Yemenity2010's Blog

Viva México! Men varför just idag?

Posted in Tema: Latinamerika by yemenity2010 on 16/09/2015

Det är idag det är. Inte femte maj, vilket många – framförallt amerikaner – tror. Mexikos nationaldag. Anledningen att jag själv bestämt mig för att försöka hålla reda på just detta, är väl främst att jag gifte mig med en mexikanska för några år sedan. 16 september alltså. Men varför? Jo, tidigt på morgonen denna dag, anno 1810, hov en herre vid namn Miguel Hidalgo upp sin röst i provinsen Guanajuato (belägen ganska centralt i landet, en del som ibland benämns ”Mexikos navel”) och uppmanade till uppror mot den spanska kronan som kontrollerade territoriet (liksom så många andra delar av kontinenten). Hidalgo själv fick plikta med sitt liv för sin uppstudsighet i mars året efter, men processen var igång och självständigheten som nation uppnåddes ett drygt decennium senare, år 1821 efter en serie bataljer och slikt som hörde till mönstret för de flesta områden som strävade efter – och till slut lyckades med – oberoende från just det långlivade spanska imperiet.

Mer om detta, inklusive en del ytterligare länkar vidare, finns på hemsidan för universitetet i Guadalajara i Mexiko. Obs! Ja, det är på spanska. Så ock informationen om frihetskampen på sidan México Desconocido. Femte maj då? Det berömda ”Cinco de mayo”-firandet utgår från ett slag 1861, då en fransk styrka invaderade landet, som slutat betala av på sina räntor för statliga lån som tagits från fransoser och andra. Trots numerär underlägsenhet och allmänt dåliga odds vann mexikanerna striden – men inte kriget. Då. Fransoserna intog senare huvudstaden Mexico City och behöll kontrollen ett par år till. Innan den inplanterade europeiske kejsaren Maximilian själv fick bita i det sura gräset…

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Aztec Odyssé 2014 – Brief Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized by yemenity2010 on 24/08/2014

IMG_7463Yes, it’s been a while since I published anything on this particular page. Came back from vacations in Mexico in the end of July, started working again almost immediately and now and then I’m finding the time to sort through the material I gathered over there. I am planning to write a few lines now and then during the fall, focusing on different aspects of culture, commerce, tourist attractions and society as a whole in Mexico with some incursions into southern Texas. Ojalá. Now, here are a just a few previews.

 

Like the Pyramid of the Sun at the arqueological site of Teotihuacán, a once important city founded by, well, no one really seems to be sure of that, but for some reason it was abandoned before the rise of the powerful Aztec civilization that ruled the center of what is now Mexico, at the time of arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.

staty-mante1Public art installations, or statues, or whatever you prefer to call them – they seem to be an integral part of most Mexican cities. And smaller towns (which in this country could mean everything from a few thousand to some 100 000 inhabitants or so). Mante, in the souther part of Tamaulipas state, has quite a few interesting examples of public monuments. Here’s one. In this case, it’s a symbol of something I haven’t figured out yet. But I am working on it…

 

And of course, as a Swede you can’t fail to notice the great cultural impact we have had on the world as a whole. Wherever you go, there’s got to be some proof of that. Or, as displayed here by my wife, culinary impact. As indicated by this exquisite gourmet product, found on the mily-pepparkakor1shelves at a well-known ‘here you can find almost anything’-store in the southern part of Texas. Swedish thins, or as we tend to label them: pepparkakor. Which literally means pepper cookies, even though they seldom contain pepper.

 

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

Note: I have already published a few other photos from Teotihuacán and Mante at The Dharma Derivative.

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Happier Days, Not So Long Ago…

Posted in Blog Entry in English by yemenity2010 on 30/06/2014

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World Cup is over for Mexico, since yesterday. Healing from the wounds, Mexicans could look back to their victory last Monday, when they defeated Croatia 3-1 and qualified for the second round. OK, that’s already history. And the disappointment from being Robben-ed in injury time against the Dutch will likely stay for a while. However, when they do have a reason to celebrate, they do know how to celebrate… At least judging from these scenes in central Mexico City a week ago.

 

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When Mexicans Go Dutch

Posted in Blog Entry in English, Tema: Latinamerika by yemenity2010 on 29/06/2014

Somewhere along the border. The one between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico. We’re south of the border, visiting my wife’s family after a few days in the metropolis known as Mexico City. More on that experience later, preferably accompanied by some pictures, which I haven’t gotten around to uploading so far.

