Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mexico is Like New York City

I've spoken to people who have lived in New York City. I've asked about their experience visiting some of the landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, museums, going up the tall buildings like the Empire State Building, and before they were destroyed, the twin towers. I've also seen this mentioned in movies, television, and print. People who live there don't visit these places. It's an "I'll get around to it, eventually" attitude.

I don't know how many others do this, but I have the same attitude towards crossing the border. I don't remember the last time I went to Reynosa. It's been over a year, maybe two. It's not a bad place. I lived there a couple summers as a kid. The border is right there. It's pretty cheap to cross over and come back. I would save money by shopping for some stuff over there. The problem is that it's just so inconvenient to go. It's not on the way anywhere; I'd have to go there to get there. I have no compelling reason to go. I have no relatives there. I have no business to conduct there. I don't have enough consecutive free time to devote to going there, doing whatever it is I could do, and then cross back. If I were to go, it would be just for the sake of going.

That brings me back to how New Yorkers don't visit their own tourist attractions. If they were to go, it would be just because. You can put off just because indefinitely because there is no urgency to it. I feel more urgency in catching a movie, going to a park, or going for a bike ride. And those things are more convenient. So, I'll probably go to Mexico at some point. Perhaps if somebody who's never been asks me to take them. Who knows, maybe I'll be so bored one day I'll go just to see what's up.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Future Hurricane Flooding Prevention

According to Arturo Duran of the IBWC, flooding could be a problem if a hurricane were to directly hit us in the Rio Grande Valley. Just a reminder to residents and for anybody looking into moving to the RGV, we live in a valley. Our region is flood prone. We do have levees and drainage canals in place to reduce flooding. Apparently our current system is due for upgrades, which according the the article, can be done incrementally. So, with a little work by the IBWC, the feds, local counties, and municipalities, we can reduce the threat of severe flooding over time. Hidalgo recently realized that their levees have been neglected and have asked to have some work done.

The reason that we can take our time on these projects is that once you have a drainage canal dug, you don't have to redig it. You simply need to dredge it once in a while to clear out mud and vegetation. Here is an example of our government looking out for us.

Local Outlet Mall on the Way

Mercedes, Texas will be the next place to have an outlet mall. They will be the only city in the Rio Grande Valley to boast such an addition. This will be great for shoppers who would otherwise travel to San Marcos to shop. Now, we will only have to travel to Mercedes for great products at even better prices. Mercedes attempts in the past have fallen through, but have now got a firm commitment.

No doubt that this is a great coup by Mercedes in capturing the Mexican tourist dollars. The company that will develop the outlet mall owns another outlet mall in Mexico City. Therefore, the Mexican market is already familiar with their premier stores and would already know what to expect.

Prior to this, the biggest news was the merger of Foley's into Macy's. That's got to have some attraction for high ticket shoppers.

To recap, this deal would keep our dollars in the RGV and would also capture tourist dollars that would have wound up in San Marcos. Great job, Mercedes!

McAllen Area Housing Strong

Here is some more good news about the economic growth in the Rio Grande Valley. I've even met a guy who read job growth reports and came to the RGV because we have had strong job growth and economic expansion.

Some of the growth in the McAllen area is attributed to an expansion of the retail and medical base. From an economic perspective, retail expansion is only temporary. In a bad economy, retail shrinks. The medical base, on the other hand, has better staying power. People get sick in any economy and those who can afford health insurance will have it in good or bad times. It's been my theory that the Regional Academic Health Center would contribute to economic growth for the RGV. By attracting and retaining high-income talent to the area, we need more support personnel like nurses, medical billers, medical labs, home health care, and so much more. None of these are low wage jobs. This in turn, helps sustain things like recreation and shopping. Prior to the RAHC, the best improvement in the Rio Grande Valley was the addition of Pan American University to the University of Texas system. That raised educational standards and has resulted in a great deal more local talent.

After UTPA, the next best addition was South Texas Community College, now called South Texas College. The reason STC was such a boon to our economy is because it is more affordable than UTPA. In some instances, STC graduates were being hired faster with associate's degrees than UTPA graduates with Bachelor's.

