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 Perception is All

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raqueteer
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 12 Jul 2011, 13:48

Peter wrote:
Welcome to the board. I am liberal on all topics and most of us here fairly much so as well.

I have been here in Morelia six years or so and think it is a great place to live and with easy access and close distances to great attractions in surrounding towns. It seems fairly common for many to wander off into the "real" Mexico after living some time around Chapala. That would have been my route had I not had connections with Mexican friends here in Morelia to help ease into the culture. It takes some adjustment but worth it.

My Mexicana wife loves Chapala's lakeside after I took her there a couple years ago. She was really amazed there was a little American village right here in her own country. Not speaking English it is a real adventure for her and her favorite spot for a few days getaway.

I will let someone else recommend realtors. Most people in Morelia might suggest scouting out a place available and use a Notario to close the deal with the owner. I won't dare try to suggest what may actually be the best course of action. This ain't Kansas.

Anyways, hope you do well settling in here. Rent first - I can suggest a place or two perhaps - scout around for the best place for you. Come and visit with us "gringos" at Club Campestre for one of our get-togethers on the patio held every 2nd Wednesday each month at 3pm. Not so many of us here as at Lakeside, you might even enjoy running into an English-speaker once in a while. Once a month is usually enough for us.

Great, sounds very good to me. I have gone the trato directo route before, with no hitches at all. I am an adjuster, so no worries there.

Morelia is our favorite place for a getaway. The cute little American village, (cough) has a few drawbacks, but is a good starting point for most.

Next visit, we will definitely visit the "gringos". My husband would be VERY happy to meet a few english speakers.

If you guys come over here, let us know, and perhaps we could meet.

We're currently getting our place ready for sale, not a pretty prospect, however it must be done.

I agree that renting, at least for awhile would be a good option.

One last question, how did that home renovation project go? I think that downtown is the way to go. Love some of the restaurants there.

Thanks in advance.
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 12 Jul 2011, 14:19

My renovation project went (is going) well, thanks. The first building phase a few years ago was a small apartment over a large garage. Now we have a large home with essentially three separate dwellings inter-connected by patios on the various levels. Parts are well-finished and others meant to look rustic. It has a nice but modest appearance form the street. A big plus after moving back is to find out they are building a big shopping area with cinema and a Wal-Mart just across the beltway and a 5-minute walk from the house. It is supposed to be completed before the holiday season.

We lived in the Centro for about a year and a half. We enjoyed that and miss some of the conveniences but with traffic congestion and lack of parking (had to rent a space in a nearby parking garage) it is also nice to be back in the "burbs." It was great being able to walk to all the stores and plazas. The Centro is a good place to "land" in Morelia. Mexican friends of mine own a couple places there and I could put you in contact with them.

We're running low on grits and canned green beans, the two commodities I have only been able to find at Superlake, so need to make a trip there soon. Tere has also been talking about the pies at Pannino's and dinner at Ajijic Tango lately so I am getting hints it is time to go very soon. We'll let you know when we're coming.

About half of our favorite restaurants and casual places in Morelia are in the Centro and half spread around. Good thing about the Centro is it is close to everywhere, but with parking as it is our SUV mostly sat in the garage and we took taxis and combis everywhere. Now we can drive but still take combis or taxis into the Centro

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raqueteer
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 12 Jul 2011, 15:28

Peter wrote:
My renovation project went (is going) well, thanks. The first building phase a few years ago was a small apartment over a large garage. Now we have a large home with essentially three separate dwellings inter-connected by patios on the various levels. Parts are well-finished and others meant to look rustic. It has a nice but modest appearance form the street. A big plus after moving back is to find out they are building a big shopping area with cinema and a Wal-Mart just across the beltway and a 5-minute walk from the house. It is supposed to be completed before the holiday season.

We lived in the Centro for about a year and a half. We enjoyed that and miss some of the conveniences but with traffic congestion and lack of parking (had to rent a space in a nearby parking garage) it is also nice to be back in the "burbs." It was great being able to walk to all the stores and plazas. The Centro is a good place to "land" in Morelia. Mexican friends of mine own a couple places there and I could put you in contact with them.

We're running low on grits and canned green beans, the two commodities I have only been able to find at Superlake, so need to make a trip there soon. Tere has also been talking about the pies at Pannino's and dinner at Ajijic Tango lately so I am getting hints it is time to go very soon. We'll let you know when we're coming.