Preview of possible coming attractions: we watched part of the World Cup game Mexico-Croatia the other day at the Zócalo, the grand plaza in the historic centre of the Mexican capital. Then we got to see joyful fans celebrating the victory at another historic monument, El angel de la indepencia. And when Mexicans celebrate, they celebrate…

Now, halfway through the game against Holland in the second round, spirits seem high as well, even though we’re not surrounded but thousands of fans this time… And it just got higher. Mexico just took the lead through a magnificent effort by Giovanni dos Santos. Which means, if this stands, the manager Sr Herrera might get a raise. Apparently he earns less than all his colleagues in this World Cup.

Apart from that, there are some nice surprises in this tournament. Colombia advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time by defeating Uruguay, who apparently lacked some bite, in the absence of the controversial attacker Luis Suárez, sent home after… well, you know the story. Costa Rica could do the same, if they do what every football fan in their right mind would want them to do; send the Greeks back home this afternoon. I mean, Greece? How did they get this far?

Still feeling sorry for Ecuador, who really lost their best chances of advancing in the last seconds in their opening game against the Swiss. Who, by the way, also deserves a ticket back home sooner rather than later. Algeria, another positive revelation. France, obviously in a completely different state than they’ve been in the last big championships. And more entertaining to watch than I remember seeing since… 1986, maybe?

Could the heat be affecting the Dutch more than the Mexicans? Topic raised in this household, in this border town where the heat is something you almost wear as a second skin this time of year. Fans and air conditioning help  you breath more easily indoors. Breathing, yes… It´s getting harder every minute here while the Dutch keep on trying to break the Mexican defences, not least the heroic goalkeeper Ochoa, who already made some legendary saves in this tournament.

…but even couldn’t save Mexico in the 87th minute. The Dutch are back in the game… And more than that, after being awarded a penalty, seemingly as a gift, two minutes into injury time. Dammit. So close and so far away, as they say. Whistle blows; Mexico 1. Holland 2. It doesn’t seem quite fair. And the deciding penalty executed by Huntelaar had a certain taste of compensation about it, since the Dutch had already complained about two possible penalties they didn’t receive. This last one, world class striker Arjen Robben really went down easily, right?

Should I take off my Mexican soccer sombrero now?

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Mexican Marksmen and Flying Dutchmen – World Cup Is Here Again!

Posted in Blog Entry in English by yemenity2010 on 14/06/2014

footballfans-quito-2006Sunny days. World Cup. About to start my vacation soon. Good combination, all in all. Although, the weather tends to change rapidly here in Sweden even in the summertime. And even of it turns out to be a really good summer weatherwise, I’ll probably miss out on most of it. On the other hand, it’ll probably be warmer still where we’re going. And exactly how many World Cup games I’ll be able to watch is a little uncertain. But I shouldn’t complain. We’re off to Mexico, my wife’s tierra de origen – homeland, if things go as planned.

A crucial World Cup match with uncertain outcome. One of the teams has already entertained the world and become international darlings. They also start out well enough, getting the upper hand with the help of a penalty shot. Just before the break, though, an individual mistake results in the opponents being able to equalize. And, in the second half, the game has completely changed. The opponents manage to score four times, and move on to the quarter finals. Where? When? What? Who?

We’re talking about Denmark and Spain, somewhere in Mexico, summer 1986. It’s been a while and my memories might not be as accurate as I would wish. The red and white world-charming Danes, previously beating Uruguay 6-1 and Germany 2-0, lost momentum and were eliminated by the Spaniards. You know, the ones who never, ever used to win anything. Until this past decade when things turned around and they established themselves as the ruling masters; champions three times consecutively; FIFA World Cup 2010, UEFA European Championships 2008 and 2012. Yesterday they were on the receiving end of a thrashing eerily resembling the one they generously inflicted on the Danes 28 years ago. Oh well, you probably know this already. By now the reigning champions’ defeat by the Dutch is already the stuff legends are made of. Or nightmares, if you’re Spanish. It could just possibly be the best game we’ll get to see in this tournament. Even though there are still a few to go…

