December 9, 2018

Ou est Phillipe?

Some scientists believe everything we ever learned is stored away in our brain waiting on the synapses to fire in the correct sequence to recover  them. Nothing is "forgotten", it is just buried in dusty, unused files down in the basement.

Some scientist believe in global warming, the Earth is flat, and the sun revolves around our planet. Do I need to discuss phrenology, leeching, the certain belief that applying horse dung would heal cuts? Scientist are wrong all of the time.

I studied French in high school and the first years of college. At one point I could speak it on about a fourth grade level. I could read it at about a high school level. When I was on France about 15 years ago I could speak at about a kindergarten level and read at about fourth grade. Now? Forty years removed from my French education I can speak a few phrases, understand none and read only a few words.

If I run across French in ordinary circumstances -- a foreign film or a passage in a book, I have little to no comprehension. It might as well be Hungarian or Cherokee. Strangely, every time I go to a foreign country my French comes back a little. I'm in China and I think of French phrases. In Mexico it was the same. In fact, I think my few phrases and words of Spanish were mumbled with a French accent.  Why is that?

It is weird because anyone who has read any of my musings will readily attest I can barely communicate in coherent English.

December 8, 2018

I Have Returned

I am back in the beautiful Hoosier heartland. I don't want any Mexican food for a while. Well at least for another week or ten days. I'll be back in Mexico then. Sigh.

I wanted to get back to travelling again. I really said that, didn't I? Clearing customs back in the US is a pain. It always has been. Now there are kiosks where you answer questions about stuff you need to declare. This was a form you filled out and handed to the customs agent in the old days. Now you wait in a very long line to use the kiosk. It scans your passport and prints your answers. Then you get to wait in line to give your paper to the agent. So you have added a queue to the already too-long process.

They had two agents working the American Citizen line at the Houston Airport yesterday morning. There were probably a thousand people in the various queues. In addition to my little jet from Puebla there were three big 747 s puking passengers at the International Gates.

After you get through customs you get to go through airport security again, even though you have never left the airport! My carry-on never left my hands, but that doesn't matter. Those with checked bags took their bags from a carousel then walked 20 feet to put them on a different one. I think it is a baggage handler union plot.

I had more than 1-3/4 hours budgeted to clear customs and make my connecting flight. I made it on with six minutes to spare. I was last on the plane and they slammed the door shut behind me. Almost an hour and a half just to clear customs.

The company provided a driver to and from the airport. The driver who picked me up at the hotel was the same who delivered me Monday evening. It is not like we are old friends. He spoke broken English at best. My Spanish is a few words. Yet he felt compelled to hug me and wish me a Feliz Navidad. Yes, I said he hugged me.

Long-time readers might know I really hate to be touched by strangers. Hugs are high on the list of  stuff I don't want to encounter from the random public. At my Mom's funeral one of my oldest and closest friends even asked before she hugged me. I've known her for more than 45 years. 

For some reason my December 7 post failed to publish yesterday. This post content was not what I intended to scribble (electronically) this morning either. Oh well, you get a long post complaining about minor stuff. I suppose that is what I do best. 

Have a great Saturday.

December 6, 2018

Are you there?

Where did everybody go?

I guess you don't care for my running travelogue.

December 5, 2018

Situation Critical

Hola Amigos. There a little Spanish for you. What? Oh, por nada.

Today was a long day. I left the hotel at 6:15 am and got back right at 9:00 pm. The next person who says "I wish I had your job Joe" I'm gonna kick in the crotch. Let me tell you something. Real Mexico is waayy different from tourist Mexico. There is a definite 3rd world squalor to the place, albeit some areas are quite nice. The people have been as kind as can be.

I don't think I'll go out for Mexican food this weekend though.

One terrible awful thing has happened. I am out of Chapstick. I'm not sure how I left home without a spare. I'm out of travel practice I guess. Is it a big enough issue to alert my International SOS app?

Midweek Musical Interlude



I've always found this tune a little sad,  I guess because the point Judy sings this in the movie is poignant and sad. The original lyrics were "for next year we'll be dead". Garland refused to sing those lines, so they were changed. True story.

Maybe.

