Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Change in the season

First, warning

The lady from South Africa is back. She will approach non-Ecuadorians with a sob story of being robbed, and is asking for help (money) as she has to sleep on the beach and is trying to get home.
This same lady was here last year, and depending on what you think the value of a donation to a fellow traveler is worth, she can make a very good living.

This is Earth Month

This is still earth month. What happens the rest of the year ?
Have you been able to consider what you can do for your environment?
Reusable shopping bags
Solar lighting
changing to LED lights
cooking with electricity
growing your own herbs
stop smoking
taking a bus

The city of Salinas is putting out recycle bins, which is good; but, when they come to empty them, they are emptied into the same garbage truck as the trash(defeating the purpose).
Baby steps

We recently went to a brunch gathering hosted by Randy and Jean, where they made an effort to conserve by using plates that were made from recycled material. The brunch was well attended and enjoyed; this was a nice effort on the part of recycling, and I hope the message was received by all who attended.


       We all want to stay as healthy as possible here in Ecuador.  Eating the fresh fruits and veggies that abound here as well as the unprocessed foods, those without any preservatives or artificial additives, definitely helps. Getting plenty of fresh air and moderate exercise and getting enough sleep are also excellent.  
        We women also are very interested in getting our screenings for cancer done on a regular basis. Two of these screenings are the pap smear and breast cancer screening.
         When I came to Ecuador, I asked a female friend whom I had come to know about a good GYN MD. She referred me to her GYN MD, whose office is in La Libertad, the next town to Salinas, a bus ride away.  So, I called the office and made an appointment, went in that Friday afternoon.  He asked me about my medical history, and I told him that all previous pap smears were negative for cancer.  He then did the pap smear and told me to come back in 2 weeks for the written results.  That visit cost me $10. I then asked him for an order for a mammogram for breast cancer screening, and he wrote it on a prescription pad.  I asked him where I could have it done, and he said SOLCA in Guayaquil.  Well, I asked my friend if there was any place closer to have this done, and she told me that there was a SOLCA in Santa Elena.  I found out that you can take the TRUNSA bus there for 25 cents.  
           So, Wednesday, I got there at 12noon, since I was told to come there at that time by the Director of SOLCA the day prior.  They only do echosonograms there, not mammograms, and only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Since I have only had mammograms in the past that were negative for breast cancer, I believe that echosonograms are okay for me.
           Echosonograms of the breast use ultrasounds, in that the sound waves penetrate the tissues of the breast and the reflected sound is collected and formed into a picture.  The only preparation in having this test done is not to use any aluminum chlorhydrate in your underarm deodorant, or better yet, do not use any deodorant that same morning of the procedure.  After the procedure, you can use the deodorant.  They have you take your blouse and bra off, and give you a gown to put on.  Then the doctor uses a water-based gel on both breasts, and then uses a transducer, which looks like a microphone, and the gel makes it easier for the transducer to emit sound waves on the breast tissue, and the echoing sound waves produce a picture of the tissue on the computer, which then shows abnormalities, if there are any.  
            I researched the mammogram, which exposes the woman to radiation through Xrays of the breast to the echosonogram, which is a painless procedure and has no radiation exposure.   The mammogram alone and the echosonogram alone cannot detect all breast cancers, but both procedures done can detect most breast cancers.  However, thermography, which can detect breast abnormalities through heat detection of the breast tissue, is now considered in Europe and other countries, the safest and most accurate of all 3 procedures.  However, thermography is not used in the U.S.
            SOLCA in Santa Elena is a non-profit organization, which keeps the fees low to the public.  The echosonogram costs $15.  They also do many different lab tests there, as well as EKGs, and regular Xrays, but not mammograms.  They are, as far as I know, only done in Guayaquil.
             So, if you want an echosonogram done instead of the mammogram, have the GYN MD write the order for the echosonogram, because you need a written order to have it done.  If you want to go to SOLCA, just ask the bus driver to let you off there.  It is a block past the Automobile Club of Ecuador in Santa Elena.   I hope this has been helpful to you.

