Friday, February 25, 2005

Volkswagen Poptop Camper

Whenever I get good and fed up with the intransigent bureaucracy and general inefficiency that is so much a part of life in Mexico, I find myself falling into the trap of romanticizing American efficiency. Back home, I’ll think, I’d never have to deal with this kind of hassle just to get a library card. Or I’ll find myself thinking, man, in the USA, if the plumber says he’s coming by at eleven, he comes by at eleven!

Once I get back on US soil, however, nothing will cure me of these idealized misconceptions faster than a trip to the local DMV. That’s what I’ve been dealing with lately as I’m back in the States for a long enough spell to warrant putting my new 1973 Volkswagen Poptop Camper on the road. And man, wasn’t I wishing that I was back in Mexico during the whole infuriating procedure. Auto insurance, registration, title, plates, and inspection – not to mention all the line-standing and telephone key code punching that goes with it. And of course through the whole thing I kept thinking, if I were in Mexico, I’d just slip this guy 200 pesos and I’d have my VW legal and on the road in no time.

So yeah, Americans can make morning coffee with water straight from the tap, we can flush toilet paper down virtually any commode we find, and we can bet on slightly better than 50/50 odds of delivery when we drop a letter in the mailbox. But it’s not all a bed of roses – we still can’t top Mexico when it comes to getting a perfectly fit vehicle on the road in a reasonable amount of time.

I leave tomorrow to Oaxaca, driving my new 1973 VW from Tucson...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

la historia de mexico

There was an interesting commentary in yesterday's Herald which reflected on a rather alarming Secretaria de Educacion Publica plan to eliminate pre-Hispanic history from Mexican middle school textbooks. Apparently, they're presentaing the plan as part of a program to re-orient the history curriculum away from rote memorization of facts to more analysis-based learning. That's fine, but it's hard to understand why that change in approach couldn't be applied to the study of what to many is the most fascinating part of Mexican history.

One supporter of the plan, a history graduate student at UNAM, was quoted in the article as saying that Mexicans spend too much time blaming the pre-Hispanic period for the problems of today. He thinks that the "we are conquered people" mentality cripples modern Mexico and so it's best to de-emphasize that part of the country's history. Personally, I see this proposal as a manifestation of a widespread attitude in mainstream Mexican culture toward indigenous culture in general. What I've noticed is that a fair number of Mexicans seem to view their indigenous countrymen as backwards and therefore prefer to downplay or even ignore their own indigenous heritage.

When I was teaching up in Queretaro, one day soon after Dia de la Raza ("Day of the Race," a holiday that commemorates the birth of the Mexican mestizo race), I though I might be able to get a good discussion going on the students' mixed racial heritage. So I presented them with discussion questions like: Was it a good thing that the Spanish came here? How would Mexico be different today if the Spanish had never come? and so forth. The general answer to the first question was Duh, of course it was! and that was about as far into discussion as we got. It sure didn't seem like these were topics that they had considered much before and they certainly weren't interested in considering them at that time in any depth.I also noticed while I was living in that part of the country that when I asked people if they knew anything about which indigenous group they had descended from, they often just shrugged their shoulders.

I had one friend in Guanajuato who went on in great length to tell me the history of each of her family names and what region of Spain each came from, but when I asked her what she knew about her indigenous ancestry, she said "I have none - I'm of 100% European descent." Her physical characteristics, however, strongly suggested otherwise. In Oaxaca, it's a slightly different situation since most people have grandparents or parents who speak an indigenous dialect, so they're quite aware of their heritage. When I met a friend, one of the very first things I remember her saying was: "You want to know something interesting about me? I'm 100% Zapotec!" I was pretty impressed. But unfortunately, I've also met a number of other young Oaxacans who seemed less eager to show off their indigenous roots. And who can blame them? In a country where the mainsteam culture uses the word Indio (Indian) as an insult word and where the national Secretary of Education wants to eliminate pre-Hispanic history from the textbooks, why would people feel especially proud of their indigenous roots? Well, they should, darn it, and Mexican culture and government should be doing everything to make that possible.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

sociable

One thing that I really admire about the students I've had here in Mexico is the way that they get along so easily with one another. Of course, they also drive me crazy at times when they're getting along together in Spanish while I'm talking to the class or when they're supposed to be completing an English conversation activity. But for the most part, it really impresses me how they can just immediately connect with one another with really no trace of awkwardness. I like to mix the students up in class and have them work with different partners every day, and I really like how they get excited to find out who their partner is and how easily they'll start working with someone they might not already know. I guess it's because Mexican society is so social -- people are always out walking around, hanging out in public parks, or going to a social event -- so it doesn't freak them out at all to meet new people. In fact, they love it. And the students don't seem to form cliques like they do in the States, so anyone can make friends with anyone else, regardless of how jock-ish or dorky they are.