Something that is left out of this is the impact of Mexican residents who own a second home in the McAllen area. Working in the retail sector, I see many vehicles pull up to the shop with Texas plates and tell-tale signs of being Mexican (Bancomer/Banamex credit cards, well dressed, talking about going back home in a few days). The growth of McAllen is attracting a lot of foreign nationals who would have otherwise travelled on to San Antonio for weekend shopping.

Another thing is the increase of violence on the Mexican side of the border. Many people send their families to live in the RGV for fear of having them held for ransom. These residents make their money elsewhere and spend it here. That has to help our local economy too.

Claim to Flame, Stop the Hate

originally uploaded by shainelee.
I recently set up as a way of combatting bogus websites and one site that provides information on 1 single issue regarding Mission, Tx. In less than 1 week I was able to get hate mail. I agree with helping the people who are suffering the effects of chemical contamination. I just don't think it should be a political cause, using these people as pawns to push an environmental movement. When you get groups such as La Raza Unida, and United Farm Workers involved in things like this, their self glorification drowns out the help they may be giving. The picture shown here has three links to LRU, UFW, and CHEJ. You also see the start of an ad to the Dos Centavos blog. There is also a plug for the Mission-Texas blog, which does NOT allow any comments from visitors. Can't stand dissent.

Here is the latest mail I got:

I linked your site from our blog. Below is what it says.


I heard about another Mission site that mentioned our site within it.
It is: This is what they had to say about us:

" You would think that this would be a community oriented site. It's a single issue website run by La Raza UnidaK. This site is dedicated to the quest to prove that the pesticide plant on Holland is the cause for cancer for residents in the area. They also have a blog at"

Firstly, thank you for your link. I wanted to know that your opinion inspired me to address the chisme going around the town of Mission about our cause. Here are most popular lies about us/it:

Lie #1 - The contamination is only around the areas where the bodegas are located.

The constant Valley breeze, rains and floods exposed a radius of many miles of land and communities to these contaminants. These chemical mixing and production plants were in production for over 40 years, not to mention the chemical train spills that occurred in those areas and around other parts.

Lie #2 - WE aren't community oriented.

Then why are we comprised of literally thousands from the community?

Lie #3 - We are run by La Raza Unida.

We team up with La Raza Unida, United Farm Workers, the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, the Esperanza Center, MECha, Sierra Club, Environmental Working Group, La Nueva Raza, and individual activists throughout the counrty. The website is run by la Adelita.

Lie #4 - We are on a quest to prove contamination.

The contamination has been proven by EPA, TCEQ, Shaw, and countless Toxicologists and Scientists. You can go to and click on their links. The federal records were at the Mission Library and have since oh so mysteriously been moved to McAllen. Tests and geographic studies are still being conducted.

Thank you for the link, Just remember that denial is the first stage. Don't feel bad about it though, it is a perfectly normal first reaction.

Posted by Adelita to la plática at 7/30/2005 11:24:00 AM

Prior to this, I got:

It is a good site. Accentuating the Hike and Bike Trail is a great
idea, nature in deed should be visited and appreciated.

Obviously you have not visited and really read anything on our website.

Apparently you're just another sheep in their flock. Maybe one day
you'll understand, but then again maybe not.

Good luck in life, stay healthy and learn about your environment.

God Bless,


Thursday, July 28, 2005 is Born!

In an effort to fight the use of city names to provide useless information, I have bought and set up The site will contain useful information about and from Mission, Texas. Please visit the site to find out more.

RGV Links Added

I added some RGV links to the blog. I tried to find useful links. Some use the RGV name in vain and only put up affiliate links to websites OUTSIDE of the RGV. How useless is that?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

I am taking the kids to the Santa Ana NWA today to see some nature. The real reason is that children need exposure to new germs and other natural things like pollen in order to build a resistance to disease. If you raise your kid entirely indoors and never give him or her an opportunity to get dirty, your kid will face all kinds of allergies and illnesses as an adult.