This Month

April 23rd - Established by Israel's Knesset as Holocaust Day in remembrance of the estimated six million Jews killed by Nazis.
Birthday - William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born at Stratford-on-Avon, England. Renowned as the most influential writer in the English language, he created 36 plays and 154 sonnets, includingRomeo and JulietHamlet and The Merchant of Venice.
Birthday - James Buchanan (1791-1868) the 15th U.S. President was born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania. He was the only life-long bachelor to occupy the White House, serving just one term from 1857 to 1861.
April 24
April 24, 1800 - The Library of Congress was established in Washington, D.C. It is America's oldest federal cultural institution and the world's largest library. Among the 145 million items in its collections are more than 33 million books, 3 million recordings, 12.5 million photographs, 5.3 million maps, 6 million pieces of sheet music and 63 million manuscripts. About 10,000 new items are added each day.
April 24, 1915 - In Asia Minor during World War I, the first modern-era genocide began with the deportation of Armenian leaders from Constantinople and subsequent massacre by Young Turks. In May, deportations of all Armenians and mass murder by Turks began, resulting in the complete elimination of the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire and all of the historic Armenian homelands. Estimates vary from 800,000 to over 2,000,000 Armenians murdered.
April 25, 1967 - The first law legalizing abortion was signed by Colorado Governor John Love, allowing abortions in cases in which a panel of three doctors unanimously agreed.
Birthday - Radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was born in Bologna, Italy. He pioneered the use of wireless telegraphy in the 1890's. By 1921, Marconi's invention had been developed into wireless telephony (voice radio).
April 26
April 26, 1937 - During the Spanish Civil War, the ancient town of Guernica was attacked by German warplanes. After destroying the town in a three hour bombing raid, the planes machine-gunned fleeing civilians.
April 26, 1944 - Federal troops seized the Chicago offices of Montgomery Ward and removed its chairman after his refusal to obey President Roosevelt's order to recognize a CIO union. The seizure ended when unions won an election to represent the company's workers.
April 26, 1986 - At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere, eventually covering most of Europe. A 300-square-mile area around the plant was evacuated. Thirty one persons were reported to have died while an additional thousand cases of cancer from radiation were expected. The plant was then encased in a solid concrete tomb to prevent the release of further radiation.
April 26, 1994 - Multiracial elections were held for the first time in the history of South Africa. With approximately 18 million blacks voting, Nelson Mandela was elected president and F.W. de Klerk vice president.
Birthday - American artist and naturalist John J. Audubon (1785-1851) was born in Haiti. He drew life-like illustrations of the birds of North America.
Birthday - Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) was born in Hertfors, Connecticut. He helped design some of the most famous parks in America including Central Park in New York, the Emerald Necklace series of connecting parks in Boston, and Yosemite National Park.
Birthday - Nazi Rudolf Hess (1894-1987) was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He was Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany and a member of Hitler's inner circle. On May 10, 1941, he made a surprise solo flight and parachuted into Scotland intending to negotiate peace with the British. However, the British promptly arrested him and confined him for the duration. Following the war, he was taken to Nuremberg and put on trial with other top Nazis. He died in captivity in 1987, the last of the majorNuremberg war criminals.
April 27
April 27, 1865 - On the Mississippi River, the worst steamship disaster in U.S. history occurred as an explosion aboard the Sultana killed nearly 2,000 passengers, mostly Union solders who had been prisoners of war and were returning home.
Birthday - Telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He developed the idea of an electromagnetic telegraph in the 1830's and tapped out his first message "What hath God wrought?" in 1844 on the first telegraph line, running from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore. The construction of the first telegraph line was funded by Congress ($30,000) after Morse failed to get any other financial backing. After Western Union was founded in 1856, telegraph lines were quickly strung from coast to coast in America.
Birthday - Civil War General and 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio. During the war, he earned the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant and was given command of the Union armies. He served as President from 1869 to 1877 in an administration plagued by scandal. He then went on to write his memoirs and died in 1885, just days after its completion.
April 28
April 28, 1789 - On board the British ship Bounty, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Captain William Bligh, setting him and 18 loyal crew members adrift in a 23-foot open boat. Bligh survived a 47-day voyage sailing over 3,600 miles before landing on a small island. Christian sailed theBounty back to Tahiti, eventually settling on Pitcairn Island and burning the ship.
April 28, 1945 - Twenty-three years of Fascist rule in Italy ended abruptly as Italian partisans shot former Dictator Benito Mussolini. Other leaders of the Fascist Party and friends of Mussolini were also killed along with his mistress, Clara Petacci. Their bodies were then hung upside down and pelted with stones by jeering crowds in Milan.
Birthday - James Monroe (1758-1831) the 5th U.S. President was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He served two terms from 1817 to 1825 and is best known for the Monroe Doctrine which declared the U.S. would not permit any European nation to extend its holdings or use armed force in North or South America.
April 29
April 29, 1992 - Riots erupted in Los Angeles following the announcement that a jury in Simi Valley, California, had failed to convict four Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of an African American man.
Birthday - American publisher William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) was born in San Francisco. The son of a gold miner, in 1887 he dropped out of Harvard to take control of the failing San Francisco Examiner which his father had purchased. He saved the Examiner, then went to New York and bought the New York Morning Journal to compete with Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst's sensational style of "yellow" journalism sold unprecedented numbers of newspapers and included promoting a war with Cuba in 1897-98. He expanded into other cities and into magazine publishing, books and films. He also served in Congress and nearly became mayor of New York City.
Birthday - Japan's Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) was born in Tokyo. In 1926, he became the 124th in a long line of monarchs and then presided over wartime Japan which was led by militarist Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. Following the dropping of two atomic bombs by the U.S., he made a radio address urging his people to stop fighting. After the war, he remained the symbolic head of state in Japan's new parliamentary government. In 1946, he renounced his divinity and then pursued his interest in marine biology, becoming a recognized authority in the subject.
April 30
April 30, 1789 - George Washington became the first U.S. President as he was administered the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York City.
April 30, 1948 - Palestinian Jews declared their independence from British rule and established the new state of Israel. The country soon became a destination for tens of thousands of Nazi Holocaust survivors and a strong U.S. ally.
April 30, 1967 - Boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his world heavyweight boxing championship after refusing to be inducted into the American military. He had claimed religious exemption.