I thought of this today when I walked to my classroom and one of my students was sitting on the bench outside the room eating a chocolate bar. She said 'hi' to me and offered me a bit of chocolate so I sat down on the bench for a moment. Another student in the class then walked by and she stopped him and asked: "Hey, companero, want some chocolate?" So he said "sure," sat down, and the two of them just started chatting away like old friends. "I've seen you in class -- what's your name, anyway? Where do you live? Oh yeah? Do you know so-and-so?" And they went on like that until it was time to start class. I thought it was pretty cool.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

¡jugo de naranja!

A friend of mine who was down visiting from the States recently reminded me of one of the things I like so much about living in Mexico, but forget to fully appreciate sometimes: affordable and readily available fresh orange juice.

See, my friend lives in North Carolinda, which is about 3 million miles from the nearest orange tree, and so up there you have to pay an arm and a leg for fresh o.j. that isn't always all that fresh, either. Understandably, she was pretty psyched to start each day in Mexico with a tall glass of freshly squeezed o.j.

When I was living up north myself, I probably treated myself to fresh o.j. about one every month at best. Here, I have it practically every day. At the market near me I can get a kilo of oranges for 4 pesos -- about 35 cents US. That's like 15 cents a pound. These are super-juicy oranges as well -- 3 of them will fill up a glass. And talk about flavor!

Just thought I'd rub that in a little to those of you reading this back in the snowy East Coast (like Virginia)

mountains or beaches?

Here’s a list of the 8 largest metropolitan areas in the USA: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco-Oakland, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit.Here are the 8 largest in Mexico: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Tijuana, Leon, Juarez, Toluca.It’s interesting that of the 8 largest metro areas in the US, all can be considered coastal or port cities. Of the Mexican cities, on the other hand, only Tijuana could be considered a coastal or port city.

In fact, the next city on the list that would fit this category is Tampico, which has the 16th largest population in Mexico. So why are urban population patterns so different in the two countries? Does Mexico suffer economically from this trend?


The first thoughts that come to my mind are that the Aztecs and their capital city Tenochtitlan were in the highlands which drew the Spanish almost immediately away from the coast. Also, Mexico’s gold and silver deposits are/were in the mountains as well and many cities grew around the mining industry. And, at least in my opinion, the Mexican coast is just too freakin’ hot for any sane person to consider living there permanently (though short visits can be quite nice).

Anyway, those are my knee-jerk explanations for this interesting demographic difference – let me know if you’ve got one of your own.

bad words (that aren´t)

You know how there are some words in English that, while having a completely inoccuous meaning themselves, are still words you hate to say just because they sound gross? Usually this is because they sound very similar to another word that does have an ugly meaning. For example, the word niggardly is certainly legitimate in its own right, yet it sounds so much like another, really horrible word that no one ever wants to use it.

For me, there are certain words in Spanish that cause the same problem, in this case because they sound too much like words in English that have an embarassing or awkward meaning. Labios, the Spanish word for ‘lips’ is one such word. It just kind of creeps me out when I’m sitting in a restaurant or riding on the bus and I hear the radio blaring a song in which a woman singer implores her sweetie to plant a kiss on her labios. And if hearing the word is disconcerting, saying it is downright impossible. I had a special girl friend for a time here in Queretaro who I thought had really beautiful lips, but I could never bring myself to tell her so because of my discomfort with the word. I just would have felt like a total cad telling her: “you’ve got the most fantastic labios and I could just sit and stare at them for hours.” I’m sure she wouldn’t have slapped me for saying so, but I still would have wanted to wash my mouth out with soap afterwards.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Deep Sleepers

One thing that I really envy about Mexicans is the way they seem to sleep so deeply. Any time that I get on a bus, regardless of the time of day, within 5 minutes of pulling out of the terminal, half the passengers are in a deep slumber. Of course, the guy next to me is always in a deep sleep, usually nodding his head onto my shoulder. Another thing is the videos that they always play on the buses. In every bus company in Mexico, there exists one of the most important departments called: El Departamento de Peliculas (or the Department of Movies). The job of this person (or persons sometimes) is to choose every movie that will be played on the first and elite class buses that travel between every city in Mexico.

