Monday, March 11, 2019

Adios Amigos

March 11, 2019

It's been a fabulous five weeks, and although we're looking forward to getting back, we're sorry to see it end.  Yesterday I was talking to my sister and she said, "Isn't it going to be hard to get back into the swing of things and having to go shopping and think of what's for dinner?"

And I told her that the hardest part for me is getting up in the morning, going out to the kitchen and getting my cup of coffee, reading the paper, doing the crossword puzzle and then going back into the bedroom to get dressed and MY BED'S NOT MADE?????  WHAT!  WHERE IS ROSA?

We've had a nice wind-down:  Emil and Judy left on Saturday.  Sara and Bob left on Sunday.  So now it's just the four of us:  Fred and Kat and Nancy and Loren.  After having a houseful, it's very quiet, but also kind of nice.

Last Friday we had a kind of concert.  I knew Sara was coming so I brought some of the songs I have re-written for our musical that our chorus is putting on back in SF.  We're working on a Musical called Still Alive which will recount the lives of the people in the chorus and relate some of the things we have accomplished.  Sara has been a member of the sweet Adelines acappella group in Chicago and has a beautiful voice, so I thought she'd get a kick out of our songs.  She loved them and convince Judy and me to sing them as a little pre-dinner concert.  I have loaded the video along with some pictures of our stay here.  If you're interested you can go to  and access the page.  The video is at the very end of the pictures.

Today is our last day, so we're going to go into the Zocolo.  I'm going to get my red shoes polished by Mario for $2.50.  He actually only charges 20 pesos which is about a dollar, but we give him 50 pesos because he does such an amazing job.  Then we'll go over to the Cafe Universale to have our mango juice and watch all the people go by.  The Cafe Universale is where a chase scene from the movie Clear and Present Danger was filmed!  Then we'll go back home for lunch, start packing, have our last swim in the pool, play our last bridge game with Kat and Fred, have our last dinner prepared by Natalia (I wonder what she'll serve us), then remove ourselves to the salon for our cup of coffee before bedtime.  What a life!  We feel so lucky to be able to be a  part of this each year.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hail to the Taxi Drivers of Cuernavaca

We've been here for almost 5 weeks, and I decided to try to do a little survey of our taxi drivers who get us around for almost nothing.  If Gilberto calls a cab for us and he comes directly to the house, the cost is usually 60 pesos or about $3.00.  If we hail a cab on the street, it's usually 40 pesos or a bit more than $2.00 - and that's to go anyplace in the city.  The bus fares are 10 - 25 cents.

I have taken to asking two questions:   What do you think of your new president, Manuel Obrador, and how about Trump?

  • Trump is a showman.  He has lots of money and he wants to show off.  Obrador is dangerous.  He is giving money to people who don't deserve it.  People need to earn money.  If we're not  careful we will end up like Venezuela.  This guy had been a truck driver in Chicago for 20 years.  His English was excellent.
  • Trump is horrible.  Ignorant.  Nieto is good so far.  Not great but good.  I always make a point of trying to say, "Muchos Americanos no gustan Trump, tambein."  - just so they understand that Trump doesn't represent ALL Americans.  His English was halting but he proudly told us he had a daughter who was an architect in Mexico City, another daughter who was an engineer and a son who was also an engineer.  We wanted to ask him how he managed all of that, but didn't.
  • This guy really likes Obrador.  He didn't speak any English, so I'm not sure I got it totally correct, but he mentioned  Pena Nieto, who was corrupt and ruled for 6 years and was "El President por los ricos."  Obrador is "El Presidente por los pueblos."  As for Trump, he said he didn't know much about Trump.
  • We had just come from having a margarita at Las Mananitas, a beautiful hotel/restaurant where peacocks and parrots roam about.  I asked our driver my two questions.  He, too, knew no English, but he said he really likes Obrador.  He told us that Obrador came to Cuernavaca.  He visited Las Mananitas but he wouldn't eat there.  I asked him, "Porque no?" and he said that he wanted to go to the Mercado to eat with the people!  As for Trump, there was a shrug of the shoulders and he said, "Es muy Rico!"
  • Obrador- si, si!  Es un hombre de los gente.  Trump- Aarrgg!  No me gusto.
  • Obrador- mas or menos.  Some good, some bad.  I have to wait and see.  The people were very excited during the elections;  now everyone is complacent and no-one cares.  Trump?  - the only response was laughter.
  • Obrador- Well he's better than the last but not great.  Trump- I do not like Trump.  No es un hombre simpatico.  This taxi driver had lived in Houston for 17 years doing construction work. We asked why he had moved back and he said, "My parents needed their son."  
  • Obrador - no, no le gusto.   Porque, I asked?  Isn't he honest?  Isn't he a president of the people?  The driver said, "That's what he says, but I don't believe him."  And Trump?  No, no le gusto tambien.    When I asked him why, all he said was, No, No, No.
  • This guy spoke some English.  He has 5 brothers and a sister living in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He wants to go too, but he can't get papers because of Donald Trump.  Like most of the others, he didn't seem angry or hostile towards Trump- more of a Que Sera attitude.  He's here now; when he's out, maybe things will be different.
  • OMG!  Today I got in the car and gave the address of home in Spanish and our drivers said, "I've got it!"  I asked if he spoke English and he said a little bit.  Well,  it turned out he had lived in Chicago for 27.  He lived by O'Hare airport and worked at the Mariott.  I asked if he liked the cold, cold winter and he said, "I loved Chicago as soon as I got there.  I loved Chicago."  So I was able to ask my questions in English.  As for Obrador, he said, no- he didn't like him.  Obrador says one thing and then does another.  I don't trust him.  Then when I brought up Trump he said, "Well, Trump does some good things and some bad things." "What is one good thing he has done," I ask. "Well, he wants to help America.  He wants to build up American and make it richer.  And he wants to protect the Americans."  That stunned me!
  • I asked this one if he spoke any English.  "No, I don't speak any English," he responded in almost perfect English!!  Later he told me he likes to tell people he doesn't speak English and then he listens to their conversations and understands it all perfectly!  He'd make a greatt undercover spy!  As to my questions:  No- I don't like Obrador-  I don't trust him.  Trump has a sickness in his head.  He is very crazy.
All in all, it has been a fun experiment.  It has me using my Spanish.  I'm not totally sure if what I have reported is totally accurate because there was much of the Spanish that I didn't understand.  I would constantly say, "Habla muy despacio, for favor."  But I was very surprised by how many of our drivers had lived in the USA.  I was also surprised that there wasn't a stronger aversion to Trump.  Most of them didn't like him, but they laughed him off and didn't really take him too seriously.  It wasn't like they had a violent hatred towards him which I would have expected.  Maybe it's from having a lot of crazy presidents and politicians of their own - they have come to expect it!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Margarita Mix