Friday, 12 April 2013


We meet a lot of people that are coming here from Canada and the USA, and for the most part, they are quite nice. They have questions and many have preconceived ideas of what life and the people are like here.
When you travel around the world, you do need to take precautions, especially in a country where you do not speak the language. Keep a notebook with common questions written out in your language and the language of the country that you are visiting. Today, there are so many options open for you to do this. The most popular is Google Translate. If you have a smart phone and internet connection, you can type it out, press the speaker icon, and it will repeat the phrase in the language of the country that you are in. When you are staying in a different country, leave your passport and copies of the front and back of your credit cards locked in your hotel or hostel, and carry a copy of your passport with you. Use the people at the place where you are staying to help you. They can provide bus routes and what to pay when you take a taxi, direct you to places of interest and advise you on whether to tip or not. Should you see people you think are from your country, make contact and, for the most part, they are very willing to help.
The question that we are asked the most is " Do you have any regrets? " about living here. Well, if we did, we would not still be here. I do feel that, for the most part, the wrong questions are being asked. Here is one question that I think visitors should ask, and that is: "What are the frustrations of living in a country other than the one that you were born in?"

Good Food

Below are some images of the restaurant that we ate at the other day. We had a nice meal and a very beautiful view of the beach and the sea. At this time of year, it gets harder to find good places to eat at on the Malecon because so many of them close up for the low season. But here, we had good service, an ample menu and the food was very tasty. A little bit on the expensive side, but if we are feeling hungry and are close by,we would eat there again.

We had a nice meal here

This is the view from the restaurant 

Clean, with a good menu 

Plenty of room for a large party

Day in Guayaquil

We spent a day in Guayaquil. We used the mini van service from the Ruta Del Sol taxi company. The vans are clean and modern. The journey went by very fast as we met some very nice people from Playas that own a video store in La Libertad, which we use. Small world!
We hope to keep in contact with them because we share some interests. 
When we arrived, we had no agenda, so there was no pressure to get to a shop for this or that. We just came to have a look around and enjoy the day. As the day slipped by, we looked in the stores and bought a few things, then had lunch, and went trekking around some more stores. Before we knew it, it was time to make our way home. The day just flew by! Such a nice day, enjoyable company and conversation, and took a few pictures. Will do it again, soon.

Mary and Joseph sharing local food  
View from the pedestrian overpass

View from the pedestrian overpass

Can you guess who and where this couple is?

Answers on a post card please.

