The Kitchen: My Happy Place

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After coming back from awesome New Zealand, I moved to Mexico City, and I´ve been living here for the last two years. I´m loving it so far and I´ve met amazing people in this city, as well as knowing more about my professional capabilities and skills.

But there´s one thing I do miss, either from Aotearoa or my hometown, Tampico, and that is having a decent kitchen. I know what you are thinking, a good cook doesn´t need fancy spaces nor expensive appliances to deliver amazing dishes, however, before this new place, I used to cook in a kitchen only a hobbit could fit in.

My mates and I hanging out, you know, just chilling before going to an adventure, and stuff

My mates and I hanging out, you know, just chilling before going to an adventure, and stuff

Of course, I´m no Jamie Oliver grilling freaking salmon in the middle of the woods, but this kitchen was way too small for me and my usual need to cook for large audiences.

Just recently, I moved in with my youngest sister, we found a flat in one of the most interesting and quiet hoods in town, Colonia Napoles. What about the kitchen? It suffices, and has a nice working oven, pantry, and lots of space to chop, mix, marinate and other regular things I like doing there.

Because "Mise en Place" shall be mandatory in your kitchen, the way Jesus told his disciples back in the day, true story.

Because “Mise en Place” shall be mandatory in your kitchen, the way Jesus told his disciples back in the day, true story.

Oh, and my sister brought a nice size fridge with her! So, all set now.

"... and then I told him that I was just fine, you should have looked as his face, priceless"

“… and then I told him that I was just fine, you should have seen the look on his face, priceless”

My next posts will be about the three awesome dishes we cooked this past weekend, they were legendary, true story. Because for me, as a Mexican, the kitchen isn´t only a room in the house, it is where things happen, stories get told and family bonds in a much stronger way.

The Kitchen is where I used to hang out with mum and dad, where gossips are shared and rivalries settled.

The kitchen is where the magic happens and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

 So, every time I come home from work exhausted, thirsty and hungry… I go to the kitchen and cook whatever comes to my mind, not whatever suffices, but something that inspires.

The ordinary... extraordinary

The ordinary… extraordinary

Ps.The dress was black and blue, assholes.

Ps2. Have you been following closely Mexican politics lately? No need to say that The Economist, New York Times, El País and more recently Financial Times have charged with all they have against the current administration. And when I said “with all they have” I meant “with all the obvious corruption and violation of human rights that the federal and regional government have allegedly committed against the Mexican citizens”. As they said in one of these media outlets “They don´t get it that they don´t get it”.

Ps3. ISIS is all over the news these days, and without question it´s a matter that should be in the top priorities of the UN Security Council, however, so is Ebola, and without any more American or European infected this disease has become uninteresting to the mainstream media.

McCartney, Kanye and #JeSuisCharlie (not really)

Let´s start with something sort of funny stuff in order to soften it down for the second topic of this post.

So, shocking news, apparently one of the last two members of the most popular band in music history, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, is going to partner with Kanye West, and will be releasing some new material. That´s sort of great news, right?  I´ve heard a cover of the first song, “Only One” and is extremely sweet and Beatle-ish, cute lyrics, charming and catchy.

This partnership represents the return of McCartney to the music industry targeting younger audiences, gosh, we really needed this comeback, there isn´t much going on in music at the moment. Oh, where´s the “shocking” part of this announcement? Well, the fact that many of Kayne´s fans didn´t know who Sir Paul McCartney is.

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What do you mean that´s not Kanye?

 True story.

Tweets like these were all over the social network:

  • “Kanye has a great ear for talent. This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge.”
  • “I usually don’t pay much attention to Kanye West, but it’s cool he’s launched this ‘Paul McCartney’ dude’s career”
  • “Who is Paul McCartney? Some are wondering who this “upcoming” artist singing w/Kanye West is”

As one tweet said “people on Twitter are asking who Paul McCartney is and now I understand domestic terrorism”, this historic reference missed by the new generations came as a surprise for everybody.

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Charlie Hebdo

We all learnt about the tragic events that happened in Paris, France, at the Charlie Hebdo´s offices last week. 12 people were murdered as part of a terrorist attack performed by religious fundamentalists upset by the satirical cartoons published by this weekly journal.

