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This page currently contains the following articles of miscellaneous tips, listed in this order:

What are the pros/cons of becoming Mexican citizen - by various people
Beware of person poisoning dogs in Los Frailes   from Judy Marzulli 
how to convert 800-series numbers so that they may be dialed from Mexico - submitted by Carol Schmidt
tips on disinfecting food    by The Hastys and Ray Dugan
more tips on disinfecting food   by Judy Marzulli
tips on feeding hummingbirds
how to build a garden on your roof   by Jack and Carol Deal

6/4/04  What are the pros and cons of   becoming a Mexican citizen - by various people

The question was posed originally to us by Bob Ellison.  The gathered responses were:

Michael Wein wrote: is no disadvantage that I am aware of as citizens of the USA are allowed to have dual citizenship in Mexico. 

I know nothing about the requirements, other than you (probably) need 10 years of residency first. And I know nothing about the procedures.

Sue Reid added:

Mary Lawson added: 

Mexican citizen and native-born Jesus Cabral added: I don't know about a disadvantage of bearing USA citzsh'p in Mexico that is worth the endless paperwork to have mexican citizsh'p. For one thing you would not be able to drive your usa plated car once you become mexican. Voting is reserved only to mexicans (by birth or choice) and residents cannot vote. There is lots of advantages here if you have mexican citizenship by birth, as is my case, but those advantages fade away very soon if the mex-citzsh'p has to be gained through endless lines and waits, and paper and money at gov. officces. specially if you are over 50 yrs. old.

Michael Wein added:  The laws, I believe, changed very recently (maybe in 2001) regarding dual citizenship, but whether or not one can do that, Jesus' response about the advantages (and disadvantages, of course) seem to be eligibility to vote (and one would assume, discuss politics) in Mexican elections.

Mary Lawson then said: Michael, rules might have changed, but it was some time before Christmas that my friend checked with Phil Meyer about getting her duel citizenship and the answer was, 'Americans can't have duel citizenship here.

Jesus Cabral added: To vote you need citizenship, but political discussion are ok in Mexico for everybody, regardless of citizenship status. Maybe there is some confusion here: you cannot get involved in politics, but you can talk about mexican politics, that is for sure. Involving in politics here means that you are actively working in a party or trying to organize people around politics. Discussion of politics fall into the basic freedoms every human being gets as soon as she/he put his feet on mexican territory. If you want you can even write a book on mexican politics, or teach politics at a mexican university and that is not yet involvement in politics... so relax.

Michael Wein added: Jesus, what you say above is exciting and great news, but the problem I have with it is that the penalties for what you said not being correct are horrendous.  If there is any possibility that you are incorrect, a person following your belief could be DEPORTED.  I have found your statements to be honest, accurate, and believable in the past, but this one is too important, too serious, and even if you are right but some bureaucrat does not think so, I don't want to contemplate the results.

How can we verify this so there is no chance for misunderstanding?   For whatever purpose it might serve, I quote below an English translation of the Article 33 of the 1917 Mexican constitution:

Chapter III
Article 33. Foreigners are those who do not possess the qualifications set forth in Article 30. They are entitled to the guarantees granted by Chapter I, Title I, of the present Constitution; but the Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.
Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.

Certainly your opinion does not conflict with the above, but I can see where a reasonable judicial (or even lower bureaucratic) decision could go in the other direction.

Michael Wein later added:

Since the original question had to do with the pros/cons of Mexican citizenship, I saw that Article 35 and 36 seem to answer the questions themselves, and I quote the English translation:

Article 35. The prerogatives of citizens are:
I.To vote at popular elections; 

II.To be voted for, for all offices subject to popular election, and to be appointed to any other employment or commission, if they have the qualifications established by law; 
III.To associate together to discuss the political affairs of the country; 
IV.To bear arms in the Army or National Guard in the defense of the Republic and its institutions, under the provisions prescribed by law; 
V.To exercise in all cases the right of petition. 

Article 36. The obligations of citizens of the Republic are:

I.To register on the tax lists of the municipality, declaring the property they possess, the industry, profession, or occupation by which they subsist; and also to register in the electoral poll-books, according to the provisions prescribed by law; 
II.To enlist in the National Guard; 
III.To vote in popular elections in the electoral district to which they belong; 
IV.To serve in the elective offices of the Federation or of the States, which shall in no case be gratuitous; 
V.To serve in municipal council positions where they reside, and to fulfill electoral and jury functions. 

4/12/04    Beware of person poisoning dogs in Los Frailes    by Judy Marzulli

In the past few days someone has put a notice on the bulletin board at the entrance to Los Frailes to be careful when letting your dogs out. Someone has poisoned a dog or dogs by throwing poison in the yard. I will let you know if I get any further information about this. Until then, if you live in this neighborhood, please be very careful with your pets.  