About half of our favorite restaurants and casual places in Morelia are in the Centro and half spread around. Good thing about the Centro is it is close to everywhere, but with parking as it is our SUV mostly sat in the garage and we took taxis and combis everywhere. Now we can drive but still take combis or taxis into the Centro

Good stuff. I'll check at Superlake for you. Pancho has been grumbling about fewer customers. Guess those warden messages and the yellow journalism are scaring the folks NOB. Twisted Evil He is out of a few things.

The car business is a definite problem, but I love the combis.

Maybe the burbs, or rent a place near the aqueduct as a temporary solution. Got to sell here first.

Paninos is back open after their May holiday, and yes, Lupitas' pies are top notch. We will look forward to your visit, and possibly introduce you to one of our, out of town favorites, if you have time. Vita Bella.

Cheers.
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JimRP
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 12 Jul 2011, 20:27

Hi, Raqueteer and welcome aboard.

My wife and I have lived in Morelia for more than three years. We had intended to spend a year or so renting, but then stumbled across a house in Centro Centro that was too good to pass up. We haven't regretted it.

We worked with Liliana Gonzales here. In one of my prior lives, I was in residential real estate and I liked what I saw in her. She owns her own real estate business and is also a Mexican attorney. She is honest, reliable and bilingual. A number of expats in the area--especially in Pátzcuaro--have worked with her. Here is her contact information:

Web Site: http://www.mexatua.com/
Phone: (434) 342-6867
Email: mexatua@gmail.com

Feel free to use my name....

Good luck in your search,

Jim Pierce
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raqueteer
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Wed 13 Jul 2011, 11:22

JimRP wrote:
Hi, Raqueteer and welcome aboard.

My wife and I have lived in Morelia for more than three years. We had intended to spend a year or so renting, but then stumbled across a house in Centro Centro that was too good to pass up. We haven't regretted it.

We worked with Liliana Gonzales here. In one of my prior lives, I was in residential real estate and I liked what I saw in her. She owns her own real estate business and is also a Mexican attorney. She is honest, reliable and bilingual. A number of expats in the area--especially in Pátzcuaro--have worked with her. Here is her contact information:

Web Site: http://www.mexatua.com/
Phone: (434) 342-6867
Email: mexatua@gmail.com

Feel free to use my name....

Good luck in your search,

Jim Pierce

Many thanks Jim. We will most certainly be in touch with her, and soon. We plan to visit in September and that will likely be just after we list our house here.

How's the wiring and plumbing in an older home? That's about the only thing that scares me. Parking is another issue, but not insurmountable.

Cheers,
Jane
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Wed 13 Jul 2011, 11:49

Quote :
How's the wiring and plumbing in an older home? That's about the only thing that scares me. Parking is another issue,
but not insurmountable.

Hi Jane,

Wiring, plumbing, roof leaks, dry-rotted structural wood beams, and termite damage are all issues you need to explore when purchasing an older house. Our home had been extensively updated 20 years ago, and was well maintained, so was in pretty good shape on most of those fronts.

Parking may be possible in the house itself if it is one of the colonial style homes where the front doors and entrada are large enough to accommodate cars. In some instances, the interior courtyard has space for vehicles. In these cases, of course I'm speaking of a larger house. I know a few folks here in Centro who keep their cars in secure parking lots near their homes, and that is another option. Leaving a car on the street regularly is not the best of ideas, so if there is no parking at the house, I'd make sure there is a convenient lot as part of your search process.

I hope that is helpful!

Jim
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raqueteer
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Wed 13 Jul 2011, 11:58

Very helpful Jim, thanks. Our current house is about 50 years old, Mexican Colonial. Oh yes, termites, new plumbing, new wiring and then the coup de grace, last year a new roof.

I did find a neat trick for termites a few years back. This you will not believe. Mix boric acid crystals, with cat food and grape jelly. Slather it on the wood which has been affected, then wait. Looks very nasty, however after a short period of time you will see thousands upon thousands of termite bodies.

Wood rot, hmmm, we have only had that in the beams on the terazza. Most construction here is steel beam.
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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 08:05

Going back to the BubbaDawg's comments about Santa Fe - GQ Magazine just came out with their rankings for worst dressed cities. Santa Fe was ranked 16th:

"16. Santa Fe
Maybe we should blame Georgia O'Keeffe. Ever since her New Mexico paintings hit Manhattan, New Yorkers have clogged the City Different with New Age lameness and Yankee notions of how the American West should look (and it doesn't look good.) As a consequence, modern-day Santa Fe is western like an Outback Steakhouse is Australian. Leather cowboy hats with chin straps, designer buckskin jackets, and Botoxed grimaces wander adobe-lined streets in search of a Starbucks. Turquoise and concha belts clank like cheap radiators down the Whole Foods aisles. Never to be outdone, only Texans skiing atop the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Wranglers and cowboy hats—cigars placed firmly in mouth—can outgun a wannabe outlaw Yank in tackiness.—Stayton Bonner"
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 09:00

Paints quite a picture, CG. Oh well, the AAA tourist map guide calls the Morelos statue atop Janitzio Island "a monument to ugliness," so it's all a matter of perception.