This month

April 12, 1861 - The American Civil War began as Confederate troops under the command of General Pierre Beauregard opened fire at 4:30 a.m. on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
April 12, 1945 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been President since March 4, 1933, elected to four consecutive terms and had guided America out of the Great Depression and through World War II.
April 12, 1961 - Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. He traveled aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I to an altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers) above the earth and completed a single orbit in a flight lasting 108 minutes. The spectacular Russian success intensified the already ongoing Space Race between the Russians and Americans. Twenty-three days later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. This was followed in 1962 by President Kennedy’s open call to land an American on the moon before the decade’s end.
April 12, 1981 - The first space shuttle flight occurred with the launching of Columbia with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard. Columbia spent 54 hours in space, making 36 orbits, then landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
April 13
Birthday - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Albermarle County, Virginia. He was an author, inventor, lawyer, politician, architect, and one of the finest minds of the 1700's. He authored the American Declaration of Independence and later served as the 3rd U.S. President from 1801 to 1809. He died on July 4, 1826, the same day as his old friend and one-time political rival John Adams.
April 14
April 14, 1775 - In Philadelphia, the first abolitionist society in American was founded as the "Society for the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage."'
April 14, 1828 - The first dictionary of American-style English was published by Noah Webster as the American Dictionary of the English Language.
April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and died the following morning at 7:22 a.m.
April 14, 1986 - U.S. warplanes, on orders from President Ronald Reagan, bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for the April 5th terrorist bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin in which two American soldiers were killed. Among the 37 person killed in the air raid was the infant daughter of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya's head of state.
April 15, 1817 - The first American school for the deaf was founded by Thomas H. Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc in Hartford, Connecticut.
April 15, 1912 - In the icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic with 2,224 persons on board sank at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg just before midnight. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived about two hours after Titanic went down.
April 16
April 16, 1862 - Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and appropriated $1 million to compensate owners of freed slaves.
April 16, 1995 - Iqbal Masih, a young boy from Pakistan who spoke out against child labor, was shot to death. At age four, he had been sold into servitude as a carpet weaver and spent the next six years shackled to a loom. At age ten, he escaped and began speaking out, attracting worldwide attention as a featured speaker during an international labor conference in Sweden.
Birthday - American aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) was born in Millville, Indiana. On December 17, 1903, along with his brother Orville, the Wright brothers made the first successful flight of a motor driven aircraft. It flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. By 1905, they had built a plane that could stay airborne for half an hour, performing figure eights and other aerial maneuvers. Wilbur died of Typhoid fever in May 1912.
Birthday - Film comedian Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) was born in London. He began in vaudeville and was discovered by American film producer Mack Sennett. He then went to Hollywood to make silent movies, developing the funny 'Little Tramp' film character. Chaplin's classics include The KidThe Gold RushCity Lights and Modern Times. In 1940, he made The Great Dictator poking fun at Adolf Hitler, who bore a resemblance to Chaplin. In his later years, Chaplin had a falling out with Americans, but returned in 1972 to receive a special Academy Award. In 1975, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
April 17
April 17, 1961 - A U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba failed disastrously in what became known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco. About 1,400 anti-Castro exiles invaded the island's southern coast along the Bay of Pigs but were overrun by 20,000 Cuban soldiers and jailed. Trained and guided by the U.S., the exiles had expected support from U.S. military aircraft and help from anti-Castro insurgents on the island. Instead, due to a series of mishaps, they had fended for themselves with no support. The failed invasion heightened Cold War tensions between Cuba's political ally, Soviet Russia, and the fledgling administration of President John F. Kennedy. The following year, the Russians brazenly installed nuclear missiles in Cuba resulting in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
April 17, 1989 - The Polish labor union Solidarity was granted legal status after nearly a decade of struggle, paving the way for the downfall of the Polish Communist Party. In the elections that followed, Solidarity candidates won 99 out of 100 parliamentary seats and eventually forced the acceptance of a Solidarity government led by Lech Walesa.
Birthday - American financier John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan (1837-1913) was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He displayed extraordinary management skills, reorganizing and consolidating a number of failing companies to make them profitable. His extensive interests included banking, steel, railroads and art collecting. In 1895, he aided the failing U.S. Treasury by carrying out a private bond sale among fellow financiers to replenish the treasury.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ecuador auctions off Amazon to Chinese oil firms