That´s right... tolerance at its finest

That´s right… tolerance at its finest

The humour used by the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo to make fun of hardcore Islamists was also used against Hollande´s administration, and pretty much to criticize everyone else.

"If Mahoma comes back"

“If Mahoma comes back”

The French society is confused and hurt, and still hasn´t fully digested what happened. The suspects have been hunted down by the authorities, and millions in France and around Europe have shown their support for stability and peace under the claim #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie). Abroad, the free press and the international community have shown its indignation and have condemned the attacks. 000_ARP40679741

Now that I think about it, this will mean the resurge of Marine Le Pen as a strong political player in the French arena, and will be pushing for stronger laws for immigrants and religious tolerance in France. Seriously, as one colleague said to me this morning, it isn´t about the number of deaths, but traditionally, Europe sees immigrants from Middle East and Africa as a threat to their societies.

‘Not in my name’ by Helen Davidson

‘Not in my name’ by Helen Davidson

We should condemn this act of terrorism, however, #JeSuisPasCharlie, because we shouldn´t praise Charlie Hebdo´s type of press, as it preaches intolerance and portraits Muslims as ignorant fundamentalists, harming those members of the French Society followers of this faith.

Ps. I don´t want you to leave feeling bad about the  world and human kind, so, enjoy the following youtube clip:

2015 Resolutions (or whatever)

After giving it some thought I realized I do have some expectations for this 2015. I mean, they aren´t quite impossible, they are just some things I´d like to accomplish this year.

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Optimism

Keep up the good work and a smile on my face; that ought to be my moto for this year, open my arms to the enjoyment of life and the small things it has to offer.

 

 

Read more

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I know, all of you might think that because I´m a bright mind and, you know, smart and stuff, I must be one of those guys who reads a lot of books, but not really. I know, surprise surprise.

This year I want to and I need to read more of everything; books, reports, essays, news, articles, blogs; I want to know more about all sorts of stuff.

On the right, how I picture myself reading at night…

Fruits and veggies

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Right, I must admit it, I´m 33 and I´m not eating enough veggies and fruits, instead I´ve been eating a lot of street food and plenty of red meat, which might not be beneficial for me (still not scientific evidence to prove it, though), so this year this is changing, I will become healthier on this matter, you are what you eat, and I don´t want to turn into some kind of BBQ ribs (…mmm… if only).

Fitness

3c7I´m definitely going to start running again, or something like that, and I mean real workout, I´m not talking about running after the “Tamales-Man” (I know, I made that one up, I´m awesome). While I was with my family during the holidays I realized that I couldn´t do some stuff like “reaching for the top shelves” that easily anymore, or talk on the phone and walk at the same time without running out of air.

So, screw that, I´m going to become healthier and the next holidays I´ll go back to my hometown, look at those top shelves on the screws and say “See, you bastards, I´m back, and I will have no mercy on reaching for several items from your top compartments”, you will see.

New Zealand

New-Zealand

Yeps, that´s a moose in the South Island… look it up on Google.

Let´s face it folks, and I´m talking about you lads out there, away from the mainland, aye, you, my fellow kiwi mates, you guys miss me, and I understand that and I´m aware that I´m the only one that can change that; so this year I´ll do my best to see you guys again. Pinky promise.

That´s it folks, if I think of something else I might not let you know, however, let´s see how this year develops and wish you all an awesome 2015.

Ps. Oh, Mexico, if you were wondering, is really not doing well, the current administration is trying to figure out how to get out of the trench of manure it got itself into.

Ps2.  My mate, @gabrielsaldana shared the following image with me this morning… enjoy.

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Ayotzinapa; The Disappearance of the 43

So, imagine that the mayor of, I don´t know, Charleston, South Carolina, has been experiencing certain social unrest due to an administration tainted with corruption and a strong linkage with some criminal groups. Are you following?

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Now imagine that his wife is having an event, and there´s a group of students, regardless of their motifs, that are joining other civil groups to rally on an annual protest. Then the wife of this lad decides that the best way to stop them is not to actually stop them and, let´s be nice here, detain them after the event is over, she decides to tell the municipal police (together with some gang members) to just “disappear them” and “take care of these people”.