I missed these previous couple of posts on Wednesday. Problem with the termite remedy is finding grape jelly here. Hopefully strawberry jam will work instead. In many places it is the only flavor to be found. Although a few stores like Superama have a variety of flavors of mermelada the nearest grape jelly I found was in Superlake.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 12:05

Now that myself and the BubbaDawg have slammed Santa Fe probably way too many times, here is something positive. As we have mentioned, last weekend was the Santa Fe Folk Art Market attended by BubbaDawg, Brigitte, Kathy and myself. I just received a recap letter written by the Executive Director of the Market. A couple of things jump out at me. On Friday night they held an opening night party which cost $150 per person to attend:

"The Market Opening Party on Friday evening was a huge success—with an increase in attendees of 24%. More than 2,000 people celebrated at what many have said is sure to be remembered as the best party of Santa Fe’s summer. Sales on Friday night alone topped $500,000."

Overall the entire event was quite a success:

"Best of all, our Market artists--always the stars of the show—were thrilled with the enthusiastic response of our buyers. Their collective sales totaled a record $2,314,065! Average booth sales were $17,399—another record-breaker."

Whole Letter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/827641/3c30063e76/463953333/bfaa55438a/
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 12:47

Quote :
I did find a neat trick for termites a few years back. This you will not believe. Mix boric acid crystals, with cat food and grape jelly. Slather it on the wood which has been affected, then wait. Looks very nasty, however after a short period of time you will see thousands upon thousands of termite bodies.

Wood rot, hmmm, we have only had that in the beams on the terazza. Most construction here is steel beam.


Jane, indeed I've never heard of this termite trick. It makes sense that it would work.

As for wood rot, I thought we were only speaking of older houses which is what you are most likely to find in Centro Centro. Of course those were built with wooden vigas--not steel, and if they haven't been well maintained, they can be a pain. Put them together with termites (dry-rotted wood is like fillet mignon for termites) and you have a real maintenance issue. We have 18 foot ceilings, and have had to hire fumigators to scaffold the place and inject termitacides into infested vigas--and in some cases needed to replace them. This was the major failing in the maintenance of this property by the prior owner, and I hope (knock on wood) that with vigilance and ongoing maintenance we can avoid such a major job in the future.

Jim
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 17:00

cheenagringo wrote:
Our evaluation is that it was a total "cluster _ _ _ _". As one can see from the brief slideshow that follows, it was absolutely jammed with people without consideration for others. Moving between booths and actually being able to view the products was a real jostling match. The irony to the entire event was that here are these people from Santa Fe who actually think they know what good product is and they were clamoring to pay absolutely crazy prices for often mediocre product.

We stopped in the booth of a well known Michoacan artisan that specializes in "pina pottery". Even accounting for the shipping costs, his prices were really out of line and it appeared to us that he had brought seconds that wouldn't stand up to a more knowledgeable customer base in Mexico. I entered into a conversation with one of his crew that tried to convince me that the prices were the same charged in Patzcuaro or San Miguel de Allende. Almost told him about the turnip truck but then decided it wasn't worth it.

Kathy spotted a product from Haiti (metal art made from oil barrels) that she sells in her stores. Exactly the same designs and for example, one small piece that she buys from a wholesaler for $4 and sells for too much at $12 was priced to the unsuspecting for $20.

Quote :
Now that myself and the BubbaDawg have slammed Santa Fe probably way too many times, here is something positive. As we have mentioned, last weekend was the Santa Fe Folk Art Market attended by BubbaDawg, Brigitte, Kathy and myself. I just received a recap letter written by the Executive Director of the Market. A couple of things jump out at me. On Friday night they held an opening night party which cost $150 per person to attend:

"The Market Opening Party on Friday evening was a huge success—with an increase in attendees of 24%. More than 2,000 people celebrated at what many have said is sure to be remembered as the best party of Santa Fe’s summer. Sales on Friday night alone topped $500,000."

Overall the entire event was quite a success:

"Best of all, our Market artists--always the stars of the show—were thrilled with the enthusiastic response of our buyers. Their collective sales totaled a record $2,314,065! Average booth sales were $17,399—another record-breaker."