Ecuador auctions off Amazon to Chinese oil firms

Indigenous groups claim they have not consented to oil projects, as politicians visit Beijing to publicise bidding process
Ecuadorean Amazon
Indigenous groups in Ecuador say the planned oil projects would devastate the environment and threaten their traditional way of life. Photograph: Alamy
Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China's insatiable thirst for energy.
On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador's capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups.
Attending the roadshow were black-suited representatives from oil companies including China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil. "Ecuador is willing to establish a relationship of mutual benefit – a win-win relationship," said Ecuador's ambassador to China in opening remarks.
According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area's environment and threaten their traditional way of life.
Ecuador map
"We demand that public and private oil companies across the world not participate in the bidding process that systematically violates the rights of seven indigenous nationalities by imposing oil projects in their ancestral territories," a group of Ecuadorean organised indigenous associations wrote in an open letter last autumn.
In an interview, Ecuador's secretary of hydrocarbons, Andrés Donoso Fabara, accused indigenous leaders of misrepresenting their communities to achieve political goals. "These guys with a political agenda, they are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty," he said.
Fabara said the government had decided not to open certain blocks of land to bidding because it lacked support from local communities. "We are entitled by law, if we wanted, to go in by force and do some activities even if they are against them," he said. "But that's not our policy."
Amazon Watch said the deal would violate China's own new investment guidelines, issued jointly by the ministries of commerce and environmental protection last month. The third clause of the guidelines says Chinese enterprises should "promote harmonious development of local economy, environment and community" while operating abroad.
Fabara said he was not aware of the guidelines. "We're looking for global investors, not just investors from China," he said. "But of course Chinese companies are really aggressive. In a bidding process, they might present the winning bids."
Critics say national debt may be a large part of the Ecuadorean government's calculations. Ecuador owed China more than £4.6bn ($7bn) as of last summer, more than a tenth of its GDP. China began loaning billions of dollars to Ecuador in 2009 in exchange for oil shipments. More recently China helped fund two of its biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects. Ecuador may soon build a $12.5bn oil refinery with Chinese financing.
"My understanding is that this is more of a debt issue – it's because the Ecuadoreans are so dependent on the Chinese to finance their development that they're willing to compromise in other areas such as social and environmental regulations," said Adam Zuckerman, environmental and human rights campaigner at Amazon Watch. "The message that they're trying to send to international investors is not in line with reality."
Last July the inter-American court on human rights ruled to prohibit oil developments in the Sarayaku, a tropical rainforest territory in southern Ecuador that is accessible only by plane and canoe, in order to preserve its rich cultural heritage and biodiversity. The court also mandated that governments obtain "free, prior and informed consent" from native groups before approving oil activities on their indigenous land.
A TV news report broadcast by the US Spanish-language network Telemundo showed members of Ecuadorean native groups – some wearing traditional facepaint and headdresses – waving protest banners and scuffling with security guards outside the Ecuadorean government's roadshow stop in Houston.
"What the government's been saying as they have been offering up our territory is not true; they have not consulted us, and we're here to tell the big investors that they don't have our permission to exploit our land," Narcisa Mashienta, a women's leader of Ecuador's Shuar people,

