A Travellerspoint blog

Native Indian art and culture

The Heard Museum....

My early childhood involved a lot of playing cowboys and indians.

While living in Manila, Philippines, I went to an American school for four years until I was ten. Somehow I was subtly americanised during those malleable, impressionable years, without even noticing it. Long before I could place Liverpool or Manchester on a map of England or pronounce Worcester and Norwich properly, I could name all 50 US states along with their capitals. Shakespeare, Cromwell and the Tudors were unknown entities to me but I was familiar with the Pilgrim Fathers sailing on the Mayflower and the pioneer wagon trains, the Boston Tea Party, Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. The Fourth of July and Thanksgiving were major festivals, my younger brother, sister and I went trick-o-treating at Halloween, ate peanut butter cookies and our Mum's homemade Betty Crocker cakes and played baseball, basketball and American football. We used to catch the school bus clutching our lunchboxes packed with tuna and dill pickle or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My sister and I belonged to the Pioneer Girls and earned our badges making campfires and toasting marshmallows over them. And, of course, we played Cowboys and Indians, dressed as Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Wyatt Earp or Chief Sitting Bull and his squaws. We built teepees and had pow-wows and wielded tomahawks, bows and arrows and carried papooses on our backs.

It wasn't until years, decades, later that I actually stepped foot in the United States. Apart from a brief two-day visit to Miami on my way to Honduras about 8 years ago and some stop-offs in US airports, the country whose culture I had absorbed so readily in my childhood had remained a distant idea on the other side of the world from all my travels. Until 2011. Moving to live in Mexico in 2009 meant the Americans had become our next-door neighbours. A trip with Cristina and Marc to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park last Easter set the ball rolling. But it was our trip to Arizona which awoke in me many of the hazy memories from the past. I felt I was coming home in a way. I was back in Cowboy-Indian territory, the land of my childhood, of my fertile imagination. It felt familiar with its Far West flavours, cowboy towns, Indian arts and crafts, ghost towns, horses..

Indians carved out of wood

Map showing the location of the different Native American Indian tribes in the USA

Arizona is actually a good place to find out about the Native American Indians. With 21 tribes numbering 300,000 people (almost 7% of the state's population) whose homelands and reservations occupy a quarter of the area, it is one of the states with the greatest presence of America's First People. Wherever you go, there are reminders, past and present, of their rich culture and heritage, their art and traditions. I felt an immediate attraction to them, maybe because of my past.

To discover a bit more about the American Indians, we made a bee-line to the Heard Museum, one of Phoenix's true gems. Beautifully organised and informative, this was no stuffy museum to shuffle our feet through. No, it was more like a living cultural experience since not only was the past preserved but contemporary artists and Indians are reflected there. In addition to the permanent exhibits, it runs many temporary ones and even organises a special fair, the Indian Fair and Market, each year. Even the Museum's history was interesting. It was founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard to house their personal collection of Indian art. Dwight was a businessman from Chicago but when he became seriously ill with a chest ailment, his doctor advised him to find somewhere to live where the climate was warmer. So the Heards loaded some possessions in a wagon, bought some horses and set off towards the Pacific Coast. They ended up in Phoenix, a small town at the time, and decided this would be home. Over the years, their collection of artifacts from all over the world began to fill their house and, fortunately for us, they decided to build a museum in the grounds for the public to visit. Actually, Dwight never saw the museum opened since he died of a heart attack just months earlier. Today the museum is home to 40,000 American Indian artifacts and has become world famous. Rghtly so.

In the courtyard of the Heard Museum in Phoenix

Sculptures outside

Shady patio with café and gift shop

One of the exhibits at the entrance - "Indigenous Evolution" (2004), a modern-day sculpture making reference to the traditional organic fences built by Native people of materials such as adobe and saguaro cactus. The colours represent the land and the sky.

Beautiful pottery items with traditional designs

A Pueblo-style church building

A collection of katsina dolls on display.

