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Archive for August, 2009

Would you call this a road?

August 28th, 2009 at 08:40 pm

For some people in my country, this is the road they must travel to get to school, or to get healthcare...

And, even parts where it looks gentler can be so slippery, this 4X4 got stuck!! The people in the picture are putting additional rocks on the road to try to give it some traction!!

No, I haven't been there... These pictures were taken by a colleague during their latest trip (yesterday!)

Funny coincidence

August 27th, 2009 at 02:20 am

ok, this has NOTHING to do with finance, but, I'm sitting at our desk (used to be my father's, now it's our collective desk) at home and, I found this picture of Ale at the Museum of Anthropology...

what´s funny about that? Well, she's standing in front of a red wall with 6 wooden masks, the kind used in traditional folk dances...

I'm sitting in front of a red wall with 6 wooden masks, the kind used in traditional folk dances!!! (not IDENTICAL masks, but, certainly similar!)

The cost of living in a high crime area

August 24th, 2009 at 09:53 pm

I use the term "area" loosely. I don't have data about the crime in specific area that I live in, but, the data for the country says a lot...

as per the last census (2007), ES has 5.74 million inhabitants. Last year, statistics said there were 10 murders per day, on average. That means there were well over 3,000 murders in 2008. This year, the numbers are still in dispute, but, it is said to be between 12 and 13 - that's DAILY.

Las week, there was an article in the newspaper about how much we pay for security and, although it did not mention specific dollar amounts, it really got me thinking...because, the writer mentioned how we don't even think about this as an extraordinary expense anymore. And, he's right.

He talked about how all new housing developments are enclosed communities (like mine), with an armed guard at each door (like mine, montly cost per house is $15), with designated entrances and exits (like mine), with houses with bars on every window (like mine) and with prohibitions to set up businesses in them so as to avoid traffic of unknown persons (not in mine, but, I've seen neighborhoods with signs stating that businesses are forbidden, and, I've also heard about communities where you need to have 2 written recommendations from homeowners to be allowed to buy or rent!).

Now, if your house is NOT in a gated community, it is most probably surrounded by a BIG wall, complete with electrified razor wire AND an armed guard.

We pay for all this, yet, we don't really "see" it... that is, we are so used to it by now, we don't consider it extraordinary.

We also pay more for transportation because public transportation is dangerous. (over 320 bus drivers have been killed for refusing to pay "rent" to the gangs- that's what they call it, it's money the bus owners or bus drivers must pay the gang to be able to operate on "their" streets) That, of course, doesn't mean the people riding the bus won't get mugged, it just means they won't get killed (as long as they "willingly" surrender their possessions) and the bus won't get burnt.

Not that you are immune if you ride a car, though, both my niece and my best friend were robbed at gunpoint while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green at different points of the city! Niece had to give them her watch and earrings, friend had to give them her cellphone... Oh, and there HAVE been people killed just for freaking out and NOT surrendering their cellphones!

Ever heard of an "express kidnapping"? They take you on a tour of different ATM's so you may withdraw money from your accounts for them... NICE!

Years ago, before ATM's, they'd target family groups and, they would drive to the bank so you could cash a check while they held your family in the car... so, my Mom taught me to write down all my checks, but, never the this day, I balance my checkbook at home, in a notebook, rather than in the checkbook!

I also signed up for the debit card that only lets you withdraw $150 in cash every 24 hours...

I've been thinking about all this a lot lately, and, I've come to the conclusion that I live as a hostage!!!