Saturday, July 24, 2010

The FM Renewal: Part 1

I've done it! I made it through the new resident visa renewal process with Mexican Immigration.  I was renewing an FM3, a green booklet usually reviewed, restamped and renewed for another year....but on April 30, 2010, the process for legal residence changed.  I'd been advised in advance that to begin the renewal process you had to complete an application online one month before your visa's expiration date.  I went online exactly one month before my FM3 expired and stumbled my way through the application it half right, and took what information I could to the immigration office the following morning.

I worried all year long about this renewal.  I am financially challenged, and the INM always asks for 3 copies of 3 months of every utility bill, bank account, and document you have.  I had all my copies ready, even the bank statements, that would show I am depositing enough to survive, but wouldn't reflect that pension they expect that I, a "pensionada" am receiving.  The fact is, I won't qualify for my retirement pension OR Social Security until 2015. 

The other worry I had was after all the horrible news I've heard and seen about the treatment of Mexican immigrants in the US, mostly Arizona of course whose governor has gone mad, I was afraid that Mexican Immigration would retaliate by making it impossible for us gringos to renew our residency.  In fact they went the opposite way and made it as easier.

This year you don't need the excessive copies.  I didn't need any copies at all.  The system is amazingly streamlined for renewals.  If a person is applying for a new resident visa I believe they still require all the documentation mentioned above and probably more, and go through the same rigamarole we all used to go through every year at renewal time.  But for the rest of us, it's just a matter of getting through that online application.

Here's how it went for me.  I went to the link online, opted to read it in English, and that opened to a Power Point type picture book of the new wallet sized laminated visas with arrows and nice visual effects. But I don't remember seeing anything actually written in English there.  That was the beginning and end of the English help!  When it comes to filling out the form, you are on your own in Spanish! They give you options, but they are very similar....I tried a few until I processed something. I don't recommend going about it that way, so I am going to post a second blog that walks you through the renewal process.  A few of my friends seem intimidated by the new system, but with a little help and can be easy. 

I entered the website from Mozilla Firefox, and the INS system is only set up to print out the required forms if you go in through Internet Explorer.  That is one of the things that tripped me up. I filled out the form, clicked "save", got a message in a little box with a confirmation number and I wrote that down. It told me to print out the "solicitud" I'd just completed as well as the "letter".  I X'd out of that little box, couldn't ask the printer to work with that up there, and all I had on my screen was a new empty application! 

So, what do I do? Try again?  I was afraid that if I put myself in there twice it would jam things up in the system, so I completed the app again up UNTIL the save part...and printed that.  I went to INS the next day with my thick file of copies, my FM3 and my Passport, copies of everything I got off their website, and signed in...#41.  When #41 was called, I was given a new yellow number because I HAD been online!  As I waited my turn I watched many people wait for their number to be called only to be given a little piece of paper sending them home to get on the computer and start the process.  Because so many people got little white slips, my  number came up quickly and I went inside the 'yellow number room', where there were two ladies helping customers.  The gal that helped me told me about the Internet Explorer problem, AND that many people have had trouble getting through the process online. There are still a few bugs in the system.  So she took my confirmation number and printed out the solicitud AND the letter.....I gave her my FM3, the solicitud and letters signed, and was given another weblink to check in a week to see if my paperwork was ready.  She was knowledgeable, friendly and efficient.  I was impressed. 

I waited one week and checked, and lo and behold my visa was ready the day after I applied!  I called and made my appointment, went in on the 21st for an 11am appointment and got a little GREEN number...was sent straight to the green-number room!.... got the paper to take to the bank, paid my dues, and returned to INS where my green number got me right back into the 'pink and green number room'. (I have no idea what pink numbers were....I'm on a need to know basis....don't need to know that.) They took my infant sized photos and fingerprints and in a few minutes I walked out with my new resident visa card.  It says I am a Non-Immigrant, Non-Lucrative Rentista, Visitor.....
Second to last step....paying your dues.

Here I am! I'm legal for another year!

The FM Renewal: Part 2

What I've done here is link the Mexican Immigration INM Visa Website, for starters.  Then I have reprinted each page, translated the Spanish - in red an highlighted areas that you have to fill in.  The best way to use this guide would be to either print it or open up another application so you can work your way one line at a time.  Good luck.

