A device for treating hydrocephalus implanted in 194 people lacked medical license for use in humans
A device for treating hydrocephalus implanted in the brain of at least 194 Mexican lacked authorization for use in humans. So decided a report from the National Medical Arbitration Commission of Mexico and genius x funciona which states that the device was experimental and that was implanted without the signed consent required bythis type of operation. The interventions were carried out by residents without supervision and damage suffered by the victims are irreversible. After 10 years of legal battles, the affected require compensation.
The device was experimental and was implemented without the signed consent required by this type of operation
“That was , ” thought Maria de Lourdes Walkup, 54, when he remembers the unbearable headaches, vomiting and surprising recommendation of having to sleep sitting up . “We were an experiment , ” he added the lawyer almost 10 years after joining theNational Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery (INNN) , so that extirpated a benign tumor. After the operation, her nose started leaking spinal fluid. What put him in his brain April 18, 2006 was a device to drain excess fluid caused by cerebral meningioma suffering. The problem with this system, according to reports from victims, is that it did not have a valve to regulate the pressure. That is, it consisted of a single tube leading from the brain to the peritoneal area. In this way, the device only worked if you stood. Patients could not lie down because they felt they would burst head. And upright they felt drained.
The inventor of this device was Julio Sotelo Morales , director of INNN at the time in which these devices and sole owner of the patent were placed.Sotelo Morales has expressly refused to make some kind of statement to this newspaper. The report of the arbitral commission criticized his performance: “He should fully inform the patient that this was an investigation (…) There is no evidence that had been given that information, in fact, not even, despite being a person of legal age, with the capacity to exercise their autonomy, consent was requested him directly (…) the authorization was obtained as if an ordinary appeal health care, we reiterate, it is not. ”
INNN implanted these devices for at least six years from 2004 to 2009, as the case compiled by a group of doctors who sent a report to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights with the file number of each patient. The tube material is commonly used in conventional catheters, but, according to several neurosurgeons, “it is not designed for use within the body.” “Much less permanently , ” he concludes the former deputy of the Assembly of the Federal District and neurosurgeon INNN, Rodolfo Ondarza.
The device only works if you are standing. Patients can not lie because they feel they head explodes
The opinion published by the National Medical Arbitration Commission particularly emphasizes that these operations are carried out medical residents without any supervision.”Imagine, surgeries out virtually free to the Institute: the device, which wasarming the same orderly, should not cost more than 40 pesos and did not have to pay the professionals because they were students at the center , ” says a nurse who has worked in the Institute for over 20 years. the current director of INNN, Teresa Corona was during the leadership of chief resident Sotelo nor wanted to make any statement to this newspaper.
Patients did not receive, however, any discount. Walkup’s sister, Silvia, perfectly remembers that fateful April 18, 2006 as if it were yesterday. “The operation cost more than 300,000 pesos [about $ 17,750],” says the family decided that bears taking care of Maria de Lourdes since. “We never said it was going to put an experimental apparatus. Only we signed some documents to the emergency intervene. We gave our consent, but we trust those who were supposedly the best specialists in the country,” says Silvia Walkup.
The operations carried out medical residents without any supervision
Juan Manuel Armenta, 50, runs through the Federal District with a briefcase full of papers. Save it all invoices and receipts that has collected in more than 10 years both medications, such as hospital beds, surgery, several lawsuits were filed in the Federal District Attorney General’s Office. All. Also the last receipt of light from his house which owes more than 23,000 pesos (about $ 1,300), employees in caring for his wife, Yolanda Guerrero, of the same age.
Armenta has become a specialist in medicine, pharmacy and law. She lives with her family in a humble house in the center of Mexico City, and since 2004 he inserted the device Yolanda has not ceased to demand compensation. “I only ask that you at least take charge of medical expenses has caused that device to my wife,” he says desperate.
Yolanda Guerrero is among the few patients who retains ultimate test in his brain. The tube placed him over 10 years ago could not be removed even though it is not running. A valve is now regulates the liquid from the other side of his head. “I have to Sotelo there. This tube I have still gives me very painful twinges,” says Guerrero, speaking slowly as if every word he utters is nailed in the forehead.
The opinion of the National Medical Arbitration Commission issued specifically for the case of Walkup in 2010, it states that “malpractice administrative staff INNN was committed to allow the use of a device under investigation as a resource for health care ordinary “. In the case of Guerrero, a letter to the Ministry of Health it was issued. For now, the application before the PGR is filed.Patients and their families claim that only they are suffering the consequences of the creation of the former director of the center.
Legend has it that the film came to Mexico in 1896 after a successful appearance in the French capital: a debut private Porfirio Díaz, his family and some members of the Cabinet, the Lumière brothers were shown at the first images moving in one of the halls of the castle of Chapultepec. And eventually, after the approval of the then President, the projections were transferred to the basement of the drugstore silversmiths in the current called Francisco i. Madero, in the historic centre.
Eventually, Mexico became a centre of film production in Latin America and Spain, informing the “golden age” of Mexican cinema. Since then, national cinema evolved to achieve a fame internationally.
Actors such as Pedro Infante, Emilio “Indio” Fernández, Pedro Armendáriz, Dolores del Río, Felix María and Mario Moreno, among others, were the dominant figures of this time. That 45 years ago.
Since then, the Mexican cinema has changed in order to adapt to our versatile society. And since 2010, the new generation of filmmakers has given a new perspective to the reality of the nation;from narcos flicks, comedies, independent drama to art film.
Perhaps come us to mind movies of “the three Amigos”, Alejandro González Iñarritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo de el Toro, such as Amores Perros (2000), and your mother also (2001) andthe Devil’s backbone (2001). There are, however, other Mexican alternatives that offer an incredible perspective of our lifestyle. Furthermore, these movies below are totally free to watch movies online so we hope you enjoy them.
15. North (Rigoberto Perezcano, 2009). With Harold Torres, Alicia Laguna and Sonia Couoh. The main theme of the film is the migration towards E. U. and friendship.
14. paradise (Mariana Chenillo, 2014). Andrés Almeida, Daniela corner with Camila Selser. It’s two obese people, who are in love: Carmen enters a diet, forcing Alfredo to do so as well. He rapidly losing weight, unlike her, begins to gain the attention of thin women. Thus, this situation puts at risk the relationship with Carmen.
13. Deadpool (2016)
Click here to watch dead pool online on Movietube.
12. hell (Luis Estrada, 2010). Damián Alcázar, Joaquín Cosio and Ernesto Gomez Cruz. Through satire and the glorification of the “narco-cultura”, this film is a dark comedy that makes a mockery of the violence of drug trafficking.
11. Zebra (Fernando Javier León Rodríguez, 2011). Jorge Adrian Spindola, Harold Torres and Paulina Gaitan. The staging is the Mexican Revolution, where two characters reach the troops of Álvaro Obregón. It is a small, fun, and acidic version of this historic event.
10 Mai morire (Enrique Rivero, 2012). With Margarita Saldana, Amalia Salas and John Chirinos. It is a set of intriguing stories that make it a masterpiece.
9. alamar (Pedro González-Rubio, 2009). With Jorge Machado, Natan Machado Palombini and Nestor Marin. A Mexican grandfather goes fishing with his son and his grandson, discovered suddenly that his son is divorced and his grandson now lives in Italy with his mother. Alamar said the romance of a real break.
8. leap year (Michael Rowe, 2010). Mónica del Carmen, Gustavo Sánchez Parra and Armando Hernández. A young journalist decides to go to live in a big city. After a period of loneliness and isolation he meets Arthur, with whom he develops an obsessive sadomasochistic relationship.
7. after Lucia (Michel Franco, 2012). Tessa Ia, Gonzalo Vega Jr. and Hernán Mendoza. The main theme of this movie is bullying.
6 narco culture (Paul Schwarz, 2013). Documentary of contemporary Mexican culture.
5. Daniel & Ana (Michel Franco, 2009). With Darío Yazbek Bernal, Marimar Vega and Chema Torre.
4. Miss Bala (Gerardo Naranjo, 2011). With Stephanie Sigman, Noe Hernandez and Lakshmi Picazo. An ordinary woman who wants to win a beauty contest in which do not accept it. Suddenly, it is involved in a gang of drug traffickers in Exchange for a favor…
3. club Sandwich (Fernando Eimbcke, 2013). With Lucio Giménez Cacho, María Renée Prudencio and Danae Reynaud. The portrait of a holiday of a single mother and her teenage son in an empty hotel in the off-season.
2. Heli (Amat Escalante, 2013). Armando Espitia, Linda Gonzalez and Juan Eduardo Palacios. In a mise en scène of drug addiction and drug trafficking, this is a film with unexpected turns.
1 Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, 2012). Adolfo Jiménez Castro, Nathalia Acevedo with Willebaldo towers. It is a vibrant journey that brings to mind scenes from films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes, perhaps the two great Mexican writers of the twentieth century, they were not always agree on everything, they had a great coincidence: the complexity of his country.
In books, lectures or interviews trying to decipher that huge enigma that is Mexico , where the pre – Columbian past permeates the present; where the gap between the official discourse and reality is immeasurable; where taciturnity may give way, in moments, bursts of violence.
And although Mexico remains unfathomable, new writers are still trying to decipher.One of them is Cristina Rivera Garza , one of the guests to HayFestivalMéxico @ bbcmundo , who also believes that writers can not escape from reality or simply indifferent be interested ..
“I have chosen a mourner position where I look for my literary work establishes critical and flexible ties with my environment , ” he recently told the Mexican newspaper Excelsior, during reissue of his book “grieve”.
“But it seems to me that writing exercises are connected with their environment and can be aesthetically relevant while facing ethical and political substrate,” he added in the interview the winner, on two occasions, the international award Sor Juana Ines de Cross for writers in Spanish.
With this in mind, we ask that you will select 5 books to help understand the Mexican reality.
These are the ones you should chose.
1. The vision of the vanquished
Miguel de León Portillo
- “(It’s a) Collection of primary documents to learn the complex process of European invasion from the point of view of indigenous peoples from central Mexico”
The documents “include developments since shortly before the arrival of the Spaniards to the Gulf of Mexico to the final table, Mexico-Tenochtitlan held by the conquerors,” as stated in the introduction to the book.