So, they follow her instructions and disappear 43 students. Now, this happened in Iguala, Guerrero, south of Mexico, on the 26th of September, where 6 people were shot death by the local police officers and members of a criminal organization, and 43 students were detained and taken into the offices of the police department of Cocula, where they were later taken by the criminal group “Guerreros Unidos” and never seen again.

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The New Yorker referred to this event in its October 24th article as the “Crisis in Mexico: The Disappearance of the 43“, as the national and international community still don´t know what happened to these students that were trained to become teachers. According to witnesses, relatives and journalists, like John Gibler and Marcela Turati (from the weekly magazine Proceso), these students were to block highway to ask for travel funds to go to Mexico City for the annual October the 2nd march in the capital.

Long story short, they disappeared, while neither the Mexican Attorney General, Jesus Murillo Karam, nor the Secretary of the Interior, Osorio Chong, the international observers or the Human Rights bodies in Mexico have a single clue on where they were taken.

"It was the State" - they claim

“It was the State” – they claim

What is surprising is the arrogance and cynicism the current administration has handled this matter. In recent press conferences Murillo Karam has been seen upset and unease whenever the international media questions him not only on the whereabouts of the students, but also on the identities of at least 20 bodies that have been found in massive clandestine graves. Aye, that´s right, they haven´t found the 43, but they did find two tenths of bodies nobody knew were missing, and his response was “That´s for a different line of investigation, as we are currently focused on finding the students”.  Oh, by the way, 56 people have been arrested because they “might” be related to the case.

Mexicans tend to forget that people like him are public servers, and should respond to our questions because that´s their job.

Mexicans tend to forget that people like him are public servers, and should respond to our questions because that´s their job.

This crisis has forced the governor of Guerrero to “take leave” last week, pushed by the massive criticism from different authorities and NGOs of the state’s handling of the case and its political support of Abarca (Iguala´s fugitive mayor). I mean, he didn´t resign, he just asked for some “time off”, which translates to “I´m not in the mood for this right now, I´ll see you around, not now, but around”.

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People from around the world have raised their voices to demand the Mexican government to clarify and bring back the 43 students to their families. Like the following video with people from all over the globe, aware of the critical situation Mexico is going through, with a clear demand: Bring them back

I insist, even Time Magazine, media outlet that once considered Peña Nieto the savior of Mexico, now gives coverage to this possible massacre and puts Peña´s administration on the spot.

That´s right, these guys...

That´s right, these guys…

The families of the 43 missing still hope they could find them alive, honestly, knowing how criminal groups work in Mexico, I´m more pessimistic on how this crisis is going to unfold.

Sources:

Ps. The October the 2nd march commemorates the 1968 massacre of student protestors in the Tlatelolco Plaza by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) government of Díaz Ordaz.

Ps2. Highly recommend you to watch the video on the Huffington Post link.

Saving Mexico (?)

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The February 2014 cover of TIME Magazine portrayed Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico, and his sweeping reforms as the key points to transform and improve the country after four years of violence. Alright, we sort of mocked him, we made fun of him, we were like “Yeah right” about it, but we never expected that the country could get this worse, and I mean, just stop watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo*” and google Mexico, and tell me what the top results are.

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But this situation didn´t just “happen”, violence didn´t just appear out of the cover of a magazine, nor when the Energy Reform was approved, violence was there, nurtured by authorities, society, private sector and weak law enforcement institutions.

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Just to put into context, from 2006 to 2012, during Felipe Calderon´s administration, a war on drugs was held, and by many, this war followed a wrong and violent strategy. By targeting and weakening rival drug cartels and criminal organizations, Calderon found himself, with the rest of the country, inside a beehive, full of violent groups, which were upset, aggressive, fearless and with no loyalty towards any authority, political party or another criminal group.

