Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dog days in San Lorenzo

This appears to be the designated run at Evolución for small, shaggy mutts - definitely my type!

A veterinary student and the coordinator of adoptions at work
Been back a little over a week now. Out of the habit of blogging after so long away, but still feel the urge to share sights and sounds and experiences. On this trip I am finally getting around to seeing and doing things that I've been planning for years, in some cases.

 One of those things is walking dogs at the Evolución shelter in the Pueblo of San Lorenzo. Man, there are a lot of dogs there. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but they seem to get along.

 People bring their unwanted dogs to the gate of the shelter. Others are found abandoned, like the box of puppies a friend and her daughter found on the corner near the shelter. We walked four of those ones. I also walked a huge friendly doberman that was so excited to get exercise that he nearly yanked my arms off for the first half of the outing.

 The other two that I walked were very cute, medium-sized shorthairs. They were afraid to be leashed and taken out of the small run they shared with their litter mates. They cowered on the road when I first set them down outside the front gate, and could not be coaxed or dragged to walk along.

 So I had to carry each one until we were well outside the town, on a quiet road where no traffic or other noise could scare them. Quite quickly they turned giddy, zig-zagging and dancing to the end of their tether, twisting around our legs, nipping and jumping on their siblings.

 By the time we got them back to the shelter they were relaxed starting to get the hang of walking on a leash. Back inside the compound the whiskery female stayed close by, lying at our feet. She even stretched and rolled over for a belly rub - a real display of trust.

 I felt we'd accomplished something, maybe even helped make these gentle animals more easily adoptable to a permanent home. It was also nice to have a bit of dog time, as I miss our terrible twosome back home in Victoria.

 They welcome volunteer walkers at Evolución on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. If you decide to go, plan to spend a couple of hours.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The long way back to Mérida

Our neighbour Juan de Dios greeted me with surprise on the street yesterday. We have been away from Merida for a year and a half. "We thought you weren't coming back," he said.

For a while it was hard to know how to get back to Mérida. How does anyone get anywhere with all the deadlines and challenges of jobs and kids? (Not to forget the neurotic, biting pets that can't really be left with anyone else.)

Anyway, things got done, or didn't, at least not yet, and we did come back. Well me, and soon, Tom too. Things change when you're gone awhile. People, businesses, landmarks come and go. Plants that I can't identify have established themselves around the patio. A pool! Love the pool! Didn't realize it was so captivating just to watch the ever-changing reflections; the splash of rain on its surface. I finally understand the purpose of flip-flops.

Maybe things haven't changed all that much,though. Maybe it's the long absence that's woken up the senses to the extraordinariness of ordinary things like the scent of jasmine flowers spilling onto the street on my bike ride earlier today.

Hello Mérida. It's good to see you again.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Losing it in Mexico and other stories of medical tourism

Like they say in the film, there are eight million stories in the naked city.

There are at least as many stories about medical tourism - that thing where people leave their (usually developed) country to get medical treatment in another (frequently developing) country at their own expense.

I've been trying to tell a few of those stories over the past year and a bit. It's an effort to reflect what researchers are discovering about the largely unmonitored international trade in health services in all of its complexity.

The latest stories are now on the CBC website:

medical tourism

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Disney's plan to trademark Día de los Muertos: ¡Híjole, mano!

Disney has backed off its bid to trademark the name "Día de los Muertos" and has dropped plans to make a Pixar film by the same name, according to the OC Weekly

Possibly some people will be disappointed that they will not be able to find Día de los Muertos-trademarked Disney products including:
" chewing gum; breakfast cereals and preparations made from cereals; cereal bars; bread; muffins; muffin bars; pastry; waffles; pancakes; cookies; crackers; biscuits; popcorn; corn chips; pretzels; puddings; coffee; tea; cocoa; sugar; rice; flour; ices; ice; honey; condiments; sauces; spices; pizza; pasta and noodles; macaroni and cheese; frozen meals consisting primarily of pasta or rice; staple foods"
But, probably not.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The big purge

The season of packing and moving and storing and waiting continues. I'm behind in my blogging, with various things going on at once. I'll try to catch up, one topic at a time. Tonight's topic (linked below) is letting go of stuff - I've attempted to link it here from my other neglected blog about our Victoria renovations. Hope it works!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A renovation vacation

Had a week of vacation time to burn off before the end of March, and we entertained the thought we might actually get away to Mérida for a break.  Instead, it has turned out to be a working vacation. We're packing up and emptying our overstuffed house for the renovation that's actually going to start next week.

There have been so many delays and false starts that I thought this project would never happen, so I'm excited but still not quite believing it. (If you're interested I posted a bit more about it on my renovation blog.)

Still, we have decamped for a few months to a rented 60s split level. It's close to Fallingdowne and just a block from the beach. It's like a consolation prize - not Mérida or a Gulf Coast village, but it feels like a vacation. 

The most important thing, perhaps, is the dogs like it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ethical dilemmas in medical tourism

San Javier hospital in Nuevo Vallarta - the area's newest private facility catering to bariatric patients.
Casa Magna Marriott resort in Puerta Vallarta
 - part of the package for medical tourists.
What keeps me away from Mérida and México in recent months is the same thing that attracts thousands of others. I'm reminded of it every time I open a web page and some invisible algorithm loads it up with flashing, blinking ads for weight-loss surgery in Tijuana or high-quality dental work in Cancun.

Quite a lot of my time lately is spent writing and talking and thinking about medical tourism.

One side of the story is the ethical dimension: who benefits, who is hurt, and what are the implications of our decisions to leave our home country for treatment? That's the side that is explored this week on the CBC program, The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti.


More to come.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Yucatán from space

Progreso from Space Station (Cmdr. Chris Hadfield)

One of the most mind-expanding things going these days, for me anyway, is @Cmdr_Hadfield's Twitter feed from the Space Station orbiting earth.

Chris Hadfield's been sharing the views of everything from his zero-gravity living and working quarters to images of Earth. His posts are thoughtful, educational, whimsical, funny. Last night (at least it was last night here in Victoria) he posted images of Progreso and Mérida as he was passing by.

Hello down there!

Merida from space? (Cmdr Chris Hadfield)