Trámites migratorios   Visas

Bienvenido  Welcome

Las autoridades migratorias blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah

Selecciona el país de tu nacionalidad, es necesario para indicarte si tu trámite requerirá o no una visa.
Choose your nationality from the dropdown box.  You must enter a nationality to continue.

País (nacionalidad): ESTADOS UNIDOS DE AMERICA
Selecciona el motivo de tu consulta  Select the motive of your consult

1.Visitar México

2.Vivir en México

3.Protección Internacional

4.Permisos y otros trámites  CLICK HERE on Permits and other Procedures

5.Preguntas frecuentes
Here is the next step. I have entered into Permisos....
Permisos y Otros Trámites

El gobierno de México, a través del Instituto Nacional de Migración, con el objetivo de garantizar seguridad jurídica   blah blah blah

Below you make another choice to get to the next page.




4.Certificado de Acreditación de Legal Estancia    Certification of Accreditation(?) of Legal Residence. THIS IS THE CHOICE YOU WANT TO MAKE IF YOU ARE RENEWING A CURRENT VISA. 

5.Permiso de Salida y Regreso

6.Expediente Básico

7.Expedición y Reposición de Formas Migratorias

8.Inscripción al Registro Nacional de Extranjeros
Next page, the quest for legality....
Certificado de Acreditación de Legal Estancia

Si estas realizando algún trámite blah blah blah

¿Tu forma migratoria se encuentra vigente?

1.Si    Is your visa current?  YES.

This is the next page that opens up after you click yes above.  It tells you the requirements. 

Cédula de consulta  type of consult

Trámite consultado process consulted? (whatever)

Tipo de trámite: Certificado de acreditación de legal estancia This is important. Type of visa. Certificate of legal residence. Keep that in mind when they ask other questions.

Requisitos  Requirements

•Solicitud de trámite. (Formato de estancia) Your application for the visa. CLICK ON "FORMATO DE ESTANCIA" and it takes you to the application you need to fill out.  Read this whole page first though.

•Copia de tu forma migratoria vigente. Copy of your current migratory form (in my case, FM3)

•Comprobante de pago de derechos.  Proof that you paid the dues..which you can't provide until you have done all this other stuff. They give you this paper at your appointment, which you make by phone once you see your confirmation information on the webisite they provide. You go to your appt, they give you the paper, you go to the bank a few blocks away around the corner on Reforma, Banorte, and pay your dues. As soon as you come back with this paper you are good to go....your green number gets you right in and serviced quickly. 

•Escrito firmado por el extranjero en el que manifieste los fines para los cuales requiere el certificado de legal estancia.  This is that letter we have to provide every year. It is supposed to print out for you once you have printed your SAVED APPLICATION.  If you have trouble printing that form, BE SURE TO WRITE DOWN your confirmation number.  They can pull your request up on their computer that way.  And they help fill in the blanks if you hit a wrong button. The letter reads a little differently this year.

¿Dónde debes presentar tu trámite? Where should you present your stuff?

•El trámite lo podrás presentar en cualquier delegación del Instituto Nacional de Migración cercana a tu lugar de residencia. We all know where immigration is located, there is only one office in Merida.  Colon and 8th, if I'm not mistaken.                                                                
•Consulta la siguiente dirección: website for immigration offices.

¿Cuáles son tus obligaciones? What are your obligations?

•Cumplir con los requisitos señalados, para la expedición del certificado de acreditación de legal estancia.To complete the stated requirements for the expediting of your certificate of legal residence.

¿Cuáles son tus derechos? What are your rights?

•Utilizar el certificado de acreditación de legal estancia, para los fines que te fueron solicitados por la autoridad distinta a la migratoria, excepto para trámites de matrimonio, divorcio y adopción. To use the certificate for legal residence, except it doesn't include permits for marriage, divorce or adoption....
Here is the form! You got here by clicking on Formato...above
Formato migratorio para trámites de estancia migratory form for resident visas

Instructivo de llenado instructions for completion

* Campos obligatorios  obligatory fields

Verifique la información registrada  verify the registered information

* ¿Qué desea hacer?     This is the first selection you make from the dropdown box...

Extender la estancia  This is what you want to do, extend the stay
Obtener residencia definitiva en México
Realizar actividades diferentes a las autorizadasRegularizar su situación migratoria en México
Obtener protección del estado mexicanoCanje o reposición de forma migratoria
Cumplir con obligaciones migratorias
Permanecer fuera del país por temporalidades mayores a las señaladas en la LGP
Obtener permiso de salida y regreso
Obtener certificaciones o permisos para celebrar actos y contratos

* Especifique

Ampliación de estancia para turista
Prórroga de No inmigrante  Select this one.  Prolongation of non-immigrant status.
Refrendo de inmigrante

Datos del extranjero (Conforme a Pasaporte o Documento de Identidad) Foreigner's data. Must conform to your Passport or Identification Document)

* Apellido(s) Last name(s)

* Nombre(s) First Name

* Fecha de nacimiento dd/mm/aaaa  date of birth  day/month/four-digit-year

* Sexo
 Seleccione   Sex....

CURP  I don't have a CURP number....not a required field.

Estado civil actual
Casado    married
Divorciado   divorced
Soltero    single
Unión libre   free union
Viudo    widowed

Correo electrónico  your email address

Lugar de nacimiento  place of birth

País   country
Seleccione   choose from dropdown box
EstadosUnidos de America

Estado, Provincia o Departamento   State, Province or Department

* Nacionalidad actual    actual nationality, select from dropdown box
EstadosUnidos de America

* Nacionalidad anterior
Seleccione  Prior nationality??
...Estados Unidos de America

Pasaporte o Documento con el que se identifica el extranjero  Passport or Document that identifies the foreigner

Documento de identificación   Dropdown selection...
Documento de identidad y viaje
Libreta de mar
Forma migratoria (con fotografía)  This is it. Migratory Form with photo. Your FM booklet number.

Número de documento  current FM booklet number

País de expedición
Seleccione   leave this as it is if you are using your fm booklet number

Fecha de expedición dd/mm/aaaa date of issue

Fecha de vencimiento dd/mm/aaaa    expiration date

Domicilio del extranjero en México   home address of foreigner in Mexico

Deberá anotar el nuevo domicilio en esta sección   You must notate new address (if applicable) in this section

* Calle     street

* Número exterior   house number

Número interior    interior number, if applicable, like "B" or something

* Colonia     Colonia

* Estado
Seleccione   dropdown offers YUCATÁN

* Delegacion o municipio  city or municipality, dropdown offers MÉRIDA

* Código Postal  zip code

Teléfono particular (incluir clave de larga distancia)   home phone including long distance or cell phone...including long distance code

En su caso, persona autorizada para tramitar, oir o recibir notificaciones  Forget all this unless you have someone else to apply for on this tramite. 

Si usted quiere agregar personas autorizadas es necesario que lo efectue con el boton 'Agregar persona', de lo contrario los datos capturados en esta sección no seran guardados

Nacionalidad actual
Tipo de documento de identificación
Documento de identidad y viajeForma migratoria (con fotografía)Credencial de elector (IFE)Cédula profesionalCertificado de matrícula consularCarta de naturalizaciónCartilla de Servicio Militar NacionalOtro
Número de documento
Agregar persona


Si lo desea, puede agregar algún comentario a la solicitud.   If you would like to add any comments, you can do so in the space below. I put in my passport info...since they only asked for the FM info above....just a suggestion. You can leave it blank.

Guardar las solicitudes anteriores sin guardar la actual   SAVE

Agregar familiar u otro trámite   this is if there is another person involved. forget it.

¿Es correcta la información capturada?

Si   Is the information entered correct?

At this point, when you click SAVE, or ENTER, it spits out a little box with a confirmation number. Write that number down.  If you have trouble printing, you will need that number for certain!  Once you save, it should offer you the option to print.  It's supposed to print the online app info and the letter.  

When you process this paperwork with INM, they give you a paper with your NUT number, your unique tramite number, as well as a password.  You need both those numbers to check the status of your FM process online.  The website to check the status is

call the office at the number the agent gives you after 1pm.  You make an appointment, pick up some photos at WalMart, infant size front and sides, and wait for your appointment date.  You'll get the last paper to take to the bank and pay your dues, and when you return to INM they fingerprint you and laminate your card right then and there.  Finished for another year.  If you want to change your're on your own.  I'm just getting this part down!  I hope this was helpful for you. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Idiomasyncracies: Combing Your Hair

This is really a double idiomasyncracy that could easily get you into trouble in a conversation. 