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His strategy was questioned by human rights NGOs, the opposition parties, the private sector (internationally and nationally), civil organizations and the international community. The fact that it seemed that he was just going against the drug cartels and criminal groups opposed to “El Chapo” Gúzman, made his efforts fall into suspicion and questioned by everyone. At the end of his administration, with over 80,000 deaths, millions spent on security, and urban centres 77874_600dismembered, socially and economically, the people just had enough. Many of us, many from the north of the country, understood that things would never be the same.

Urban centres in the north and centre of the country were reshaped by this war on drugs.

Entire families crossed the border into the US, and I mean medium-high to high income families. This left these regions without a strong national private investment, and a lack of entrepreneurial force to boost local economies around the country.

My point is, the violence that we are currently seeing in many parts of Mexico (not only the southern state of Guerrero) is a result of an aggressive security policy coming from the past administration and the absence of a real national security initiative from Pena´s team.

It seems that the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), doesn´t know how to manage the criminal organizations, finds out of line those who criticize the way they react toward violent events, and seems more interested on not scaring away the foreign investment the Structural Reforms were designed to attract.

In conclusion, maybe it was way too soon for TIME Magazine to make the assumption that Enrique Pena Nieto (a person that during his administration as governor of the Estado de Mexico, was responsible of the human rights violations against civilians in the municipality of Atenco) was the factor that will save Mexico.

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Maybe we just need to wait and see.

Ps: *Uhh, this just in, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo got cancelled!

Thunderstruck

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That´s right my friends, this is one of my favourite songs ever, if not the most favourite one. Just listening to the way it begins, the drums, the strings and … the crowd man, the freaking crowd, give me the shivers dude…

“I was caught in the middle of a lighting attack…”

This song is pure adrenaline, emotions, grunts, rhythm and a claim for facing the unknown, the unexpected, the danger, the challenges.

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I mean, mate, just look at their outfits, their moves, and that energy they are eager to share with the crowd… the crowd man, the freaking crowd.

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AC/DC is the band, and you´ve been… Thunderstruck.

Ps. Once I said that if I ever get elected president of Mexico, my entrance to the Chamber of Representatives will be with this song playing on the background. And yes, I will be high fiving everyone on my way to the podium.

Like this mother***ker

Just like this mother***ker

What´s New: Ferguson, Missouri; and Kent Brantly

It is Monday and among the many things that happened last week there were some news more interesting than others, or more viral, however some things happened less known to the public but extremely relevant to all of us.

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Racial tension

Two weeks ago, in Ferguson, Missouri, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black young man, it has been the sixth consecutive day without any public protest or the presence of heavy armed forces. The murder of Michael Brown (18 years old) by (apparently) police officer Darren Wilson, has brought public opinion to question the use of plenty of police force to intimidate the protesters.

Analysts, media and key opinion leaders suggested that the police´s response was unusual and unnecessary, and many questioned the fact that Ferguson, Missouri looked more like a scene you´d see in Afghanistan or Iraq, because, let´s face it, the cops did look like freaking soldiers. According to this article by Reuters on the matter, “President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police, a senior administration official said on Saturday”.

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What happened in Ferguson reminded the national and international community that the United States still has a lot of issues in terms of racial discrimination and, now, the implementation of a new legislation by the local police to re use military equipment given by the government to strengthen their local forces: “How Ferguson could be America’s future

An Update on the Ebola Virus in Murica

Remember that the US received a couple patients diagnosed with the Ebola virus, the were flown from Africa in order to be treated and cured in American soil. Well, Dr. Kent Brantly, one of these two infected, was finally released from the hospital where he was receiving treatment, and he seems OK. According to the doctors who treated him (and Nancy Writebol, the other American infected by Ebola) he represents no public health threat.

Well, and the lad made it

Well, and the lad made it

However, according to the World Health Organization, at least 1,350 people have died in Africa since the Ebola outbreak in March. And, according to their latest research, the Ebola virus could live up to 3 months in vaginal fluid and semen.

In other news

The viral campaign: the Ice Bucket Challenge  is known to create awareness and get donations from the general public for research on ASL. It was a huge success, at least now people around the world, no just within the US, know what Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease. If you want to know more about the disease and how to donate to fight it, go to the ALS Association website and find out.

Enjoy watching Charlie Sheen doing it the right way: