Tag Archives: Mexico

Three Border Walls

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Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down. …
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
– Robert Frost, 1914

After watching John Oliver’s 20 March 2016 comic-news analysis on the proposed Border Wall, I remembered the lines in “Mending Wall“, the first poem I read by the great American poet Robert Frost.  I have had experience with three border walls in recent years:

Israel-Palestine Wall – Bethlehem, 2016

Between the TechWomen Delegations to Jordan and Zimbabwe, last month a group of us visited Gaza and the West Bank in addition to more usual Israel-Palestine tourist locations such as Jerusalem and MasadaBethlehem is a mixed Muslim-Christian city in the West Bank, typified for me by Manger Square, which has the Church of the Nativity at one end and the Mosque of Omar at the other.  The wall runs through Bethlehem, in one case right around an existing home.

This wall is regularly a target location for violent confrontations between citizens and soldiers, one of which we regrettably observed from two blocks away, as we were preparing to leave the city.  The wall is also a ground for artistic and political communication: it is covered with paintings and graffiti, including some by famous artists like Banksy. In a Bethlehem shop, we saw a traditional olive wood nativity scene – with the addition of a barrier wall keeping out the three wise men.

Israel-Palestine Wall in Bethlehem 2016 . Israel-Palestine Wall in Bethlehem 2016

Israel-Palestine Wall in Bethlehem 2016

Berlin Wall Sections – Mountain View, California, 2010

Two graffitied sections of the 1961-1989 Berlin Wall lived in an office park near where I worked in Mountain View, California, for many years. I used to visit them sometimes during lunch, thinking of the people who died climbing the Berlin Wall trying to get to freedom.  In 2013, the sections were moved to the front of the public library.

The original sign in front of these sections said: “…Between November 9 and 12, 1989 the Wall was breached; not from without with bombs or bullets, but from within by the sound of freedom and the vision of a better life that had drifted over the Wall. The World must not forget that it was America’s resolve and its political and economic ideals that made this bloodless revolution and most significant historical event possible.”  I don’t know if that sign is still with the sections since they moved.

Berlin Wall Section, Mountain View, California, 2010 . Berlin Wall Section, Mountain View, California, 2010

California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008

In 2008, my husband and I flew with friends to Baja California to see the grey whales at Laguna San Ignacio. Coming home, we got fuel and checked out with Mexican customs in Mexicali, then flew 9 miles north across the US border to check in at Calexico. The Calexico general aviation airport is directly on the USA-Mexico border fence.  It was strange to see our two nations that are culturally and economically one family – with a line drawn between them.

California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008 . California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008

California USA-Mexico Wall, 2008

Photos Copyright by Katy Dickinson 2008-2016

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State Plates

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I have been playing the license plate game for some months. My game version requires a good-quality photo of each state plate – which is tricky when the car is moving. (Don’t try this while driving!) This is only one variation of the license plate game – and not the most complex. “Preamble” by Mike Wilkins phonetically spells out the preamble to the Constitution of the United States using 51 US license plates – that ambitious project is in the Smithsonian collection.

So far, I have 47 of the 50 United States (missing are Delaware, Maine, and South Dakota), plus some others. There is much variety in plate design even within one state, and some are masked by big license holders – making identification a challenge. San Jose, California, where I live gets many visitors, so driving around a big parking lot usually yields at least one addition.

If you take a photo of a license plate, sometimes a double helix security watermark appears running up the center – to identify forgeries, I would guess. The watermark is clearest on the plates below for Indiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

Some plates feature background images (mountains, flowers, farms, birds) or a motto (“Grand Canyon State” “Sweet Home” “The Spirit of America” “Live Free or Die”), others have just the dull URL of their Department of Motor Vehicles or government home page. Viginia is the simplest – no images or mottos. My favorite is the feisty motto of Washington DC: “Taxation Without Representation”.

Alabama . Alaska . Arizona
Arkansas . California . Colorado
Connecticut . Florida . Georgia
Hawaii . Idaho . Illinois
Indiana . Iowa . Kansas
Kentucky . Louisiana . Maryland
Massachusetts . Michigan . Minnesota
Missouri . Mississippi . Montana
IMG_1233 . Nevada . New Hampshire
New Jersey . New Mexico . New York
North Carolina . North Dakota . Ohio
Oklahoma . Oregon . Pennsylvania
Rhode Island . South Carolina . Tennessee
Texas . Utah . Vermont
Virginia . Washington . West Virginia
IMG_8049 . Wyoming . Washington DC
US Department of State - Consular . Baja California - Mexico . Alberta - Canada
British Columbia - Canada . Quebec - Canada . US Government
Illinois - September 11, 2001 . Wisconsin - Menominee Nation

Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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Willow Glen Lions Projects

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I am in my second year as the Secretary to the Willow Glen Lions Club in San Jose, California. A Lions Club Secretary is the administrative officer – making monthly membership and program reports to Lions Clubs International, managing the club roster, keeping minutes of meetings, serving on the Board, etc.