The word for 'hair comb' is un peine.  It is pronounced pay'-eee-nay, accent on the first syllable PAY, and I have trouble hearing the eeeeeee part in the middle - it's BARELY pronounced.  The locals tend to swallow it completely, especially speaking with a Yucatecan accent. 

The first (and only time) I paid someone to cut my hair here, I thought I explained that I wanted the dead ends trimmed and the style not changed, just cleaned up.  She smiled and agreed and seemed to understand, but when she was finished I had a hideous short mullet.  Before that experience I had never even heard of a mullet, but I did start noticing more of them as I walked around our neighborhood...she is the area mulletmaker.

She came to my house for the appointment, and we set up a chair outside.  I wet my hair and we were almost ready to begin.

"¿Tienes un peine?" She asked.


What I heard was "¿Tienes un pene?"  Un pene is a 'penis'.  The word is pronounced pay'nay.  Tell me THAT isn't confusing!  We had a laugh and I brought her a comb and a brush, since I wasn't sure.

If you are looking to purchase a hair comb, you might want to stress the eeeeeeeeeee part of peine or you risk being laughed at.  Ask for a brush instead - un cepillo. The dictionary has two words for 'brush', cepillo and escobilla.  Both refer to a brush or broom in general, and neither are hair specific.  Just to be safe, if you aren't sure of your language abilities ask for un cepillo para cabello....'brush for hair', and work your way into to a comb from there, by following with a mas fino, por favor, for example.  That might get you to a comb.   Knowing me, I'd go in there cocky and ask for un peine fino, say it wrong, and probably get my ass kicked.  From what I've seen and learned, most local stylists are kind of rough - like biker chics.

Pablo tells me that the word for 'hairstyle' is peinado but I could swear when the mulletmaker finished with me and handed me a mirror, she asked me, "¿Te gusta tu peine?"  The fact is I might have liked a penis better than I liked that hairdo.

There is one saving grace on this idiomasyncracy.  Peinar is a verb, meaning to comb or dress the hair, to comb wool, to touch or rub slightly, to excavate earth.  Therefore with so many definitions, there are also many forms of the word...its verb forms, all 15 tenses of them, and the nouns, adjectives, etc. that emerge from the verb.

Pene, on the other hand, just has the one meaning. There is no verb that means 'to penis'.  When the Spanish word for 'penetration' is used, penetrar, it is not used in a sexual context. So if you think you hear pene in a phrase or in another form, it's probably peine and has something to do with brushing. I think there are other euphemisms in Spanish to call someone 'a dick'....I've never heard the formal word pene used in slang.  (If I have, I've been insulted and missed it!)

The second part of this blog is about your hair.  There is an important difference between cabello and pelo.  The dictionary defines cabello* as 'the hair of the head'.  It defines pelo as 'hair', but of course has a paragraph of other uses also.  They both do, and the words are mostly interchangeable.  I don't know if it's a Yucatecan colloquialism, or a Mexicanism, but when you talk about your pelo here, you are talking about pubic hair.  I learned this tidbit a year after I moved here one day in the pool when I said something to my neighbor about my hair, mi pelo. If I remember correctly, she cracked up, and said, "I think you mean cabello."  I called Pablo on that one, HE let me use the wrong word for a whole year!  When I asked him why, he said he thought it was funny.  Real cute.

The moral of the story is, don't ask anyone to PENE TU PELO.  If you do go to a stylist, get a reference from someone who doesn't wear a mullet, and in this case you might want to stick to upscale places in fancy neighborhoods, NOT THE CENTRO.  My hair probably looks like PELO since Pablo and I cut our own hair, or each other's, and I am just not very kind to my hair....color chemicals, pool chemicals.  I guess I make myself feel ok about it because of some of the noticeably hideous hairstyles I've seen around town - that are done that way on purpose! 

*One last tip, Don't get cabello confused with caballo, which means 'horse'.  I don't even want to think of all the troublesome combinations that could come of confusing all the above words!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So How's That Mosquito Plague Going?

We have had afternoon sprinkles, showers, downpours or blinding rainstorms every day for a month.  The ground is saturated.  Last week we were bombarded by mosquitoes.  I wrote about it.

