A decade gone by

2014-01-10-The-TENIT WAS 10 YEARS ago about now when I was last in the United States. I don’t recall if it was just before or just after Obama’s first inauguration. I prefer to think it was before, so I can say I never set foot in Weepy Barry’s America.

There was no Black Lives Matter or Antifa, and SJW had not been invented yet. There was social strife and victimhood because multiculturalism had been boneheadedly promoted long before I departed, but nowhere near the absurd level that now exists. But I had never voted Republican.

My Democrats were not rioting in the streets. Nor were they prone to hysterics. They were more sensible people.

Visiting outside your native land is a strange sensation. Living in a world so different than that which sprouted you is odder still. Though I’m a Mexican citizen and almost never speak English, I don’t fit in below the border.

I just have to live with that. A price to pay, well worth it.

Quite a few Americans live in Mexico. The Mexican government puts the number at around 750,000, though you see much higher numbers on the internet, stated by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

From what I read on internet forums, etc., most Americans (expats, a term I never apply to myself) in Mexico visit their homeland on a regular basis, as do Canadians. It’s like a siren call, but I’m deaf to it.

There are reasons. One is it’s very expensive up there. Two is that America has become a disappointment to me. (Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy recently described contemporary American culture as vulgar and slipping into moral relativism.) Three is that it’s dangerous up there. Four is there’s nothing above the border that I need.

The last time I left Mexico was in 2012 when we flew to Cuba, which is a miserable place, but it was interesting. We’ll never do that again.

The last time I was in my old hometown of Houston was either 2007 or 2008. It had changed a lot since I left in January 2000. I imagine I would be flabbergasted to see it now.

Like San Miguel de Allende, where no more Mexicans live, Houston might be the flip side, where no more Americans live, just Mexicans.

And the last visit to another old hometown, New Orleans, was 2006, about a year after Hurricane Katrina. The city was a mess.

There are some things I miss about America. Fall foliage in Atlanta. Floating in the crystal clear Sabinal River in the Hill Country of Texas not far from the town of Utopia. Hot bowls of Vietnamese pho in Houston.

But America lacks some things I enjoy here. Cows on highway overpasses. The bray of burros in the distance or just down the street. Dogs on house roofs. Real cobblestone streets. Inexpensive living. Gonging of the church bell from the plaza. Hummingbirds sitting on my aloe vera.

Lovely brown-skinned babes. One of whom I married.

I cannot imagine I’ll ever visit the United States again. When I left America I was a youngster of 55, wet behind the ears. Later this year, I’ll turn 75, mold behind the ears. It’s been quite a ride.

Fleeing to freedom

PEOPLE RUN AWAY from Cuba when possible, usually afloat. People flee Venezuela when they can, across the border to capitalist Colombia.

Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. And now sensible Americans are dumping the Democrat Party. All are fleeing dismal collectivism.

There’s a YouTube campaign, #WalkAway, that also has a website. It’s devoted to the ballooning quantity of people who are dumping the Democrat Party.

All of the above — Cuba, Venezuela, Brexit, the Democrat Party — involve people seeing the light and exiting collectivism stage left. No one is swimming from Key West to Cuba nor moving from Colombia to Venezuela nor chomping at the bit to become a part of the European Union nor shifting allegiance from the GOP, thinking Democrats have a better way.

It’s a one-way boulevard, 100 percent. The movement is toward capitalism and freedom, away from collectivism and oppression.

owensAnd this week, political phenomenon Candace Owens kicked off the Blexit Movement, blacks exiting the Democrat Party, leaving the plantation, as they accurately phrase it.

All of the above puts a smile on my face. It should put one on yours too.

Swearing off San Miguel

YEARS AGO a friend said we were in a rut, that the two of us rarely did anything different and new. He was correct.

He was referring to travel, but the accusation likely was accurate in other life activities. I attribute it mostly to age. I used to enjoy travel far more than I do now.

I wonder if I’m becoming as big a fuddy-duddy as was my father all his life. He thought if you’ve seen one city you’ve seen them all. He didn’t want to go anywhere. Of course, that’s ridiculous. There’s a huge difference, for instance, between Houston and nearby New Orleans and even San Antonio, Texas.

I’ve never been to Omaha, but I bet it’s quite a switch from San Francisco.

I was sitting in the central plaza of Mérida years ago, or was it Puebla? I recall looking around and thinking that I could be sitting in the plaza of any Mexican colonial city. Why did I blow airfare and hotel costs to come here?

Colonial Mexican cities are indeed quite similar.

But I have decided to branch out a bit, travel-wise. Not to do it more often, but to go to new places. Part of this change is the decision to never, ever visit the silly city of San Miguel de Allende again. Never, never, never.

It had become a habit, a pattern, on deciding to get off the mountaintop for a spell, to go either to Zihuatanejo on the Pacific Coast or to San Miguel de Allende. They are about the same distance from the Hacienda, but in opposite directions. We were in a rut. Didn’t really give much thought to other options.

With rare exceptions, when we travel we drive. We don’t fly. If memory serves, the last time we flew anywhere, it was to Mérida in 2013, just a year after we flew to Havana for our 10th anniversary. Both jaunts were on Interjet, a nice airline, by the way.

I’m not going to swear off Zihuatanejo because a beach is a beach, and it’s the nearest beach. We’ve gone to Zihua so often, however, that it’s getting a bit ho-hum.  And you’ll sweat your ass off. We haven’t been there in three years.

But we’re swearing off San Miguel. No more. Enough is enough. In spite of having some great restaurants, places you don’t easily find elsewhere in Mexico, it’s just a laughable town inhabited by some Mexicans and lots of goofy Gringos who parade around in funny clothing. It’s amusing at first, but that wears off.