Thus, it offers a vision of how the Indians lived the conquest of Spain. For example, in the first chapter, he begins by referring to the “evil omens” that occurred ten years before the arrival of the conquistadors:
“Many times people showed misshapen men, monstrous people with two heads but one body took them to the House of the Black;.. Is the Motecuhzoma showed When he had seen then disappeared.”.
of Nellie Campobello
- “In sharp fragments and squeaky clean, revolutionary violence through the eyes of a northern girl”
“Campobello chronicled what almost nobody wanted, or wanted to , write (…) The few historians who have touched on this subject have called the darkest period of this region (the state of Chihuahua, between 1916 and 1920 ) “ , he says in the preface to the 2000 edition Jorge Aguilar Mora.
The series of stories contained in “cartridge” will “pay homage to the struggle every day in the northern towns, and men and women who sacrificed themselves for the cause,” according to Michael S. Werner. in his “Encyclopedia of Mexico”.
3. The required evocations
- “His diaries, letters, stories and personal essays are the history of Mexico from what he called” the viewpoint side. “Communist rebel, always critical, Revueltas watched human complexity with the same attention that made him to heaven or the surrounding nature “
This book, described on the back cover of one of its editions, as “a true material most intimate dreams passionate writer of our time”, it is the third choice of the Mexican writer.
Born in 1914, José Revueltas was a writer and political activist, a member of the Communist Party, listed as one of the most important realistic writers of his country.He was jailed several times, the last by their participation in the 1968 movement, which was marked by the slaughter of Tlatelolco.
“My literary life has never been separated from my ideological life. My experiences are precisely ideological, political and social struggle type” , once said Revueltas.
4. The battles in the desert
Jose Emilio Pacheco
- “The urban middle class of so-called ‘Mexican miracle’ feelings through the innocent and brutal time of a child”
The experiences of a boy in Mexico City in the late 40s are the next election of Cristina Rivera Garza.
Through the story of Carlos, a boy who falls in love with the mother of a school friend born in the United States, “Battles in the Desert” speaks of a changing moment in the history of Mexico, influenced by culture the northern neighbor and marked by moral contradictions. As it says in describing the place and time when the events occur:
“They said the papers: The world is going through a harrowing time spectrum of the final war is projected on the horizon The grim symbol of our time is the mushroom cloud But there was hope…”.
“(…) Meanwhile we modernizábamos, incorporábamos our speaking terms had first sounded like pochismos in movies Tin Tan then insensibly mexicanizaban: tenquíu, oquéi, uasamara, sherap, sorry, UAN pliis MOMENT”.
5. The Night of Tlatelolco
- “Testimony coral slaughter of Tlatelolco in 1968, when the government of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz brutally suppressed a student movement fighting for greater democracy in Mexico Women, students, workers, leaders, parents -. Their views are juxtaposed one and again in this true public forum is the book “
Through testimonies collected in the course of two years, Poniatowska recounts prior to the day on October 2, 1968 events, when dozens of students died in the context of a demonstration in the Plaza of the Three Cultures in Tlatelolco, an episode for which even today there is no charge.
6. The girl on the train.
Read the novel online for free on http://www.thegirlonthetrainpdf.com/.
Mexican decoration becoming more and more popular among the people and one can say that they are not as popular as the spicy Mexican food. If rather conservative was always décor of the kitchen, and they want to jazz up, then there is no better way to opt for Mexican kitchen designs. It is a good way to take a Mediterranean touch to your kitchen and as Mexican decor involves the use of things natural and vivid colors, your kitchen will become a lively place. The incorporation of Mexican kitchen designs is one of the best ways to give life to the look of a kitchen in another level way.
How to create a Mexican kitchen decoration
When it comes to Mexican kitchen decoration ideas, you will find that there are a lot of options. Let’s see each design element one at a time.
Colors for the kitchen
Mexican kitchen colors are all vibrant colors and bright envelope. To instill the unique atmosphere you need to choose deep colors such as cobalt blue and orange terracotta on the walls of the kitchen. You can also use different techniques of painting as a sponge and stippling to create a special on the walls of the kitchen effect. If they are not too interested in experience and like to stay away from dark colors, muted tones of ivory and blue is also a very elegant appearance. There is nothing to beat the appeal of a mural painted by hand or a painting of Mexican era create a Mexican rustic kitchen environment.
The kitchen floor is an important factor if you want to create the feeling of a Mexican kitchen. If you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen full, then you can opt for a new hardwood floor or kitchen tile placement new. If your budget allows it, you can install terracotta tiles for the most authentic aspect of Mexican kitchen decoration. Another great idea is to install ceramic tile in strong colors rustic charm. If you want to go to the end, then nothing can beat the look of the classic talavera tile, which is manufactured in the State of Puebla in Mexico. These tiles richly painted not only can be used as pavement, but also a dazzling appearance when used in countertops and kitchen backsplashes.
Kitchen countertops can be in polished black granite echoing truth the atmosphere of authentic Mexican cuisine. A granite counter top kitchen black is the ideal complement for the brightly colored walls and is attractive to the eye. Try to put some accents of decoration of Mexican cuisine using pots and pans talavera vases.
When you go shopping for kitchen furniture, choosing wooden furniture in pine, wormwood and mesquite which has great details and hand carved decorations. If you are not able to find any furniture authentic Mexican cuisine at your neighborhood store, then try to scour your local flea market for the best faucet and some good deals.
Kitchen window treatment
Do not use curtains heavy and rich for the kitchen windows, instead opting to elegant and chic in wood and bamboo window treatments. Blinds of wood and bamboo, either vertical or horizontal are a good choice in the Mexican kitchen decoration. It offers not only a great privacy, but it also has a rustic charm to it. You also can match your curtains with precious fabrics with a stripped-down design and bright colors. Other Mexican kitchen decoration ideas is to hang a bunch of dried chilli through the windows and save all the kitchen utensils such as spoons, forks and spoons of wood within a terracotta jar.