Our club was chartered just over a year ago and we have made good progress. Willow Glen Lions  is now in our second year of community service projects which include:

Last night, the Club Board voted funding to begin a new Leos Club for teens in Willow Glen. My husband John and I just created the club’s first business card – preparing for our club’s second Fall Mixer (at Chase Bank on Lincoln Avenue at Minnesota in Willow Glen, 6:30-8 pm on 10 November), and other upcoming activities.  It arrived today!

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Images by Katy Dickinson, Copyright 2009-2010

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Bougainvillea in Bondage (Photos)

When we  flew to Mulege, Baja Mexico last month, we saw many lovely bougainvillea vines in full bloom, some trained as small trees with trunks often a foot or more wide. I decided to convert my backyard Barbara Karst Bougainvillea into a small tree. This
will give us a red flowering canopy in the summer and, as the vines grow thicker and develop bark, should also protect the tropical plant against the short winter freezes we get here in San Jose, California. This also allowed us to remove the garden fence which is no longer needed because we replaced our pool with WP668, our backyard caboose.

I started with the vine spread out along a black metal garden fence. Over two days, I compressed the thorny vines into a column using green plastic garden tape. Finally, I enclosed the compressed vines between three black metal panels which are zip tied together. (I removed the garden tape after enclosing the vines between the panels.) My vine is now a 6′ column with a fountain of vines coming out the top. It looks squashed at the moment but it is growing fast. Here is how far I have gotten on this project:

Vine tree in Baja

Mulege Bougainvillea vine tree, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

My Vine Blooming in 2007

Barbara Karst Bougainvillea vine blooming photo: copyright 2007 Katy Dickinson

Step One – Tie it Up

Bougainvillea vine, Step One - Tie it Up photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Step Two – Vine In Bondage

Bougainvillea vine Step Two - Vine In Bondage photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2007-2008 by Katy Dickinson

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Crossing USA Border, Flying Home from Mexico (GLL, MMML, KCXL, KPAO)

Charlie, Marji, John were in Baja California 15-17 February. Our pilot was Charlie Jackson, Sun Labs’ Webmaster. Our  Cessna 182 Skylane II was one of four private planes on the trip from the Shoreline Flying Club. See the following blog entries for more:

Flying home again took a full day – leaving Mulege shortly after sunrise and arriving in Palo Alto at sunset. We got fuel and checked out with Mexican customs in Mexicali, then flew 9 miles north across the US border to check in at Calexico. The Calexico airport is directly on the US-Mexico border fence. We were treated with a great deal more dignity and respect by US Customs arriving in a General Aviation plane than I have ever been treated by the TSA on a commercial flight.

Our flying buddy was Radu but even though his plane took off first, it was much smaller than ours, so we lost track of him after Mexicali. All four planes got home safe. We were first back, two more arrived that night, and Radu got home the next day.

Photos were taken with a Nikon CoolPix S510 camera with an 8G SDHC photo card. We ran the photos through a filter to reduce some of the haze resulting from taking photos through a window. The filter produced some oddly intense colors.

Radu and Kitty Before Takeoff

Radu and Kitty Before Takeoff in Mulege, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Loading our plane

Loading our plane in Mulege, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Radu Takes Off

Radu Takes Off in Mulege, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Charlie Jackson, Pilot

Charlie Jackson, Pilot photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

John Plocher, Copilot

John Plocher, Copilot photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Sea of Cortez Islands

Sea of Cortez Islands, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

River

River, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Baja Coast

Baja Coast, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Landing at Mexicali

Landing at Mexicali, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Fuel Stop at Mexicali, Mexico

Fuel Stop at Mexicali, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Flying Along USA-Mexico Border

Flying Along USA-Mexico Border near Calexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

USA-Mexico Border

USA-Mexico Border near Calexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Flying Over USA-Mexico Border

Flying Over USA-Mexico Border photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

USA-Mexico Border Fence

USA-Mexico Border Fence near Calexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Calexico Airport, USA

Calexico Airport, USA photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Plane Food, Calexico

Plane Food, Calexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home, American Flag, Calexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Calexico Cropdusters