One can imagine the power that these individuals have. What they choose is what millions of Mexicans and Tourists will be watching for hours in a secluded area without the option not to watch. In the theatre, you can walk out; in Blockbuster, you can return it; and on the TV, you can always change the channel. But these busses are different. You are stuck in your seat and you have to watch or at least listen. This is especially true if you cannot fall asleep.

So what do these powerful individuals choose? Nothing but the best: every movie from Jean-Claude Van Damme and Stephen Siegal, along with the following classics: The Brady Bunch Movie, Fame, Clueless, Grease 2, Xanadu, I Shrunk the Kids, Hook, Beetoven, Escape from LA, Escape from NY, Day the Earth Stood Still, Cabin Fever, any Rocky movie, and any karate movie with a dubbing in Spanish (the karate ones are the best cause the timing of the dubbing is always off, so there mouth is moving and the actor is not speaking). This is another one of the factors of my lack of sleep on the buses.

I notice the same phenomenon on the "suburbans," or 15-passenger vans that connect a lot of the towns in Oaxaca with the capital. Those things tear right along, usually whipping around the hairpin turns of Oaxaca's famously curvy roads, yet everyone just snoozes away, hardly disturbed by the violent back-and-forth lurching.

This is best seen in the Sierra Madre, right outside of Oaxaca. In order to arrive to the beaches of Oaxaca, you have to cross this vast mountain range, which is generally covered by a deep field of mist that impairs vision for more than 100 yards. This is especially true in the night, when I deep cloud of mist and fog covers the forests of the Sierra Madre. In order to reach the beaches of Oaxaca, one must scale this mountain in a “suburban.” The drives have a unique ability to whip around corners at speeds of 50 and 60 mph, while intuitively remaining calm.

Along with the suburbans, tourist buses attempt to drive on this skinny highway at night, often piling up three of four buses long. This is not just a normal trip over the mountain. This is a RACE between the divers of the buses and the suburbans. The tourist busses are trying to prohibit any suburban from passing, while the suburbans are trying to arrive in Puerto Angel on time. A drive that should normally take 6 or 7 hours, can be made in 5 hours with these chorfers.

Winding up the mountain, the buses take up two lanes, so the chofers naturally try to pass the buses with the .4 lane that is given to them. This can often cause problems when another car (or worse another chofer driving to Oaxaca from Puerto Angel). So what does it take to become a chofer? I did not have the opportunity to ask, but it is one of the most respected jobs in my opinion.

At the house where I'm living now, we've got some incredibly noisy neighbors next door. They live upstairs with a variety of loudly barking dogs and squawking tropical birds while downstairs they've got a complex of auto and motorcycle shops where un-muffled motors are revving constantly. A few weeks back, some of the gang from the shop, obviously drunk, showed up at about 3 a.m. with some buddies and wanted to show off some hot rod engines they were working on. I swear it sounded like someone had started a jet engine in my room. The next morning, I walked into the kitchen grumpy as could be and said to my roommates: "What the hell was that all about last night!" They just looked at me puzzled. "The revving engines at 3 a.m.! What in the world were they thinking?" I said. They shrugged, "we didn't notice it." Somehow, they slept right through what had been the sound equivalent an atomic blast next door.

I have some friends that live closer to the centro than I do in Queretaro. They live on the second floor of a four store builing. Surrounding the apartment are stores with motion and noise activated alarms. In the night, the large buses or dump trucks pass the stores, activating the alarms with a noise that is unbearably loud. There alarms do not notify anyone, but continue until someone arrives in the morning. If it is not a store alarm, the car alarms always sound off. My friend said, “that the secret it is to plunge the earplugs as far in as they will go, and then you will manage to sleep during the night.” Nevertheless, sometimes they arrive to school late because they did not hear the alarm that they had set.

