Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
They're true. They let me back in, but not without a fight.
I sat for only 20min. on the bridge of no-man's land before the Customs Agents began to assert the freedom of the country upon me. After opening the back of my truck, they informed me that I would have to unload some of my gear so that they could see the whole way through the cab (very different from the last time I returned). So I pulled over and unloaded the top layer of the bed. After waiting 10 minutes, I caught the attention of another officer, that informed me that I would have to unload the rest of the truck for the dog to climb in.
Another 10 minutes waiting, sitting on the back of the truck, snapping photos and an officer informed me not nicely that I could not take photos and to delete them in front of him. I felt it wise not to discuss the legality of the issue, as I just wanted to reenter the freest of all countries in the world! Then the dog started having its search around - in the back, around the truck, in the front, in the back, in the front, in the front. All the while I was being questioned about the length of my stay down there, what I was doing, how I could afford it. I almost mentioned my allergy to drug-dog dander, but there went my head again. I was muttering for the dog to smell the spare tire - the Customs agent asked me what I said. Oh, nothing, just please do a thorough check of everything please. It seemed that the dog picked up a scent in the cab, that I can honestly say would have no relation to me whatsoever, and after carefully chosen words (the best possible after not sleeping for 24 hours), my passport and keys were returned to me. I paid the $1.25 liquor import tax and went about trying to get out of Texas. Back to enjoy the Freedom of the homeland that no living in the mountains of Mexico could ever afford. EVER. NOT POSSIBLE.
On another note, returning to the smells and sights of the Sonoran Desert has brought a smile to my face, although squatting in an empty house is a bit odd. One good thing is that you don't have to turn any lights on, because you won't run into anything.
Adjustments, reflections and the list to come...
Posted by -charley at 12:52 AM
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
So with under 4 days to go in a 5 month stint, one decides to visit the unseen attractions to which one has been so near or even directing people. Finally, a picture of the waterfall Cola de Caballo - the namesake of the hotel I stayed at. Due to all of the rains, it was flowing higher than usual.
Then I finally made it back to Parque Fundidora. The clouds don't do the place justice; but, neither did all of the construction going on in preparation for the world forum that kicks off in a couple of weeks or so. But I caught a glimpse of the zipline I put up there.
Here's the palace of the government in downtown Monterrey. They've got all the flags out for their upcoming Independence Day.
Finally, my friend and I before we went into the History of Mexico museum, which chronologically describes pre-colonial Mexico up to the present day. Filled with swords and spears used by the conquistadors, it's pretty neat, but sad in a way. The history starting with their Independence in 1821 up trough 1850 is also pretty bloody, with wars with Texas, France and the United States.
Don't worry, more to come...
Posted by -charley at 11:33 PM
Monday, September 03, 2007
On September 17, 1988, Hurricane Gilbert devastated Monterrey, Mexico. Flooding washed away streets and the people on them. In response, Proteccion Civil of the state of Nuevo Leon reorganized and updated its rescue services. One of the direct effects was a better rescue system for the canyons, especially Matacanes. Up until a few years ago, Proteccion Civil was in place every weekend in Potrero Redondo to check to make sure that each guide taking clients was certified by Proteccion Civil, and to check to see how many clients were in the canyon each day. They would then wait at Las Adjuntas to check off a list as each group exited. If somebody didn't exit, then rescue services were initiated. Then entered the politics...
Proteccion Civil of the municipality of Santiago has since insisted on its right to perform the rescues in Matacanes, and the State has ceded its control. No longer are the Proteccion Civil in Potrero Redondo or in Las Adjuntas. A month ago, after much rain caused high water conditions, Proteccion Civil told a group of guides that there was no longer a group in the canyon, leaving the guides to go perform the rescue of a group that was stranded without the proper swiftwater techniques to complete the canyon. I have been at the hotel a number of occasions recently on call to do a rescue if Proteccion Civil isn't going to do its job.
I almost want to discuss my current feelings of the roles of the individuals, the guiding companies and of rescue services in this situation, but they're too contradictory. So many of the 'guiding' companies can run the canyon under normal conditions, but have no idea what to do in high-water conditions. I don't want to be morbid, but I feel that something bad will happen here before things change... And I feel that if/when they change, it won't necessarily be a good thing.
Posted by -charley at 10:16 PM