The mosquitoes have gotten worse.  So much worse that they made Diario headlines three days in a row and the city is (supposedly) working the fumigation trucks around the clock.  Until I moved into this blast-into-the-past-time-machine called Mérida, I hadn't seen, heard or smelled a mosquito fog truck since I was a kid in Toledo in the 60's.  I haven't heard one this past week, but that doesn't mean it hasn't passed by. We can't hear street noise in the back bedoom.  I have no issue filling the air with certain toxic chemicals out of necessity. It's full of them already, so what's a little more toxicity if it avoids us all coming down with dengue?

The city also hired hundreds of men to assist with backpack fumigation.  The biggest worry now is August.  The officials are worried about an impending rise of dengue, and have seen 270 cases of hemorraghic cases thus far. As wet as our environment is, it's very difficult to avoid mosquito breeding areas.  At home, we actively seek potential breeding grounds, clear them - and then the bastards appear somewhere else.  My house is surrounded by three overgrown abandoned properties.  I wonder if there's any standing water or breeding grounds over there? 

The mosquitoes also got BIGGER.  There were two photos in the Diario of wasp-sized (ok, slight exaggeration) GIANT MOSQUITOS.  They are as big as flies at least. They're all over the peninsula.  Luckily the Jurassic Park Breed doesn't carry dengue- so they say.  There was no mention how their bites compare to the smaller striped anopheles bastards, that I constantly fight myself to NOT SCRATCH.  Hopefully the bigger the mossie doesn't mean a worse bite!

I HEAR the Zap Racquets in Mérida sold out and I KNOW there is NO REPELLENT anywhere...the shelves are all empty.  All that's left are coils and Baygon to spray entire rooms.  We "zen ourselves" into believing the Raid coils are lavender incense by necessity.  The racquet is the greatest, even if we do look like lunatics flinging them around the house and patio all the time. Playing air tennis.  You get to LOVE that zap sound!  The good news is the cats have become accustomed to our new bizarre behavior and don't freak out at the sight of our new weapons anymore.

 My house is reasonably waterproofed....compared to others I have I do continue to enjoy the afternoon rain squalls.  I spend a lot of time on the weather sites.  Whether we see as many tropical storms as were predicted this hurricane season remains to be seen, but it's safe to say so far we are having a much rainier rainy season than the past two summers.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rain Brings Mosquito Plague to Yucatán

Above is a photo of yesterday's front page news.  The 'plagas' or plagues from the rains they report about are mosquitos and "baches", which I learned from the article are 'potholes' in the streets.

These problems are the result of the incredible amount of rain we have had lately.  I wrote a post the other day called, "Will It Ever Stop?" about the rain, but as I finished writing it, it did stop, so I didn't post it.  The heavy downpours let up for about a day and a half.

The weather has been strange since the last week in June.  That is when Alex, yet unnamed, was twirling about in the Western Caribbean, causing lots of showers to drift over our way.  As the storm moved northwest, slowly, we had several days of what I might call Seattle weather, gray skies for days and days.  Adding convection heating to the peninsula's already saturated ground, we were in for heavy tropical rains every afternoon.

As the first system moved through, the second tropical depression had already begun to head our way.  It never took on a name, even though it almost became Bonnie as it crossed the Yucatán on its path from the southeast. Eventually TD2 (tropical depression 2) was born in the Southeastern Gulf of Mexico, just west of us, where it picked up more moisture and is currently plaguing northeastern Mexico and deep southern Texas with more rain than they need.

These storms brought with them other plagues.  Some folks have blogged about them, Debi's is good...She talks about the night we had flying fornicating ants.  They had it worse at their house, oddly enough, just a few blocks away, as we only found a handful of them the day after.  We had more of the flying termites the night before the flying fornicating ants....the wings covered everything.  But those were one time events.

The plaga began two days ago.  MOSQUITOS.  We have mosquitoes around year round, I won't deny that.  This week I felt like I was being eaten alive and tortured.  As hot and humid as it is, 100% even when it is not raining, I put on long pants and a long sleeved shirt to avoid the mossies.  That didn't work. They bit right through the hammock and Bali pants and I had bites all over my ass.  We have an armada of weaponry to fight mosquitoes.  We usually start with the Raid Lavender Mosquito Coils.  I call them Mexican incense.  The locals call them 'killers'.  They HELP but do not solve the problem. 