Mexican kitchen designs are not so hard to create. With careful planning, you can create a Mexican cuisine that is not only attractive to the eye but also will transform the look of your kitchen. Even if you are on a budget Shoe chain, making some changes and buy the proper accessories can instantly create the feeling of a Mexican cuisine.
The film recently made in Mexico reaching more than 146 million dollars in revenue. Sum well below the 9,782 million dollars that the United States generated only in 2012. Although the national cinema is far from the major film powers, it seems that begins to emerge.
Among humor, love, sex and terror, the highest-grossing Mexican films in recent years are an attempt to make the national cinema resume the splendor of the golden age. Although the road is still difficult to achieve and rugged. In 2011 alone, 96 million illegal Internet downloads were made.
In addition, last year were released 316 films in the country, of which 65 were Mexican and of these, 28 had no outlet in commercial cinema; the share of domestic films was only 4.3%. While the Mexican cinema is far from equal profitable industry that powers cinematographic films as The Noble Family, Y Tu Mama Tambien or Presumed Guilty , contribute to achieving that goal and dignify the national cinema, click projectfreetv to enjoy these following artworks, or you can also visit movie2k.io to watch movies online free in High Definition.
1. The Noble Family (2013)
Revenue: 322 million pesos (mp).
Assistance: 6.7 million viewers.
It is simply the highest grossing film of all time. The Noble Family , is based on the film El gran calavera (1949), directed by Luis Buñuel.
2. The Crime of Father Amaro (2002)
Revenue: 162 million pesos.
Assistance: 5.2 million viewers.
The film was adapted from the novel by Portuguese writer Eca de Queiroz, written in 1875. The exhibition of the film be boycotted attempt by the church and the extreme right, but this only drew more attention.
3. A film of eggs (2006)
Revenue: 142 million pesos.
Assistance: 3.9 million viewers.
More than 90 animators worked for 13 months in this film, in which some 150,000 drawings were made.
4. Rudo y Cursi (2008)
Revenue: 127 million pesos.
Assistance: 3 million viewers.
When director Carlos Cuarón told them Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna history that was up, both wanted to make the main character, so the director changed the script to include both.
5. Are not you I Am (2010)
Revenue: 125 million pesos.
Assistance: 2.9 million viewers.
The film is a remake of the film Argentina: No sos vos, soy yo, 2004.
6. Km 31 (2006)
Revenue: 118.8 million pesos.
Assistance: 3.2 million viewers.
The film was winner of five Arieles in the categories of Best Sound, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Special Effects and Best Visual Effects. Its producer, Billy Rosvar confirmed that there will be a sequel that would film this year.
7. Sex modesty and tears (1999)
Revenue: 118 million pesos.
Fee: 5 million viewers.
Sex, Shame and Tears is based on the play of the same name of Antonio Serrano.Ariel won five awards including Best Actress (Zabaleta) and Adapted Screenplay.
8. Another Egg Movie and a Chicken … (2009)
Revenue: 113 million pesos
Attendance: 3.095 million viewers.
The film took two and a half years for production and 500 people were involved.Another Egg Movie and a Chicken … tape was chosen to inaugurate the 24 Guadalajara International Film Festival in 2008.
9. Don Top Cat (2011)
Revenue: 112 million pesos.
Assistance: 2.5 million viewers.
Top Cat and his gang is a caricature created and produced in the animation studios Hanna-Barbera animated series in 1961. Just how much 30 chapters. Anima Studios (2002) most of the film development.
10. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)
Revenue: 103 million pesos.
Assistance: 3.2 million viewers.
And your mother also was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2002. He was also a tape that caused controversy over the kiss between Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. Finally, their acting careers, consolidated after this movie.
11. Under the Same Moon (2008)
Revenue: 101 million pesos.
Assistance: 2.5 million viewers.
Same Moon, Patricia Riggen, was the winner of the 23 delivery of the Image Awards, which are given from 1985, in the categories of Best Actor, Actress and director.
12. Tear This Heart Out (2008)
Income: 97 million pesos.
Assistance: 2.3 million viewers.
Directed by Roberto Sneider based on the novel by Angeles Mastretta. Arrancame life was chosen to represent Mexico in the 2009 Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film, but failed to enter the group of the 5 nominees end.
13. Amores Perros (2000)
Income: 95 million pesos.
Assistance: 3.5 million viewers.
Gonzalez Inarritu’s film was awarded with 11 Ariel Awards, the BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film awarded by the British Academy of Film, a prize of critics in Cannes and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film.
14. Saving Private Perez (2011)
Income: 91 million pesos.
Attendance: 2.03 million viewers.
I Saving Private Perez , directed by Beto Gomez won two Ariel Awards nominations in the categories of Best Visual Effects and obtaining the statuette in the last nomination.
15. Presumed Guilty (2011)
Income: 78 million pesos.
Attendance: 1.68 million viewers.
“In Mexico, not enough to be innocent to be free”, so goes one of the taglines of the film Presumed Guilty by Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete. He won the prize in the London East End Film Festival Best Documentary Feature, among others.