A visit to the outdoors is also fun and they get to run around. I'll bring more information about our trip when we return.

How it Went

We arrived at the refuge and parked close to the office. There weren't many people there. We sprayed ourselves with insect repellent and got our water bottles. The weather was sunny and a bit humid. You could really feel the heat if you stood in the sun. The temperature in the shade was great. We paid our $3 entrance fee. The charge is $3 per group; what a bargain! So, we headed out on the tour loop because the foot trails right outside the office are closed due to repairs. We took the C trail, which goes about 2 miles. It passes by a couple of low areas that become lakes. Despite the recent hurricane, there wasn't much lake. The trails were still slightly muddy, especially the shaded areas.

Here is something to remember about nature trails in the Rio Grande Valley. This applies to the nature trails at Santa Ana NWR, at Bentsen Park, or elsewhere. Open areas are breezy. Tree covered areas are not breezy. We were doing great out in the open areas where the "lakes" are located. Once we got into the wooded area it became a sauna. We've experienced this in the past. Apparently we don't learn. We couldn't get out of the wooded area fast enough. Really, Magnus, who is three years old, slowed us down a bit. I could have carried him, but part of the purpose of taking him and his sister out there was for exercise. He bravely put in his 2 miles.

It's a good idea to stay out of the trails so soon after having received so much rain. The humidity is high, which leaves you hot and sweaty in 2 minutes. Another side effect of the recent rain is the large number of mosquitos. I had to walk behind the three year old to swat the mosquitos away from him. They were following him in bunches like you often see gnats. The bug spray we used kept most of them off, but they still followed.

Tien, my 10 year old daughter, learned that you should not take sandals on a hike. I warned her prior to leaving to get some sneakers. She made up a lame excuse. So being the great parent that I am, I let her go in sandals so that she would learn the hard way. Sure enough, she got blisters. This isn't a Rio Grande Valley thing. I think anywhere you go for a long walk will cause blisters with inadequate footware.

By the time we reached the tour loop to head out of the park, we were all flushed, sweaty, and itchy. Here is perhaps a perverse thing to enjoy. You should see the happy look on your children's faces when they see that their suffering is nearly over. We still had a long walk ahead of us on the paved tour loop. The good thing was that the paved trail is wide and allows wind to come down and cool us off. There is no mud. There are fewer mosquitos. All we had to do was head north to the parking lot. They did not complain because it was an easy walk compared to what we had just endured.

We had a good time, believe it or not. Both children had been bugging me since Monday to take them there. It rained Monday, so that was scratched. So, I finally got them to the Santa Ana NWR. It's rewarding to challenge the kids a little on occasion and have them meet the challenge.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Going Out in the RGV

Going out in the RGV gives you many options. After a long week of slave work, you need to relax and have a good time. So, where do you go? Luckily, we have many options depending on your tastes.

Want to relax, have a few drinks, and chat?
Try Pepe's on the River in Mission. You have two choices there. You can go to the New Pepe's on the River, which is an outdoor restaurant and bar that overlooks the Rio Grande River, which, if you're new here, is called Rio Bravo on the Mexican side. On occasion you will see Border Patrol boats travelling up and down the river to protect our country. The New Pepe's on the River has people of all ages. You'll see children, teens, adults, and seniors hanging out there. They have live music and on some weekends hold special events.

Right next to the New Pepe's on the River is Pepe's Back Yard. This appeals to younger crowds who like to dance. Pepe's Back Yard also overlooks the Rio Grande. The dance floor is outdoors, the bar is indoors. You won't see kids or grandparents here.

Want to dance, drink, and meet people?
Then you want to visit some of the clubs listed in RGV Clubs. Some of the clubs can be a little ghetto and some are really nice. One thing to keep in mind is that they will all throw in the occasional International dance mix due to our proximity to the border. Be prepared to swap Myspace info with others if you have an account. If you don't, sign up and start making friends.