Whole Letter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/827641/3c30063e76/463953333/bfaa55438a/

Then I guess it really isn't rape if the victim enjoyed it after all. Not sure on that point but sounds like a good defense strategy.

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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 17:48

I didn't mean to infer that we felt like we had been raped. It was a new experience and now we know that we probably never want to return. I have always felt it was very difficult to judge an event if you have not attended. Felt the same way about attending a bullfight in Spain and after once, I knew that I never wanted to attend another!
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 18:29

I didn't think you were the victim here but from your first post thought you could be the DA. Just kidding. Arts and crafts are worth whatever people will pay for them. People spent money and were happy, people made money and were happy. All's well that ends well.

There has to be some ambivalence for some folks about bullfights. Although it is a mostly one-sided event that would never go over well in California it is a very traditional and colorful event. There is some nobility involved and some peasants that probably got fed at the end of the day's events.

Not that I've gone out of my way to attend such a spectacle but I've always said I would like to see a bullfight sometime. Sure there is a very strong argument about animal cruelty, but sometimes the bull wins.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 20:31

In 1962, we visited Madrid and my parents had some work related friends stationed there. The father and son insisted that my father and I should experience the bullfights because it was such a great event. We went to the big bullfight on that weekend. It didn't take me long to figure out that the bulls never had much of a chance! What got me was when then rejected certain bulls for not charging straight or hooking during the "testing period". Has nothing to do with any anti animal cruelty feelings but more about making this contest into a fair fight.

Then it goes back to my feeling that I have no right to criticize unless I have experienced! When one has "been there and done that", then they have a right to comment in my book!
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 15 Jul 2011, 20:54

We all have a "right" to criticize, having first-hand knowledge offers you an imperative to do so.

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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Sun 17 Jul 2011, 20:04

cheenagringo wrote:
Now that myself and the BubbaDawg have slammed Santa Fe probably way too many times, here is something . As we have mentioned, last weekend was the Santa Fe Folk Art Market attended by BubbaDawg, Brigitte, Kathy and myself. I just received a recap letter written by the Executive Director of the Market. A couple of things jump out at me. On Friday night they held an opening night party which cost $150 per person to attend:

"The Market Opening Party on Friday evening was a huge success—with an increase in attendees of 24%. More than 2,000 people celebrated at what many have said is sure to be remembered as the best party of Santa Fe’s summer. Sales on Friday night alone topped $500,000."

Overall the entire event was quite a success:

"Best of all, our Market artists--always the stars of the show—were thrilled with the enthusiastic response of our buyers. Their collective sales totaled a record $2,314,065! Average booth sales were $17,399—another record-breaker."

Whole Letter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/827641/3c30063e76/463953333/bfaa55438a/

The Dawg, who has been cut off from computer chat for a while here in NewMexAz, will of course have many observations to share about insufferable Santa Fe to say nothing of Taos deserving of no apparent need for human habitation and Redneck Flagstaff and indescribably awful Phoenix but Dawg has also experienced indescribable beauty in rural areas of these human cesspool outposts away from human vulgarization. The same feeling of the blessings of God I have felt in Chiapas exploring wonderful places in the outback but that is a story I must relate upon my return to Lake Chapala upon my arrival tomorrow in Guadalajara on Neil´s favorite airline, God willing. We´ll talk then if fate favors us.


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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 19 Jul 2011, 09:12

Well BubbaDawg, you and the lovely Brigitte must be living charmed lives! The day after you flew into Phoenix on your way to Santa Fe, the Phoenix area experienced a major "haboob: http://www.examiner.com/us-headlines-in-national/dramatic-footage-of-massive-arizona-dust-storm-or-haboob-video
Then after your departure on Monday, they experienced another lesser haboob: http://www.examiner.com/us-headlines-in-national/a-giant-wall-of-dust-rolls-through-phoenix-ariz-on-july-18-2011-video

Given the timing, one has to wonder about the significance?
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 19 Jul 2011, 10:37

Dust tsunami?? That's what crossed my mind when I saw that.

I have had little doubt before ever meeting The Dawg and from listening to his stories that he has led a charmed life and has benefited from an incredibly good sense of timing. Even though he had never lived his dream of a beach blast hook-up with his Mouseketeer "Nanette" it would be the pursuit of these dreams, intangibles, and grail quests that would guide his good fortune in life. In this instance most likely something such as an overwhelming thirst for a rum and coke at 6:45am would lead him out of harm's way.