This Month

April 7, 1712 - In New York City, 27 black slaves rebelled, shooting nine whites as they attempted to put out a fire started by the slaves. The state militia was called out to capture the rebels. Twenty one of the slaves were executed and six committed suicide.
April 8
April 8th - Among Buddhists, celebrated as the birthday of Buddha (563-483 B.C.). An estimated 350 millions persons currently profess the Buddhist faith.
April 8, 1952 - President Harry S. Truman seized control of America's steel mills to prevent a shutdown by strikers. However, on April 29th, the seizure was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court. Workers immediately began a strike lasting 53 days, ending it when they received a 16-cents per-hour wage increase and additional benefits.
April 8, 1913 - The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified requiring direct popular election of U.S. senators. Previously, they had been chosen by state legislatures.
April 8, 1990 - Ryan White died at age 18 of complications from AIDS. As a young boy, White, a hemophiliac, contracted the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome from a blood transfusion. At age ten, he was banned from school. He then moved with his mother to Cicero, Indiana, where he was accepted by the students. As his plight was publicized, he gained international celebrity status and helped promote understanding of the dreaded disease.
April 9
April 9, 1865 - After over 500,000 American deaths, the Civil War effectively ended as General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in the village of Appomattox Court House. The surrender occurred in the home of Wilmer McLean. Terms of the surrender, written by General Grant, allowed Confederates to keep their horses and return home. Officers were allowed to keep their swords and side arms.
April 9, 1866 - Despite a veto by President Andrew Johnson, the Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was passed by Congress granting blacks the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship.
Birthday - African American actor and singer Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was born in Princeton, New Jersey. Best known for his performance in The Emperor Jones, he also enjoyed a long run on Broadway in Shakespeare's Othello. In 1950, amid ongoing anti-Communist hysteria, Robeson was denied a U.S. passport after refusing to sign an affidavit on whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party.
April 10, 1942 - During World War II in the Pacific, the Bataan Death March began as American and Filipino prisoners were forced on a six-day march from an airfield on Bataan to a camp near Cabanatuan. Some 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans were forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water to the POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths.
April 10, 1945 - The Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. Located near Weimar in Germany, Buchenwald was established in July 1937 to hold criminals and was one of the first major concentration camps. It later included Jews and homosexuals and was used as a slave labor center for nearby German companies. Of a total of 238,980 Buchenwald inmates, 56,545 perished. Following its liberation, Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and other top U.S. commanders visited the sub-camp at Ohrdruf. U.S. Troops also forced German civilians from nearby towns into the camp to view the carnage.
April 10, 1998 - Politicians in Northern Ireland reached an agreement aimed at ending 30 years of violence which had claimed over 3,400 lives. Under the agreement, Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland would govern together in a new 108-member Belfast assembly, thus ending 26 years of ''direct rule'' from London.
Birthday - Publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He came to America in 1864 and fought briefly in the Civil War for the Union. He then began a remarkable career in journalism and publishing. His newspapers included the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and theNew York World. He also endowed the journalism school at Columbia University and established a fund for the Pulitzer Prizes, awarded annually for excellence in journalism.
April 11
April 11, 1968 - A week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law prohibited discrimination in housing, protected civil rights workers and expanded the rights of Native Americans.
April 11, 1970 - Apollo 13 was launched from Cape Kennedy at 2:13 p.m. Fifty-six hours into the flight an oxygen tank exploded in the service module. Astronaut John L. Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and said, "Houston, we've had a problem here." Swigert, James A. Lovell and Fred W. Haise then transferred into the lunar module, using it as a "lifeboat" and began a perilous return trip to Earth, splashing down safely on April 17th.
April 11, 1983 - Harold Washington became the first African American mayor of Chicago, receiving 51 percent of the vote. Re-elected in 1987, he suffered a fatal heart attack at his office seven months later.
Birthday - American orator Edward Everett (1794-1865) was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1863, at the dedication of the Gettysburg Battlefield, he delivered the main address, lasting two hours. He was then followed by President Abraham Lincoln who spoke for about two minutes delivering the Gettysburg Address.
April 12
April 12, 1861 - The American Civil War began as Confederate troops under the command of General Pierre Beauregard opened fire at 4:30 a.m. on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.
April 12, 1945 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been President since March 4, 1933, elected to four consecutive terms and had guided America out of the Great Depression and through World War II.
April 12, 1961 - Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. He traveled aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I to an altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers) above the earth and completed a single orbit in a flight lasting 108 minutes. The spectacular Russian success intensified the already ongoing Space Race between the Russians and Americans. Twenty-three days later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. This was followed in 1962 by President Kennedy’s open call to land an American on the moon before the decade’s end.
April 12, 1981 - The first space shuttle flight occurred with the launching of Columbia with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard. Columbia spent 54 hours in space, making 36 orbits, then landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
April 13
Birthday - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Albermarle County, Virginia. He was an author, inventor, lawyer, politician, architect, and one of the finest minds of the 1700's. He authored the American Declaration of Independence and later served as the 3rd U.S. President from 1801 to 1809. He died on July 4, 1826, the same day as his old friend and one-time political rival John Adams.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Try this in the US

Try this in the U.S.

This month we went to pay our regular bills as usual, phone, electric and water. Well, when it came to paying the water bill, we did not get a copy as usual, so we asked for a copy of the bill. We were told that they had run out of paper, and if we would like, we could pay two months next month when they would have the paper to print the bills on.
Can you imagine being told that you can pay two months next month in California or New York?

A few months ago, we had people walking around the streets and the Malecon from the health department offering free flu shots. I am just getting over a bad cold at this time, so talk about outreach, the health workers were also going door to door offering the flu shot for free. As I have said before, this government is pouring money into health care. This is also very clear with the child care and prevention programs offered to children.
Many programs like these are being underfunded and shutdown in California, putting an investment into the future of the country in jeopardy.  By providing health care to children, it is a great vote winner. Healthy children learn better and faster.