I'm doing fine here in Mexico. I'm certainly not at the resort areas, that is for sure.

Maybe.

I wrote this on Sunday. For all I know I have been kidnapped and murdered for the 153 pesos in my pocket. If by Saturday I don't post the secret safe word we all agreed upon you will know an impostor has taken over the old blogeroo.*



*Except the for occasional joke I have canned for you to ignore in the future. -- that was/is the real fake internet me you have grown to love.

December 4, 2018

International Man of Mystery

Waddaya know, there is interwebz here at the redacted hotel in nope Mexico. I'm not surprised, it is a global chain -- rhymes with Hariott. I dug out the old iPad to do a little blogging. Strangely, most of he TV channels are in Spanish, outside of Fox, CNN, and the NFL Network. I'm watching a rerun of Sunday Night Football while pecking out this riveting tale one fingered.

So far the food has been pretty good. Nothing too strange. I like Mexican food in general. Unlike China, forks and spoons are plentiful. I am glad I don't have to worry about chopsticks any more.

The trip down was uneventful. I connected through Houston and arrived at the hotel around 9:30 last night. I had no issues with customs and my driver was waiting when I came out of immigration. I have a new stamp in my passport opposite my Chinese Visa*. I have a way to go before I can match my old expired passport. It had a good two dozen entry stamps.

Anyway, I don't think any sightseeing is on tap this trip. It will be work-hotel-work-hotel. Oh well. I did get a good picture of the nearby volcano. I will try to post it when I get home.

I have got to learn some Spanish if I am going to spend a lot of time here. Oh, just ignore those parts of tommorrow's post that are not relevant.



* Actually I have two Chinese entry visas. One was good for one year and it expired, the other is a ten year entry visa and will outlast this passport.

December 3, 2018

Quick hit

Late one night at the insane asylum one inmate shouted,
“I am Napoleon!”
Another one said, “How do you know?”
The first inmate said, “God told me!”
Just then, a voice from another room shouted, “I did not!”

December 2, 2018

Do Dictators Dictate with Diligent Diction?

One side effect of working in an office with other people is fewer opportunities for me to check out political blogs or news sites. That means you get very little in the way of politics from me these days. Depending on your point of view that might be a good thing.

I gave up on political talk radio a long time ago, so I don't miss that at all. I do miss my sports talk radio though. I have been so busy learning stuff I wouldn't have time to listen to anything anyway, no matter where my desk was parked.

My little Echo Dot just played some Booker T and the MGs. It is impossible not to smile when the boys from Muscle Shoals are jamming.


See?

Although the audience seems to be dead. Maybe they spliced in an audience from a lecture on ancient Greek Pottery onto a performance of the MGs. Watch Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper jam. How can you sit on your hands like that?

Look Ma, it ain't Christmas music!

There you have it, a stream of consciousness Seinfeldian post about nothing. I'm not sure why you bother with this old blog any more but I'm glad you do.

Enjoy your Sunday.

December 1, 2018

RIP George

President Bush the First has passed away. A war hero, tycoon, politician, CIA Spook, President, class act; George HW Bush will be eulogized far more eloquently and detailed elsewhere.

It is raining cats and dogs this morning. At least it is slated to be warm. I have classic Christmas music playing in the background as I type. I'm trying to decide if I want to mess around on the interwebz or go get some donuts.

It is really raining hard...

The new job is going well. I'm a little less overwhelmed. It seems there has been a lot of turnover in personnel in my tiny division of Really Huge Company. We do stuff a certain way , no one knows why, but there is a certain German exactness that we adhere to the procedures. Whatever. You take the Man's dollar and you do what the man says. 

You should brace yourself to endure a continued lack of posting next week. I'm off to the land of tortillas and sombreros for the week. My Spanish is only slightly better than my Chinese. At least I can mumble a few words in Espanol. I might read it a little. I certainly cannot understand words spoken to me at all. That's me, the Ugly American. I'll type this same paragraph this spring, substituting "German" for "Spanish" when I head to the corporate HQ. 

Serious housecleaning is on tap today. Some friends are coming over this evening to play some euchre and hang out. It seems like I'm gonna have a good Saturday. I hope you do too.
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005