We have bigger guns to break out.  Slightly off topic, in the photo a few paragraphs below on the left is ANT POISON POWDER.  That is lethal stuff and we don't use it often because of the cats.  They don't sell anything like it in the US.  (They use muriatic acid like it was Joy! and lots of other toxic materials here.)  We basically have an ant invasion every day before a rainstorm.  They come in through the electrical outlets, from tiny crawl spaces in the window jams, or parade in proudly through little side routes in the doors.  I probably kill ants fifty times a day in the kitchen, maybe a few, maybe a big parade. I have other weapons I use before the ant powder and I apologize for not taking a photo of them.

On the floor I use medicated talcum powder, or whatever talc I can find during an invasion.  It confuses the ants,  and the only problem with this method is the floors become super slippery.  And of course it looks like someone spilled flour or cocaine all over the floor and left it there. Another remedy is vinegar.  For a while I had a spray bottle of vinegar on the counter, that also confuses them, and in my case drowns them.  But I don't always want to smell vinegar.  So I replaced it...and the spray bottle now has undiluted Ajax Expel.  That kills 'em dead!  So much for the ants.  They didn't make the front page.

Sometimes we have to vacate and spray entire rooms with one of the two bug sprays in the center of the photo.  These are also used against ant invasions, the occasional palmetto bug that flies in, or other critters that people find unacceptable.  I don't think these sprays kill all the mossies, maybe they are becoming resistent to our current killers.

And on the right is the trusty spray repellent. I am not crazy about spraying that toxic crap all over me, but I can be driven to it - often enough that I want a full can sitting there at all times.  I really hate being eaten alive, and it's happened to me too many times to count.  We won't get into the crazy situations I was in to be eaten alive; that would take a long time.  I'd rather mention that it is important to kill these mosquitoes because there is a threat of dengue fever, transmitted by these particular mosquitoes' bites.  According to the Diario, in the Yucatán there have been 600 cases reported in the past couple of weeks, and 40 of those were hemorrhagic. They might not call it malaria, but it can be as deadly!  

This past week someone mentioned to me that ZAP RACQUETS were available here. I think I saw one at my neighbors' house a long time ago, but I never gave it a second thought.  I remember Maxine had one in Hawaii, and it worked great! When we were invaded this week, I went straight to Win Fa Chinese Restaurant, across from Santa Ana Park, an picked up two of these raquetas.
After the initial charge, I decided to see how many mosquitoes there were in the house.  After sweeping through the house like a desperate housewife in a fantasy tennis tournament, I had killed dozens of the little buggers.  But I was only getting started.  I pulled chairs away from tables, and underneath...ZAPx3. I went into the closet and ruffled the clothing...ZAP x100. I went into the bathroom. They seem to come up from the drains...ZAPx50. I went outside and ruffled leaves on the ground, ZAPx30 per ruffle. I was on a roll. I killed flies, fleas, ants, a stink bug, and a tiny centipede.  When Pablo sat at his desk and was immediately surrounded by blood thirsty mossies, he gave his racquet a try, and ZAPx25.  We both took on mosquito zapping as a sport, and the house was bug free for several hours.  Until the next rain when the whole thing started over again.  But the improvement was drastic and quite noticeable.  THIS IS THE BIG GUN!  The racquet.  Unfortunately the racquet scares the cats, but they will have to get used to it.  I would NEVER have been able to concentrate enough to finish this post without my tool, because the two coils I have burning near my feet are not doing the job this afternoon.

Below is a photo of me in position for a thunderstorm.  Often I will sit more upright and use the time to write, but other times I just like to turn off the lights and watch the lightning in the sky.  If we get a late afternoon rain worth hitting the hammock for, that is where I usually end up for the rest of the day, whether it continues to rain or not.  When I tire of reading or writing I find the remote control.

Tuesday this week, the Mérida Weather Underground forecast called for a 90% chance of 59mm of rain.  That is 2.32 inches.  I think we got more than two inches.  The photos below are the street in front of my house that USED TO flood all the time.  Recently the city cleaned the drains or drilled more or new ones....they did something, and there was no River 75 for at least three weeks!  But since there is no sewer system(click for a link to Mikey's sad but true story about Merida's "system"), the new drains were unable to stop flooding this week.  The accumulative amounts of rainfall have been impressive. 

