailer but our road is still way too muddy.  Bummer.

As a side note.  I no longer post on Rv.Net in the Mexico section.   However, I do check in occasionally to see what the Mexico gurus have to say.  Today, someone posted about staying at Hacienda Contreras and the fact that they have great electric and "good" water.   Well, that didn't last long.  A guy who calls himself Rockhillmanor had to add his two cents by saying, 

"Mexico, clean water? Now that's an oxymoron! Don't think I'd be drinking any of it!".  

I swore I wouldn't post so I decided to send him a private message about how his statement is far from true.  He blocks all private messages.  Geez, I wonder why?  The guy is a jerk.  Somebody always has to kill the spirit.