The obgyn nyc in the Chamber of Deputies will drive actions to prevent teen pregnancy, since Mexico is the world’s place in pregnancies under 18. The Party of the Democratic Revolution in LXIII Legislature will design a strategy of attention to this disturbing reality that is increasing, said the deputy Cristina Gaitan. ” According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)in 2015, Mexico ranked first in pregnancy at age 18, with a thousand 252 births a day or pregnancy per minute in children from 10 years to teenagers’ ” he said. These figures describe the problem and the need for urgent attention on all fronts, emphasized Gaytán in an interview. For example, he said, in 2014 one in six children had a mother to a child, teenager or young man, who at the time of childbirth had less than 19 years. In 2013, 83.9% of all discharges hospital in women 15 to 19 years had to do with pregnancy, childbirth and / or postnatal recovery. ” These are the main reasons for maternal mortality among adolescents. 66.6 We each 100,000 live births or children with mothers aged 10 to 14 and 34.4 with mothers aged 15 to 19 years of age ”, said Gaytan. The PRD deputy said that regardless of actions such as the National Strategy for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, is a walk in parallel in pregnancy care in children and adolescents priority. And this situation reflects social problems of substance and is an obligation and a priority for the institutions of the Mexican State, ensuring continuity a life full of rights for children and adolescents in this condition, he said.
Previously we discussed about PTS heavy equipment training and on the types of crane for each type of work. Among them we quote to the tower crane that is a specific type of lifting device, often used in the construction of high structures such as skyscrapers.
This machinery has a high mast fixed to a concrete slab or a stable structure; at the top of the mast, a horizontal arm extends out, and a hook system rises or descends to control the lifting of objects. A jib balance located opposite the horizontal arm to help balance the load.
Now, on this occasion Cranes Arlin presents considerations to be followed by all operators who want to work with this type of equipment.
In order to become a crane operator Tower in the majority of areas, you must first complete secondary education and be able to properly understand a manual of heavy machinery. It is also necessary to have a basic knowledge of mathematics.
The certification that will enable you to become a crane operator Tower shall be granted through the organ of Government authorized in each country and the training will focus on educating the applicant in order to pass the exams for certification.
Theory and practice
The training will include studies in the classroom that will help you identify the different parts of the crane Tower, the correct operation of the machine and the construction of the crane in various environments. It is important to also learn about the hand signals of common use between operators and ground staff.
The training lasts four weeks time, where he will have to take certification exams to become a crane operator Tower.
If the applicant does not pass the examination, may have to take training courses, or wait a specified period of time to try the test again. If you pass the test, you will be certified to become a crane operator Tower.
Certification usually implies both a written exam and a practical exam. During the test, the applicant will have to demonstrate their skills in operation of a crane and maneuvers in a variety of situations. This can be a difficult examination period by what is required of lots of practice.
Once you pass the exam, you will be certified by a given period, generally of five years. After that certification has expired, you will need to obtain a new certification in order to maintain the position as tower crane operator.
After the initial certification, likely will spend several years working as an apprentice with a more experienced crane operator before being considered on time complete.
You know that…
The governing body that regulates the training so that the applicant can become a crane operator Tower may vary depending on the country. In the United States, is the National Commission for the certification of crane operators (NCCCO).
- Training to be a crane operator Tower usually lasts four weeks approximately.
- In training, you learn the theory that will help you identify the different parts of the crane Tower, its correct operation and the construction of the crane in various environments. You will also learn about commonly used hand signals.
- After passing the exam, will provide a certification that usually has a validity of 5 years.
Between visiting South America and Asia, I visited lots (and yet not enough) of Mexico: Tepoztlán and Manzanillo for example. A holy place and a hedonistic one. I learned to ride Mexico’s wonderful long-distances buses, thereby avoiding tolls, topes, and transitos. I learned to live out of a backpack again. It weighs about thirty pounds—more than half of that in cameras and laptop.
I’ll be all over Mexico in 2009, riding buses and taking taxis and wondering why I’m keeping up the insurance on the Ford Explorer that today is just sitting in the carport depreciating. I’ll wash out underwear and socks in the lavatory, using hotel shampoo when it’s available. (I don’t really have any other use for shampoo.) I’ll stay in grubby hotels because they’re where you meet people. I’ll eat disgusting things. I can hardly wait.
Last year held some endings. I reported earlier that Jean and I divorced. My heart attack recovery dog—Rosie the Boston Terrier—stayed with Jean. Chiapas, my beloved Amazon yellow head parrot flew off one day to a new life. I hope he found the girlfriend I knew he wanted. Chiapas loved me; he clearly loved freedom more. I’ll never keep a caged bird again.
I moved into a new house, one overlooking San Miguel de Allende, where on a clear day I watch early morning balloons ascend over Presa Allende.
I took up playing guitar and singing folk and country songs after an interruption of thirty years, in the process learning not all endings have to be permanent.
Photo: Paul “El Guapo” Latoures
Henry Lockwood, my first grandson arrived at midyear.
Photo: Laura Josephs
So now I have four grandchildren: Shayla, Kiely, Cassie and Henry, and a new year’s resolution to visit them more often. I hooked up with them this Thanksgiving at Lone Pine, a small town in the Owens Valley of Eastern California, sandwiched between Mount Whitney and Death Valley. Pictured below are two granddaughters, Kiely and Cassie.