The waves sloshed into our carport underneath the gate, but you can see some of the folks across the street took in some serious water.  Everyone is used to this sight during the rainy season, but it never ceases to fascinate me.  If I have to blog about the rain again, maybe I will explain the complicated system of keeping water out of the house as the sideways driving rain gushes in through tiny little openings unseen in drier times by the naked eye.....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bucket of Puppies

As you may know if you read my blog, I have a house full of cats. Six of them, who require plenty of independent as they supposedly are.  Plus I for the next few weeks I will be taking care of six more cats.  I already have my animal hands full....

Evolución is the rescued animal shelter run by Silvia and Jill.  When we worked on the spay/neuter program earlier this year, they had 80 dogs out at the shelter in Umán.  Now they have 140!  And if they arrive by the!  We need LOTS more spay and neuter programs.  I don't know if anyone can help out with this, but the best way I can help is to spread the word.  The contact info is below.  Thanks for reading my public service announcement.

Dear Friends of Evolucion,

Today we literally received a "bucket of puppies" at the shelter (see attached photos).  They were born within hours of coming to the shelter - they all still have their umbilical cords.  The local police brought them to us and they did not know the status of the mother.

There are 7 of them and I currently have them at my house for home care, but it would be great if someone would be willing to help out.  They are cute as can be, but I promise if you take this on, you will get no sleep.  They need round the clock care for the first week - with feedings every 3 hours.  If you are interested in taking on a couple of these guys, or, even better, if you know of a female that has recently has pups and may nurse these little guys, please let me know.

Thanks so much!!!


 Jill Benson
Evolución, Albergue y Santuario

bucket 'o puppies (1).jpg
bucket 'o puppies (2).jpg
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Idiomasyncracies: La Portería y La Porquería

Yesterday at halftime Germany was ahead of Argentina 1-0 in the Copa Mundial Quarter Finals. Both teams played well and the first half just flew by. 

The goalie is called EL PORTERO. From the Velázquez Spanish-English dictionary it means gatekeeper, porter, doorman.

I'm not sure if LA PORTERÍA refers only to the net itself, or the rectangular area in front of the goal that the portero protects.  The dictionary didn't help me with this one, it defined a portería as the principal door of a convent or other large building.

What I do know is that the announcers mention LA PORTERÍA time and time again during the fast paced matches.  I can't understand these Spanish speaking announcers. First, there are many accents, the Latin American accents and the Spanish FROM SPAIN accent. Second, the announcers are full of excitement and adrenaline, the game is fast, and they talk so fast that all I can do is occasionally pick up a few words.

My ears perked up during the Germany game when they constantly spoke of PODOLSKI,   their Polish superstar.  My ears also perked up every time I heard the announcers talking about LA PORTERÍA.

I'd look up at the TV and ask Moka(who watched the game with me until I started yelling)....."Who's a PORQUERÍA?  What was a PORQUERÍA?"  This is a term very commonly heard here in the Yucatán and in fast-speak it sounds just like PORTERÍA.

The dictionary has many definitions of PORQUERÍA, which should be a sign that it is a commonly used colloquialism that serves many purposes:
1.  Nastiness, uncleanliness, filth
2.  Hoggishness, brutishness, rudeness
3.  Trifle, thing of little value
4.  A dirty, ungenteel action
5.  Nuisance, dirty trick

(Since it is in the dictionary, I'll clarify that hogsty in Spanish is PORQUERIZA.)

You can't imagine how many conversations involved PORQUERÍAS.  Shopkeepers mutter "pura porquería" as rude non-spending tourists depart their shops.  I've heard the owner of my corner store refer to both gringos(mostly) and locals in our neighborhood as PORQUERÍA.  But he is an angry old man.

Last week's rain and gloomy ten days: a PORQUERÍA.  And the new batch of cluster storms sitting off Honduras and Belize, just like two weeks ago, increasing their chances of tropical formation as the hours pass, that is a PORQUERÍA.

I think it is fair to say if you are from Argentina or Paraguay, you feel yesterday's games were PORQUERÍAS.  Bottom line is, you have to have a strong PORTERÍA to win in fútbol!