Easter Weekend

Fun for all

Not much space left here

This is a time of year that is celebrated all over the world by many people for many different reasons. The main reason would be the religious one. Other people celebrate it because they get a long weekend off from work, which becomes a time to have fun and be with your family and friends.
Then there are those that this time marks the return to school, and this is the last fling before hitting the books.
Well, here in Salinas, we have all of the above reasons to celebrate plus one. It marks the end of the summer season for Salinas, and a time when the vendors have to make that extra bit of profit to see them through the lean time. Also, this is the time that the parents are getting their kids ready for school, and a time when the city of Salinas can get the roads cleaned and repaired after the heavy traffic of people and vehicles have gone.
Stores and restaurants will be looking to make repairs and get ready to close up until the next season.

Did you get to meet these over the Easter weekend?

Promoting their new product

Tourism Volunteers.  These kids attend the University and on
Holidays, volunteer giving out tourism maps and frisbees.  We should say a big
"thank you" for all their help.

The clocks

Well, if you live in the U.S., for the most part, you will have put your clocks forward one hour.  That is a signal that you are moving into the spring and the rebirth of the countryside, blooming flowers, birds singing and crops growing. Some children are looking forward to their exams, and all being able to enjoy longer evenings.
Here in Salinas, we do not subscribe to the movement of time to accommodate the farmers and school kids. With a 360 day a year growing season and a day length which varies between 12 and 13 hours a day throughout  the year, it is not needed.

Art Show

The art show that was held at Sin Bar was not the success that it could have been due to a number of reasons. One of the reasons was the music. If you have lived or stayed here, you will understand that when they play music here they want the whole neighborhood to hear it. The vendors that were at the show were very soon left on their own, as the prospective buyers were replaced with the very young crowd that come into the bar to buy one beer and a cup and hug it for the rest of the night.
The show was a great effort and many lessons can be learned from it. So looking forward to next season, I see no reason why we would not have an art show at a different venue and time.

Looking back 

I have been going over some of the images I have in the cloud and on my computer, and I found quite a few that make me feel happy that I am where I am. I was there for the last car manufacturing plant to close down in California. Forty three hundred directly employed people were affected and indirectly the estimate was 50,000 people employed by support and service companies. That was a hard blow for the San Francisco Bay area to absorb.

Raw steel in

Steel mill

Line supply

Robot maintenance 

Steel press shop

line dollies 

rail sidings for car transporters

staging area 

Battery shop

Quality control

Quality control 

End of the line

environment inspection

last check

out of the door

panel carries 

fork lift and UAV parking

Service vehicle

Line support

receiving area

Vehicle carriers for line

Vehicle carriers for line

tools used on the line
Flat steel to panels
Panel line support area
Just a few of the fork lifts

