Friday, March 23, 2012

Festival de primavera

We had our spring festival at school today, which was a riot of color and random costumes and sugar. Our girls went as fairy princess butterflies, of course. Iris worked the crowd as usual, with both her entrance and with the wagon. It could be rough for her to go back to the states where she no longer garners special attention just for being blonde. Ruby made the rounds with her new teacher. That transition had meant a couple of rough weeks a while back--there was clearly a new sheriff in town who cracked down on the chit chatting and demanded a little more work but Rub seems to have come around and now loves her and school with a little more enthusiasm these days too. Naturally the whole affair ended with paletas (popsicles), as what would any sort of kid party here be without a massive infusion of sugar?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baby fever

We've been in the midst of a minor baby boom, with new little ones here, in Portland, Pittsburgh, Brasilia, and several more on the way around the world (we are not participating, by the way). Iris takes all these events very seriously, asking to touch the babies even when they are thousands of miles away, as she does not fully grasp the mystery of a picture versus the real thing. What she really wants is to give all those new mamas a break by putting the babies in her belly, as she frequently announces, and on this day, modeled.


Winter lasted exactly one week, sometime back in January, I think. We had rain and temps in the delicious 60s during the day that week, but it didn't keep us out of the pool for long. And now spring has sprung, in the sense that the amazing trees of this town are flowering and we're headed from the upper 80s into the 90s within the coming weeks. Our hottest months upon us, with April and May sure to be scorching, so we're doing a lot of swimming these days, along with a lot of post-swim snacking as well.


It's not easy to ride bikes around here, as the sidewalks tend to be a bit unpredictable and our gorgeous neighborhood park does not allow them (or dogs, sadly, but all with good reason as it would be chaos). Ruby, who has always felt the need for speed, took off her training wheels recently and is zooming around some fairly tight turns with more and more confidence (you'll notice our lovely babysitter protecting the neighbors' car with a floatie above as Ruby worked on making it around the palm tree). Iris, who is generally the more confident and dare-devilish of the two, is going to take some coaching to get her on wheels, but she'll get there soon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our little narco-event

We had a little narco-event last Friday, involving a military operation in which several (hopefully) key leaders of the local cartel were caught. Cartel members retaliated, with the intent of both sending a message and offering some distraction, with well over a dozen blockades throughout the city and some of the main highways (meaning they hijacked buses, semis, and whatever other vehicles they could get their hands on and set them on fire--very few were hurt or killed, thankfully). There were also some incidents involving grenades, but no one appears to have been injured. The consulate went into lockdown, the phone lines were in and out, and I got my first ride in a "blindado" (an armoured vehicle). The choppers continued circling through the night and following days but things had actually settled down by late afternoon last Friday. While I wouldn't say it's been calm here in GDL, if one actually reads the news and thinks about what the narco-related murder rate must be running these days, we haven't had anything even approaching this scale in quite some time, if ever. News of Chapo sightings have already pushed GDL out of the national news cycle and the international media didn't even really bother, what with the mess in Syria and the ongoing tragedy that is Afghanistan. I wouldn't cancel that vacation to Mexico lindo, by the way. Of the millions of tourists who visit this country each year but a handful find themselves in narco-related problems and with a few tragic exceptions it's not generally by coincidence but you might want to stay away from Los Mochis.