Interested in having a nice dinner?
Both ends of the RGV, McAllen and Brownsville, offer many good restaurants. There is not a site that I know of that has the best places to go. Of course, you'll find a Bennigan's, Outback, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Tony Roma's, Johnny Carino's, and a myriad of other well known eateries. There are also local gems that you would enjoy.

There is Fresco's in McAllen. Fresco's is a New York style Italian restaurant. The owners moved here from New York City to semi-retire and wound up opening another restaurant.

For Chinese, there are plenty of restaurants; most of them are buffet. If you want full-service Chinese (with waiters and all that), go to China Wok in McAllen. Their top dish is the General Chow chicken. They sell over 1000 pounds per week. They also offer some original creations that you won't get anywhere else. If you like spicy, you have to try the Jalapeno Chicken or Jalapeno beef. They also have the Amazing Chicken dish. These are Chinese adaptations to our local tastes. My mouth waters as I write this.

For Mexican food, your best bet is to go to Miguel Aleman, Reynosa, Las Flores, or Matamoros. The Mexican food on this side is, shall we say, limited. The food tastes good, but is usually only the "well known" dishes. You rarely see Mexican Restaurants try anything new. If you cross the border, you'll see that Mexicans eat much more than enchiladas, mole (pronounced mo-ley, don't stress the y), tacos, carne guisada, and chile relleno. Try tacos de bistek, menudo, cabrito, lonche de aguacate, fish soup, catan (fried gar fish), fruit cocktails, trolebuses, and so many other things.

What about a day at the beach?
Great idea! South Padre Island has so much to offer as far as activities are concerned. Pick up a copy of Coastal Current Weekly at any restaurant or location that offers the free publication. You'll find parasailing, horseback riding, go-karts, scuba diving and snorkeling, bungee jumping, and so many more things to do. One thing you MUST do if you do go to the island is visit Louie's Backyard. Like they say, "It doesn't get any better than Louie's".

What if I want to do nature stuff?
We do have wildlife preserves like the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. We also have the Lower RGV National Wildlife Refuge. There is also the World Birding Center. The island has the legacy of the "turtle lady" at Sea Turtle, Inc. And don't forget to visit the UT-Pan American Coastal Studies Laboratory. There are more nature places to visit if you look around.

There are places for all kinds of weekend activities. You can learn about the RGV history. You can see dog races. You can see drag races. There is bowling, laser tag, paintball, and all other kinds of activities available for you. No single town in the Rio Grande Valley has it all. As one large MSA (metropolitan statistical area) we have much to offer for your entertainment.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Eminent Domain Back on Track

During the first special session the eminent domain bill made it out of the house but got stuck in negotiations before approval by the senate. Rep. Aaron Peña has resubmitted the bill in the second special session to ensure that property owners are protected from local government taking their property to give to corporate developers who will increase the tax base. The government is able take your property for public works like roads, civic centers, etc. Now, due to the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the government can take your land and give it to somebody else to build a hotel, mall, or plaza on the premise that those owners will provide more tax revenue than you would if you owned it.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Rio Grande Valley has Agricultural Economy

The Rio Grande Valley is a rising star as far as population and job growth are concerned. The great outlook of our cities outshines the fact that this region is largely agriculutural in nature. Our region used to be called the Magic Valley because of our area's ability to grow all kinds of crops all year around.

The Magic Valley does have some staple crops that will be seen as you drive around. My hometown of Mission, Texas is the home of the Ruby Red grapefruit. This area also produces other citrus, such as oranges, lemons, limes, and even hybrids of those.

Other agricultural products you will find are onions, watermelon, tomato, cabbage, and a so much more. Some crops are harvested in the summer and others are harvested in our winter, depending on their heat tolerance.

We have had some trouble with agriculture recently due to irrigation. Mainly, our neighbors to the south have been hoarding water reserves that feed into the Rio Grande and provide irrigation to downstream farmers on both sides of the border. This is in direct violation of water treaties and is damaging to farmers of both countries. There is a commission in charge of sorting these things out and they are always working to ensure fairness.