I’m making a list of new places to visit. We’ll be driving, and they are either one day or two days away. We’ll spend one night en route for those two-day spots.

Having just begun this project, the list is short:

  1. Guadalajara. Oddly, we are a bit closer to Guadalajara, Mexico’s second city, than we are to Mexico City. Yet we’ve been to Mexico City a thousand times, and I’ve not been to Guadalajara in 17 years, and just briefly then. My child bride and I have never been there together.
  2. Xilitla, San Luis Potosí. This idea came from one of The Moon‘s frequent visitors, Peggy Langdon. She went to Xilitla once, and I saw her mention of it on Facebook. There’s a place called Las Pozos in Xilitla. I want to see that.
  3. Zacatecas. I’ve been there just once, many years ago. It’s my wife’s favorite Mexican city, and she’s been to most of the biggies. She’s visited every state save one, Quintana Roo. She racked up those trips as a result of her 14 years working as a civil engineer for the federal highway department. She loves Zacatecas, and we can visit Aguascalientes at the same time. Trivia Department: Zacatecas is Mexico’s northernmost Colonial city.
  4. Tequila, Jalísco. This idea came from Steve Cotton who visited there recently. It looks like a fun place. This would be a two-day drive. We’d likely overnight in the Gringo-infested town of Ajijic or nearby. Ajijic, like the aforementioned San Miguel de Allende, is always good for eye-rolling.

That’s the entire list for now. I’m open to suggestions. New places would have to be within a two-day drive. My ideal one-day drive is six hours max. More than six hours turns a drive into an ordeal in my book.

Don’t suggest places that require planes. If I get on a plane, I’m going to Colombia, not to the other side of Mexico.

As for San Miguel, I wish you well, amigos. Try to get on without me. I won’t miss you, but thanks for the hilarity you’ve provided through the years.

The border wall

wall
Whoops! Where did this come from?

(The following was written by Kim G. whose blog, El Gringo Suelto, is nearly as much fun as The Unseen Moon.)

* * * *

TO THE HORROR of the Republican “establishment” (code-speak for the only people who actually benefit from Republican policies), Donald Trump is now all but the official Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency.

You don’t need me to tell you that. And at the risk of taking a turn into the unpleasantly political, I thought I’d look into one of Trump’s more controversial policies, the one that most obviously affects Mexico. Yeah, the wall.

The “proposed” wall has been described in all kinds of unpleasant language, from ridiculous, to ineffective, to racist, and in a whole lot of other derogatory ways. And I have to confess, I’ve been there along with the wall bashers until quite recently. Today, in fact, when I began to look into it seriously.

hillaryBut the sad fact is that the wall has been discussed in every way possible except truthfully. I hate to break it to you all, but there’s already a wall there.

OK, maybe not a wall exactly, but there’s a very sturdy fence along a large portion of the border, particularly the parts that are easiest to get to from anywhere in Mexico. (And, really, “what difference does it make” whether it’s a wall or a fence?)

It’s already official U.S. policy to wall off Mexico from the mainland. The legislation to build the wall was passed in 2006 during GWB’s second term with large congressional majorities. It was built over the next few years, and discussed endlessly in the press, protested by both the Fox and Calderón administrations, and derided loudly on the Left.

In short, it’s old news, established policy, business-as-usual. But don’t tell the mainstream media. They are (still!) having a field day acting like this is something new, novel, and dangerously radical, brought to mainstream discussion by a maverick Donald Trump. But it’s not.

Everyone already supports its existence, even if only tacitly. Neither Clinton nor her boss ever argued that the wall/fence should be torn down.

Clinton had the opportunity in her 2008 race for the presidency, but I don’t recall her ever advocating such a position. Nor has Obama. Nor have any congressional democrats.

So the only real point of debate across the mainstream American political spectrum is whether it should be extended or not. Is the wall effective? That’s an entirely different discussion, and frankly the one we should be having.

And there are legitimate questions about whether the wall is appropriately constructed. Parts are designed to stop only vehicles. But people can easily still walk through. (Think bollards) Like anything, it’s clearly NOT 100% effective, as any number of tunnels, catapults, and other evidence prove. (Not to mention the inconvenient fact that many illegal aliens fly into the U.S.A. on tourist visas and simply stay.)

However, from what I’ve read, the wall (where it exists) in fact does mostly work. People who’d rather cross into Southern California are now forced farther east where there’s no wall. Sadly, many of them die in the hostile desert conditions there, but that’s not an argument for letting them walk into Chula Vista, California.

Maybe extending the wall would even be a humanitarian thing to do. Publicize the heck out of it, and maybe people who otherwise would have died in the desert stay at home and try to make a go of the lives they have where they are. Or apply for an immigrant visa and get in the old-fashioned way.

So why has no one pointed out the fact that the U.S.A. already has a ten-year-old, established “wall policy”?

trumpWhy did none of Donald Trump’s Republican primary opponents point this out? Maybe Trump was right to call his opponents idiots. There’s not a whole lot of evidence to the contrary.

And as you can now see, this is not going to be an easy issue for Hillary Clinton either. She knows it’s already U.S. policy. Neither she nor her boss ever once suggested tearing it down. And unless she’s very careful, Trump is going to take her apart on this one.

And Mexico needs to stop pretending too that the wall is something new. It’s not.

* * * *

(Note from Felipe: Panama just announced it’s building a wall on its southern border to keep out illegal aliens entering from Colombia. Walls are catching on.)

(Why Trump will win big-time, according to Dilbert.)

(The Thinking Man’s Guide to Donald Trump in The American Spectator. Quite interesting.)