My last trip on the back roads of Mexico

The last time I hit the road in Mexico, I started in Mexico City. I took buses between cities and spent 3-4 days in each place. Once I reached Chihuahua, I flew home.

My last road trip in Mexico from south to north
My last road trip in Mexico from south to north. Click on image to enlarge. Image courtesy of openstreetmap.com.

Arriving in the U.S. got me a lot of attention from the police. I was a single male, traveling alone, I bought a last-minute one-way ticket to the U.S. They were convinced I was smuggling drugs, but even after three searches of myself and my backpack, they couldn’t find anything. I bet they really wanted to x-ray me, but I would have fought that 😉

Speaking Spanish again

It’s been almost eight years since I’ve been able to have a conversation in Spanish. Spanish just isn’t very common in the Middle East. Yesterday I took my first-ever Uber ride. Due to traffic, a 15-minute trip took 45 minutes. Fortunately, my driver was from Venezuela and he had thickly accented English. It turned into a Spanish practice session for me. He told me all about life today in Venezuela. Of course, the population is on the point of starvation as the economy is failing and grocery stores have no groceries. My driver, Jaime, is a native of Maracaibo, about an eight-hour drive from Caracas.

My first Uber trip; very convenient.
My first Uber trip; very convenient.

He thinks I’m crazy to want to visit Venezuela. He said it’s dangerous for him to be there. For me, it would be much worse. I told him I’d been in many active war zones and in the middle of one revolution. I think I can handle street punks and thieves 😉 But, hey, what happens, happens. We’ll see when I get there.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, right?

Yesterday I made my flight reservations for León, México. León is about a 20-minute taxi drive to Guanajuato City; my destination. I also made reservations at a bed and breakfast in Guanajuato. They can only fit me in from 28 June until 13 July. I’ll have to make other arrangements after the 13th, but this is a good start. Once I’m in the city, I can find a furnished apartment for a multi-month stay.

A Mexican visa will allow me to stay in the country for six months. For now, I think I’ll plan to travel to Belize and Guatemala when my Mexican visa expires.

Can’t wait 😉

 

Home sweet home

It may not be the nicest Radisson I’ve ever stayed in, but I’m here from 10-28 June in a business class room for free. It’s nicer than it looks 😉

Radisson Hotel, 4849 Bannock Street, Denver
Radisson Hotel, 4849 Bannock Street, Denver

My videos of the revolution

The one time I visited Egypt, a revolution broke out. Here is one of the videos from that visit. Eventually, I’ll create a video gallery page housing all my vids.

 

Found on the train

Yesterday, while taking the light rail train to Five Points, Denver for dinner, I came across this poster next to my seat. The trains have numerous quizzes posted as part of an advertising campaign from a local university.

Poster located on the L-Line to Five Points, Denver, Colorado
Poster located on the L-Line to Five Points, Denver, Colorado

As I’m an air traffic controller (retired), I was amused 😉

Mapping the city

A major hobby for me the last few years has been mapping online for OSM (OpenStreetMap). I can’t get enough of it and can easily do it from sunup to sundown.

Paradise Cleaners, Union Station area, Denver, Colorado
Paradise Cleaners, Union Station area, Denver, Colorado

Today I picked up my clean laundry from Paradise Cleaners in downtown Denver. The lady there wished me luck in retirement. She said she tried it, but she couldn’t stand the boredom. “There’s only so much visiting and volunteering one can do.”

Boredom? Are you kidding me? For me, I plan to travel to Mexico and points much further south, study Spanish (and maybe other languages) daily and map for OSM with any time I have left over.

Boredom? That probably depends on the type of person you are 😉

Homelessness

I’m a big supporter of helping the indigent. I feel bad for them. Not everyone can be successful in life. However, my support is more along the lines of government assistance. I just don’t feel that giving someone cash on the street is a good idea. I could be wrong, but I feel government help is available for those who need it. Enabling panhandlers is not a solution.

Homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk; 17th and Stout, Denver
Homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk; 17th and Stout, Denver

There is no shortage of the homeless in Denver. For the most part they’re harmless. When a guy 20 or 30 years younger than me asks for coffee or bus money, I say no. I just don’t think the money is going to be used for coffee or bus fare.

Maybe I’m being unfair?

You don’t want to live in the United States?

This is what a Denver banker asked me today. “You don’t want to live in the U.S.?”

I explained to him, when the U.S. decided to declare war on Iraq (2003) and the majority of the American people supported the war, I had to ask myself, “Where did my country go?”

Flags in Sculpture Park, Denver
Flags in Sculpture Park, Denver

I was heartened when Obama won two terms to the White House. Now it seems Americans are going back to a Bush Administration mentality.

The war made no sense. Iraq and Saddam Hussein were not the “imminent threat” the Bush administration claimed they were. 15 years later and after more than 500,000 people have died, the people of the United States haven’t changed. John Bolton, who was one of the greatest supporters of the Iraq War, is now in the White House. He thinks war with Iran is a good idea.

Americans have embraced a man who said, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” (insert tremendous applause)

How can someone vote for this bigoted trash?

We’ve got a president enforcing a travel ban. Why? Let’s assume this is to protect the U.S. Okay, fine. However, the 9/11 terrorists were citizens of Saudi Arabia (15), United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt, and Lebanon. Are any of these countries on the travel ban? No.

We ban travel from Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Iran. Last time I checked, these countries are not attacking us.

Americans think reducing immigration and building walls is a good idea.

I prefer building bridges between people, not walls.

My banker friend said my feelings were interesting in that he specializes in helping customers who are leaving the United States. He said it seems to him many of his customers who don’t have to live in the U.S. are choosing to leave.

Amen, brother. Amen.

Cannabis in Colorado

It blows me away to see shops like this all over Denver. Colorado has been ground zero for marijuana legalization nationwide and we even have marijuana tourism.

Cannabis retail in Denver, Colorado
Cannabis retail in Denver, Colorado

In 2017, the government of Colorado collected over $247 million in taxes, fees, and licensing costs. It’s hard to argue against that 😉