I guess I'm starting to get the hang of that sound sleeping technique. Hopefully it'll start working on the bus as well, because I've never been able to sleep on those things.

¿Que pex, padre?

There's a Mexican slang expression that's always kind of stuck me as funny: When young Mexicans want to express that something is really cool or great, they say ¡Que padre! or "How father!" And if something is really, really cool, they might call it padrisimo, which in kid talk translates as "wicked awesome!"

I think the "how father" expression strikes me so funny because for American kids, probably the absolute farthest thing from cool is their dad (though I should note that my dad, who might read this blog, is quite cool).Another funny slang expression they use here is ¿Que pex? which means "What's happening?" but translates more directly as "What fish?" And here in Mexico City, I've notcied that people like to say ¿Que pasó? instead of ¿Que pasa? to ask "What's happening?" This is unusual because ¿Que pasó? is in the past tense, so it sounds like people are asking you "What happened?" I instinctivly want to respond with "when?"

Of course, it's not like English doesn't have some funny greetings and slang expressions. "Cool" itself must seem like an odd term to English language learnings who listen for literal meaning, and "Groovy" is probably quite confounding as well. And for greetings, I bet "What's shaking?" and "What's cooking?" seem downright ridiculous.

Monday, February 14, 2005

goodbye queretaro, hello huajuapan

I have been working in Queretaro for the pass 4.5 months, and will be leaving soon in order to try a new job at a university in Huajuapan, Oaxaca. I will keep you posted on my arrival into the city. I have never been to the city, but I have visted the state of Oaxaca for about two weeks in 2003. My last day here will be this Saturday, when I will be leaving to visit my family and friends in Tucson, Arizona.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Ultimate Frisbee

Well the windy season is fastly approaching here in Queretaro, which only means one thing: time for the cold showers. I have taken about 15 cold showers since I have arrived to Queretaro about 5 months ago. When I first arrived, we were on a kind of a water shortage.

Let me first explain how household water supplies work here. City water lines are not highly pressurized like they are in the States, so what happens is that most homes have a ground-level cistern that water trickles into from the public supply. From there, a pump carries the water up to a tank on the roof and gravity brings the water back down to the various faucets and showerheads in the home. It works pretty well that way when there’s a steady supply from the city.Right now at my house, water only comes every other day, and when it comes, it’s only a slow stream that doesn’t have much chance of filling a cistern or a rooftop tank. So we’ve got a whole bunch of plastic garbage bins, buckets and washtubs that we fill from the outside line on water days. Then we use that water a bucket at a time to wash the dishes, fill the toilet tank, do laundry by hand, and take a bath. We do have a shower head in the bathroom, but the water hasn’t been making it up to the roof so it’s out of commission at the moment. But even if it was working, there’s no hot water heater in this house so it would be a cold water shower anyway.

In a way, it’s kind of fun. It’s sort of like camping. And since it’s really hot here right now, I don’t mind pouring plastic cups of cold water over my head every morning. Still, when you’re hauling water back and forth to the kitchen to do your dishes, or when the stored water runs out before the end of a non-water day, it does really make you appreciate how nice a reliable public water supply is.

On the subject of water, Mexicans have a unusual way of using the word agua. If someone shouts “aguas!” at you, they’re not asking you for a couple of bottles of water, they’re saying “heads up!” or “look out!” I learned this the hard way while playing ultimate frisbee last saturday in Queretaro 2000. During the game, I was playing running withoug looking when someone yelled “aguas!” at me. As I turned to say “no, thanks, I’m not thirsty, but maybe later,” a flying frisbee came crashing to the ground just a few inches from my head.

The history of the "aguas" I have been told comes from back when they used to throw water on people during a saint celebration. The children used to yell "aguas" to warn other of the oncoming water. I guess it worked, cause now we use "aguas" in place of "cuidado"

Friday, February 11, 2005

maestro

I noticed this week that some of my students refer to our classroom as el salon. The more common term is aula, but I like salon better. It sounds very chic. Certainly much more so then the ultra-utilitarian English term classroom. Another school-related term in Spanish that I like a lot is maestro, which they use for teacher. While I generally try to encourage them to use English at every opportunity in class, I’ve repeatedly and emphatically discouraged them from calling me "teechurr," which they are fond of doing. Maestro, on the other hand, I tell them is A-OK with me.