The exhibition of Navajo textiles

Walking through the gallery area

Painting by a contemporary artist - the sticker on the pick-up's bumper reads "The EARTH does not belong to us... We belong to the EARTH"

The temporary exhbition of American Indian dolls

One of the dolls on display

A kid-friendly area to help younger visitors discover more about the Native American people

One of the large murals

Thank goodness most of the exhibits were kept in showcases or I might have walked off with some of them. Everyday functional objects and clothes had been created with beautiful colours, patterns and designs. Pottery, rugs, clothes, katsina dolls, turquoise and silver jewellery, and many more items were temptingly on show. I could have stayed there for much longer but with teenagers for company and the combined effect of it being very close to a late lunch made that impossible. Actually, the Heard Museum also has a beautiful café serving up Southwest-inspired cuisine, an art gallery, and a bookshop and gift shop so there's plenty to do. Still, we had time to see the main items and learnt a lot about the Navajo tribe, who call themselves the Diné People, the Apaches and the Yavapai, the Hopis and Yaquis. Although modern day life has changed a lot of their customs, it was interesting to see how efforts have been made and are continuing to be made to preserve many aspects of their life, their beliefs and their culture.

Past and contemporary pottery items are on view

Some of the designs on the woven plates

Spectacular red, black and white design

Some of the carved katsina dolls on display. Katsinas are the spirit messengers of the universe, representing all things in the natural world and the ancestors. They are given as gifts to young girls as a prayer wish for good health, growth and fertility. With this daily reminder in the home, young girls remember the Katsinas and their teachings.

Jewellery items made from turquoise, coral and silver.

Rugs for sale in the shop

Cushions with eye-catching patterns and colours

Storyteller figures

Decorated gourds

In the Museum's own words:

"Native people ...have faced change regarding how they live on the land. They have seen change within their families and communities. They have seen change in the language that is spoken at home, and they have made choices about how they will keep important elements of home for future generations. Native artists express multiple visions of home in their art."

Giant saguaro cactus are a distinctive part of the landscape in some areas of Arizona

We particularly enjoyed the quotes around the museum in which the voice of contemporary Indians can be heard too, echoing their close relationship to their lands, the natural environment, the tribe, the family.

"A home is both the space inside and outside the building.
A home is more than just the structure, the house...
It is the aroma, the textures of the building that help us remember.
The smell of the wet dirt walls,
the smell of dry dust.

It is the smell of the green brush on the roof, in the walls.
It is the texture.
The smooth mud walls
the rough ribs of the cactus and ocotillo,
the branches of cottonwood, and posts from cedar and pine.

Home is the place that has the right feel,
the right smell,
the right sense of coolness when you touch the walls." (Ofelia Zepeda, Tohono O'odham)

Many pueblo homes have outdoor, beehive-shaped ovens used for special occasion baking such as feast days. They were introduced by the Spanish.

"What I see is my home. I don't own it but it's home - the river,
the trees, the birds that fly, they're all mine." (Estefanita Martinez, San Juan)

Black-on-white pueblo pottery

"In Tewa, there is no word for family,
but there is a word for all of us." (Tessie Naranjo, Santa Clara)

Every year, Hopi farmers plant their fields of blue, white, multi-coloured and sweet corn. Each type of corn has its purpose and use in Hopi life.

"Shuffling of feet on the earthen floor.
The rattling of a pot,
in the kitchen.
The echo of someone chopping wood
A dog in the distance
Barking as if it belonged to someone." (Ofelia Zepeda)

Typical fireplace in a kitchen

"We see ourselves as caretakers of that piece of the earth that we use.
We have respect for the heavens, the stars, the moon, the sun and
nature itself, the clouds, rain, snow. What makes us whole is to recognize and
respect all these things and their seasons." (Albert Sinquah, Sr., Hopi-Tewa)

"The mountains remind me of home. It just feels like you're in a big bowl, and you're
protected from all the outside forces." (Michael Ornelas, Navajo)

