Driving Hazards–Mordidas

Bribery is called mordida (bite) as in a bite of an apple.

A bribe called mordida (bite) as in a bite of an apple.

So for the past 2 months, the GTO State Police have set themselves up at the crossroads that is the main entryway, not only to La Yacata, but also La Ordeña, Las Peñas, Caricheo, and Pamaceo. These communities are very small, very poor and very targeted by the police for mordidas (bribes). The police’s constant presence prompted me to get my motorcycle driver’s license, however it isn’t an option for everyone. Many campesinos (country folk) are poor readers or illiterate so don’t even attempt to take the computerized exam. Others might not have an electric or water receipt to prove their residence because they lack these services in their homes. Furthermore, many of the IFE (voter’s registration cards) that I have seen from these little communities have nothing more than domicilio conocido (known address) listed since their home has no street name or number. So what’s a body to do?

So on to the story….

Sunday, my husband went to town for huaraches (large cheese and meat filled tortillas) as a special treat. He took my motorcycle rather than his own because I had just filled my tank and he was low on gas. Right after he left, my son and I went for a walk towards the crossroads so I could take a picture of some yellow wildflowers by the side of the road that I had spotted earlier. Just as we came out of La Yacata, my husband’s brother J passed us on his bike. He spent the day in La Yacata reportedly preparing an area to plant maize (corn) but mostly drinking.

We snapped the picture and headed back to La Yacata to wait for my husband. He was gone an unconsciously long time. We tried to call him, but he had left his phone at the house. My son got impatient and decided to head to the store on his bike for some munchies.

My husband arrived 15 minutes later with the huaraches, having been gone nearly 2 hours. Here’s what happened.

At the crossroads, the police stopped my husband on the moto and asked for his license, which he just renewed (See Getting Legal—Motorcycle license), and the tarjeta de circular (vehicle permit card) which he had taken with him, usually it’s in my purse. My moto has placas (license plate) and all the miscellaneous and sundry impuestos (taxes) paid. But that didn’t satisfy the police. They said that the card wasn’t valid, but it was. They said that the moto was stolen, which is wasn’t. They even lifted the the plastic to see the VIN and check it against the card. Even though it was all good, they said that they would have to call it in. My husband wasn’t going to pay the mordida (bribe) they were fishing for, so he told them to go ahead and he’d wait. The officer got up in his face and wanted to know if my husband had a problem with him. He didn’t, but intimidation is part of this whole macho-mordida thing.

While they had him wait, he said that they stopped a car heading to Las Peñas. The car didn’t have any placas (license plates) but everything else was in order. The police told the driver that the new law is that you have 9 days to get placas (license plates) from the date of purchase or the vehicle will be impounded. Hmm, as we just purchased a new vehicle, this is good to know. (See Getting Legal—License plates) Many vehicles in the area are chocolates, which is the name for a car brought into Mexico from the United States that has overstayed its permit and not been legalized. (See Getting Legal—Legalizing a vehicle). This isn’t true in our case however.

By this time, my husband’s brother J rode past the policía on his bike. There is no law requiring license plates, nor license, nor helmet for a bike, although I believe there is a law that says you have to register your bike to prove it wasn’t stolen, but nobody does that. So J just assumed the police wouldn’t stop him. However, my detained and “uncooperative” husband waved to him as he passed. The officer turned to my husband and said that he knew that was his brother, then told my husband he was free to go.

The officers jumped into their official police vehicle and drove towards town. Since that was the direction my husband was going anyway, he followed. He arrived just in time to see them take J into custody. His crime? A suspicious backpack. Inside were 3 empty cahuamas (liter size beer bottles) and 1 full one. He also carried an ax and hoe—deadly but not concealed weapons. My husband followed them to the jail and signed for custody of J, promising to deliver him safely to his house, which he did. He took him and his suspicious backpack and deadly weapons all the way to Uriangato and left him at the door with his heavily pregnant wife. Then he headed back to town and picked up the huaraches and headed home.

While my husband was retelling this story to me, my son arrived home from the store. He said he had just seen J by the store on the back of a gray moto with some heavy set man he didn’t recognize. It seems that having 3 empty cahuama bottles is a crime against nature and therefore he must have left his house minutes after my husband had dropped him off in search of the not-so-elusive cold one. So much for seeing him safely home.

