Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu in Guadalajara, hopefully as everyone stays home it will not spread

Guadalajara is a very social town, people party on bikes & skates (Sundays when a main street is shut down to automotive traffic), dance on every public square; party here party there, festa every where. Guadalajara is shut down. 6 confirmed cases of swine flu here - not yet reported to the press (my host Ariel's connection to the hospital - a doctor - called just now with this news.)

We are not going any place. Schools and large workplaces closed until May 6th.

We did the monthly shopping early two days ago at Wal-Mart, so we are fixed for food and water (but no milk for tea!).

Here is the most recent slideshow of a visit to Chela - my host Rossy's best friend and advisor's - house and art studio within the same block we live in:

I was planning on getting an oil change at the Toyota dealer today in preparation for traveling to the coastal city of Manzanillo (near Colima, and the last volcano of the Ring of Fire on the West Coast) on Friday - but that is on hold and up in the air for now. I believe I will take the risk.

Every time I go out I get lost, but I have consistantly found my way back. The temperature here is in the 80s - on the rooftop it is frequently more than 100 degrees.

The whole thing sounds like a call to prayer to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Traveling in Mexico to Guadalajara, kissing cheeks, swimming, and birds in the morning

Here are photos of traveling in Mexico to get to Guadalajara, and some here in town.


Traveling across the border there was no monitoring at all. I have no idea what they are talking about the border, all the stuff about what is required to enter Mexico, as far as my car and so forth, I did not find to be true. Nobody even looked at us entering Mexico - insurance? good luck getting anyone to stop after they hit you!Mexican United States Border, from the US side United States Border Inspection Station, Calexico, California - in other words, the Mexico - US border from the USA side ...

This is no-mans wild mans land - anything goes - we could have come in with anything - there is no security at the border... just a couple of guys sitting on chairs watching the melee.

I did go both ways, but I am Caucasian -- entering Mexico there was no filtering, and coming into the US, most people just walked in -- I rode my bike across because my Bank had zero'ed out my credit card - even though I called and told them I was going to Mexico. After dealing with the bank in Calexico I stopped and asked a Mexican guard if he needed anything - "A kiss!" said he, and we kissed cheeks - how nice!

Tijuana is a nightmare and I feel sorry that there is a border for the people there bare the brunt of all the illegal desires that Americans want to fulfill cheaply. Even the traffic lights did not work - clearly it is a minor hell on Earth.
Tijuana, Highway 2, Sonora, MexicoFormer head of the US government Bush had build a giant rediculous steel wall in the desert that runs for a huge number of miles. It is an ecological disaster preventing land animals from migrating. From the human standpoint you can just walk around it, especially where there are breaks in the flat Sonora Desert.

Other than that wall, traveling in the Sonora Desert which runs all the length of Northern Mexico, is quite beautiful and I saw fields of cactus - I didn't stop much there because I wanted to get to Guadalajara, but I wanted to stop and admire the beauty and photograph it. I stopped at a few of the larger shrines along the way and made offerings of candles for the benefit of all sentient beings. At one of the larger sets of shrines a turkey vulture starred me in the eye for a long time circling not far overhead. I took it to be a good sign.

I stopped at the way stations that have been abandoned since Bush's wall went up. I did take the time to spit on on the wall. At one of the way stations I fed sets of large ants in the ground what remained of the cookies.

Later stopped at the many, regular security checkpoints I learned the power of transparent organization. All of my paperwork was in a medium sized transparent folder where all the materials were labled and could be clearly seen, my VISA, Passport, drivers license, registration for the car, insurance, etc, everything.

Not only that, all my clothes, and everything I packed to take with me was similarly packed in clear transparent plastic containers of various sizes and shapes. I also carried cookies, and food with me while traveling to give away. So each time I was stopped and asked to undergo inspection or for my papers and so forth, as soon as the police saw the transparent notebook with clear pages and the clear plastic containers, mostly like boxes, they knew there was no point, I really did not fit the description of someone with anything to hide. So I offered them cookies and this was accepted with gusto! They waved me on immediately.

I learned not to take anyone I do not know with me as a traveling companion. What a painful and drawn out lesson! One of the police women at a regular security stop noticed that the person riding shotgun didn't raise a hand to show her the items in the car or trunk, which meant removing my bicycle from the back of the car, and she was clearly astonished, and leapt to help me instead. Finally she just waved me through with a look of disgust at my passenger. He remained oblivious to the reactions of others throughout the remainder of his time on my dime.

I stayed at several hotels along the way, all about the same, kind of old, like on the order of 100 years or more, and run down, but everything tended to work, even if a bit dusty I could afford them. It was not like India where you consistantly put your life in your hands to travel and eat, or stay someplace.

One of the most interesting hotels was built more than 100 years ago and named after a Catholic Monk by the name of Kino. The Kino Hotel is located in the capital city of Hermosilla. It had a lot of charm and many kinds of handmade tiles. There I also met a very interesting lawyer and I enjoyed chatting with him about when he was a tenor singing in a band in the 1960's (which I guessed because of his voice.)

The vacation towns along Mexicos beaches range from sweet and really for the locals to invaded by American students at spring break, during which time the Mexican population sort of holds their noses until it is over. They are a very religious people and for the most part I encountered the ethical folks. But here and there my white skin means I must pay much more for things than the locals do. They have no way of knowing how little money I have or that jobs in the US are such a rarity.

Finally I arrived in Guadalajara and with my memory of 5 years ago and my friend Ariel's instructions, combined with strong intuition I was nearly able to drive right up to Ariel and Rossy's house, in a huge city of 12 million people! I was so tired from packing my house, storing my things and traveling for more than a week, I went to sleep immediately.