Cropdusters, Calexico Airport, USA photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

US-Mexico Border Fence

US-Mexico Border Fence photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

No Man’s Land Between Fences

No Man's Land US-Mexico Border Fence photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Red Pavement Ants

Red Pavement Ants, Calexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Southern California Mountains

Southern California Mountains photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Snowy Mountain

Snowy Mountain, Southern California photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Windmill Farm, Southern California

Windmill Farm, Southern California photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Racing the Sunset

Racing the Sunset photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Charlie Home Safe, Palo Alto

Charlie Home Safe, Palo Alto California photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Parking the Plane at KPAO

Parking the Plane at KPAO, Palo Alto California photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2008 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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Loreto, Baja Mexico

Charlie, Marji, John and I flew to Baja California to see the grey whales 15-17 February. Our pilot was Charlie Jackson, Sun Labs’ Webmaster. Our Cessna 182 Skylane II was one of four private planes on the trip from the Shoreline Flying Club.

On 16 February, we went on a fuel run from Mulege south to Loreto. We tied down the plane and took a cab into town for lunch and to see what there was of interest. We found out that Loreto is where Father Junipero Serra began to establish the California missions in the 18th century. Over the Church of San Francisco Javier door it says: 25 Oct 1697, Cabeza y Madre de las Misiones de Baja y Alta California (that is: Head and Mother of the Missions of Baja and Alta California). John and I had seen
St. Francis Xavier
in Old Goa, India, last year (see my March 14, 2007 blog entry). It was interesting to see another church dedicated to this much-travelled missionary. Loreto is also an up-and-coming tourist resort with interesting shops. Cab
rides cost about double what we had been paying in Mulege.

Cessna 182 Tie Down

Cessna 182 Tie Down Loreto Airport, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Domingo’s Place Steakhouse

Domingo's Place Loreto Steakhouse, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Baja Map on Menu

Baja Map on Menu, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Saguaro Cactus Lightshades

Saguaro Cactus Lightshades, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

McLulu’s Fish Tacos

McLulu's Fish Tacos in Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Majolica Ceramics For Sale

Majolica Ceramics For Sale in Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Loreto Garden

Loreto Garden, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

John, Marji, Charlie

John, Marji, Charlie in Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Over Church Door

Over Church Door in Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Inside San Francisco Javier

Inside Church of San Francisco Javier in Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Airport Stop Light

Airport Stop Light in Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Marji Copilot

Marji Copilot, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

John in Back

John in Back, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Loreto Cemetary, Sewage Plant

Loreto Cemetary, Sewage Plant, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Landing shadows 1

Landing shadows 1 at Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Landing shadows 2

Landing shadows 2 at Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Landing shadows 3

Landing shadows 3 at Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Landing shadows 4

Landing shadows 4 at Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Landing shadows 5

Landing shadows 5 at Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Back in Mulege

Back in Mulege, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Dog on Mulege Runway

Dog on Mulege Runway, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Bicycle on Mulege Runway

Bicycle on Mulege Runway, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2008 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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Fuel Run to Loreto, Mexico

Charlie, Marji, John and I flew to Baja California to see the grey whales 15-17 February. Our pilot was Charlie Jackson, Sun Labs’ Webmaster. Our Cessna 182 Skylane II was one of four private planes on the trip from the Shoreline Flying Club. On 16 February, while the rest of the group went to see the cave paintings or scuba diving, we went on a fuel run from Mulege to Loreto. We filled up for ourselves plus extra for the smaller Flying Club planes.

On the map below, Loreto is at the bottom right: the next big town south
of Mulege on Baja’s Sea of Cortez.

Baja Map Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Baja Coast

Baja Coast south of Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

South of Mulege

Baja Coast south of Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Baja Coast

Baja Coast south of Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Baja Mountains

Baja Mountains south of Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Baja Coast

Baja Coast south of Mulege, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Loreto Airport

Loreto Airport, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Fueling at Loreto

Fueling at Loreto, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Guard with Gun

Guard with Gun, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Loreto Airport Building

Loreto Airport Building, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Loreto Tower

Loreto Tower, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Airport Sign

Loreto Airport Sign, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

No Corruption Sign

Anti-corruption Sign Loreto Airport, Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Sign Against Cultural Theft

Sign Against Cultural Theft Loreto Airport, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

No Extortion Sign

Anti-extortion Sign Loreto Airport, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Saguaro, mountains

Saguaro, mountains Loreto Airport, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Pink Weed

Loreto Airport Pink Weed, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

John Tying Down Plane

Tying Down Plane, Loreto Airport, Baja Mexico photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2008 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

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