Anyway, police presence also curtailed our driving practice that afternoon. Technically, the State Police only have jurisdiction on the main road. The road that goes to La Yacata and all the other little communities I mentioned is overseen by the transito muncipal (local traffice police) but they hardly ever come out to check on anything. We wanted to take Myrtle, our new VW bug, out for a spin on the local road, but since we didn’t have placas (license plates) yet and the State police were following bicycle riders to town, we thought better of it. So no practicing until the plates are on.

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Cultural Challenge—How to tell if you’ve been just been called an idiot

dunce

It’s not as easy as you might think to determine if you have just been insulted by a Mexican Spanish speaker. Sure words like idiota or estúpido can be easily understood by an English speaker, but there are expressions that on the surface might mean something completely different. Just so you know, all of the following expressions are meant to cause offense, so best not use them unless you want your butt kicked.

aloe vera

¡Ponte sabila! This isn’t a reference to the sábila (aloe vera) plant (See Natural Healing with sábila) but to the word saber (knowledge). It loosely translates as Wise Up! After all, a wise person would use sábila in healing. You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

trout

¡Ponte trucho(a)! The word trucho literally refers to a male trout. However it’s actual use is more in line with fraud or fake. Although, in this expression it means rascally or shrewd. So here the expression is for you to Sharpen up like a male trout! You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

¡Ponte chingón(a)! The word chingón comes from the verb chingar which has a whole slew of meanings in México. It could mean to f*** with, to f****, to take advantage of or to work diligently, among others. This expression advises you to take control of the situation or manipulate it for your benefit. You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

empty head

¡No seas cabeza hueca! The word hueca means hollow or empty. So here the idea implied is that there is nothing inside the hollow of your head. You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

¡No seas pendejo(a)! The word pendejo refers literally to pubis hair. No joke! Therefore the use of this word is a bit stronger and more offensive than some. It means you are acting in a adolescent, unwise manner. A related expression is¡No digas pendejadas! This expression advices you forcefully to leave off saying whatever it is you are saying because you are speaking like an idiot.

¡No seas mamón! This expression uses the verb mamar which means to suckle and is extremely offensive. They literally refer to the idea that you are not capable of an intelligent action or thought because you are still being breast-fed. You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

¡No mames! This also uses the verb mamar but has a slightly different meaning. It is typically used when you just can’t believe something. In English you might say You’ve got to be kidding! Obviously you have just done or said something stupid.

manches

¡No manches! This expression is sort of the juvenile version of ¡No mames! Sort of like Jeez in place of Jesus Christ as an expletive. The verb manchar means to stain or leave a mark. The expression is typically used when one is frustrated with the actions or comments of another person. When my students use this expression in class, me being the wise-ass that I am, calmly inform them that No estamos manchando! (we aren’t staining anything at the moment) and they laugh and try for a more polite response.

table

¡No seas menso(a)! The word mensa once upon a time was a reference to a table. So calling someone a table would indicate that they are of inferior intelligence. In México, this expression means you are of inferior intelligence or in other words you’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

burro

¡Burro(a) or Asno(a)! Both words refer to the donkey and imply that you have so little intelligence that you are fit for nothing but working in the fields. (See On Being a Burro). You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

Cada quien su guey

¡Güey! This word is an altered version of the word buey which is an ox. Again we have reference to the limited mental prowess of an animal. You’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

tonto

¡Tonto(a)! or ¡Deja de decir tonterías! Yes, the Long Ranger’s sidekick’s name was Stupid. The second expression indicates that you are saying foolish things and should leave off saying them immediately because you are an idiot.

¡Tarado(a)! This expression isn’t as common where I live, but I heard it on a Spanish language dubbed movie. My husband wouldn’t tell me what it meant so I had to look it up. It implies that you are deficient in the intelligence department and you’ve just been told you are acting like an idiot.

blockhead

¡Tarugo(a)! Literally the word means a thick piece of wood. Wood, like tables and suckling babes, are low on the intelligence totem pole, and you have just been told you are an idiot, blockhead.

¡Idiota! This word actually comes from the the Greek word for layman, someone untrained or not involved in public affairs. It is easily understood by English speakers as an insult to your higher reasoning powers.