Photo: Laura Josephs
Good health, the pleasure of writing stuff for you to read, the love of children and grandchildren, music I once again make myself, travel on three continents—I could have not asked for more gifts from this past year. But 2008 had one more very special one. Laura came into my life this year. I couldn’t be happier.
She and I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas visiting first my family and then hers. So I guess that means our relationship is officially serious. This photo was taken at the Wood family Thanksgiving. We had driven to 9,000’ on the Whitney Portal Road, past the ROAD CLOSED sign, to a point where the first snowfall of the season blocked further ascent.
Laura and I each have houses that overlook San Miguel. Together we watch the year-end sunset over the city, signaling the end of one era and the beginning of a new one.
To all of you who have shown the kindness, patience, and interest to read these posts, thank you for your support. I offer you my wishes that the new year will be for you as wonderful as the last one was for me.
On our way out of town, I saw a man selling piggy banks by the side of the highway. I can’t explain why the image was so arresting, but I mentioned it to Paul as we continued down the road. As my photography mentor, he started up with the same old lecture about forever losing images once they’ve been passed by. Rather than endure the whole thing, I turned around and went back with my small Olympus point-and-shoot.
I captured Paul as he was teaching modern merchandising methods to the proprietor. Better the potter than me.
Something about so many piggy banks all lined up resonated. Although I had no intention of buying one, I examined them more closely.
Photo: Paul Latoures
They’re crudely made, cranked out in batches. I’ve seen higher quality flower pots. The eyes are marbles stuck into the low-fired clay. Clearly they’re not art. So why are they so appealing?
Paul asked how much they cost. “Diez pesos, Señor.” About 75¢. What the hell. I bought two.
Paul bought twenty and distributed them in clusters around the entryway to my house. Piggy banks as garden decor.
I guess creative people do stuff like that.
Right. Not a chance. The US of A is bathroom-unfriendly. A sign at a hot dog joint on Venice Beach says “Restrooms For Customers Only.” What a pinched, miserly attitude. I wouldn’t want to be the customer of a business like that. If they’re stingy on the output, they’re probably stingy with the input, too.
Mexico with bad water and lots of children has a more generous approach. I love it that here I don’t have to worry about the next pit stop. There’s always one nearby, and all are welcome to use it. I ask shopkeepers “¿Hay baños?” Usually the answer is “Si. ¿Como no?”
For some reason, many parking garages have public restrooms. And you don’t have to park your car to park your butt. Mexicans understand: When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
Public restrooms may not always be as clean as advertised, but there are times when that doesn’t really matter. You can walk through Mexico City’s Centro Historico and there’ll be signs inviting you to use the facilities, however shabby. Try just finding a public lavatory in Manhattan, even a grimy one.
There are so many nice things about this country.
I never had any love for the old plates. The pumpkin and plum color scheme could have been chosen only by a bureaucrat. The design was bluntly functional. In my view, they were truly ugly.
This wholesale change in plates must have been for reasons other than esthetics. If a different look had been the only goal, new ones could have been phased in over time.
A lot of people were being inconvenienced by the new policy. Within a narrow time window, every vehicle owner would have to trek to the state fiscal building to trade in their old plates. If a government is going to do something like this to its constituency, it had better have a good reason.
The number of license plates involved is astonishing. In front of the fiscal office, workers load thousands of obsolete plates into a stakebed truck. Made of aluminum, they’re destined for the recycler.
Each plate had been sheared in two before being taken from the fiscal office, this to prevent theft and re-use. Old ones are valuable because authorities cite parking violations by impounding plates. A few people get around paying fines by putting stolen plates on their cars. A guy double-parks, the cops remove the plates, the driver installs another pair and goes on with his business, unperturbed.
Why did the state replace all the plates? A friend told me that it’s the government’s way of bringing all car owners back into the fold. Some people don’t bother to renew registrations. Their fees pile up unpaid for years. Others don’t redeem plates that were removed for parking violations. A couple of years ago while paying a parking ticket, I peered into the depths of a back room in the police station where I saw hundreds of plates stacked vertically on shelves—the accumulation of many years.
Obviously a large number of registration fees went uncollected. No effective mechanism existed enabling police to compel registration. Dealing with those without license plates, trasitos had but two options: tow cars to the impound yard or ignore them. San Miguel police have only one tow truck, and nowhere near enough officers or hours in the day or space in the impound lot to handle all the violators. They sensibly chose option number two and looked away.
So an effective solution appears to be to press the reset button. By the end of the year, all cars must bear the distinctive new plates. Car owners have to show up at the fiscal office to obtain them, and they have to turn in their old plates. You can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Scofflaws now must pay years of back fines and penalties. Failure to comply will be obvious to all.
Pinned to his chest are two tin crosses and what appears to be a milagro—a charm in the form of a body part that needs healing—suggesting that his problem is a medical one. A Panniculus (an apron of fat) rests on his thighs, revealing morbid obesity.
Vicente’s sign tells us he needs money for medicine and that God will repay anyone who helps. To bolster his case, he argues that he can’t work because a taco vendor named Florencio Lopez won’t give him a job, and besides, told him that he’s going to kill him.
I don’t know. Someone may give him a handout. But Vicente’s problems—obesity, unemployment, death threats—seem larger than those a few coins will solve.
It seems unlikely that taking to the streets would work. People who carry signs may not have firm grasps on reality. They seem a little kooky.