Animal design on a Navajo rug


Drum made using deer hide

"You learn English to progress in the White World, and your own language to survive forever." (Veronica Homer, Mohave)


Apache leather moccasins and boots

Small bags made of animal hides and decorated with beads

Home for these people means a connection to their land for more than 1,000 years. Perhaps that's what makes this culture so appealing, so authentic. They have something many of us lost a long time ago... a sense of community, a sense of being part of nature, of respecting the natural elements and territory, of preserving traditions and arts down the generations. I didn't know that there was a tribe, the Havasupai tribe (meaning "People of the blue-green waters"), which still lives isolated down in the Grand Canyon. A short video made by them showed how they continue to live at the bottom of the canyon, basically as they have done for hundreds of years. The only way out of the canyon is on foot or by horse with the occasional arrival of a helicopter.

The beautiful Havasupai Falls down in the Grand Canyon, part of the Indian Reservation

We wandered around the temporary exhibition of Native American dolls, the art gallery, the Navajo Textile rooms with their huge colourful rugs on the walls, and out into the sculpture courtyard before having a quick look at the area for younger visitors with its large murals and activity centre. It's obvious that the art of these people has been inspired over the centuries by their close contact with their homeland and the natural evironment. The colours and materials of this land are intricately laced into their works of art whether woven, sculpted, painted or carved. If I had the opportunity, I would buy a plane ticket to Phoenix for March 3-4 to visit the Museum's annual Indian Fair and Market, taking a camera and empty suitcase with me. This event draws over 700 American Indian artists and 20,000 visitors to see these talented artists, sculptors, painters, potters, weavers, bead workers, carvers, and basket makers and experience their music, dancing and food too.

Wherever we went around Arizona, we found lots of Native Indian arts and crafts. Shops were packed full of them, but it was worth looking carefully at the label. In one shop, I saw some miniature woven baskets with Native Indian designs on them for just $5. Excited at my find, I picked them up only to read on the back that they had been made in ..... Pakistan. "Why are these baskets made in Pakistan?" I asked the shopkeeper. "Well, my dear," she answered. "That's why they're only $5. If they were woven here, they would cost you $30". It seemed a bit unreal that a replica could be made half way around the world, shipped over and be a fraction of the price of the original ones but that's world economy for you.

Woven baskets in a shop

Feathered dream-catchers, rattles and other popular items

A full Indian headdress with feathers

Life-size carving of an Indian

Sculpture in metal of an Indian on a horse

Nativity scenes with a local flavour

Design featuring "Kokopelli", the mysterious character which can be seen in a number of Native American cultures. Kokopelli can easily be recognised by his dancing pose, hunchback and flute.

One day while we were wandering around the Old Town of Scottsdale, we came across an Indian doing a traditional Navajo sand painting. We had already seen shops full of small ones, but hadn't realised just how it was done. Pinching a very small quantity of fine coloured sand, made from naturally-coloured crushed rock, stone and minerals between his thumb and finger, he skillfully trickled it onto the work of art he was creating. Later, reading up about it, I discovered that Navajo sand painting was part of a spiritual healing ceremony whereby the person in need of physical, emotional or spiritual healing would sit on top of the sand painting created by a medicine man in the middle of the ceremonial hogan. This would help the patient absorb spiritual power, while the Holy People would absorb the illness and take it away. At the end of the ritual, the sand painting (meaning "place where the gods come and go") would be destroyed within 12 hours since it was toxic. In the 1940s, the Navajos began to make permanent ones in order to preserve this long-standing tradition. Now the shops are full of small framed ones with typical symbols which you can buy to take home and put up on the wall.

Hogans are the traditional house of the Navajo Indians. Nowadays most Navajos don't live in hogans, but there is often a hogan near the main house which is used for ceremonies.

The guide explaining the meaing of a sand painting

Interestingly too, according to the Indians, Spider Woman has been on the scene much longer than Spider Man. Legend has it that she is the creator and weaver of life, and is the great teacher, protector and Mother of all creation to many Southwestern Native American cultures. She is said to have taught the people how to weave as well as other skills. Regardless of how they learnt, we were amazed at the woven baskets, textiles and rugs produced both many years ago and now.