¡Estúpido(a)! Again, this word is easily recognized by English speakers. However, I will warn you that it seems a stronger insult in Mexican Spanish and is seldom used. One day, I was reading The Emperor’s New Clothes to first graders and the version I was reading used the word stupid. Oh my goodness! You would have thought I had insulted their mothers the way the kids carried on. I certainly didn’t want them running home and saying the English teacher used the word estúpido in class, so I tried to explain that it didn’t mean the same in English and that regardless, we weren’t going to use it in class.

computer guy

Contra Indios. This racial expression can be translated literally against Indians. It is used when something you are trying to use isn’t working correctly. For instance, if you can’t open the trunk of your car it’s because the lock is contra Indios. This implies that the object is too technically advanced for a backwoods Indian and you are a backwoods Indian. You have just been told you are an idiot.

This list is not conclusive. I am sure that there are many other ways you might be told you are sub-intelligent that I have yet to hear. But I hope it helps with any inter-cultural communication situations you might find yourself in.

knight

If you want to respond to any of the previously mentioned, you might try ¡Te pasaste! or ¡No te pasas de lanza! Pasar means to go over or past and lanza is a weapon (lance). These phrases let the insulting speaker know that he or she has gone over the limit with the idiot comment and you don’t appreciate it. After all, them’s fighting words!

 

 

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Battling Nature—Spiders

Watch out for the spiders in La Yacata!

Watch out for the spiders in La Yacata!

For the most part, I am OK with spiders. Spiders keep the fly population under control and that’s a good thing. (See Battling Nature—flies) I have never been one of those shrieking ninny girls that faint dead away at the sight of the long-legged arachnids, unless of course it is in my hair, then I do the Funky Chicken dance until it is removed. However, I have discovered that La Yacata has its own set of scary spiders.

tarantula

For instance, the tarantula. According to some, Mexico is in second place for number of tarantula species in the world, with 66 documented species, and could be the first, however nobody has been actively investigating them. Huh, wonder why.

I have seen tarantulas, up close and personal, inside my home, at the front door and in the road outside. And they are huge, often the size of my hand or larger. And they are hairy! Run away! Run away!

orange tarantula

Our close encounters with the tarantula kind have been two distinct species, a brown furry 8 legger and an orange furry 8 legger. The brown tarantula has visited us in La Yacata late at night and caused considerable consternation. The orange tarantula has visited the Crappe Shoppe in town in the mid-afternoon, causing even more consternation. I had visions of being eaten alive like in the giant red ant scene in Indian Jones and the Crystal Skull. YIKES!

My general reaction has been consistent. Scream, jump around, jump around some more, yell for my husband who comes with a shovel or other blunt instrument and mashes it after jumping around himself and then disposes of the body.

I know, I know. Even spiders are God’s creatures and have a place in this world, but ACH!

black_widow

The second spider that causes us anxious moments is the Black widow spider,  easily identified by the red hour-glass marking on her abdomen. These spiders I give a WIDE berth. I have this fear that that large bloated abdomen will explode (completely irrational I know), so I don’t smash this spider when found, but chase it as far from my personal space as possible. Sometimes this means I actually scoop it up in a container and deposit it some distance from my home, work or current location.

wolf spider

And finally, the last spider encountered to date that totally freaks me out is the wolf spider.  These arachnids are not only large, hairy and ugly but FAST! Catching one in order to relocate it is nearly impossible. What typically happens is that in the process of pursuit and capture, the spider looses a limb and then we are chasing around a 7-legged freaky thing, hopping and hollering. Sometimes we can catch it, sometimes it escapes.

Our official spider weapon!

Our official spider weapon!

Because of the plethora of spiders in La Yacata, I bought a chimney sweep which I use to remove spiderwebs as part of my weekly cleaning routine. I realize that the webs that I am removing are made by the harmless daddy long-legs and not the 3 scary spiders I have just mentioned, but it makes me feel better.