As you drive around between cities, you will see evidence of our area's agricultural heritage. The price you pay for this is through cheaper produce at the grocery store. Many stores will buy vegetables that come straight from the farm. If we don't grow it, Mexico does and their stuff is readily available.

Pre-Hurricane Emily Update

Here is a recording prior to the arrival of hurricane Emily.

Click Here

Monday, July 18, 2005

Useful Information for Hurricane Preparation

At this time, the Rio Grande Valley is preparing for Hurricane Emily. If you need sandbags, you can stop at for information. Our news stations have all the necessary info. You can also check out Team 4 News

South Padre Island will be evacuated. For now, they are asking RVs to get off the island. There are no road closings yet. Businesses, I hear, will be closed during the storm or earlier to allow employees to prepare.

I was speaking to a driver from AOC (Acetylene Oxygen Company) at work today, he says that they've been stocking up oxygen for hospitals. The normal order is about 8 cylinders of Oxygen. Their typical order this week is 30 cylinders. That's one of the preparations that doesn't typically come to mind to most of us.

Plywood is scarce. Earlier today, an older gentleman had plywood stolen off his truck when he stopped to return some movies. The thieves only left him with a couple of sheets of plywood.

People are moving plants and lawn furniture indoors. Low vehicles are being parked on higher ground as flooding is a problem even without a hurricane.

Business at the restaurants is slow. The streets are not empty, but they don't have the typical level of traffic.

There are reports that the dams upriver will be releasing water to help accomodate the sudden increase of water from the expected rain. According to estimates, we can expect about 5 inches of rain from Emily. We would normally get 5 inches of rain in a rainy month. Suffice it to say, we will get wet.

The big question on people's mind is "how close will the storm come?" Things will be tough either way. If the storm goes south as expected, we will get most of the rain coming off the coast. Flood damage is likely. If the eye of the storm hits the Rio Grande Valley, we will see some wind damage.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

RGV Cost of Living is Lower

In business school, you learn that you can keep more money by doing one of two things. You earn more; or, you spend less. The Rio Grande Valley may be able to help you on both counts, maybe.

In the earning more front, our region is undergoing rapid growth. There are many reasons for the population growth. My main interest in this case is economic growth.

In recent years, our state has begun working on what is called the Regional Academic Health Center, or RAHC. This is supposed to get more physicians to do their residency requirements in the Rio Grande Valley. The theory is that if they learn here they will stay here to practice. After all, the RGV is underserved by medicine. It's nice to attibute economic growth to a growing population. I do, however believe that there is more at play here. Population alone won't cut it insofar as economic expansion goes. China, after all, has a population of over 1 Billion and we still make more money than they do. So, where I am going with this is that with more doctors, you need more nurses, more receptionists, more pharmaceutical reps, and more home health care services. Indirectly, you need better restaurants, stores, homes, and other things to provide high income people, such as doctors a means of spending their money. Of course, with more doctors you also need more lawyers to sue the doctors. Docs who marry will have nannies and landscapers and other hired help.

The Rio Grande Valley has many legal AND illegal workers that it's pretty cheap to get most things done. If you pay a housekeeper from Mexico on a visitor's visa $100 per week, she can make a fair living. Many contractors hire undocumented carpenters, painters, roofers, and whatever else is needed to make your home.

Food is not very expensive here either. The RGV grows many kinds of food and is the first stop of many Mexican imports that cost a great deal more North of here. If you want to eat a nice restaurant and have a limited budget, head across the border to Mexico and you can swing a decent night.

Are you looking for a place to build your home? You can still find acres of land for sale by owner. These are great for developing or just for building your homestead.

The point of all this is that high income jobs are coming to the Rio Grande Valley for those qualified for the jobs. Labor will still remain cheap. Food is cheap. Land is cheap. So, not only are some people earning more, they are keeping more of what they earn. We are still adding well paying jobs to the Rio Grande Valley. If you can find one here, you should definitely consider moving here.