A small loom

Bright colours and patterns on a Navajo rug

Figures depicted on a rug

At the end of our holiday, we had a two-hour wait in Phoenix Airport for our flight to Denver. Fortunately, there were three souvenir-craft shops to keep us occupied. Cristina and I spent ages in each one, poring over the native crafts, trying to decide what to spend our last few dollars on. After the umpteenth visit to the three shops, I think the shop assistants were getting rather suspicious as to why we kept appearing. We finally made our choice. Cristina went for the Indian horse she'd been eyeing up for days in other shops. I couldn't resist and bought a book on Native traditions and art in Arizona.

A bit later, as we flew over the clear Arizona desert and its canyons, I was glad we'd come to the Southwest. At least I'd updated my knowledge of cowboys and Indians a bit.

Posted by margaretm 06:55 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Phoenix, city in the desert

Until a few weeks ago, I knew as much about Phoenix as I did about Murmansk, that is, very little. It wasn't exactly on our list of top-100 places to visit but with the bottom falling out of our Christmas holiday plans, we unexpectedly found ourselves heading to this unknown city in Arizona. It was time to do some reading up and find out about places of interest nearby, such as the Grand Canyon. Our trip to Arizona turned out to be a real eye-opener, with stunning desert landscapes.



We flew into Phoenix at night so all we saw was a vast tablecloth of twinkling lights covering the Valley of the Sun, as it is known. It actually looked a lot like Mexico City, an unending expanse of urban development, spread over an area almost the same size but with a fraction of Mexico City's population. It wasn't until the next morning that we had a chance to see what Phoenix was really like in daylight. We drove to the Downtown area, easily identifiable from any spot by the tall shiny skyscrapers clustering together in the middle of an immense bungalow-height landscape. It was squeaky clean, new and orderly, but something was missing. Where were all the people? Where were the shops and cafés and the dynamic hub and buzz of urban life? Maybe it was because Christmas was just two days away but it looked like a modern-day ghost town. Little traffic, even fewer pedestrians, almost lifeless at that time. One sleek metro-train whizzed past us, and we saw a lonesome man strumming a guitar at the interesection of two grand boulevards while a second man, Ed the Hotdogger, was selling Italian or Polish sausages at his stand next to some traffic lights. To who, I don't know. At last, we found a small café which was relatively "crowded" and a little while later about 30 people turned up for the inauguration of the city's outdoor ice-rink where you could "go ice-skating in the desert". A stark contrast to the bustling crowds and noise and smell of street cooking in Mexico City, so alive and full of life.

Phoenix buildings

Phoenix downtown area

Modern buildings

Ed the Hotdogger at his stand

Warm jumpers and hats are needed in the morning when it's cold - a lady wearing a fun woolly hat!

Outdoor ice-skating rink

Cactus Christmas street lights

Christmas tree in the centre with moon

Phoenix is a HUGE sprawling city in the middle of the Arizona desert, which goes on and on forever. It took us almost one hour just to drive our way out of the vast metropolitan area when we headed north towards the Grand Canyon a couple of days later. It looked like a kind of urban patchwork quilt, built on a grid-like system, where each square is one mile long and has a similar pattern but with a few differences. The broad, airy avenues had lanes so wide you probably couldn't shake hands with the person in the next car even if you opened the door and stepped out. In Mexico City, we have severe problems just trying to avoid hitting each others' side mirror as we drive along. Orderly tracts of small, one-or two-storey houses with shady verandas crouched down low together, overlooked by palm trees and guarded by gigantic cactus plants. Each patchwork square seemed to have its own shopping centre, complete with a drive-thru bank, drive-thru fast food restaurants, some shops and services, plus a gas station and a church or two. Dentists or chiropractors rubbed shoulders with nail parlours and Denny's and Wendy's fast food restaurants, Bug and Weed stores chatted up burger bars, and supermarkets were squashed in between animal clinics and insurance offices. While we were there, the skies were deep, desert blue and the air so pure you could pump it up the oxygen tubes in a hospital. There was no sign of any litter on the roads which are populated by chunky pick-ups and well-behaved traffic doing an honest 35 mph in the town and 65 mph on the freeways.