The funny thing about maestro is that it’s also used in Mexico as a respectful form of address for just about anyone. So you might here someone calling the taco stand guy maestro, or even the fellow who delivers water to your door might be referred to as maestro, if people think he’s an upright sort. Still, I think it’s nice that people think enough of the teaching profession that calling someone maestro serves as a great compliment.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The race

Running is a very common sport in Queretaro. I ran one race this past weekend in called Hercules that is surrounded by two large hills on each side. I say hills, but mountain might do justice also. The first mountain called the sanctuario, has a combination of cement stairs and plain, durt hill. You can ascend it as far as a shrine. The second mountain is bigger than the first, and is reached by a poorly paved, cobble road that zig zags up a mountain through a small town.

So, when I looked at the 13km course about 30mins before the race, it did not look too difficult. I have had problems keeping my pace in the races here in Mexico because it seems that many times there is always a shorter route, so on this race you can run the full 13km or 7km. So the 7km people (which was about 300 of the 350 people that were in the race) stopped after one hill. In other words, I was racing against people that were not even running the whole thing. It was kind of funny cause I was running in about 70th place, when we crossed the finish line the first time (this is the 7 km marker, and where almost everyone stopped), and then I was automatically bumped up to the top 20 people. Anyways, once we passed the 7km marker, it changed it to small race, and I had trouble seeing anyone ahead of me.

The second mountain was even harder than the first. It was almost straight up, about a 1000-1500 feet climb. We ran through the city, and everyone was out cheering either “animo” “si se puede” o “vamonos güerro” (GO!, yes you can, or lets go white man).

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Present Continuous Lesson in the Classroom

As an English teacher, it’s always a little awkward when you have to contradict your textbook. But occassionally you do find things in the book that just don’t make sense and you feel obligated to point them out. However, this can sometimes be confusing to the students, for you can almost see them thinking, “well, if it’s not right, why’s it in the book?,” and then in the next breath, “so maybe this idiot doesn’t really know anything about the English language after all.”

I have a friend here who wants to start learning some English, so I was looking through an elementary grammar book at a present continuous lesson, since that can be a good place to start with beginners. But I was a little baffled to see, under the heading “verbs not normally used in the present continuous,” the verb have. That’s not right, though, is it? We use have quite a bit in the present continuous. For instance, I imagine that half the postcards sent back to the U.S. or Canada from here use have in present continuous statements like: “We’re having a wonderful vacation here in Mexico!,” which might then be followed by: “…although your father is having a hard time getting rid of his headache from all of his studying.”


There are plenty of other situations where you might see have in the present continuous, for example in statements like: “I’m having second thoughts about donating that kidney,” or: “Kids, those two monkeys aren’t fighting; they’re having sex.” Tabloid headlines use the form as well, so you don’t want your students getting confused when they’re in the checkout like and they see “Brad Pitt having affair with another woman” in big, bold letters. Plus, you hear it all the time when people use present continuous to talk about future plans, like: “Josh is going to be fixing up the kitchen, and later he is having a party!” or, “I can’t believe my best friend is having another baby.” So in the end, I guess I’m having doubts as to whether I want to use that present continuous lesson after all.

Besame Mucho

Here's a custom that I quite like in Mexican culture: When friends meet up or say goodbye, they often do so with a friendly kiss on the cheek (if the friends are woman-woman or woman-man, that is - two men might greet with some hearty back-slapping, but never a kiss). In the tradition of my homeland of Tucson, we generally avoid physical contact - or much of any affectionate behavior, for that matter.

So for me, it's quite nice to see people being affectionate in a friendly way like that. But while I've done pretty well at getting over my own awkwardness at giving women friends a peck on the cheek, one place that I just can't get comfortable doing so is at work. I see the other young people in my workplace doing so and so I'm quite sure that it's an acceptable practice, but after so many years working in the U.S. where if I had ever tried to kiss the cheek of a female co-worker I likely would have been brought up on sexual harassment charges and fired in an instant, I just can't get with it. I sure hope I don't come across as cold or aloof, but there's only so much trained uptightendness I can overcome, I'm afraid.

