Saturday, November 8, 2008

What EVERY girl wants for her birthday

(Or at least what way too many Mexican guys might think would be a good gift for their girlfriends on their birthdays...)
The official perfume of the Pumas, the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico's soccer team

!Olé! Baby bull-fighting

I often have those "only in Mexico" moments, when I think, "Wow, this sure is fun. No U.S. company would ever insure this activity in a million years!" The latest too-dangerous-for-the-U.S. activity - DIY bull-fighting with baby bulls. Climbing into a stadium ring with an angry, little baby bull that wants to gore you with his little bitty baby horns. Did I mention that tequila shots are handed out before entering the stadium? And that half of the women in the ring were wearing boots with 3-inch stiletto heels?

As you might imagine, this activity was: 1) dangerous, 2) pure chaos, and 3) HILARIOUS! There are various options; our hostess wisely choose the soccer game/bull fight. Twenty guests started playing soccer, after 5 minutes, they let loose the bull who ran around, attempting to gore people who kept venturing out from behind the little partitions to try and score a goal. Unfortunately, I was cowering behind a partition and did not have my camera, so the video is of the next group that went. We all agree that their baby bull is not half as hard-core as ours was. Sooo...everyone survived the event with the only injuries being a señora who got stepped on and will be aching bad tomorrow and the birthday girl's brother-in-law who broke his wrist. Not bad!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Bill Gates of Mexico: Carlos Slim

Peces Seafood Restaurant - "The only place that isn't owned by Carlos Slim"

In summer of 2007, a small daily e-newsletter broke the news that Mexican mogul Carlos Slim had unseated Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. The story was quickly picked up by major news outlets who estimated his total fortune at some $59 billion, edging Bill Gates' $58 billion.

There is something obscene about any single person amassing such a fortune, but somehow it is even more obscene when that person does it in a poor country. According to Fortune, "His family's holdings represent more than 5% of Mexico's 2006 gross domestic product, and Slim-controlled companies make up one-third of the $422 billion Mexican Bolsa, or stock exchange."

ONE-THIRD of the stock exchange.

If you live in Mexico, you are paying Carlos Slim. His bread and butter is Teléfonos de México, which was privatized about 15 years ago. Rather than opening up to competition, it remains a monopoly, controling 92% of the country's phone lines, with his mobile wireless service claiming a 70% market share. A study by World Bank found that Mexico's rates for monthly service and residential phone hookups are some of the the highest in the developing world.

But if you ever get tired of paying the Man, well, you can grab a meal at Peces in La Roma.