View of Phoenix from the plane when we left

Blue skies

Spacious roads

River Salado at sunset

Empty freeways

Phoenix is definitely an "automobile city". Without a car or pick-up or some kind of private vehicle, you will not get very far. It is so vast and spread out that walking is hardly an option. On several occasions, we played a game. "Let's count how many people we see walking!" For the most part, we didn't get past 3, and our all-time high was 11. Unheard-of in Europe or Mexico. Taking a taxi anywhere would cost you a fortune. It cost $2.10 a mile and that was with the "Discount Taxis". Public transport was nice-looking but few and far-between. Thank goodness we had a car. Not the Jeep we had hoped for, but rather a massive black Dodge resembling a tank. Just to find a welcoming place to eat or somewhere to have a coffee, let alone any of the places of interest in the city, entailed a major expedition along mile after mile of boulevards with names like Camelback, Indian School, Baseline and Rural Road, all of which looked suspiciously the same. We felt we were in a labyrinth, going round and round in squares. Our conversations took on a confused monotony. "That's where we stopped yesterday!" "No, it isn't. There was a U.S. Egg on the corner, not a Whataburger." "I'm sure there was a Starbucks here yesterday!" I admit that as fleeting visitors, we obviously lacked inside know-how and were at the mercy of our rather hit-and-miss strategy.

Pick-ups are very popular

Taxis are not cheap! $2.10 per mile

The city's public transport system

Historically, Arizona has been influenced by a number of different cultures, including the Native American Indians and the Spanish. It was also part of Mexico until 1848 when the US bought a huge chunk the size of Western Europe of what was then northern Mexico for a mere $2 million, hence the widespread presence of Mexican tacos, burritos, and salsas picantes and restaurants with names like El Pollo Loco and Chipotle. In fact, in some areas you are as likely to hear Spanish spoken as English and many Mexican families have made their residence there. In its early days, all East-West streets were named after Presidents while all North-South streets had Indian names. It's hard to imagine but the city of Phoenix grew up as a typical far west town, with dusty streets lined with wooden buildings, wide enough to allow the horse-drawn wagons to turn around. In fact, in the late 1880s when it was founded, everything was within a walking distance of 2 miles. Then as the electric streetcar made its appearance, people began moving out as fast as they moved in, especially the wealthy residents. There were no limits on space. No wonder. The Arizona desert is immense and flat here. The town began to grow in size, adding new housing developments which followed a symmetrical, grid pattern, lined with trees to give shade in the high summer temperatures. Nowadays, modern-day Phoenix, which started life out as Pumpkinville in honour of the large pumpkins growing along the canals, continues to attract people, especially those in search of warm winters, heaps of sunshine, golf courses and cactus plants, and has become one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US. It is truly enormous.

Spanish-style building

One of the many Mexican restaurants

A bit of both cultures - American and Mexican food

Hot and spicy sauces

Although we wanted to experience the American way of life, I have to admit that we longed for some good strong Espresso coffee. Instead we had to make do with tall, frothy Starbucks cappuccinos or mochas. We drank our coffees American-style, taking them with us in the car and sipping the scalding beverage over the following hour or so. Finding somewhere to eat proved to be a game of hide-and-seek, unless you want to eat burgers with fries three times a day. Where were all the real restaurants? You know, the type that serve up real food at a table with a tablecloth and wine in glasses. Unfortunately, as we were in Phoenix over the Christmas holiday, we discovered that most places were well and truly closed. Trying to find somewhere special to eat on Christmas Eve took us on a bewildering, frustrating hour's drive through the city until we found the Saddle Ranch Restaurant in Scottsdale and had a mighty steak, worthy of a hungry cowboy, with Californinan wine drunk from rather scratched wine glasses at a lamp-lit table. It did have a Far West feel to it though which made up for the lack of finesse. Over the other side of the huge wooden buiding, was a mechanical bull you could ride on after your meal. Maybe if you lasted a certain number of seconds on its back before being thrown off onto the sawdusted floor, you got your meal free. We watched several clients having a go. No-one lasted long.

