Saturday, January 29, 2011

RIP Nancy Shuman Davis

I extend my sympathies to the family of Nancy Shuman Davis.  For those who haven't heard her name on the national news recently, she was killed by a bullet to the head yesterday south of Reynosa in a community called San Fernando. She was a missionary for 40 years with her husband to help out the poor in Mexico. She and her husband were driving on a highway near San Fernando just south of Reynosa when a group tried to stop them probably to steal their truck.  They ran the roadblock and were chased with bullets and had their truck rammed. The husband sped towards the border to take Nancy to the hospital where she died. That's the way it is here in parts of Tamaulipas.

I've read a few of the comments people have posted about her death.  Many have blasted them for driving a 2008 Chevy truck in an area known for a lot of highjackings. Another claimed they should have stopped and given up the truck. One cynic even pointed out that the husband drove more than 70 miles without stopping for help so the husband probably killed the wife. However, by all accounts, this couple devoted their life to helping others in Mexico.  It is OK to think it, but, geez, people, do you have to publicly comment where family and friends may read it?  When a loved one is lost, it hurts.  A lot.  I should know.  I lost my beautiful, baby sister Lynn in a car accident almost a year ago.  The horrific photos of her car under the school bus planted all over the newspaper along with photos of people holding sheets while they removed her body from the car were bad enough.   Many newspapers no longer allow comments on such news reports because of the hurtful comments.  And for good reason.  Some idiot posted, "Was the phone call worth it?", implying that my sister was on her cell phone when the accident happened. Even if it were true, is it really necessary to say it like that?

And just for the record, my sister was not talking or texting.  The deputy got the records from the cell phone company and proved that the phone wasn't even on before the accident occurred.  One small vindication, but it doesn't bring my sister back.

RIP Nancy Shuman Davis
RIP David Hartley
RIP Don Alejo Garza Tamez
RIP Lynn Mota

Monday, January 24, 2011

Going Postal on the Municipal Police Commander in Reynosa

I can't believe I did it.

I was helping out a friend named Wil to move a few things with my truck today when I was stopped by the municipal police. Usually it is the blood-sucking transito (traffic cop), not the municipal police, that stop and request a donation.  I've donated once in Mexico City and once in Reynosa. It's a way of life here. I pulled over and Mr. Policeman requested my papers for the truck. I hadn't been driving fast or committed any other infraction and he wasn't the transito so I was hoping it was just some sort of routine check. I gave him my registration, insurance card, license, passport and my school ID card.  I informed him I was a TEACHER since teachers are usually held in high esteem in Mexico and I hoped that would make him go away.  Then he asked Wil for his ID which he produced.  The cop should have said, "Have a nice day" and let's us go on our way.  But NOOOOOOOOOOO.  He said we would have to follow him to the police station. At this point, (grumble, grumble) I am still OK and so I followed Mr. Officer to the station.  When we arrived, he took Wil into the commander's office and wouldn't allow me in. I stood there a while wondering what is going on when the original officer asked me where do I live and who do I live with?  I smiled and pretended to not understand while thinking, "That's none of your f'ing business especially since I've done nothing wrong."

So I waited and waited and finally I poked my head in the door. I was informed by my friend that the commander told him the cop followed us from the hotel and decided to check us out.

"WHAT????" with mouth opened wide in surprise.  "What hotel?"   Not that I would really know, the only thing along this area are flea-bag motels that are rented in 4 hour intervals.  After a few more "What hotel?" I went postal on his ass.  All in English.  It might have been better if Mr. Commander did speak English because my rant went something like this....

"What fucking hotel did this cop follow us from?  We weren't in any fucking hotel!  If I wanted to bonk this guy, I would have done it in my own bed on my clean sheets! Not in some flea-bag, crack hotel where sheets are changed every 30 days whether they need it or not. I've showed you all my papers and everything is in order.  This is incredibly STUPID."

Photo from Borderland Beat to show example of narco-blockade - not my photo.
Mr. Commander glared at me and I glared back.  So I called someone from the school to help with the translations.  The friend did verify that I was a teacher (I guess my school ID wasn't good enough) and told the commander where I lived.  We were allowed to leave the police station but not without a parting shot from Mr. Commander about how I need to show respect. This is part where the breath was sucked in slowly.  In a voice that was a little more controlled than before, I stared at Mr. Commander straight in the eye and told him, "Whatever."

I found out later that in deciphering the English haze that just hit him, he thought I called him stupid. And calling someone ESTUPIDO in Mexico is a capital offense.

If you thought this would be the end of the story, you thought wrong.

So we barely left the police station and right in front of us was a narco-blockade.  The narcos highjack large transportation type vehicles and place them sideways across the road so all traffic stops.  Today they used a big touring bus (like a Greyhound) and an old school bus that now serves as public transportation. There were several other vehicles helping to block all passages.  This happens so that the gun battle may begin and no traffic can get through.  Wil told me to turn around quick which I did.  We found another route and arrived close to the center of town when we discovered all the bridges across the canal were narco-blockaded.  I didn't know which way to turn and Wil is yelling at me to turn around but in the confusion I ran through another blockade.  Apparently they had run out of big buses and were using passenger trucks. I whipped around one and Wil yelled at me to go to Linda's house that is only 2 blocks away.  Luckily Linda was home and I hid out there for an hour monitoring the Twitter feeds to find out when all was clear.  Twitter is just about our only news source in Reynosa since nothing is reported on the news.

I'm tired.  I've got more gray hair and more wrinkles.  I've promised everyone that this will be my last year in Reynosa.  Even though I've been called a liar about the negative things I've written about, I swear to God it is the truth.  My imagination isn't good enough to make this shit up if I tried.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm Dangerous and Must Be Deleted

If you don't like my bitching, you better stop reading.  What can I say? It's one of the things I do so well.

After all the crap that happened to me in October and November, I pretty much had it with living in Reynosa. And then I received an invitation to look at a website called Mexico Online ( and so I did. There was a question being asked about feeling safe in Mexico.  I replied no and qualified it by saying I lived in Reynosa, and wrote about some of things I've witnessed and my friends have seen.  Oh, boy, did I open a can of worms.  I was called a bad mother because I allowed my adult sons to visit me and they got to witness a gun battle. I was called a liar because nothing bad happens in Mexico and it is statistically safer than the United States.  I was actually told I should be writing about how safe it is in Mexico. When I wrote an email to the moderator about how he was too judgmental for calling me a bad mother, he responded by deleting my account.  Apparently Mexico Online only wants to hear the rosy and wonderful things about living or visiting Mexico.  It advertises itself as the place for people who live and work in Mexico but I found out that only means if you have money and can afford to buy a home in places like Cabo San Lucas or San Miguel Allende.  I do understand that bad press is bad for business and my bitching, as one member told me, is doing more damage to Mexico than the Cartel.

That's right folks, I'm more dangerous than the Cartel and I must be deleted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


 Irony - incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.

That came straight from Merriam Webster himself.  When I moved to Mexico from Iowa, I thought I would be warm all year.  Except for one skiing excursion per year, I HATE cold weather.   So tell me why I am freezing my ass off in thick socks, booties, sweatshirt and pants, under 3 blankets?  That's because when the thermometer dips below 40 degrees (aka 4 degrees in Celsius), it is actually COLDER inside Mexican homes.  I have not seen a Mexican home with central heat yet. 

Ya'll northerners can feel sorry for me now.  I'm fixin' to run for the border this weekend to find some heat... inside my parent's house.