July 31, 2011

Inflation blooms

It was a bad sign a ouple months ago when torillas jumped to 15 pesos a kilo. It went hand in hand with other price increases and now you can hardly go to a restaurant without seeing new prices on stickers covering up the old ones.
This weekend, I got a double shock. Torillas have decreased in size! I took the owner of an organic restaurant in Guatemela and her party to Monchi's, which I had heard so much good about. We were all disappointed and it was all based on the tortillas. Tiny, like appetizers. 15 pesos for a very plain, small taco.
The worst was we had to ask for utensils because they wouldn't hold the filling. Should have used two! Really, most places have done that all along.
Then this morning, I stopped for pulled pork tacos at Helena's near me, a street stall. She was out of tortillas and a woman from Yucatan working there was designated to go get. She'd heard they were expesnive here. 10 pesos? Helena and I both laughed at the rube. 15! The shocked look was priceless. They are adding a peso if you don't go with your own basket or towel just for the paper. 16!
It really is inexplicable why they would be some 60 percent more here. Our corn is from the same basket, the same agricultural zone, although in Yucatan there is more mom and pop corn being taken as needed to the mills. Nevertheless...
And so, also, the price of gasoline. And now were are on summer gasoline that costs more and gets less mileage, a corn ethanol added to it.
So, the price of bringing everything to the city, and then ferrying it to the island, is up. Tourist expenditures are down, so who makes up the shortfalls? Local consumers, of course. So the guy down the street has to charge more for his work and why not? The waiters and others who get tip money can afford to pay it. It's a never ending circle. Inflation.

July 27, 2011

My dog, she is sick

Despite what tested out as serious illness yesterday, Punta enjoyed her weekend in Playa del Carmen. She loved the back seat of a car, mobile sofa we called it, and loved meeting India, who was nearly recovered after three weeks of treatment for a kidney infection.
Three months ago, India lost Shorty, her dog of 14 and a half years, when he no longer wanted to go on with her supporting his hips with a pareo, a wrap.
Punta and India bonded while Inga and I shopped or Inga gardened. But, although she did all her tricks for India, Punta would not take treats from a virtual stranger!

Punta liked it at India's. She could come and go into the garden with real grass in the lawn. It was plush. She also respected Shorty's spirit. It's hard to explain. She sensed he was gone. She ate out of his bowl and looked around for him.
She spent quality time walking with Inga and she and I talked about having her tested when we got back. Punta should have shaken the fumigation poisoning by now. Ehrliciosis was the most likely cause of her listlessness.

So, the day after we came home, Pepe Vega was here to draw blood and make it to the animal laboratory in Cancun before it closed Monday.
Yesterday, he came with the results. Positive for ehrliciosis, blood work confirming active disease with low platelet counts, high liver enzymes, anemia, low albumin and high globulin, etc. She starts treatment today. My job is to cook high iron dog food based on chicken livers and hearts.
Her principle treatment will be 5 weeks or more of tetracycline and schmoozing.

July 20, 2011

Sweet Liberty School

Two more days in this camp session and maybe not all the kids will be floaters. But we sure are trying!
I was out two days of the 10 day session that ends Friday, summer virus. Two more sessions to go.
But there are other swimming instructors and volunteers and today we rocked! And there were kids there for the first time. Next session starts Monday. It's 1500 pesos for the 10 days and Isla Mujeres visitors here with their kids are in for a break. They can come for 150 pesos for the day and get some cultural socialization. Write Marla@marlabainbridge.com for details. Also a fundraising note: This Sunday at 10pm, there will be a fundraiser with auction items at Fayne's Bar and Grill in Centro.

July 10, 2011

The newsman

Carlos Baeza, aka El Baloz, is my newsman on the island. No, not just a newspaper seller. Like he was when he walked the island selling El Correcto, El Por Esto!, he provides an oral update to the top story. Today, he says it will rain many more days, but the ferries are good to go.
When Pope John Paul II was dying, my best friend the Polish Princess and I were glued to the TV and shedding tears. We decided to pick ourselves up and get going to the beach. She didn't want to report a Papal death watch for her activities.
Not a half hour later, after we had turned the TV off, as we left, Sr. Baeza was at the door with the update. The pope is dead. "No," we said. "We were just watching." The response, "He just died."
So there you have it. Many little shops in the neighborhood sell the paper. Few provide service.
I also like Baeza because he's so friendly to Punta. Well, today I saw why. His Chihuahua mix, Lauriano, was making a rare outdoor appearance. Both parents agree, he and Punta look like distant kin!
So go to Plaza Los Americas with your friend. It's nice and dry in there!

July 8, 2011

Flora folio

My friend, Carolina, who has grown this plant from a recent cutting, says its name is flora folio. Well, I can't find it on line anywhere to confirm that. It is a beautiful flower with a short bloom life, gently scented.
Carolina says the root is a known poison locally. It does well in poor soil. And that's about all I can tell you. Anyone here know more?

July 6, 2011

No money laundering here!

Businesses that charge more than $100 for a trip, a night, a silk dress, theoretically can accept $100US notes. But not my radiology group in Cancun. But of course, the ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder only cost 550 pesos with interpretation. Wonder what might...

July 5, 2011

Drinking for dollars

OK, OK. For pesos! And I don't drink from all the cans I recycle! But the notion of collecting cans for recycling has become an obsession of sorts with me. I don't just so it for my carbon foot print that I want to be smaller, although one of the scrap aluminum websites says why you should:
"Recycling is the perfect use for aluminum because it can be reprocessed and used again and again. It does not lose its structural qualities when reprocessed, and will not decompose for about 400 years. Also, it is exceedingly cost effective: it takes only 5 percent of the energy required to make new aluminum from mined bauxite, and needs only about 10 percent of the capital equipment for producing primary aluminum."
When I leave the house, I don't like to return with fewer than 3 cans a day. Punta helps me find them. Friends on vacation donate them. My guests aren't permitted to have glass bottles on the roof because of the pool and subsequent guests.
I tell then to either bag the aluminum and set it aside or put it along the side of the trash barrel, which in effect becomes a tip. At the end of the day, a trash collector can double his pay!
I invested in a can crusher, made in Mexico, bought on eBay, sent to Jen, muled by Leah! So, they are stake holders too!
Personally, I like Modelo family cans. They weigh more and take crushing well. Sol cans splinter, don't fold right and don't weigh much. CocaCola products are just fine!
Yes, Mexico teaches you to be thrifty. I am not alone here. I watched my neighbors, the family of a teacher and many working adults, built three apartments onto the main house with cans. All members of the family would collect them, the grandmother would crush them, and when she sold a couple trash bags full to the recycler.
There are people without jobs here who walk the streets before the trash trucks some, digging in foreigners trash cans to glean aluminum. The trash men also open some bags on the trucks to see what's easy.
At the dump, before the trash is moved to transfer, the process is repeated. We are all so into recycling aluminum here! I even wad up carry-out foil and throw it into my can bag!
Hey, it's a dollar or so a pound in the world spot market! And so good for the environment.