Where to eat in Phoenix???

The Saddle Ranch in Scottsdale

The mechanical bull

Cowboy steak

A delicious dessert of double fudge Brownie with ice-cream and berries...

Scottsdale saved the day. Once standing on its own, it has now been swallowed up in the larger Phoenix metropolitan area, but still maintains its small town character in the centre. You could be forgiven for thinking you're in a Far West theme park. As you wander around the Old Town, the single or double-storey wooden buildings with verandas and porches are now colonised by shops selling Native American arts and crafts, leather cowboy boots and belts, gemstones and pottery, or eating places.

Scottsdale Old Town

Old wooden buildings

Horse statues around a fountain

You can go for a horse and carriage ride

Chillies hanging up

Christmas decorations

Shop selling Native American Indian crafts

Indian rugs

Far West style seats

Wind chimes

Two other places redeemed Phoenix for us: the Heard Museum, a delightful exhibition and information centre about Native American Indian culture, history and art, and Scottsdale Fashion Square, just one of the city's enormous shopping malls, which had Cristina buzzing around in an adrenaline rush, gawking at the teenage clothing shops and spending all her Christmas money. It's probably where our feet did the most walking, bar Scottsdale centre. Apparently, in the sweltering heat of summer, the immense air-conditioned malls are the place to hang out. These are the modern centres of American community life where you can shop, chat over a coffee or ice-cream, eat burgers or tacos, experience the Hurrican Simulator or Jet flights down the Grand Canyon, watch movies, eat popcorn, and wear out your shoes. I can't imagine what Phoenix must be like in the summer. Temperatures soar to 49 °C, on a par with Baghdad or Riyadh. Their record LOW temperature in summer is an incredible 36 °C, registered one July night in 2003. I sure wouldn't like to be around when that happens.

Indian exhibits in the Heard Museum

Scottsdale Fashion Square mall

Inside another huge mall

Two girls experiencing a hurricane inside a Hurricane Simulator

Shopping centre

To be fair to Phoenix, it does have a wonderful winter climate, stunningly clear blue skies and amazing desert landscapes nearby, decent drivers and loads of beautiful art and crafts. We have never seen anywhere so full of horse-themed items (we're horse-lovers) which meant we were spoilt for choice. As it was, the city was really our base for doing excursions to the Grand Canyon, the Apache Trail, and Sedona and not the focus of our holiday. And let's give credit where credit is due. It says a lot for the American pioneering spirit that a city that size has proliferated in the desert, where once a tiny mining town and trading outpost struggled to survive in the midst of the hostile elements. Little wonder they changed the name from Pumpkinville to Phoenix, symbol of rebirth, renewal, immortality... It more aptly describes a city arising from the ruins of a former civilisation, the Hohokam, in the middle of the desert which today is one of the fastest growing cities in the US.

Amazing Arizona sign

Posted by margaretm 05:23 Archived in USA Tagged city Comments (0)

Stunning Arizona

Our Christmas travels took us to Arizona. I had no idea it was so beautiful, so interesting. Here's a small glimpse of what you can see and do there....

