An Irish Lady, an Egyptian Man and me

Me, in Mexico, last week


I am sure I am not alone in loving the discount corner of my local supermarket – actually Teddy loves it even more than me. We call it Compost Corner after the first discount area that we found in a furniture store. About 30 years ago, I said “we are going out to buy a dining table for £10”. Teddy was incredulous but we came back with a beautiful ‘teak’ table that £10. We loved it and my mum claimed it when we moved on to another table.

I digress… Today, I was lurking around my supermarket’s discount area and starting chatting to a lady with a northern accent who looked completely Jewish. We discussed our various finds, from $1 Italian wine and myriad other exotica. She and her husband called it the WooHoo section. We were joined by a man who looked Middle-Eastern. He joined in the conversation and we agreed with him that it provokes you to try something new when it is discounted. He was handsome and the ‘Jewish’ lady heard his accent (swooned a little) while asking him where he was from.

Then it turned into a competition. I knew he was Arabic so I guessed Lebanese and greeted him in North African Arabic. No to Lebanon but my next guess was right – Egyptian. I should have known; he was in the discount area although he was probably a doctor and both charming and chatty. Then the Jewish lady revealed that she was Irish American. She absolutely did not look Irish. So, then they had to guess where I was born (San Francisco, Hispanic/Irish hybrid). Nobody got that right.

So, we had a Hispanic (me) who looks Irish and sounds Scottish; an Egyptian man with an ‘olive chin’ that hints at his ancestry and a ‘Jewish’ lady who was really Irish. We all started laughing about how typical this was in both our area and the Houston area. The Egyptian man commented that this was makes America great – (if only everyone agreed with him). I told him about the barista who longs to speak Arabic so I imagine he will visit there next. As I left, I bumped into the barista and told him about speaking Arabic to an Egyptian man – his face lit up at the idea of a potential new friendship.

Papa Francisco for President!

Courtesy of Martin Schultz, Flickr

Courtesy of Martin Schultz, Flickr

Did you see Pope Francis giving them hell (or whatever is appropriate) in Morelia when the crowd pulling on him caused him to fall on a disabled man? He told them that they were selfish – bet they are going straight to hell! He gave a very moving Mass in the poor state of Chiapas in Mexico and yet again railed on the rich Hispanics who had badly treated the indigenous natives in that state and all over Mexico.

Go Jorge (that’s his real name and the one that I use for love letters…)! He would be a fabulous President, wouldn’t he? Okay, so he wasn’t born in America but neither was Ted Cruz. SNAP!!! I can’t tell you much I have wanted to say that. 🙂 Pope Francis has a strong moral code and he doesn’t give a damn who he gives a row to. He would sort out our horrible Congress and Lobbyists. Shame them into doing what they are supposed to – serve their constituents.

The water situation at Flint, Michigan is an example of how we are failing badly, as a nation. Who cares about how much it costs to get new pipes in – these people need clean, safe water. I am shocked at the lack of action. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even an engineer to figure out how bring water to these residents. In Egypt, only the cities have plumbed water (and it is pretty decent given that it comes from the Nile) and the country houses have water delivered into tanks that supply their pipes. This happens all over the Middle East. If I third world country can do this, why can’t we? I bet it doesn’t cause a trillion dollars either.

Why haven’t they put the people responsible in court, if not in prison? Surely they are guilty of a human rights crime? Send them to a Texas prison – they will never get out. When I returned from my unpaid work yesterday – which I went to even though I had not slept the previous night – I noticed one of these ridiculous weavers, in a BMW, going way too fast along our main thoroughfare. He was skipping in and out of the three lanes in a stupid and dangerous attempt to get somewhere a few minutes faster. I was thinking, ‘Where is the Sheriff when you need him’ and lo, along came a stealth Sheriff, silently but swiftly stalking him. Finally, he caught up with him and took him off into a car park never to be seen again. I am just kidding, it’s not that bad here!

Anyway, I know it will never happen, especially since Pope Francis would be an illegal Hispanic immigrant. SNAP! But I love the idea of an strong, good President who believes in social justice and will give you a row for being greedy. I am now torn over who I would choose to be with in the Zombie Apocolypse. Pitbull or Pope Francis? I am veering towards Jorge since he dances a mean tango…

Juan and Angel

angel
So many of my anecdotes occur in supermarkets that I am beginning to worry about the quality of my life… Nevertheless, I went to my other supermarket (not the one that employs Wolverine) and as I approached the check out, I noticed that it was two smiling young men. As I got closer I saw their names tags. “So it is the Spanish team today? Good Morning Juan and Angel!” I pronounced their names authentically – Juan (Hwahn) and Angel (Ahn-hehl). They both started laughing and Angel told me that his name was pronounced the English way. I responded laughingly, “I bet your Abuelita (Grandma) still calls you Ahn-hehl?” He agreed and I told them that my Abuelita’s name was Juanita. Angel said, “That’s what we call Juan”. I looked to Juan for his response which was, “And this from a boy called Angel…” Advantage Juan! It was yet another funny day at the checkout in Texas. People here ask me why these things happen to me but it is only because I engage people in chat and laughter. As a postscript, I was looking through some old photographs of my Paternal Grandfather (the Indian boy) and Grandmother (that Spanish woman) when I noticed that someone had written her name on the photograph. It was Woneta instead of Juanita – hilarious!

Grand Junction, Colorado

colorado national monument Grand Junction is a lovely little town in west Colorado, very close to the Utah border. It has the nearest airport to access Moab in Utah. United Express flies regularly from Houston. I was accompanying my better half who was training in the field. When I last went to Moab, I thought that Grand Junction was just lovely and this time the trip was focused there. It seems to be an affluent little town nestled between the most magnificent mountains and canyons. The Main Street is partially pedestrianized and I was really fortunate to be there during the town’s Cinco de Mayo’s fiesta. The sun was shining and everyone seemed so happy. The dancers were local Hispanic young men and women and their families, who mostly looked like migrant farm workers, were proudly applauding their various dance sets. It was very impressive – not just the dancing but the beautifully intricate costumes which must have been expensive. Despite the nearby mountains, the valley is fertile with orchards, vineyards and other produce. Not far from town is the Colorado National Monument, a national park which preserves one of the United States most fabulous landscapes. There are amazing views into the red rock canyons and valleys and it is easily accessible. I drove there early in the morning and it was fantastic watching the sun burn off the morning clouds, illuminating the rosy sediments. It was really easy to negotiate the roads around Grand Junction, get deliberately lost out in the countryside and wind slowly up the canyon roads. Small town living is so appealing when you live in one of the largest conurbations in the US. Click on the link for some lovely photographs and read about my adventures.POSTCARD FROM GRAND JUNCTION – click here