Language in the RGV

If you live in the Rio Grande Valley, you know about what I will write. If you are new or plan on moving to the Rio Grande Valley, you should know. When you drive around, you will see businesses will have signs in either English or Spanish. English dominates as it is the preferred language for business. What you don't see you will hear.

Our region has its own language, often called Tex-Mex. It is neither English nor Spanish. Many residents of the RGV are not aware that they do not speak Spanish very well because most of us who live here understand what they mean. If you are interested in learning Tex-Mex, forget it. There is no official course of any sort. Learn Spanish and the Tex-Mex will work itself out in time. It draws from both languages. So, if you have a basic knowledge of both languages, you can derive Tex-Mex.

The reason that there is no official Tex-Mex language is because it is mostly invented on the spot. If you are speaking mostly Spanish to somebody and are stuck for a Spanish word, you either say the English word or make the English word sound Spanish-like. You can do the same thing for English. Just insert some made up word when stuck for a proper English word.

There are tons of articles written on the topic. This article links to the most recent in The Monitor, our local newspaper.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Preparing for Hurricane Emily

It looks like Emily has become the strongest July hurricane on record in the Atlantic. She has become a category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph. So far, the Rio Grande Valley is in her projected path for Wednesday. Of course, she could always change course and hit to the North or the South of us. If she hits South, we can expect some heavy rain. If she hits to the North, we will have rain but not as much. Of course, if she comes straight for Brownsville, it will be the first hit since the 1960's. From what we hear from people who were around back then, there was waist deep flooding throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Let it serve as a reminder that we live in a valley. On a good note, our drainage has improved considerably since the 1960's.

Local stores are already preparing the necessary goods for people to prepare for the storm. Commonly, you can expect to need water, batteries, canned goods or dry goods, and for good measure, fuel up your vehicle. Your vehicle can serve as an electric generator if you plug in a power inverter. You can do something as simple as light up a main room at home to running appliances with a really powerful inverter.

For now, only time will tell if we will get a direct hit or just lots of rain. We'll be watching and waiting.

Harry Potter Midnight Release at Barnes and Noble

Tonight, my family and I attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. The bookstore was packed with people and there were all kinds of activities. Listen to my reports on location.

Arrival at Barnes and Noble

Half Hour Before Midnight

After Midnight at Barnes and Noble

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Corruption is a Part of RGV

The Rio Grande Valley does not have a monopoly on corruption of public officials. This sort of thing happens everywhere. We do, however, seem to have it happen more often than other places. Our most recent instance is with former Sherrif Conrado Cantu. This is probably attributable to the proximity of the border and the inherent problems of having it poorly protected. Drug trafficking is a part of our local economy. The first big hurdle is crossing the drugs over the border. There are often instances of people storing tons of pot or cocaine in their homes as staging areas before the next leg of transportation. A lot of money goes through the RGV. A lot of money goes into "greasing the wheels" too.

This is not to say that all of our officials are corrupt. We do have some great public servants and many mediocre ones. There are a few corrupt officials out there, which tarnishes the rest of our local government, afer all, the corrupt don't operate in a vacuum.

One thing that is rampant in our local government is Compadre Politics. If you have a connection with somebody, by friendship of family, you can often get things done that most people can't. I've had the occasional offer to have a ticket taken care of by so and so's dad, or Judge this or other. Of course, I don't accept the offer. You never know when somebody will want a favor back, one that I can't refuse.

Despite the occasional corruption ring that springs up, the Rio Grande Valley is still a great place to live. For the most part, our local goverment works well. During emergencies, our people are on the ball. During hurricanes, our commissioners and other officials put in long hours to ensure that we are all prepared. After hurricanes, they put in a lot of overtime to get things back to normal. For sure, our local governments do a good job. It just happens that corruption does crop up often.

