Monday, June 16, 2008

Huckupchuck in Mexico

Well, I'm now blogging from the lovely Mexican city of Guadalajara. I arrived yesterday with my gang and got everyone settled in with their families just fine. With the exception of one student who ended up without one of her bags, the trip was relaxing and uneventful. In fact, I can remember no other time when my group's arrival went so smoothly.

I'm staying at a place called the Suites Margarita. I've stayed here once before. It's a bit of a splurge on my part, but when my lovelies come to Mexico for an extended time, as they are doing this year, I always splurge on them. My daughters love it here.

In fact, as I write now, it is about 8:00pm (Guadalajara in the summer is in the same time zone as New Orleans) and I am sitting on the terrace connected to the Suites Margarita's wireless internet service and sipping on a Pacifico beer. I would upload a picture for you, but my internet signal is weak and the photo is having trouble uploading to Blogger's servers. But I'll try to give you a glimpse of what my moment is like tomorrow when I have a stronger signal.

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 19, 2008: 9:15AM: Here's the glimpse I promised:

Life at the moment is, as they say in Spanish, "muy tranquilo." I had a good day today. It was our group's orientation and all went very smoothly.

I did notice some changes in Guadalajara. A number of businesses have shuttered and there seems to be a slight, but noticeable sense of anxiety in the air. Though no one here has spoken to me of it, I get the feeling that there is a bit of an economic recession gripping the city. As another saying goes, when the US economy sneezes, the Mexican economy gets the flu. Perhaps the doldrums we're experiencing at home are having their repercussions here.

The US Dollar is weaker here, but only by a little bit compared to other places in the world. Last summer, I could get about 10.7 pesos to the dollar, now the best rate I've seen is about 10.3 to the dollar.

While on the plane yesterday, and also as I was relaxing last night, I finished my friend Lucas Diaz's collection of short stories that take place in a fictional town about 15 miles down river from New Orleans called New Domangue. I'm a pretty tough critic when it comes to fiction; but I have to say that I was really impressed with these stories. The book is called Passing Unseen: Stories from New Domangue. If you like Lafcadio Hearn's stories about New Orleans, I think you'll dig on Lucas Diaz's stories. Lucas has an amazing perceptive ability about the minds and languages of different age groups, racial and ethnic groups, and the culture of the region. If nothing more, this eclectic variety of the stories give witness to Lucas's expansive literary talents and cultural knowledge of the Louisiana Deep South.

More Mexico blogging to come ... stay tuned!

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