 

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Natural Healing–Maguey AKA Agave

maguey

Since time unknown, the maguey or agave plant has been used by the people in Mexico for clothing, medicine, shelter, fuel, alcohol and tools. Fibers, called pitas, were taken from the plant and woven into cloth. Thorns were used as sewing needles. Pencas (leaves) were dried to burn as fuel or overlaid for roofing. The sap was used as a sweetener, as medicine or distilled for alcohol. The Aztecs/Mexica even had a specific patron deity for this plant, the goddess Mayahuel.

goddess Mayahuel

The goddess Mayahuel

The maguey or agave plant is often mistaken for sábila (aloe vera), but is not closely related. Nor is it a cactus. The maguey can grow without irrigation and can withstand a great variation of moisture and temperature. It grows wild, but can also be cultivated.It may take 10 to 12 years for a maguey plant to be mature enough to “flower”. The “flower” is a large, obtrusive stalk that grows right from the middle of the plant. After flowering, the plant typically dies.

flowering maguey

To harvest, the stalk is cut before it blooms, leaving a hollow where the aguamiel (honeywater) is collected. This juice can be fermented into an alcoholic drink which the Aztecs called octli, and is now called pulque. For tequila or mezcal, the sap is collected by heating the center of the plant in ovens and then distilled.

The Aztec/Mexica god of pulque wine, Tezcatzoncatl.

The Aztec/Mexica god of pulque wine, Tezcatzoncatl.

According to my trusty source, Antiguo Recetario Medicinal Azteca, this plant is more than just making tequila or pulque. It can treat syphilis, accelerate the formation of scarring on wounds, cure gonorrhea, can be used as a strong stomach and intestine antiseptic (the sap has antibiotic properties which was also used to kill both staphylococcus aureaus and E. coli bacteria) and is useful as a laxative. Additionally, Bernardino de Sahagún attested in his book Historia General de las cosas de la Nueva España, that aguamiel was also used as treatment for sore throats by the Aztecs.

drinking pulque

Drinking pulque.

Antiguo Recetario Medicinal Azteca suggests that for syphilis treatment, water and 10 drops of the sap from the root of the maquey should be drunk in the morning and 10 drops in the afternoon on the first day of treatment. The second day the dosage should be 20 drops and so on until 200 drops are ingested in each day.

For aid in scar formation, heat the pencas (leaves) and squeeze out the juice much as you would with aloe vera. (See Animal Doctoring) The juice should be boiled with a little sugar until thickened. The salve should be placed on cloth and tied around the wound.

Gonorrhea can be treated by drinking the 1/4 cup of cooked aguamiel (maguey juice) for 15 days.

For stomach and intestine cleansing, it is recommended to drink one glass of aguamiel with breakfast.

While most pharmaceutical companies would poo-poo the use of maguey in treatment, these recipes have been around a long time and there may be some basis for using maguey medicinally.

maguey agave

We have even used the maguey penca in cooking goat. We dug a large hole and lined it with rocks which we then lined with dethorned maguey leaves. The goat was cut into pieces and put in a pot and then hole was topped with another maguey leaf. The meat cooked, or steamed, overnight and was as tender as could be. Delicious!

Products made from the maguey/agave plant:

 

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Filed under Health, Native fauna and flora, Natural Healing, Religion

Battling Nature—Ants

ants

This year has been particularly good for ants. According to local farmlore, a good ant year means a good crop year, so my husband, along with many others, has begun soil preparation early. Harbinger of good fortune though they might be, we are not totally thrilled with the en masse invasion in La Yacata.

In previous years, ant attacks have stunted our peach and pomegranate trees. Everything would be unfurling nicely in the spring and then suddenly BAM!, we woke up the next morning to completely naked trees. The ants had stripped the leaves overnight.

Ant mounds outdoors are easy to spot and just as easy to avoid. Personally, I have nothing against ants and respect their place in the grand eco scheme of things, even when I have accidentally blunder close enough to be attacked. However, when they start invading indoors, biting me even in my bed at night, then it’s time to take up arms.

This year we have a scourge of itty bitty bitey red ants. They slipped right under our doors and windowsills and used our tile grout as a super highway. Not content with the crumbs, they scaled the shelves looking for more. Having most of our food in closed storage containers already, you would think they would back down, but no! They sent out highly organized scouts. Any less than perfectly sealed container was targeted. I have been bit by scurrying little ants while gathering the ingredients for dinner.

chem trail

Enough already! My husband, being the traditionalist he is, went and got some sort of powder pesticide and surrounded the house in a fairy ring, on the inside, of course, so that the chickens wouldn’t accidentally be poisoned. This temporarily stopped the invasion. Notice, I said, temporarily…in just a day or two they were back, stealthily avoiding the poison chem trails and burrowing straight through the brick walls.