Eminent Domain a Slam Dunk

According to Rep. Pena, eminent domain in the Texas Legislature's special session was a alam dunk 132 to 0 vote. This means that Texans need not worry about commercial enterprises buying out private property through eminent domain as allowed by the recent Supreme Court ruling.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Tuition Revenue Bonds for UTPA in Play

In State Rep. Aaron Pena's recent blog entry, he has disclosed that UTPA has made a request for $29.9 million in tuition revenue bonds. These bonds allow the University to raise money to construct buildings and other structures and would be paid by future tuitions. Since Pan American joined the UT system, the university has undergone remarkable growth in attendance and construction. Recently, UTPA has been expanding its footprint and is poised to move into the new acquisitions. The request, according to Rep. Pena, is in HB 6 and has a standalone backup in HB 36.

Links Updated

I have added some news links to the RGV Life blog in order to provide more information resources for those who have moved out or are looking to relocate to the Rio Grande Valley.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Flat as can be

The lower Rio Grande Valley is flat. We really don't have any significant hills or elevated areas. The hills don't start until you go towards Rio Grande City. From there, on the Mexican side, you can see the Sierra Madre on a clear day. This can be problematic for some things like mountain biking, rock climbing, and soap box derbies. From the expressway in McAllen, you can triangulate your location relative to the city by using the Bentsen Tower, Neuhaus Tower, and the Texas State Bank building, the 3 tallest buildings for miles and miles. So, to summarize, the RGV is flat.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Diseases of the RGV

I don't want to scare off anybody thinking about moving to the RGV. Our region is just as healthy as any other. The only difference is that we have some diseases that are not a problem in other parts of the country. Some are communicable, others are not.

Of the non-communicable diseases that are rampant in the RGV, there is diabetes. Many of us here are descended from both European and native people. You'll find many mestizos around. The bodies of native Americans don't handle refined sugars and flours too well and end up getting diabetes. Obesity is pretty common here, and so is diabetes.

The next major disease is tuberculosis. Our schools test children for exposure often to keep the disease in check. In addition, our counties have clinics set up to help control TB. Much of the TB that we get is from people visiting from Mexico and from areas of poverty here on this side. Since treatment is provided free by the county, your chances of contracting the disease are small. Even if you do, it's treatable.

Finally, one disease that we still have, suprisingly, is leprosy. I think it is called Hansen's Disease to give it a nicer sound. Leprosy, I understand, is also treatable. It is rare compared to tuberculosis. Just thought that you should know that it does exist in our area and also gets treated.

Don't let the knowledge that these illnesses exist stop you from coming to the Rio Grande Valley. In most public places, you are safe. The availability of treatment keeps the bad stuff in check. With diabetes, you can prevent it with having a good lifestyle.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Dating in the RGV

One curious difference in the RGV from the rest in the country has to do with dating. There is a difference in terms and a difference in significance. Let's start with the significance.

It is possible for friends to go out together, as in a boy and a girl, without commitment. It is however, rare. Going out mostly means that there is some level of commitment. In fact, going out implies some exclusivity. Whereas in other parts of the country, there is going out, going steady, and engagement. In the RGV, there is going steady and engagement. Going out happens when you go on a date with somebody. You can go out on dates with several people with no serious commitment implied or demanded. Once you go steady, you exclusively date somebody. You keep doing that until you decide to break up or get engaged. Engagement is the final step before marriage. I don't think that further explanation is required for either engagement and marriage.

In the RGV the terms are a bit mixed. In the local culture, you "go around" with somebody before having a date. Going around means going steady. So basically, you could jump from being acquainted to going steady before even having a first date. So, if you accept a date, beware that it involves a little more than just having some fun. Don't even mention going steady unless you want a blank stare.

So there you have it. Instead of a 3 step process, it's truncated to 2 steps. Be aware that the terms are a bit different, and you'll do fine.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Other Blogs

Just some that I remember off the top of my head not including this one. These services are all helpful to finding friends.

There is also

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I've been playing around with one of those online networking sites, It's a great way to find people and hook keep in touch with friends and then find friends of friends. It's cool how you can network. It's a real example of six degrees of separation. You can visit my profile at to find my friends and go from there. Best of all is that you can find people from your school or from your class.

My co-worker, Krystal, just got on and is enjoying it. She already has more friends than I do. I am sad.
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