Chuy and I see these fellas every morning on our walk up and down the hills of Villa Nova. They usually "BAAA" at us as we go by. I stop sometimes and talk to them, but Chuy is afraid of these strange creatures and does not want to stop and fraternize with them. So we usually proceed up the hill despite their plaintive cries.
To be honest, things are slow around here lately. The weather is still hot, people are going north to visit family, schedule medical visits, and pick up things which are hard to find here. Many activities are slowing down. Our Great Books discussion group had recessed for the summer. We are going to pick up the new book we need for next fall at our daughter Wendy's house. We had it shipped there; it's cheaper. Pixie's classes at the orphanage are ending for the summer today. I am still tutoring Francisco, although his classes at the library have ended for the summer. We are making our final plans to head north to Maine, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia in July to visit our families. So the days here are good for relaxing with friends, reading, and generally doing as we like.
We did get together last week with our friends, from left, Kenya, Norman, Sharon, and George, to play Trivial Pursuit and enjoy a pot luck dinner at our house. Kenya had brought an brand new version of the game down from the United States this spring, so we were anxious to try it. Well, it was not as much fun as we had imagined! Because the questions were so up-to-date, and we were not, many of the questions just baffled us. We were thinking our children and grandchildren might have better luck, especially with the television and music questions. Next time we'll go back to the old game, most likely!
I thought it might be interesting to update you on some prices here. The local newspaper includes price comparisons to see how prices are inflating. I'll give the prices in pesos. The peso is relatively strong now, about 11.6 pesos to the dollar. So to convert to dollars, divide the pesos by 10 and then subtract a bit. For example, if something is 100 pesos, it's about $8.60. If something is 18 pesos, it is about $1.55. You can actually divide by 11.6 if you want accuracy.
Here are some sample prices:
Large Dominos pizza, one topping: 100
Pack of Marlboros: 37
Car wash: 50
Movie, matinee: 20
Popcorn at movie: 18
Men's haircut: 50
Phone bill with internet WIFI: 399
Can of tuna: 11
Whole chicken: 31/kg (Kg is 2.2 lbs)
Netbook computer (Acer) with Windows 7: 4500
Flat screen TV (32") 6500
You can see that electronic items are more expensive here. And, of course, imported foods are higher too. If you want US Cheerios, you'll pay 110 pesos, but for the same "Mexican" cheerios, exactly the same as far as I can tell, 35 pesos. The other day I needed Kalamati olives for a dish I was preparing, and I had to pay 147 pesos for a kilo. (It was worth it.)
We had what appears to have been a drug-related execution this week in Chapala. A 29 year-old Mexican man was gunned down near the mayor's house as he drove away. Several gunmen blocked his path with two late model vehicles, jumped out of the car, and riddled his vehicle with bullets from automatic weapons. The mayor has full-time bodyguards. This type of killing, like the few others we've had here, are highly targeted, professional killings. Again, no bystanders were injured. We continue to feel safe here, just as we did in Maine when there was a brutal murder committed in Lewiston, Maine.
I did note something else very sad in the paper. A 63 year-old US citizen apparently killed himself in his home last week. He tied a rope to his spiral staircase and hung himself. His housemate discovered him when he returned home. I guess people are depressed everywhere, even in this subtropical paradise.
There is a big controversy here, as the government wants to build a second aqueduct to bring water from Lake Chapala to Guadalajara for drinking water. There is already one aqueduct, and residents here are worried that another large pipeline to bring water to Guadalajara will lower the level of the lake. (Several years ago the level of the lake was very low, and it affected the local tourist and fishing economy). There have been many demonstrations against the aqueduct including a huge one last week in Guadalajara.
In another demonstration, the Huichol Indians, whose homeland is in Northern Jalisco, but who have spiritual grounds in San Luis Potosi, are protesting the Mexican government's decision allowing a Canadian mining company to mine land they consider sacred. The Huichol's are allowed to use peyote for their rituals, and much of the peyote they harvest is in San Luis Potosi. The remarkable thing about the protest is that Huichols generally do not get involved in political demonstrations. They keep to themselves and live according to their ancient customs. Here is photo of a Huichol family in their native dress. (Photo Credit Revemexicain.com).
There is also an article about the world-famous LPGA star and Guadalajara native, Lorena Ochoa, recently retired from the pro golf scene, and now pregnant with her first child, helping to promote the Pan American games which will be hosted in Guadalajara in October. This will be a huge event, similar to hosting the Olympic Games, but for the Western Hemisphere only.
So, we are waiting for our house sitter, Peter, to arrive from Florida later this month to take care for Chuy while we head north. In the meantime, we're just waiting for the rain, which should arrive in the next couple of weeks and cool things off.