Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Walmart Near the Pyramids

The New York Times > International > Americas > Teotihuac�n Journal: No, the Conquistadors Are Not Back. It's Just Wal-Mart.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike Walmart. I've shopped their in the past. I'm guilty of being swept by the prices they offer. Maybe I dislike it because the one by where I live is very chaotic (and not because of the people that shop there; although they could be, too). You can't even walk through the aisles without tripping over a box. It's even dirty. The fact of the matter is that the best time to shop at this Walmart is very early in the morning or sometime after 3am. Besides that, you're in there for a long time. I've been to other Walmarts that are really nice and clean. I wouldn't mind shopping in those, I guess.

With great prices comes great hardships. The reason Walmart could offer super low prices is because they could buy in bulk (big bulk). When a Walmart sets up shop in a town, the first thing to go are the small businesses. They can't possibly compete with Walmart. The simple and most obvious reason is that a small business owner does not have the means to buy in bulk. Unfortunately for these small business owners, they have to set their prices higher. We all know what occurs after this point--they go out of business.

Did you know that Walmart is richer than many countries. If my memory serves me correctly, it is in the top thirty of rich companies/countries (I saw the statistics in one of my Latin American and Caribbean Studies classes). It is richer than some countries!! That's impressive. Who is going to compete with that? I know this is good old capitalism at it's best, but I feel for the small guy (if this was a few decades earlier, I would probably be accused of being a communist). What is funny in this whole equation is that the small guy is the one to shop at this place (including myself--very rarely; although I do like shopping at Target).

Of course Walmart is now international. It's set up shop in Mexico. The point of the above article is that it's going to open a store near ancient pyramids and the locals are upset about this. I don't blame them. There seems to be some controversy on corruption by the city and archaelogists, which does not really surprise me. The locals are worried that they will loose their small businesses:
But an economic reality underlies this dispute - Wal-Mart has not only built stores throughout Mexico, but has taken over several other chains. It is the largest private employer in the country, and wherever this American retail titan erects a new outlet, the local merchants tend to disappear, or at least lose business.

My biggest problem with Walmart is not actually Walmart, but Latin America. Walmart is the largest private employer in Mexico. Why does a foreign country have that much control over Mexico? The answer is that countries like Mexico always look outside of its borders for economic help. It's easier to let a foreign company come in and take over its economy. I'm not going to change the way countries in Latin America operate, but they keep on making the same mistakes over and over again. The more they depend on outside help, the less wealthy and productive they become. This has been going on for centuries now. When are they going to realize this is their biggest downfall?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Hurricane Season

CNN.com Specials

For those of you intrigued by this hectic hurricane season, I found a link on cnn.com that gives you information on how hurricanes form. It's pretty interesting. It also shows a gallery of the top 10 worst hurricanes. Check it out.

Most lucrative college degrees

Most lucrative college degrees - Sep. 21, 2004

Those of you in school or just graduated you may want to look at this article. With the way things are going for me, I'm not surprised to see that my degree's worth has dropped 4.80% and the starting salary is $30,344. With all the different jobs I could do, it's quite alarming. As I've said before, I can't complain about my situation because Dan and I aren't starving to death. I'm hoping the tides change a bit for us.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Spared Again

Jeanne landed further north than where I am, but we have been getting a lot of rain. Today is pretty cloudy and rainy. I can't really complain because we haven't lost any power or suffered any damages. I just can't believe how central Florida has been pounded by all of these hurricanes. I see it coming--insurances and electricity are going up. This place is going to suck even further.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Another weekend wasted trapped inside the house. I can't tell you how annoyed I am. Well, not that I was able to do much since I'm sick, but Dan and I were going to buy a second car this weekend. We've been trying to buy a car for the past month. Between the hurricanes, work, and more work, it's been useless. What a mess!! I'll keep everyone posted on this new hurricane. The core of the storm is projected to hit Palm Beach County (again!!!!), but Miami will feel tropical storm force winds. Let's see what happens.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