mexican-tshirt-2011Before that, we spent the Friday evening celebrating the Mexican victory over Cameroon. ‘Only’ 1-0 in the end, but of course you’ll have to take into account the two Mexican goals mysteriously annulled by the referee in the first half. Since they happen to be competing in the same group as hosts Brazil and Croatia, those three points could be of some importance… Latinamerica in general seems off to a decent start, with Chile beating Australia 3-1 (not without trouble) and Colombia – at the time of writing this sentence – seemingly controlling their game against Greece, with a 2-0 advantage in the final minutes. Wait, make that 3-0. Amen. I’ve never much liked the Greek national team. Their general MO seems to be boring the resistance into submission. How they managed to actually win the UEFA Championship ten years ago is still something of a mystery. Tomorrow it’s Ecuador’s turn, playing Switzerland. Having lived in the Andean country for three years (2003-2006) I still have a lot of affection for their source of national pride, El Tricolor. Even if few experts put any faith in their opportunities of advancing from the group stage.

Anyway, further reports on the World Cup – and the Mexican adventure – are absolutely part of the plan this summer. But any guarantees are difficult to give at this point. Anything can happen…

More or less unrelated news: Yes, even our household has become addicted to Netflix. Partly because of their original productions such as ”House of Cards” and ”Orange Is the New Black” (a title now quickly becoming associated with the already mentioned Holland footballers, usually dressed in said colour). But also for the opportunity to catch up on previously unseen seasons of ”Breaking Bad” and ”24”, the controversial and frequently over-the-top but undoubtedly exciting drama series concerning counterterrorism in a cold, hard post-9/11-world. That in turn reminded me of a satirical cartoon with religious implications, from Sacred Sandwich. If you really want results, whatever the situation or purpose – it takes a Jack Bauer to make it happen. If only…

Photos: Ecuadorean football fans preparing for a game in Quito, probably sometime in A.D. 2005; Mexican t-shirt, on display in the city of Querétaro, late 2011. 

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México en mi mente

Posted in Artículo en español, Tema: Latinamerika by yemenity2010 on 30/12/2012

Belleza. Gente amable. Comida conocida en todo el mundo. Y lastimosamente muchos problemas con delincuencia y violencia. México es una nación con caras diferentes. Además es la tierra natal de mi esposa. Hace casi un año me fui a visitar allí – y descubrí que todavía hay mucho más para descubrir. 

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Diciembre 2011, unos días antes de Navidad. Por fin he llegado en el aéropuerto de Brownsville, en el sur de Tejas. Esperando a mi equipaje y buscando alguien que debería estar allí esperando por…mí. El aéropuerto no es my grande, pero por alguna razón demora un rato antes que nos encontremos, mi novia y yo. Vamos a pasar casi las tres semanas siguientes juntos, viajando y visitando a su familia en diferentes partes de, bueno, México primereramente, pero además cruzando la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos algunas veces.

La razón por eso es algo que pasó unos años antes. En los fines del año 2009 yo había aceptado trabajar con un proyecto cultural en Yemen. Fue un tiempo bien interesante en general y aún más porque allí iba a encontrar a Emilia – también conocida como Mily – una mexicana involucrada en el trabajo del mismo centro educativo donde estaba yo entonces. Salí del país en los inicios del 2011, justamente antes que empezara el proceso ahora conocido como ”la primavera árabe”. Ella vino a visitarme en Suecia por unos meses el mismo año y empezamos nuestro propio proceso de ‘primavera’, solicitando una visa de residencia en Suecia para ella.

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Finalmente, la hora llegó para mi primer viaje a México. América Latina no era un continente completamente desconocido para mí. Había trabajado en el Ecuador por tres años, y claro que sí hay similaridades (como el idioma), pero México es definitivamente más grande y hay diferencias culturales. Por ejemplo parece haber una certitud, uno podría llamarla autoconfianza, y una manera de comunicarse más directamente sin la cortesía generalmente requerida en el país andino. Aunque, según mi esposa, eso refleja más el norte de México, mientras en el centro y el sur del país la cortesía es más necesaria.

Mi entonces novia (ahora esposa) ha vivido por el mayor tiempo de su vida en la ciudad de Matamoros, ubicada en el estado de Tamaulipas, justamente a la frontera con los EEUU. La ciudad más cerca es la previamente mencionada Brownsville. En el lado estadounidense también hay un montón de hispanohablantes, pero los carriles son mejores y hay más restaurantes y centros comerciales. Las señales al pasar por la aduana muestra unas distinciones interesantes. Al entrar en EEUU te indican que ‘no puedes traficar drogas a los EEUU’ mientras en la dirección opuesta te piden ‘que por favor no lleves armas a México’. Y hay razones por eso. El narcotráfico y contrabando de armas de fuego es un problema grave allí. El día de Navidad había un artículo en un periódico regional sobre cuerpos decapitados hallados en una fosa en el estado vecino, Veracruz. Además recibimos noticias de una balacera entre policías y delincuentes en Matamoros la misma noche, noche de paz…

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Pero nosotros celebramos la Navidad en casa de su mama, unos diez minutos en carro de la frontera, con algunos familiares y amigos; comiendo pavo, espagueti, puré de papas y chocolate sueco. Además – por supuesto – compartimos regalos y finalmente jugamos karaoke. Sí, de veras.