They also stepped up their attacks outdoors and began bothering our animals. Our poor goats and horses were bitten while they slept. Some had bare patches rubbed raw from ant attacks.

You would think our chickens would keep the ant population down, but the ants are far from tarugos (idiots) and bypassed the chicken corral in the day when the chickens were awake, but blitzed it at night. One night an ant attack killed 10 newly hatched baby chicks.

Obviously, my husband couldn’t use the poisoned powder around our animals so I did some internet research. Cinnamon was by the far the nicest recommendation, however it is an expensive spice here. Borax was also off the list due to limited availability. However chalk and coffee were definitely on the to try list. Coffee as a deterrent would also explain why the little buggers left my re-purposed coffee storage containers alone and focused on the Tupperware.

My husband immediately bought a bag of cal and went to work spreading it around the animals area.  When the bag ripped, the outdoor corral looked much like a sudden snow squall had hit.  The animals sneezed a bit until the dust settled, but it did drastically reduce the number of ants in the area for a time.

Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work as well as promised and we had to wait for the rains to begin for the attacks to finally let up.

 

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Getting Legal—Moto license

moto man

For the past 2 months, the transito del estado (State transit police) have been sitting at the crossroads to La Yacata and stopping all vehicles. There is a second way into La Yacata, however it adds about 30 minutes of travel time over very, very rough terrain. The transito (transit police) have been stopping my husband and son every single evening and sometimes in the morning. His moto has placas (license plate) however his tarjeta de circular (permision to circulate) and his license had expired. (See Getting Legal—License to drive) You would think the State police would have something better to do than bother moto drivers about their licenses, but it pays well. Mordidas (bribes) run from $50 to about $200, depending what they think they can get from you. And since we have to cross the intersection to get to Moroleon every single day, it gets to be a bit pricey. (See Driving Hazards–Traffic Stops)

Then they moved on to me. I thought perhaps I was immune because I was a female, but no, I was not.  I showed them my tarjeta de cirular (circulation permit) and they checked it against my license plate number. It matched, of course. Then the police asked me for my license. I told them I didn’t have one, that I just received my residency (See Getting Legal–Residency at last) so had been unable to get my license before. Ok, no problem, and they let me go. But then they stopped me again.. I bluffed my way through a second time and promised I would see about getting a license.

So, since the fishing is still apparently good at the crossroads and the transitos look like they will be there for awhile yet, we decided it prudent for me to get a license and my husband to renew his.

My husband went to asked what sort of documentation I would need to present and the costs. He was told I needed to present my passport, my residency card, my CURP (like a Mexican social security number), comprobante de domicilio (proof of residence like water or electric bill) and a blood analysis and that it would be about $700 pesos for 5 years (which was so not true for motos anyway).

medical laboratory

I gathered what I had and we went early in the morning to a laboratory for the blood analysis. It cost $50 pesos and tells what blood type your are. It took about 15 minutes for the results. The actually bloodletting, however, was a bit uncomfortable. The technician stabbed my finger and squeezed and scraped blood into the vial. It wasn’t enough, so he spent another 5 minutes, squeezing and scraping until he had enough. I’ve had blood draws, vials and vials of blood draws, and they were not as disagreeable as this miniscule amount. Ni modo (there’s no help for it). I survived it.

So then we made copies of my passport, my residency card, my CURP and the blood anaylsis. We borrowed the electric bill from my sister-in-law’s tortilla local. Then we headed back to El Transito del Estado office. Turns out I didn’t need the CURP after all, or at least a copy of it since it was already on my residency card.