Can you imagine if we had such a friendly method of greeting people?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

the world of the words

Here’s an interesting word fact that I learned recently: the word ‘avocado’ has its origins in the Nahuatl Indian language, which is the most widely spoken indigenous language in Mexico. I found it especially interesting that while we use the word in English, it never made its way into Mexican Spanish. Instead, they call the fruit (or is it a vegetable?) an aguacate, which itself sounds kind of like a word that comes from an indigenous language.

On the subject of words, one that I always get a kick out of is the word used here for ‘leather.’ They call it piel, which in Spanish means ‘skin.’ Might as well call it what it is, right? Still, I find it amusing every time I run across an ad for “100% skin jackets.”Up in the city of León, the skin capital of Mexico, they have entire shopping centers dedicated to the sale of skin products. So if you’re looking for some good buys on skin, you can go places called the “Skin Center” or the “Mall of Skin,” which you can find easily enough if you jump on the city metro line 1 and get off at the stop labeled “Skin District.” Here, you’ll be able to buy every skin product imaginable: skin shoes, skin hats, skin pants, skin jockstraps… You get the idea.

The 5th grader in me was very excited recently to come across another stimulating new vocabulary word when I was reading the paper and saw that someone had been hospitalized after suffering from infarto. My mind raced with images of all kinds of bizarre, inverted gas attacks, but as it turns out, infarto is just another word for heart attack. Still, I think I’ve decided that when I one day get around to writing my will, I’m going to stipulate that regardless of whether it’s a heart attack that eventually does me in, my gravestone is going to read: “Here lies Chad Brown. Cause of death: infarto.”

Friday, February 04, 2005

me encanta mi tienda

Facing me just eighty feet, three inches down from my front door is a little corner grocery store. I know that distance to be true because many a time have I sat on my front step drinking my morning coffee, looked down the street at the front door of the store and thought to myself: “that door is exactly the distance from me as a ultimate frisbee field.” In fact, that’s just what I was doing this morning when I saw the shopkeeper stick his head out and beckon emphatically for me to come down.

So I strolled on over to see what he wanted, and as it turns out, what he wanted was to show me three small bottles of maple-flavored syrup sitting proudly on his shelf. See, just a few days earlier I had gone in there asking for maple-flavored syrup (unfortunately for a maple syrup lover like myself, maple-flavored corn syrup is the best you can do for your pancakes here) and he had lamentably told me that he didn’t stock it. But quite clearly in response to my request, he had quickly set himself to rectifying the problem. And so, even though I had since managed to find a bottle of syrup at another store, I was so impressed and flattered by his effort that I bought a bottle from him anyway.

And that’s why I love my little corner store; because this guy knows what customer service is all about. Every time I go in there, he jumps up eager to take my request or to apologize in advance that the price of milk has gone up 50 centavos because his pendejo supplier is sticking it to him again. Sometimes he even tosses a little extra treat like a candy or stick of gum in my order to apologize for a sudden price change. And if I need a stick of butter at 11 p.m. but don’t have any cash on hand, no problem! Just bring it by when you have it, he’ll say. So of course I make every effort to do as much of my shopping as I can in his shop, which is actually quite easy to do since he’s somehow managed to cram everything from Doritos to toilet plungers to fresh bread to rubber gloves to 15 different types of canned chilies into his little 10 foot-by-10 foot space.

In fact, I’ve become such a loyal customer that I’ll even experience feelings of guilt when I shop at another store. When I do shop at another store, I make sure to approach my door from the opposite end of the street from the corner store and I make sure the bag of groceries is well-obscured behind my back.Sadly, this customer-shop owner relationship is something that has been rapidly disappearing in the states, for of course the mom-and-pop store is rapidly disappearing as well.

Where I’m from in the US, if you run out of milk, you need to get in your car to drive to some hideously generic chain mart where you’ll be waited on by a stoned-out teenager making minimum wage who couldn’t care less whether or not he can help you. But here in Mexico, the mom-and-pop store is alive and well on virtually every block of every city and town in the country. At least it’s alive and well for now. Last fall I read a news article that said that ever-expanding Wal-Mart now controls forty percent of the retail market in Mexico. And there was a quote from some Wal-Mart Mexico executive saying that their biggest rival was still the small, independent shop owner, but that they thought that this was a corner of the market where they could really start to make some inroads process.

I love my tienda...

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