Después pasamos unos días en el centro del país. Algunos amigos nos habían aconsejado que ”no pueden quedarse aquí en la frontera todo el tiempo – tienen que ver un poco de la belleza de México también…”. Querétaro tiene completamente otro carácter, con una abundancia de arquitectura colonial, guías turísticas contando la historia de la región y sobre todo de los movimientos de libertad durante el siglo 19. La gente allí se refiere a su ciudad ilustre como ”el ombligo de México” y ”la cuna de la independencia” para que nadie se olvide de su importancia. Orgullosos? Parece que sí, pero creo que tienen razón. Un día fuimos a San Miguel de Allende, una ciudad más pequeña pero aún más turística (además es Patrimonio de la Humanidad), donde anduvimos caminando o en tranvía por las calles angostas, por subidas y bajadas, aprendiendo todo lo importante. Además almorzamos en un bar con videos del grupo Los Tigres del Norte pasando en una pantalla grande.

Si no me hubiera sentido un poco mal del estómago creo que habría tenido un tiempo aún más lindo en ese área, pero así es. Luego pasamos el año nuevo y unos días después en el pueblo Xicoténcatl en Tamaulipas, donde vive el padre de Mily. Hicimos excursiones en los alrededores, donde hay mucha naturaleza bonita y algo tan raro como un centro ecológico en el pueblo Gómez Farías. Además, durante esos días recibimos la respuesta de nuestra solicitud de visa de residencia en Suecia para mi novia.

Creo que he olvidado algo significante. Claro. Justamente antes de Navidad fuimos a Brownsville, compramos dos anillos y nos comprometimos ese mismo día, el 22 de diciembre 2011.

Obviamente no alcanzaban esas tres semanas para ver todo lo que hay en México. Sobre todo querría ver más historia precolonial y lo que queda de las civilizaciones aztecas y mayas en el centro y sur de la nación. Hay muchos lugares famosos en esas áreas y cerca del golfo. Pero, algo me indica que no fue la última vez viajando allí. Y la próxima vez espero que tengamos por lo menos un mes para explorar a todo eso. O casi todo. O por lo menos un pequeño porcentaje de todo…

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The Mexican Connection – A Brief Summary

Posted in Blog Entry in English, Tema: Latinamerika by yemenity2010 on 15/01/2012

I started a new tradition. Maybe. For the second consecutive year I didn’t spend christmas in Sweden. Last year (2010, not to confuse the readers) I was still in Yemen, and now I’ve just come back from three weeks spent mostly in the United States of Mexico. With some incursions into the south of the United States of America. The primary reason for this is my fiancée whose hometown happens to be the northern Mexican bordertown Matamoros, in the Atlantic state of Tamaulipas and a bridge apart from Brownsville, Texas. And by the way, we met in Yemen.

In the coming weeks I hope to share more of the experience, but for now I’ll have to settle for a brief summary and a preview of coming attractions. Such as ”Don’t take a knife to a gunfight”, the kind of commercial message you’re not likely to see in Sweden, but as I recall was promoting discounts on firearms. Or the fact that the south of Texas, or as my fiancée calls it, ”an extension of Mexico”, is a decidedly bilingual area where many of the residents seem to be of Mexican descent. Matamoros in itself is generally not considered the most charming or beautiful place in the country – not even by people living there. We hade the opportunity to visit a more tourist-friendly and historically important city during my time there; Querétaro where the residents really do take pride in their heritage and the role the place has had in Mexican history. More on that later, I hope.

I also spent a few days in a small town in the southern part of the state of Tamaulipas, a place surrounded by sugar canes and some nice natural scenery. Not exactly a tourist trap, but with some hidden gems for those who know where to find them, including a small river with something resembling a blue lagoon, an ecological museum and and other natural environment-related attractions. To Be Continued. I have to follow the tense handball game between Sweden and Macedonia to its conclusion…

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