viernes, 11 de septiembre de 2009

Up to my knees . . .

This is my street. It was completely repaved less than 6 months ago. I took this picture yesterday. Do you see those car-eating potholes?

Why is my street in such amazing disrepair, you ask? PEMEX. PEMEX is Mexico's government-owned gasoline/petroleum monopoly. Asphalt is a by-product of petroleum production. So, despite the fact that concrete streets last about 20 times longer than asphalt streets (and the fact that northern Mexico boasts some very successful concrete companies), the vast , vast majority of the roads are paved in asphalt. OK, so it's not exactly PEMEX's fault. After all, why would the government pay a private company for a product that they can provide themselves? (Back that rule that I mentioned in my last post: "let's make everything as difficult as possible.")

How did these potholes get this size? A combination of the rainy season and drainage systems that can't handle torrential downpours. All over the country, the months between May and September are known as the rainy season. In central Mexico, it rains every day. Here, it rains a few times a week. But when it rains, boy--does it rain! My street, as it sits on an incline, turns into a river, complete with current. Therefore, the asphalt gets flushed away downriver.

Although I haven't been out much here while it's raining, I'm always reminded of my walk home from the American School in Puebla. At the end of the school year, it was almost always raining on my walk home. And, despite the fact that I walked home uphill, the water level got deeper and deeper the farther uphill I walked. The street drains were so full that they were spouting out water instead of channeling it in--rather like fountains! (ew) One day, Mario was driving me home while it was raining, and we could feel chunks of asphalt breaking free and hitting against the car in the torrent of water that flowed under us. Yikes!

Maybe someday Mexico's elected officials will learn that perhaps it would behoove them to spend a little bit more on concrete that will last year after year, instead of the asphalt that turns to pot(holes) in less than 6 months. Meanwhile, I'll keep waiting and wading.

(And this previous comment was by no means a political commentary or criticism, in case anyone from immigration is reading this post.)

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