Recently I read the economic meltdown in the States has led at least two people to carry sandwich board signs. Paul Nawrocki, a former executive for a toy company, walks the streets of Manhattan with a sign that reads, “Almost Homeless.” He hands out resumés and has attracted a fair amount of attention from the media. But apparently not from employers.
AP Photo by Bebeto Matthews
Here, he listens to a man known only as Wayne, who points him in the direction of a job "handing out flyers" near Bryant Park. Patently not an executive position. I can’t imagine Paul will land one by wearing a sandwich board, and he sure as hell isn’t going to with the assistance of Wayne.
Both of them seem a little kooky to me.
But at least one man has used a sandwich board as a springboard to employment. Unemployed banker Joshua Persky wore a sign reading “MIT grad for hire.” Publicity garnered from walking the streets of Manhattan drew readers to a blog he publishes about his experiences, that ultimately netted him interviews and a job.
Arriving in Delhi a day or two before a flight to the USA is wise. All too often, I’m told, bureaucratic entanglements prevent travelers from boarding. In our case, I had neglected to bring a printed coy of our itinerary. A heavily armed security guard denied us access to the airport, on the grounds that he couldn’t establish that we were actual passengers. Our driver intervened and after intense negotiations, the guard grudgingly admitted us.
While waiting for departure day, we took a look around Delhi although because of the diwali holiday, Hindu businesses and monuments were closed. No matter. India has the world’s second largest Muslim population. They don’t honor Hindu holidays. We visited the Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, Old Delhi’s principal mosque, where diwali is just another day. I shot this view of the mosque through thick smog.
Hindus, Christians, Atheists and Muslims alike crowded the forecourt. The place is a major tourist attraction, and moreover, since on that day there wasn’t much else to do in Delhi, everyone came here.
I thought about all the experiences and sights of this visit, of the things I’m going to miss. Among them, mirrored bedspreads.
Who would have thought to sew mirrors onto fabric?
I’ll miss people wearing exotic dress, like this young Sikh in his “trainer” turban, age-old headwear combined with modern athletic shorts. A study in anachronism.
I missed the chance to learn Power Meditation, so I guess I’m doomed to practice the old-fashioned powerless kind. Om.
Power Meditation apparently doesn’t gurantee improved spelling.
Every neighborhood has a peanut man. They all set wood fires to smolder in pots, shoving them into piles of peanuts. A few rupees gets you a newspaper cone of warm peanuts in their shells, scooped from under the pot.
I’ll miss livestock wandering everywhere, but I won’t miss dancing around piles of dung.
I often wished I could speak Hindi or Urdu, so that, for example, I could have asked shopkeepers to explain their more mysterious wares. This display contains nothing I recognize, much less have any idea how to use.
I’ll miss the hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Jogibara road, where late at night we could get potato parathas smeared with fiery red chilli* sauce and big cokes in heavy returnable bottles. Dinner for two: 40 rupees, about one dollar.
The inside of the place looked like the setting for the drinking contest in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Whenever I was too frustrated or tired or grumpy, the friendly image of Ganesh would appear around the next corner, always accompanied by the tiny mouse he rode to earth on. My main obstacle at those times was my fatigue. Ganesh never failed to remove it.
I’ll miss scenes like the Chicken Man unloading the day’s inventory. That crummy shack is his store.
Not everyone would miss the snake man, but I will. I gave him 20 rupees to let me pet his serpent.
I’ll miss the architecture, the vistas, the mystery, the spirituality, and above all, the people—courteous, helpful, friendly.
If I spent a year here, traveling all over the country, I wouldn’t get to see it all, and I surely wouldn’t understand it. A third the size of the USA, India lacks good air connections and freeways, so in terms of travel times, it’s actually much bigger. I met a family in Dharamsala that had come from Calcutta on holiday. Their train took 40 hours.
Exhausting, dirty, frustrating, I can’t imagine a travel destination any better. Travel expands horizons. India expanded mine farther than any other place I’ve traveled.
* Indians use British spelling. What do the English know from chiles, anyway?
I thought to myself, "Why doesn't the café owner buy the poor man a proper broom. One with a broomstick?"
Well, they don't make brooms like that in India—at least the parts of India I was seeing. Everyone squats to sweep.
Indian brooms consist of bundles of reeds about eighteen inches long, held in a hollow plastic handle. They're in all the markets.
I don't really know why Indian brooms are so short. Of course, Indian people hunker. They sit on their haunches from childhood. When Indian men gather to play cards, they squat in a circle for hours. So Indians are comfortable close to the ground. Might as well sweep, long as you're down there.
Long ago I lost the flexibility to hunker. The best my stiff legs will allow is squatting with my heels raised, my feet bent sharply at the toes. It's painful, and I can only do it for a few minutes. I can't handle that flat-footed squat that Indian people seem to do with such ease.
Because of my lack of flexibility, I find it virtually impossible to use squat toilets. I tend to lose my balance—something that believe me, you don't want to do in that situation. Westerners are so awkward using them, the web is loaded with how-to guides.
But we're not the only ones that need toilet instruction. People accustomed to the old-fashioned approach apparently become baffled when confronted with modern toilets. They need instruction on how to use them.
Image: Lyevkin, Flickr
This shouldn't be surprising. I'm guessing 90% of our six billion people never sat on a toilet in their lives. I read somewhere that more than a billion don't have any kind of toilet facilities. I initially fond the sign an exercise in the obvious. Guess not.