4/ 7/04     To convert toll free (**) numbers dialed from Mexico to the USA or Canada, dial the following + the 7-digit number. They are converted  as follows:

if the number in the USA or Canada is then convert it  to this number when dialed from Mexico
1-800-xxx-xxxx 001-880-xxx-xxxx
1-886-xxx-xxxx 001-883-xxx-xxxx
1-877-xxx-xxxx 001-882-xxx-xxxx
1-888-xxx-xxxx 001-881-xxx-xxxx

(**) The 800-numbers may or may not be toll-free from Mexico, depending upon whether or not the owners of that 800-number have themselves paid for a service area that includes Mexico.  And, a Telmex connection charge (one out of your 100 monthly allowance) will also apply.  

submitted by Carol Schmidt - 4/9/04

Disinfecting food - submitted as noted below

Michael, you will get reams of basic information on how to soak veggies in water to which you've added the requisite drops per litro (instruction on the bottles), and boiling water to disinfect requires at least 15 minutes at a boil because at this altitude. We boil at a lower temperature. We have recently learned from the 'cantaloupe deaths' in California that one must as scrupulously wash all such, papaya, oranges, avacados, et al, in their skins, before cutting. We use one of the many anti-bacterial liquid dishwashing soaps to scrub clean and dry with paper towels, and back into the fruit bowl until needed. We have always washed potatoes and soaked the eggs in disinfectant. And we also use disinfectants, including Lysol spray, on all kitchen surfaces.  -- the Hastys 6/29/01


Well, in my house, I agree with the Hastys everything gets the treatment from the eggs to the lettuce. It is less confusing to the help Todos en el agua, por favor no excepciones! Never give help opciones...negro o blanco es mejor! And, do not forget, you need to train help to \"wash their hands\"--\"se lavan los manos\" before handling any food or working in the kitchen. And, that needs to be given often to make sure it wasn`t taken to be a request \"just for that day\". I have plastic gloves, too, for some kitchen tasks that you can buy in bulk at the farmacia in Gigante. And, yes, a spray bottle of agua/cloro mixto for cleaning the kitchen counters, cabinet pulls and especially the refrigerator pull-handle. Better safe than sorry. And, last, if you have anyrecurring illness that cannot be explained, be sure to have the help health tested. They may be carriers and pass illness along with the food preparation processes. (PS normally they don`t like tests even when you give money for tests, so ask for the receipt and a copy of the test results)I have been here part/time and now full/time for more than 6 years and this practice has kept me healthy; and, it especially provides protection for one`s family and guests! -- Ray Dugan 6/29/01


5/11/04     more tips on disinfecting food    by Judy Marzulli

    We have lived in SM for 18 years now. Before moving here I spoke to our US local health department about purifying water. They assured me that bringing water to a rapid boil and boiling for 1 minute (I do it for 2-3) will kill all bacteria including amoebas. I have been doing this for all the years we have lived here and we have never, I repeat never been ill except a couple of times after eating in restaurants. I try to drink 2 liters of my boiled water a day.

Feeding hummingbirds -  Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Add 1 part table sugar to 4 parts boiling water and allow to cool. Store surplus in the refrigerator.

Nectar ferments rapidly so, as the weather warms up, clean your feeder and refill with fresh nectar two to three times a week so it doesn't spoil. Hummingbirds lose interest fast unless the feeder is clean and the nectar fresh.

Do not use honey, artificial sweeteners or add food color to the recipe. Feeders have enough red on them to attract the hummingbirds and there is some question about the health effects of red dye.

One other important point the proportions in the nectar recipe are kind of important. If you overdo the sugar, or use, say, corn syrup or honey in place of the sugar, you can clog up those skinny little tube-beaks and the hummer will starve to death. Seems like too much fuss, all this? It isn't really. Once you've made the nectar once it's a no-brainer, as easy as making tea. And rinsing/re-filling the feeder is easy; just another little task like watering the plants. Certainly it's something you could get your maid to do. And those little critters are so neat, so magic--they can be a source of tremendous pleasure. The only big drawback is that the feeder can attract bees or wasps.

To build a garden on your roof, you need to do the following

1. Build a waterproof trough able to hold minimum depth of 18 inches of dirt. Approximate dimensions are 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep and as long as you have room for (but need 15 to 20 feet minimum). The waterproof trough can be made from brick with cement plaster and will need waterproofing on insides and bottom. The trough can be and usually is located on the perimeter with the parapet being one side of the trough. It will also need weepholes in order to drain onto the roof , hopefully your roof surface has a slope so the drainage from the planter can eventually get off the roof surface.

2. The quality of the soil is the most important prerequisite for having a successful garden. It should have a mixture of top soil, sand and lots of mulch.

3. Buy a gardening book on how, when, what to plant. Also you will need Sevin dust for insects.

Jack wrote the above on the specifications for actual construction of the trough. We have successfully grown tomatoes, squash, green beans, cucumbers, arugula, chard and other cooking greens, including spinach, many types of lettuce, asparagus, and of course, every imaginable herb. I have eggplant flowering now and it is looking good.

That is as much detail as I have to give. Now you are on your own.  Jack and Carol Deal

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