As many of you know, I just celebrated my 29th birthday. It was a great birthday. I have to say that all of you that remembered are awesome. I think I got more phone calls and cards than I could ever remember. I've been feeling crappy for the past week with some allergy/cold that I have. On Saturday night, Dan took me out to grab a bite to eat, and I couldn't finish my bahamarita (very yummy). I don't believe that's ever happened in my life. Dan kind of laughed at me and tried to make me finish it (I think he was trying to get me drunk). Instead, I ended up driving home!! Anyway, I have to thank everyone of you for making me feel special and for the wonderful gifts I got!!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Crazy Week

I've had the craziest week ever. My new job, sucks! The school is mass chaos. As I found out through some of the other teachers, most of the students have learning disabilities and are taking medication. My first day, I had a sixth grader tell me to go screw myself and then apologized. I broke up four fights between two kids in an hour. I found out that most of the ninth graders don't know how to write three paragraphs. I don't get my own lunch period, either. I have to be in the cafeteria with the kids to make sure they don't crazy. Kids just curse up and down the hallway.

Then the kicker came. I was asked to teach 1st and 2nd grade (combined). The reason for this is because the teacher these students had didn't speak English that well. Wow! The fact that these two grades are combined is beyond me, but whatever. So my little rugrats are actually very adorable. I have a couple of kids that have speech impediments, a boy with add, and a girl that has psychological problems due to abuse.

The little girl is hectic to deal with, but is the sweetest kid you could ever imagine. She sees me in the mornings before class starts and runs to me to give me a hug and a kiss. She stands next to me and holds my hand waiting for me to walk her up the stairs. I fed her the first day because she just puts food everywhere but her mouth. She only knows how to write her name. She spends the entire day coloring or trying to steal some other kid's pen. She even goes into my bookbag and tries to take my pens. I got her to understand that there's no talking and that she must sit down. I think I also got her to understand that she must ask me first to go the bathroom instead of running out of the classroom. Let's see if I could make some progress with her.

There's actually special ed classes in this school, but I don't know what they do with all the other kids. My add kid, he just wants to color and show me his karate moves. I could barely get him to do classwork. He doesn't do his homework. I sent a letter to his parents to make sure that he does his homework. He's also a sweet kid. He keeps on making me paper dogs and planes. He draws for me, too. If I had each of these kids alone, they would definitely improve. They all have potential.

Another problem I'm running into is dividing the lesson plans between the two grades. What happens when I start teaching the first graders or the second graders, they all want to participate. Even if I give them classwork to do while I try to teach the lesson, they get excited and want to answer the questions. So far, I make all of them participate. I'm not sure what else to do. I don't want to tell either grade not to answer because I feel that will turn them off to school. Most of the times you get kids that don't want to participate in class. In this case, they all want to participate, which I think is a great sign.

Last but not least, I've been sick all week. I think it's really bad allergies. I'm loosing my voice and I'm all congested. My voice isn't going to get any better because I'm usually yelling at the kids to be quiet. Thursday night I ended up taking a tylenol pm, and fell asleep before 7pm. I've also been working at B&N, so I'm just exhausted. I finally have Sunday off. I want to enjoy the day and celebrate my birthday, which is on Monday.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Prep List for Ivan

For those of you that don't know how to prepare for a hurricane, I have the list for you: Hurricane Check List

Thursday, September 09, 2004

New Job

I have good news!! Starting Monday (if Ivan misses), I will be a history teacher at Lincoln-Marti school in Little Havana. My mother-in-law happen to pick up the paper and found the job posting. She called me right away to let me know about it. I faxed over my resume. Three hours later, the school called me to set an interview. I went over to their main office and got the job. It's a starting point for me and I'm excited about it. I think I'm also a bit nervous because I'm actually breaking out. Even Dan noticed that I'm breaking out! Anyway, that's what's going on. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hurricane Ivan

Because Frances wasn't enough! Now we have Ivan to worry about. As of right now, it's a Category 4 with winds of 125 mph and it's traveling at 23 mph, which is quite fast. From the pictures, it seems as if it's going straight into Florida.

