Friday, February 8, 2008

What's in a name??

The powers to be in the Monarch Mountain Project are not satisfied with the results happening up here on the mesa overlooking Morelia, or so the birdies tell me. They contracted a Spanish consulting firm to find a way to boost sales of the gated communities that are taking over the cow pastures up here near Jesus Del Monte.

So what do you think a Spanish consulting firm would come up with? "Monarcas" is too common for the upper crust that we are looking for up here (sarcasm interjected). Heaven forbid, taxis, tacos stands, soccer teams, all have this commoner's name "Monarca". We must name it after something mucho mas cavalier....say, a Spanish wine, ..yeah, who'da thunk it! Never mind that Michoacan is the winter home to the fluttering insect with the regal name.

So, after thousands of pesos spent on name buildup on the radio, etc. , this project has morphed from the Monarch Mountain project, (aka "Montana Monarca"), equally regal and easily remembered in both languages, to become known as "Altozano". Just reposition the Os and the As in that name, and you can become as confused as I.

I am sure that a looming recession and huge housing downturn in North America had as much to do with any slowdown here, then the name, but who am I to opine. On to the changes that have taken place since my last posting, much more than name changes.

The Pope's blessing

The traffic circle, or to us New Englanders: "Rotary" has a new statue, of the travelling Pope, Juan Pablo II. Most new businesses in Mexico make sure they have a priest come in to bless the establishment at its opening, not here in "Altozano" we have boulevards and statues honoring the late Pope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I tried to email this to the address in your profile, but it bounced back.

I was amazed to find mention of Jesus del Monte, Michoacan, on the internet (and in your blog, in particular).

I used to live there off and on between 2001 and 2004, at the very edge of the community, in a two room house with a tarpaper roof. I was attempting to do an anthropological study of women whose husbands are migrants. Anyway, the reason I'm contacting you is because I continue to keep in touch with some of the folks in that town, and one of the major changes impacting their lives is the "road to nowhere" (which, these days, probably goes somewhere) and the brand new housing communities for wealthy people that were being constructed nearby. I would love to return to see what the community is like now, but because of my job I can't. I'm curious to know if you could provide an update about the development of the "new" (probably old by now) road, the housing developments, and other construction that would affect the residents of Jesus del Monte. The people I talk to, who have to use someone else's phone to communicate with me, find this construction to be a source of preoccupation. They don't like to talk about it because it scares them, and other than a few comments about how city people walk around and stare at their cows and houses, and how they don't trust them, they don't say much about it.

When I went to Jesus del Monte in 2001, the family with which I lived had no electricity (and, of course, no plumbing). There was a road from Morelia to Jesus del Monte, but the paving stopped outside of the town, where it turned to dirt, and then to cobblestones. In 2003, when I returned, the family had an electric line, and the road from Morelia was paved almost all the way to the town. To the west was a branch that went to a brand new university complex. To the east was a branch that went "to nowhere" --it simply dead-ended, and even the guys from town who helped with construction didn't know where it was intended to go. Between the branch to nowhere, the growing university complex and Jesus del Monte, was a gigantic traffic circle. It was absurd, as the only traffic on this road was the bus that ran between Jesus del Monte and Morelia. And, the butt of everyone's jokes, a GAS STATION appeared along the road between J del Monte and Morelia. It was just above Santa Maria. And right before it was a SUSHI RESTAURANT, a coffee house, a nail salon, and a fitness/workout gym for women. The local residents had no idea what those services were for, but assumed the wealthier people in the cities must use them. The gas station, though... few in J del M had vehicles, and they coudn't imagine any city residents getting their gas outside the city. It was as bizarre as the giant traffic circle in the middle of the farm fields.

When I returned in 2004, there were large housing developments, complete with brick walls and gates, going up around the giant traffic circle. The "road to nowhere" had been extended, and there were giant banners from Coldwell Banker advertising that "anyone" could afford one of the beautiful new houses on credit. Anyone, of course, except the folks who live in Jesus del Monte. The houses were set up like mini neighborhoods, with paved streets, outdoor lighting, yards... mini suburbias, all self-contained.

Two years ago, the first that I was able to find mention of Jesus del Monte on a map, I found an aerial view from google. It showed what looks to be a small airport or landing pad for small planes! It's not too far farm the center of Jesus del Monte. Any news about what's going on there?