Cruz Roja

At the office, the clerk told us I needed a certifica medica (medical certificate) less than 30 days old. That ruled out the exam I had recently at CAISES (See Seguro Popular—a model of inefficiency—getting started.) We decided not to go all the way to the Regional hospital in Uriangato or CAISES, although we could probably get it done for free with Seguro Popular because it would take ALL FREAKING DAY. The clerk said we could go to La Cruz Roja and have it done, so we did. It cost $100 pesos.  It was a certificate that had the attending doctor’s name, his professional registration number, my name, my age, my weight, my height, then the words CLINICAMENTE SANO (healthy) and the date and time of the appointment. It listed my blood type (I’m A+),  family history of illnesses, my health status (hypothyroidism) (See Seguro Popular—blood work) the results of my vision test (I wore my glasses and passed 20/20) my blood pressure, my pulse and Si next to utiliza anteojos (wears glasses) and Donacion de Organos (Organ donation). Then the attending phyisian signed under what I believe is the Red Cross Motto “Seamos Todos Hermanos” (We are all brothers) and stamped it. This process took about 20 minutes.

Transito del estado

We went back to the Transito office. The clerk looked at my documentation and asked whose name was on the electric bill as it wasn’t mine. The owner of the local where my sister-in-law rents is listed on the electric bill. We have no electricity or water or sewer or street names in La Yacata and we explained that to the clerk. He himmed and hawed a bit. He wanted a copy of our rental contract, which of course we didn’t have since we aren’t the ones renting there. We were pretty sure he was looking for a mordida (bribe) but we weren’t looking to pay one, so he let it go.

The next step was to take the computerized test. The clerk asked if I could read and I said for the most part although there were words I still didn’t know.  I thought it better to be modest in case I totally bombed the test. He asked if I knew how to use a mouse, which I did. The first 10 questions were about the rules of moto driving and the second 10 were sign identification.

There was no time limit, so I read slowly and carefully. Sure enough, there were some words I didn’t know. The test was multiple choice, so for the most part, I felt pretty comfortable about my responses. There was one sign I had never seen before so completely guessed on. And voila, I hit enter and my results were instantaneous. I had 4 incorrect responses and my grade was 8.67 or B+ so I passed. Yeah me!

My husband was getting a bit impatient at this point. He was just getting his license renewed, so everything could be done right there at the office. He had already taken his eye exam, signed his paperwork, and had his picture taken while I took the test. But I wasn’t done yet.

Then there was the road test. I thought I would need to take a representative from the transit department for a spin around the block or something and I was a little worried. I am confident driving my moto, however when there are passengers, there is more weight to balance and it is a little bit tricky. (See Driving Hazards–Motos) But the big bad transit officer didn’t take a helmet out to where my moto was parked and then I was just confused.

He told me to jump on my moto like I would in the morning when I got it out and start it up. I already had my helmet on, so I did. I put the key in the ignition and revved it up.  And stalled it.  So I tried again.   I wasn’t sure what he was looking for so I pretended to check my mirrors and look at my muffler. I don’t think I impressed him because he asked if that was what I did when I got my moto out in the mornings. I said that my husband takes my husband takes my moto out and does the checking for me. He checks the lights and oil and tires before I hop on. He asked what I would do if my husband were dead, how would I check my moto. I really didn’t like that question. Yes, reality is that one day I may have to do my own checking, or I’d find a reliable mechanic or something. I sort of stared at him a minute or two sort of baffled. He changed the question to what would I do if my husband had already left for work and I needed to use my moto. Ok. Well, I would check that the lights were off, check the break box wasn’t leaking, check my mirrors, check my muffler wasn’t stuck on anything, listen for strange noises and check the tightness of my hand breaks. He said “y tu casco?” and I replied that I already had my helmet on. I hoped he didn’t notice that the chin strap was currently held together by a safety pin. (He didn’t say anything if he did.) He asked if everyone needed to use a helmet, including passengers, and I said of course. I don’t have a spare but when I go pick up my son from school, he always has his helmet.

I guess that was the key point for him because suddenly we were done. We trooped back into the office. He filled out some forms. It looked like I only had one strike against me but I couldn’t tell what it was because he filled them out so fast. He kept checking his watch. I guess it was break time. I signed the paper and the clerk took them and handed them to the computer clerk lady.

prices for licenses

She had me come around the side and started filling out my information on the screen. Name, address, sex, civil status, occupation, (there was a place for my phone number, but she didn’t ask for it) birth date, country of origin, (she also left nationality and age blank). There was a section for complexion, skin color, hair color, frente (not sure what that was, maybe forehead?) eyebrow thickness, eye color, nose shape, mouth size, menton (again not sure what that was) and height, but she tabbed right through that. Apparently I have no senas particulares (peculiar or distinct scars, tattoos or birthmarks). She asked how many years I wanted my license for—5, it was the most economical. A moto license, otherwise known as licencia tipo D, can be obtained for 2, 3 or 5 years. The 2 year license currently costs $246, the 3 year license is $271 and the 5 year license is $378.

