Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
How does one campaign for student council offices at a school in Mexico? Easy! Have a party complete with clowns, lucha libre and a mechanical bull. My first thought as a good American was this could never happen in an American school. I could just smell the lawsuits and American lawyers standing in line waiting for a chance to sue somebody. The lack of liability is one of the things I find charming in Mexico... unless something bad happens to me, of course! Anyway, it was great watching my 5th graders being thrown from the mechanical bull like rag dolls. And that ain't no bull!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I illegally transported Daisy and Sam with me to Mexico. According to the law, animals brought into Mexico not only need current vaccines, but they also need a certificate of health. I did bring papers for Daisy but her rabies vaccine expired in August. She is now in Mexico illegally until my friend Efren gives her the vaccine. I forgot Sam's papers that are stuffed inside a desk in the back of a storage facility so he entered Mexico without any documentation. His vaccines also expired in August so I went on the hunt for a veterinarian in Reynosa. A neighbor gave me directions to his veterinarian so I went on the hunt. After wandering the curvy, nameless streets of Reynosa, I found a veterinarian close to Morelos Blvd. I went inside and spoke to the receptionist. She sent me into see Dr. Rubalcabal and as I tried to explain to him in Spanish what I needed for Sam, he answered me in perfect English. He gave Sammy a quick exam, a shot in the butt and told me to watch for kidney failure since he is now going on 18 years of age. The bill at the end? About $10 US dollars.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The game requires three shells (thimbles, walnut shells, bottle caps, and even match boxes have been used), and a small, soft round ball, about the size of a pea, and often referred to as such. It can be played on almost any flat surface, but on the streets it is often seen played on a mat lying on the ground, or on a cardboard box. The person perpetrating the swindle (called the thimblerigger, operator, or shell man) begins the game by placing the pea under one of the shells, then quickly shuffles the shells around.
Once done shuffling, the operator takes bets from his audience on the location of the pea. The audience is told that if a player bets and guesses correctly, the player will win back double his bet (that is, he will double his money); otherwise he loses his money. However, in the hands of a skilled operator, it is not possible for the game to be won, unless the operator wants the player to win.
When an individual not familiar with the shell game encounters a game on the streets, it appears that bets are being placed by numerous players, when in reality, these persons around the game are shills who are all part of the confidence trick.
I was fascinated to watch this game and it seemed like I could always pick out exactly where the small ball was located. There were a lot of bets with a lot of money. The next thing I know I was pushed to the center and "another player" was trying to encourage me to play and even gave me 500 pesos. I handed the money back to him and told him I only wanted to watch and that I did not bring any money with me so I could not play. I think I saved myself a lot of money.
Back in Iowa we have to watch for deer that cross the road even within the city limits. Apparently in Reynosa we have to watch out for horses on the road even in the city next to busy roads.
A few brews and something to eat was a great way to celebrate my birthday on August 19. We went to a microbrewery called Sierra Madre. There are 6 native English teachers at the school for 4th grade, 5th grade (me), 6th grade, middle school literature, conversation and physical education. The 4th grade teacher is from Canada. The 6th grade teacher is from the Solomon Islands and he is not in this photo. I'm not 100% sure if he qualifies as a native English teacher technically, but his English is very good and to me his accent sounds American with a few words that sound British. The conversation teacher is from Australia. The literature teacher is from the United States. One of the physical education teachers is from London, England. I'd say we are quite an international group. Can you pick out the native English speakers in the photo? I'll give you a hint. There are more than 6 because the physical education teacher had 2 buddies visiting him from London.