I was bitten by mosquitos so badly that my left eye would not open. So in the following days I tried several techiques to prevent mosquito bites, but finally had a seamstress sew up a tent made from bridal veil material I designed that fits over a twin bed rather nicely. It took a lot more time to assemble the materials, and I got skin allergies that look like burns from all the stuff I used to prevent the somewhat painful bites. My lungs suffered from the Raid citronella rounds burning at night sometimes 6 at a time with incense.

We also had built a large closet arrangement in my room to hang and store my stuff. I plan to go get hangers this weekend I hope. What is holding me up there is that thieves stole my side mirrors on my red Toyota Corolla, and so it is more difficult to drive. Driving here is risky even if you are expert. They have several Wall Marts here, and although I don't love Wall Mart, in a pinch it works. Also I have car insurance but so far have not heard back from the insurance company if they cover the mirrors - it is a standard crime - stealing the mirrors and everyone except the police have antithief plastic devices to prevent their theft.

For fun we went to a river with Ariel and Rossy's mom's and members of their families. I enjoyed it a lot! The river was small, and flows not too fast with warm water over small boulders and rocks. It is situated in a small town about 30 or 40 minutes north of Guadalajara. Rrun as a small resort, we paid about 4 - 6 dollars for the day (with a tip!).

Here in Guadalajara I live on the top floor of a 100 year old house made of Adobe, Brick, concrete and iron rods with some steel or iron beams embedded in the Adobe. There is large white tile covering the entire ground floor, and it's warm and smooth to the feet. We have a professional maid come twice a week to help us clean because Guadalajara is a dusty town. We live in the Zona Centro, in the center, next to a lovely old Catholic Church and a great large square that has our favorite resturant, El Fenix.

My room has very high ceilings perhaps 16 feet tall, and the rest of the house has even taller ceilings. Rossy had a special paper bag brown wash over several of the interior walls which are otherwise in cream.

My room has one wall painted red with a large antique metal Mexican mirror of the sun hung on it - looks smashing. The opposite wall is where we had the closet placed, right now I am working on staining the wood of the closet which has a desk. I am staining it marroon red to go with the wall - so I will leave them something they like when I leave.

From the side of my room and Ariel's band practice room is a huge rooftop porch with no roof where we keep a few plants. Ariel and Rossy have very little furniture, they are saveing to purchase some traditional Mexican furniture from a town nearby that is famed for making furniture.Rossy and Ariel have a daugher, La China, and the family also has a dog, Breda, and two cats, one white and one black, and a turtle. Many students and people from international locations live around here.

In the mornings birds come visit the interior of the house, as the hallways are open to the sky, and sing sweetly, the most complex songs I have ever heard birds sing. Certainly in the 80 and 90 degree weather this is the tropics.

On Monday I begin Spanish lessons with a teacher in a school nearby, my classes are $10 per lesson.

I look for work every day over the internet in Seattle, and try to continue to learn something on the computer. I am looking forward to going back to school in the fall. Of course this means borrowing more money but I don't have a choice.

As possible I will publish more photos on my site at;

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to use Flickr images in a blog, how to find and use HTML scripts to place Flickr photos or videos in your blog

So you want to know how to find and use HTML scripts to place Flickr images in your blog?

First you create a Flickr account, either the free or paid account.

Then either email your image to your Flickr account, or upload your image to your account any of 10 ways. For this article I am assuming you already have posted one or many images or photos you want to use on your blog to your Flickr account.

Then, here's the magic part! Flickr provides the script to post your image to any website including your own! Since Flickr is worldwide and uses Flash to display the image, it should display much faster than if it is on a local server in Paro, or Thailand or wherever even in the US, because they use Akamai servers which are all over the world.

Where is the script? When you are at your Flickr site looking at the image you wish to use click on the item "ALL SIZES" at the top of the image.

From there choose the size you want to use, such as "MEDIUM". From the MEDIUM scroll down and you will see the text in pink :

To link to this photo on other websites you can either:

1. Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage:
(And the HTML script is right there within the little box.) Copy the script and embed it into any HTML, and when connected to the Web the image will appear!
For example:
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/3444186962/" title="Cat - Cute peed on bed by Steve D, on Flickr" > <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3593/3444186962_5651ea1920.jpg" width="500" height="300" alt="Cat - Cute peed on bed" /> </a>

A note - the other choice:
2. Grab the photo's URL:
Is an "absolute reference" to a specific location on Flickrs servers - I have not found to be as reliable as the other method for some reasons.

Now for the next to last part of this lesson - you can edit the HTML because it is just TEXT! You can edit it so that it doesn't hurl the end users browser back to Flickr, but to any place you choose, or is not a hot link at all. For example:
<a href="http://www.papayayoga.com/" title="Cat - Cute peed on bed by Steve D on Papayayoga's Website" > <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3593/3444186962_5651ea1920.jpg" width="500" height="300" alt="Cat - Cute peed on bed" /> </a>

This script can be posted directly into your blog and it should display a cartoon by Steve D, and link to the Papayayoga Website...

The last part of this lesson is that you should be able to pick up the script for any image from just as I described, because all of the images on my Flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/) are listed as Creative Commons, and thus the script to embed images or video for all of them is public.

The next lesson is How to Improve Search results also called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Let me know if you need any help with this because when one knows something one tends to forget to point out little details that the other person may not be equipted to figure out on their own...

By the way to display the code in this blog post I used the Code and Pre tags in HTML, and Note that you must URL encode "<" to the tag equalvant & l t ; and ">" to & g t ; (without the spaces). See how the font changed too? This indicates it is inside the code and pre tags. (How it appears depends on the CSS in use.)
Here's the result -- Cat - Cute peed on bed