Here and there

small voting

Typical voting station in Delicias, Mexico

Last Saturday, I drove down to Chihuahua City with one of my favorite local staff members Erik in preparation for Mexico’s mid-term elections on Sunday. We left around 4PM and it’s about a four-hour drive to get down there. We spent the night and headed south for another hour or so – first to the town of Meoqui, then on to Delicias for election observation. Although there was some worry that the military might try to intimidate voters outside the polls, the most exciting thing we saw was an impromptu soccer game.

The observation was interesting. We hit 15 polling stations – all the folks were really nice, although somewhat confused about why this tall curly-headed gringa wanted to watch people vote. It all appeared very controlled and orderly, and seemed to be a good social occasion for all.

We got back to Chihuahua City around 9PM – hot and tired. The restaurants finally started serving alcohol again, so we stopped at Applebee’s for a late dinner and a much-deserved drink – Mexico shuts down serving alcohol the night before the election, to prevent hungover or rowdy voters.

The next morning, we teamed up with our boss and local staff supervisor and visited the state prison. We saw around eight prisoners, then went to the juvenile facility to see a minor. After that, we went to the child services facility to visit a baby American citizen. Erik and I finally headed back and got home around 8PM.

Tuesday’s massage felt great after riding around in the bumpy armored SUV for three days! We were busy at work – I had my first encounter with a very angry American citizen pretty much right off the bat that morning – welcome back!

Wednesday I went with local staff Lalo to repatriate an American minor to Alamogordo, NM – about a two-hour drive from the Consulate. It was nice to get out of the office, and also good to know the kid was headed home.

Then, vacation! We flew to Las Vegas on Thursday for TAM (The Amazing Meeting), an annual critical thinking conference. It was a lot of fun with a lot of good information, although we weren’t as jazzed about the line-up as in the past. That said, I got to see my favorite doctor speak, Dr. Steve Novella, and it’s always a treat to see Michael Shermer. There was a great panel discussion on the anti-vaccination movement (yes, there are people who (wrongly) believe vaccines cause autism). We met some very interesting folks, too. Oh, and they had a good magic show with Mac King, one of our all-time favorites (honestly, if you are going to Vegas, you have to see his show at Harrah’s – even if you don’t like magic, you’ll laugh till you cry).

We left mid-morning on Sunday to come back to Juarez. Today (Monday) is our re-entry day, as John calls it – just a day off from work to spend at home. Flavie was glad to see us! Our neighbor Michael took care of her and watered the yard.

Thanks to our good friend Stoker who fixed the blog after the database was mysteriously deleted!

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