Some things are just pure chance but others' it would seem their whole lives have been guided by the fulfillment of their dreams however improbable or fleeting they may be. For those who may scoff at such notions of the ability of a select few to dance their entire lives on the twists of fate then perhaps we need to suggest some more scientific explanation. Perhaps its just the amount of gas that Dawg will most likely be passing around after his adventures in a land his time had forgot that created such a tremendous vacuum when he left Phoenix and is what had triggered such a storm. What else could it be?

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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Tue 19 Jul 2011, 15:16

Hmmm, other than the Dawg being lucky, dust bowls and shaky financial markets. Ouch.

Hopefully some of the Dawgs luck will rub off on the Mexican economy.
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Wed 20 Jul 2011, 20:53

It is somewhat remarkable that shortly after Dawg flew out of Phoenix on his way back to Guadalajara, a huge "haboob" appeared upon the horizon and then engulfed the entire Phoenix Metro Area with tiny particles of dried disintegrated rat turds mistakenly referred to as desert sand and, for a while, the valley in which the dreadful megalopolis of Phoenix is ensconced actually became natural and, in its own way, beatiful, once again until the dust cleared and again revealed the endless miles of butt-ugly strip malls and golden arches that desecrate the once pristine valley. A great place to shop if I must say so and only a couple of hours non-stop from Guadalajara but what one wishes for the splendid outback of Arizona is that mankind had never invented air conditioning and they had left the natural beauty of that region to be.


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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Wed 20 Jul 2011, 21:41

And to think that Phoenix was once considered by some to be a primo retirement location! Prior to my parents retirement in 1968, it was one of the places they looked at primarily because so many of their corporate friends had made that choice. While it has always tended to be very hot there in the summer, 40 years ago they didn't have the humidity problems brought on by all of the development. Like so many cities/towns in the southwest, the development has been accomplished with little consideration for the visual and long term damage.
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Wed 20 Jul 2011, 23:18

cheenagringo wrote:
And to think that Phoenix was once considered by some to be a primo retirement location! Prior to my parents retirement in 1968, it was one of the places they looked at primarily because so many of their corporate friends had made that choice. While it has always tended to be very hot there in the summer, 40 years ago they didn't have the humidity problems brought on by all of the development. Like so many cities/towns in the southwest, the development has been accomplished with little consideration for the visual and long term damage.

A well made point, Neil. While en route back to Guadalajara, we drove from Santa Fe through Albuquerque to, then, head on to Phoenix for our flight to Mexico and, in transit, we drove from our Northwest Albuquerque destination to the (very nice) Albuquerque Inn downtown and for some time we drove through a fancy section of that city filled with huge estates with enormous green lawns often covering many acres and requiring much water to cultivate and maintain and here for two weeks we had been regailed with hotel notifications that metropolitan areas of New Mexico were suffering from water shortages and that, in order to "Save The Planet", we as hotel guests, should have taken measures that would conserve water such as re-using towels and that sort of thing and here were the wealthy of Albuquerque wasting precious water resources on extravagant lawns and tropical vegitation unnatural to the city´s desert environment. What rank hypocrisy.

It strikes me that the United States is a sick society where the filthy rich take advantage of the middle class and the poor. We´ll see as time passes.
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JimRP
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Thu 21 Jul 2011, 09:00

In '67 and '68 I was in Phoenix at ASU's graduate school. Back then, people were profligate with their water usage. I remember folks used what was called "flood irrigation," where they let large amounts of water stand on their grass for days in the warmest time of year. Of course that was before the population increases and much higher demand for water by neighboring states. The humidity even then was rising due to these practices, and because of the irrigation canals that run through the city. Given the higher temperatures there now, I can't imagine what it is like on a bad day.
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cheenagringo
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PostSubject: Re: Perception is All   Fri 22 Jul 2011, 09:43

Dawg:

Given your description of your drive through the north valley area of Albuquerque, I can pretty much guess exactly which road you drove on. A bit of history might be in order not so much to provide an excuse for your observations but maybe provide some understanding. Going back to the 50's & 60's, Albuquerque's wealthy purchased sizable plots of what had been farmland. Due to the prior use, these areas were not part of the city infrastructure and with the properties came water rights. Water for these plots came from wells and a system of irrigation ditches that wanders through that entire area. Naturally, the wells do pull from the aquifer that sits below the entire area but the water from the irrigation ditches is controlled through some water management master plan and is allocated. I guess one could technically argue that a certain percentage of the water used to maintain those large lawns does return to the aquifer. The entire visual is a contradiction to current thinking but then again, when a property owner has complete control over their water rights, they are protected by the laws set many years ago.
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