We had one of our most lively discussions the other night, but in trying to recount it all, I find my mind is little fuzzy.  We talked politics, religion and sex but I'm warning you that maybe the margaritas have interfered with my accurate recall and some of which follows may or may not be true!

After reading the blog about "Some Things are Too Hard to Fix," my sister Carol wrote some interesting comments which spurred further discussion.  Here is the context:

This is the part of the blog that Carol is responding to:

Our discussion moved to liberal bastions of higher learning and how two years ago there was a huge uproar and protest when a conservative group from Middlebury College invited Dr. Charles Murray to speak.  Murray had written The Bell Curve, where he implied that intelligence was partially genetic.  Knowing there would be opposition, the conservative group also invited a left-leaning professor from Middlebury to engage in a dialogue.  In his introduction to Murray’s speech, a representative from the American Enterprise Club implored his fellow students to debate Murray rather than shouting him down.   But shout him down they did as well as pound on his car and try to physically harm him.  There was similar violence at UC Berkeley when ex-Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos was barred from speaking at the University of California at Berkeley.  At an academic institution, where you are trying to teach the pursuit of the truth, we must allow all points of view to be heard.  Students have the choice to not attend meetings, but the true scholar might want to hear the other side.  Bob said maybe instead of putting our fingers in our ears, we should try to engage in a dialogue.  We have become so polarized in this country, that anyone with whom we disagree should be avoided.  Our Congress is plagued by the same malady- no dialogue there!

Here are the comments:  
Carol:  Just read your latest blog. I’m not sure how to reply on the blog so am emailing u instead. I’m curious as to whether anyone made a distinction between opposing opinions and false opinions. Can there be such a thing as a false opinion? I’m thinking of climate change. Should people who deny its existence be given a platform? Presenting them with facts doesn’t seem to sway them from their almost faith-like adherence to non-scientific fact. The other day Chris Wallace, whom I admire as a first rate interviewer, had Rush Limbaugh on and Wallace sat and smiled and said nothing through a 2 or 3 minute tirade by Limbaugh about the hoax of climate change. I was appalled and so disappointed in one of the few Fox reporters I consider worth listening to. I tried to contact Wallace but because I don’t use Twitter could not. Thoughts?
Carol: I worry that some people deliberately make false claims to advance a specific agenda or themselves. So, climate change, which if taken seriously necessitates costly changes to some industries, is dismissed by people in those industries as a hoax. Their reasoning is deliberately not based on fact so any debate simply gives them a platform to advance their own interests, to give the impression that climate change is debatable when it is not. Many people, for many reasons, do not want to face the fact of climate change and will embrace those who call it a hoax. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes giving fake theories or false facts a chance to be debated might be a mistake. There are other examples, evolution, Obama’s birthplace, vaccines causing autism, etc. False opinions need to be debunked but maybe debating them elevates them to a level they don’t deserve.