Giant saguaro cacti

By-gone days

Desert landscapes

Canyon lakes

Vivid colours

Open roads

Ghost towns

Old vehicles

Views through the windscreen

Horseback riding


Cactus country

Blue skies

Native American Indian heritage

Traditional pottery

Woven baskets

Desert architecture

Beautiful sunrises

Village churches

Cowboy times

Grim reminders

Unexpected humour

Desert wildlife

Snow-capped mountains

Log cabins

Long drops

Grand Canyon colours

Characteristic towns

Cowboy boots

Nature's rock carvings

Red rocks

Elegant palms

The Earth's skin

Posted by margaretm 09:20 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Christmas lights in the Centro Histórico

!Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad

The Christmas tree in the Zócalo


Christmas Day is just hours away, so it's time to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas from Mexico! Here are a few photos of the Christmas lights in Mexico City's huge public square, the Zócalo, where everything happens, and a few other places!














Posted by margaretm 06:17 Archived in Mexico Tagged traditions christmas_lights Comments (0)

Letter to Santa, Father Christmas, Papa Noel, Three Kings

This year I'm sending out a Christmas letter, in the hope that someone will make my wishes come true:



Dear Santa, Father Christmas, Papa Noel and Your Majesties, Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchior (the Wise Men, Three Kings or Reyes Magos)

Peace and goodwill to all of you. I hope you are well and have plenty of helpers to assist you at this very busy time of year. It must be very stressful and that's not good for your heart. As you already know (because somehow you know everything), I live in Mexico City and would like to ask for the following things this year for Christmas. The list is quite long but as you will see, they are all such worthy things that I found it difficult to decide which ones I should include. I'll let you choose which you think are most appropriate.

These are some things Mexico City needs:

1. Some clean air to breathe.
2. Less traffic.
3. More bicycles and people being nicer to bike users.
4. A new public transport system which is efficient, clean and, above all, gets you to your destination in one piece.
5. Filling in the holes in the roads.
6. Watering the flowers along Reforma at a time that isn't rush hour.
7. A compulsory driving test for everyone and a specially difficult one for bus drivers.
8. Some African elephants in the zoo.
9. Unarmed policemen who don't shoot first and then ask.
10. An end to the dysfunctional legal system, impunity, presumption of guilt, crooked cops and cooked-up stories.
11. No earthquakes over 4.7 on the Richter Scale.
12. A decent education for everyone, no matter where they live, politicians included.
13. A ban on newspapers showing gruesome, blood-drenched photos and only reporting about violence and crimes.
14. A more equal distribution of water during the 12 months. Eight months in a row is too long without any rain.
15. Police cars which go faster than 20 kmph and don't use flashing lights except in emergencies.
16. Hiding of all ugly tangles of overhead wires and cables.
17. Punctuality or a re-definition of time, i.e. how many minutes are there exactly in half an hour? 30 or 49 or 167?
18. Proper jobs for everyone, including the "clown" man who stands at the traffic lights with a stuffed monkey on his shoulder, juggling.
19. Brand new buses so we can get rid of the ancient peseros.
20. Miraculous parting of the traffic when ambulances need to get somewhere in an emergency.
21. A ban on all kidnapping, corruption and narcotraficantes.
22. Fresh clean water in the lakes in Chapultepec Park.

* * * * *
Here are also a few personal requests for my family and me:

1. More hours of sunshine in the winter to warm up our house. It's very cold there.
2. Fewer calories in quesadillas and just a little less chilli in guacamole.
3. A nice big consignment of Marmite to last until the end of 2012.
4. A safe driver for Cristina and Marc's school bus.
5. A "vertical take-off and flight" accessory for the Toyota so Josep can get home quickly in the evenings.
6. An enclosed park just for Ozzy so he can run around by himself and get rid of his energy instead of dragging us around.
7. More patience to endure the traffic jams or a year's supply of interesting magazines to accompany us in the car.
8. Another hummingbird feeder which doesn't leak.
9. Cristina and Marc would like school to start at 9.10 am instead of 7.30 am.
10. Josep would like a magic wand to use at work and a little more humidity in the air to stop his nosebleeds.

Thanking you in advance and have a very Happy Christmas!

Yours sincerely

Me ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

P.S. Can any of you stop my Brownies from coming out of the oven like hard volcanic rocks?

Posted by margaretm 04:34 Archived in Mexico Tagged christmas Comments (2)

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