I brought this up to Dan last night, but I feel that the last two years have been hectic with storms. The last winter I spent in NJ, we got pounded with blizzards and bitter weather. That summer, I remember spending an entire month without seeing the sun. I remember that vividly because I was alone. Dan had already moved down to Miami. It made me really depressed. In Florida, we've had two major hurricanes and we're only in September. It has also been a very rainy season. I hope this trend does not continue.

weather.com - Storm Track

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Frances's core hit in Stuart, which is north of West Palm Beach. We've gotten the storm, but with wind gusts of up to 50-70 miles an hour. The right side of the storm has not hit yet, which is expected to be the worst part of the storm. Miami will be getting the tail end of it, but with the same wind speeds. Money hungry places are already opening up, even though the advisory is to stay home. I guess they figure that people have been cooped up in their homes since Thursday night and are itching to get out (I'm one of those, but with my luck I'll have a tree fall on me). I couldn't go online yesterday because we kept on having power surges. Luckily, we never lost the electricity. It might happen later on today, but so far, so good.

Other than that, everything has been fine. The only problem is that we're bored. I've been studying for the GRE, and finally got a chance to play with the Xbox. I played Prince of Persia. I didn't do so bad. Dan has been so involved in Knights of the Old Republic that I haven't even held the controller.

Anyway with this whole preparation for Frances, I haven't had much of a chance to study for the GRE. I wanted to take the exam the weekend of my birthday, but the more I look at the material, the more I realize how unprepared I really am for this exam. I'm going to have to hold off on school until the summer. I believe I have until April to apply for the summer. I'll probably take the exam some time in March. There's no point of taking an exam you're not prepared for. I am now giving myself six months to study for it. I'm upset about this, but I know it's the best move. Once I'm back in school, I'll be back in business.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Frances Update

Frances has slowed down to a mere 9 miles an hour. As of 2:00pm, it was 190 miles east of Miami. The national hurricane center is anticipating landfall by Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach, but is cautioning that Frances might make a left turn making landfall in the Miami area. Even if it doesn't make that left turn, we will probably feel winds of 70 miles an hour or more. Right now, we are experiencing a second feeder band that is bringing winds of about 20-25 miles an hour.

We are as prepared as we can be. The only problem I foresee is that my bathroom window shutter is actually not attached to the wall, which makes the shutter useless. I will have to remove stuff from the bathroom, and keep the door closed. There's nothing we could do about it as of now, and we don't have a long enough ladder to climb up to the window. Even if we did, we wouldn't be able to secure it because it's very windy. All we could do now is wait.

I do have to say that it's been a long day, and it's only 4:53pm. I feel as if it's 9:00pm. It also doesn't help that the house is dark. We woke up at around 7:30am to get our gas tank filled up, and been working all day long. I bleached the bathtubs so that we could fill them up with water (I know this sounds weird, but if the city shuts down the water we will have fill up the tubs in order to drink, bathe, and to flush). We also pulled in all the patio and balcony furniture from outside. Dan backed up his computer, and did a whole bunch of stuff outside of the house. In other words, we're pooped.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hurricane Frances

I know I said I was taking a three week break to study for the GRE, but there's something more important going on at the moment. We're preparing for Hurricane Frances. This is my first real hurricane, and frankly, I'm worried. Gas stations are running out of gas, Home Depot is running out of ply wood, etc. As of right now, I'm bringing in the small plants from outside. Later on, we'll have to bring in the patio furniture. One thing I'm upset about is if we have to go to a shelter, pets aren't allowed. I have no idea what we'll do if it comes to that. We can't leave all three dogs.

As of right now, the national weather center has not issued a hurricane warning for Miami-Dade County. We're just under a watch, which means I'll probably end up at work today. The only thing I could do at the moment is hope for the better. If all goes well, I'll blog again after the hurricane passes through (if there's no water damage inside the house; we live on a lake and have a pool) Either way, I'll keep you guys posted.