She then took my right and left index finger prints on the little machine thing. She had me sign my name on the electronic pad. Then she had me take off my glasses for my photo. I stood in front of a white cardboard with the escudo (symbol) of Guanajuato on it. It took three tries to get an acceptable photo. I am terrible about closing my eyes. I signed some other paper, actually I signed it 3 times and she gave me the receipt.

oficina de recaudadora

The receipts we had to take to the oficina de recaudadora to pay the $378 for each license. I expect paying at a separate office is an attempt to keep mordidas (bribes) from happening. That office kept one of the 3 receipts and sent us back to the Transito office to pick up our licenses. We showed the receipt and they took the second copy, leaving the pink copy for us, and gave us our licenses.

I don’t look too bad, my signature is miniscule, but it does have my CURP listed on it, so I expect I wouldn’t have been able to get my license if I hadn’t already registered for my CURP.  This process only took half a day.  Compared to some of our paperwork sagas, this was a breeze!

I can safely bet that I will never be stopped again now that I have my license.

 

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Filed under Driving Hazards, Getting Legal

Natural Healing–Feverfew tea

These flowers just popped up in our backyard.

These flowers just popped up in our backyard.

With so many wildflowers growing in La Yacata, at times I am overwhelmed with being so under informed, not being a native and all. I am sure that these plants are useful, and not just another pretty face, but it has been difficult to find anyone that knows herblore anymore.

My mother was always interested in herbs and I remember drying and using chamomile flowers. For that reason, when I discovered this plant in my backyard, I thought at first it was a type of local chamomile. Locals call is manzanilla, which is chamomile. However, upon closer examination, it seemed just a little bit different than the chamomile flowers my mother dried. Although the flower was similar, it had a flat center rather than a cone shaped one and thus it was feverfew, not chamomile after all.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is also known as altamisa, amargaza, amargazón, arrugas, artemisa, botón de plata, botón de plata común, camamila de los huertos, camelina de los huertos, camomila de Aragón, chapote, flor de la calentura, flor de santos, gamarza, gamaza, gamazón, hierba de altamira, hierba de Santa María, hierba santa, madrehuela doble, madrehuela olorosa, madrehuela rósea, magarsa, magarza, magarza amarilla, magarzuela, manzanilla, manzanilla botonera, manzanilla brava, manzanillo, manzanillón, margaza, matricaria, matronaria, pelitre, Santa María blanca, yerba de Santa María in Mexican Spanich and in Aztec– iztactzapotl or cochitzapotl.

Even with all these names, I wasn’t able to find any information in my Aztec medicine booklets. But I was able to find a page in another of my books in my small, but oh so useful library.

The name feverfew is misleading since this plant has not been shown to reduce fever. However it has been used for centuries to prevent or reduce migranes. It also has been shown to relieve muscle spasms and can be used a mild sedative.

Cut and hung feverfew drying for tea.

Cut and hung feverfew drying for tea.

When I asked around, my local sources told me this plant could be dried and made into a tea. I wasted no time in cutting and hanging. I have periodic migranes, leftover from a car accident some 20 years ago, and my husband constantly complains about hernia pain even after his operation, so I figured this was the perfect tea for us.

Dried feverfew

Dried feverfew

When the plant was finally dry, I crunched the flowers and leaves, discarding the stems and roots. It had a very strong herb scent, but I was bound and determined to make a tea.

I admit the first cup of tea was so very strong that we had to choke it down. (I made everybody drink a cup). So the next cup, I tried adding local organic honey and our own organic raw goat milk to try and cut the flavor. We decided this tea wasn’t a tea for milk, so the third night I just added the honey and we all agreed that it was passably flavored like that.

This plant is self-seeding and before we even finished the first batch, there were plants to cut and dry. This time I am going to try and separate the flowers and leaves and try a tea with just the flowers. The leaves are pungent and make the tea a might bit strong for our tastes.

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