The architecture was unlike anything I'd encountered, seeming to derive from no tradition I knew of. I learned that Jainism is very old, dating from the Fourth Century BCE, so its esthetic heritage probably doesn't have many precursors to draw on.
Ornate roof structures contain a wealth of detail—and deep mysteries. Who are these people?
Hinduism developed out of Jainism. One of the Jain tenets is striking: extreme respect for all life forms. Their concern for living things far outreaches Hinduism or Buddhism. Strict vegetarians, many Jains will not even farm vegetables because farming necessarily kills bugs. Even today, some Jains, like these Svetambara (white-clad) monks, wear mesh over their faces to avoid inhaling insects, and carry soft brooms to sweep their paths clear of any creatures so they won't step on them.
Some put netting over spigots so insects won't crawl into pipes and perish when the water is turned on. Others strain water drawn from wells, returning any bugs found to their environment.
Jains renounce worldly goods. Svetambaras dress in untailored white cloth and own only face masks, brooms, begging bowls, books and writing materials. Digambara (sky-clad) monks go farther: they live out their lives completely naked. They must receive donations in their cupped hands because they don't even have begging bowls. They own absolutely nothing. They have even have renounced any sense of shame, living untroubled by their nakedness in the world of the clothed.
Jains' respect for living things and their asceticism seem admirable, but there's a dark side. "Digambaras believe that women cannot achieve liberation without first being reborn as a man. This is because women cannot live a truly ascetic life, because they have to possess clothes since it is impractical for them to live naked, [and] women are intrinsically harmful." *
Maybe I have it wrong, but what I get from reading this is that they believe that even insects are potentially divine, but women are not. And we all know where that kind of thinking leads.
Is there no religious or political tradition that does not divide people into higher and lower classes?
I saw this sign. Offended, I chose not to enter the temple.
* Source: BBC
Children enhance beggars' supplications. A mother with a baby in one hand, reaching out with the other, touches my heart if not my wallet. I see begging women carrying infants both in Mexico and India.
In Dharamsala these mothers use an approach I haven't run across elsewhere. They tell you they don't want your money; they want milk for their babies. Would you please come into the nearby store and buy them a liter? Who could resist?
I'm told the baby never sees any milk out of the transaction. You buy the milk; later the mother re-sells it to the cooperative shopkeeper for half price. She gets a little cash, the shopkeeper gets some too, and he keeps the milk to sell to someone else.
I don't like being hustled, but then I have to consider that those mothers live in terrible poverty. They are trying to survive as are so many others. So what if they try to find a way to stand out from the crowds of the deformed, the disabled, the lepers? India has too few donors trying to help far too many needy people. Competition among beggars is intense and sometimes may be a matter of life and death.
This little boy walks the streets, beating his drum. His sister carries a shopping bag to receive handouts—a bag that seems rather capacious for the few coins she's likely to garner in a day's work.
There's a reason for the big bag. In cash-poor India, many people give beggars food instead of money. The bag is for carrying the type of donations she's most likely to receive.
These kids are professional beggars-in-training. At least their parents haven't broken their limbs or amputated their fingers to enhance their appeal. (I couldn't bring myself to photograph people so disfigured; not them nor lepers with missing fingers and noses and bleeding bandages). The kids will master their profession and become like this man, squatting in the street, consuming a dinner someone just deposited in his bowl.
Children of better-off parents provide opportunities for unemployed young people. This Tibetan refugee is babysitting, caring for his young charge all day long while mom and dad work. Many young men are so employed. For this teenager, it's stultifying work. He'd rather be in college. Or in a club somewhere in the west. But babysitting is infinitely better than begging, so he stands there all day, stoic, dreaming of what might be. His future too has been mortgaged.
Below we have a large tour group in the center of Jaisalmer Fort. They are the epitome of why I avoid tours: standing around waiting for the last of the group to arrive, spending hours standing in front of some point of interest while a guide yammers on about oldest, biggest, costliest, or the tedious peccadillos of some 14th-Century maharaja.
The people in this group are French.
Nearby, a troupe of child musicians performs for them; singing and dancing, accompanied by a harmonium—a small hand-pumped organ. (You can buy a nice double-reed model on eBay India for about a hundred dollars.)
Having alertly divined the nationality of the crowd, they sing "Frère Jacques."
A common sight: little girls walking tightropes while balancing objects on their heads. Must be a recognized profession.
I'm intrigued by her balancing pole. It looks heavy. The weight is carried by a harness around her neck. That way, her pipestem arms won't tire, while she can still use the inertia of the pole to maintain balance by pushing up or down on one end.
Tightrope girls work at night, too, this one at a celebration at the beginning of the diwali festival, India's most popular holiday. (Diwali can be thought of as an equivalent of Christmas.)
She is crossing the rope without a balancing pole, scooting along while kneeling on a pie tin.
Exploiting children is anathema in the west. While discouraged by the government, child labor isn't condemned in India. To me, their child labor laws seem outrageous. The government bans employment of children below the age of fourteen in factories, mines, abattoirs or slaughterhouses, or in work such as printing, cashewnut descaling, or soldering.
Thank God they're spared cashewnut descaling. I can only wonder what that entails.
Fifty years ago, I was not permitted to work as a checker in a grocery store until I was sixteen, and then only under restrictions aimed at my welfare. Rich countries can afford to protect their young. In India, it's simply not possible.