rest area

welding robots asleep

welding robots waiting to be dismantled 

Line support area

training aid

Jigged doors 

UAV fork lift

Charging station for EVs

robots removed from the line

Paint shop

This Month

April 1
April 1, 1865 - During the American Civil War, Confederate troops of General George Pickett were defeated and cut off at Five Forks, Virginia. This sealed the fate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's armies at Petersburg and Richmond and hastened the end of the war
April 1, 1998 - A federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas, dismissed a sexual harassment case against President Bill Clinton, stating the case had no "genuine issues" worthy of trial. Although President Clinton had denied any wrongdoing, a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 1997 allowed the case to proceed, thereby establishing a precedent allowing sitting presidents to be sued for personal conduct that allegedly occurred before taking office.
April 2
April 2, 1513 - Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon sighted Florida and claimed it for the Spanish Crown after landing at the site of present day St. Augustine, now the oldest city in the continental U.S.
April 2, 1792 - Congress established the first U.S. Mint at Philadelphia.
April 2, 1863 - A bread riot occurred in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, as angry people demanded bread from a bakery wagon then wrecked nearby shops. The mob dispersed only after Confederate President Jefferson Davis made a personal plea and threatened to use force.
April 2, 1865 - General Robert E. Lee informed Confederate President Jefferson Davis that he must evacuate the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Davis and his cabinet then fled by train.
April 2, 1982 - The beginning of the Falkland Islands War as troops from Argentina invaded and occupied the British colony located near the tip of South America. The British retaliated and defeated the Argentineans on June 15, 1982, after ten weeks of combat, with about 1,000 lives lost.
Birthday - Fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born in Odense, Denmark. He created 168 fairy tales for children including the classics The Princess and the PeaThe Snow Queen and The Nightingale.
Birthday - French writer Emile Zola (1840-1902) was born in Paris. His works included a series of 20 books known as the Rougon-Macquart Novels in which he defined men and women as products of heredity and environment, portraying them as victims of their own passions and circumstances of birth. In his later years, he became involved in resolving the Dreyfus affair, a political-military scandal in which Captain Alfred Dreyfus had been wrongly accused of selling military secrets to the Germans was sent to Devil's Island.
April 3
April 3, 1860 - In the American West, the Pony Express service began as the first rider departed St. Joseph, Missouri. For $5 an ounce, letters were delivered 2,000 miles to California within ten days. The famed Pony Express riders each rode from 75 to 100 miles before handing the letters off to the next rider. A total of 190 way stations were located about 15 miles apart. The service lasted less than two years, ending upon the completion of the overland telegraph.
April 3, 1865 - The Confederate capital of Richmond surrendered to Union forces after the withdrawal of General Robert E. Lee's troops.
April 3, 1944 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that African Americans can not be barred from voting in the Texas Democratic primaries. The Court stated that discrimination against blacks violates the 15th Amendment and that political parties are not private associations.
April 3, 1948 - President Harry S. Truman signed the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, intended to stop the spread of Communism and restore the economies of European countries devastated by World War II. Over four years, the program distributed $12 billion to the nations of Western Europe. The program was first proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall during a historic speech at Harvard University on June 5, 1947.
April 3, 1995 - Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to preside over the Court, sitting in for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist who was out of town.
Birthday - American writer Washington Irving (1783-1859) was born in New York City. His works include; Rip Van WinkleThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow and historical biographies such as theLife of Washington.
Birthday - Tammany Hall 'Boss' William M. Tweed (1823-1878) was born in New York City. From 1851 to 1871, his 'Tweed Ring' of political corruption looted millions from New York City, bringing the city to the verge of bankruptcy. Methods included padding city bills by 85 percent and writing checks to non-existent persons and companies. His power was broken after a series of critical editorial cartoons by Thomas Nast were published in Harper's Weekly magazine. Tweed was arrested and convicted on charges of larceny and forgery. He died in prison.
April 4
April 4, 1887 - The first woman mayor was elected in the U.S. as Susanna M. Salter became mayor of Argonia, Kansas.
April 4, 1949 - Twelve nations signed the treaty creating NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.
April 4, 1968 - Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. As head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he had championed non-violent resistance to end racial oppression and had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He is best remembered for his I Have a Dream speech delivered at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. That march and King's other efforts helped the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1986, Congress established the third Monday in January as a national holiday in his honor.
Birthday - American social reformer Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) was born in Hampden, Maine. She founded a home for girls in Boston while only in her teens and later crusaded for humane conditions in jails and insane asylums. During the American Civil War, she was superintendent of women nurses.
Birthday - Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (1884-1943) was born in Nagaoko, Honshu. He was the main strategist behind the failed Japanese attack on Midway Island in June of 1942, which turned the course of the war against Japan. He was killed on April 18, 1943, after Americans intercepted radio reports of his whereabouts and shot down his plane.
April 5, 1986 - A bomb exploded at a popular discotheque frequented by American military personnel in West Berlin, killing two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman. American intelligence analysts attributed the attack to Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. Nine days later, President Ronald Reagan ordered a retaliatory air strike against Libya.
Birthday - African American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia. Freed by the Civil War, he taught himself the alphabet and eventually graduated from an agricultural institute. In June of 1881, he was asked to become the principal of a new training school for blacks at Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Institute began in single building with 30 students but through his efforts grew into a modern university.
April 6
April 6, 1896 - After a break of 1500 years, the first Olympics of the modern era was held in Athens, Greece.
April 6, 1917 - Following a vote by Congress approving a declaration of war, the U.S. enteredWorld War I in Europe.
April 6, 1994 - The beginning of genocide in Rwanda as a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. They had been meeting to discuss ways of ending ethnic rivalries between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. After their deaths, Rwanda descended into chaos, resulting in genocidal conflict between the tribes. Over 500,000 persons were killed with two million fleeing the country.
Birthday - Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520) was born in Urbino, Italy. He created some of the world's greatest masterpieces including 300 pictures with a Madonna theme. He died on his 37th birthday in Rome.