Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday 26th March 2015………a good day!!!!!

which did not start out too well because tennis this morning was cancelled because of that big rain storm last night!!!!

So I had an extra hour studying and then went to my class…I am now into future and past tenses and I think at last I get the idea and I know I say it often but I have the best teacher…..

I was lucky because the courts were open this afternoon and I got to play for an hour which I enjoyed.

Went shopping afterwards and picked up some goodies for Rita she has a friend coming to stay for the weekend and I was happy to get some little things in for her and I took them around to her this evening and stayed for a short chat and then went into town and attended a series of 6 ten minute plays at the local theatre   they were all well acted and some were quite funny.

Home in time to watching the last period of a hockey game…..

 

Interesting article I think!!!

 

 

Mexico missing students: Fear and distrust six months on

 

Woman and man look at photos of missing students The college in Ayotzinapa is now a shrine to the missing students

It is six months since 43 students went missing in the Mexican state of Guerrero. They disappeared after clashes with police in the town of Iguala.

The government says the students were handed over to drugs gangs by corrupt local police - but the parents refuse to accept this and are demanding more action to find their loved ones.

It is a sunny afternoon in the Raul Isidro Burgos rural teachers' college in Ayotzinapa. The warmth has brought out a chorus of chirping birds, and some young children are kicking a ball about on the grass.

In the centre of the college, a few people are on the basketball court. This would normally be the heart of the college, a place where people would come and relax.

Now it is a shrine to the missing. At one end, there are 43 desks - each one with a picture of a student.

A college shirt is draped over the back of one of the chairs; other people have left balloons, pictures and trinkets.

Without knowing where their sons and brothers are, nor being able to bury them, this feels like the closest the families can get to visiting their loved ones' graves.

'World has forgotten us'

On the other side of the basketball court Erica de la Cruz Pascual is cradling her three-year-old daughter Alison. Erica's husband, Adan Abrahan, is one of the missing.

Erica de la Cruz Pascual with her daughter Erica de la Cruz Pascual says her young children are suffering without their father

Every day she comes here with her little girl and eight-year-old son Jose Angel, hoping that one day he will walk back through the college gates. It is her son who has taken it the hardest.

"At first, we didn't want to tell him, but we have to be honest. He's been really sad ever since," says Erica. "He doesn't want to leave here, he says he wants to be a teacher like his dad."

Nearby, I meet Floriberto Cruz, whose grandson Jorge Anibal is also missing. President Pena Nieto has said that it is time to move on, but the families disagree.

"Sometimes we think the world's forgotten us because we don't get any support," Floriberto tells me. "We know that people from around the world know what happened here but we have no way of knowing if they're supporting us."

The case of the 43 students galvanised Mexican society - it was the sheer number that disappeared in one night that shocked many.

But they were not the first and nor were they the last to go missing in Iguala, the town that has become the centre of the horror story.

'Tense calm'

The journey from Ayotzinapa to Iguala takes about 90 minutes.

March for missing Mexican students in Mexico City. File photo Thousands of people have been taken part in marches for the missing students in Mexico

I was warned about Iguala before I went. Some people call it an "infierno". Others just label it "caliente" (or "hot') - in reference to its violent reputation.

One man stopped me in the street in the centre of Iguala to talk. I asked him how it felt to him. "Calma-chicha," he called it, explaining that there was a sort of "tense calm" in the town.

Iguala is at the heart of Mexico's opium trade. Surrounded by mountains where poppies are to produce opium paste, the town is an important point in the route to the United States.

Iguala seems like any ordinary town - there is a large square in the centre with a beautiful orange church. Shops around the square sell everything from Mexican ice lollies to boom box speakers that blare out mariachi music to everyone passing by.

But we were warned by many people to watch our backs. Halcones - or hawks in English - hang out on the street corners or drive by on motorcycles and radio their friends to let the criminal gangs know what is happening in town.

I spoke to several people, and when I asked whether they would talk to me as a journalist, the response was "it's complicated".

Distrust and boycott

But Jehuet was willing to tell me her story.

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Last year, her younger brother, who was 25, was kidnapped after taking his son to nursery.

The family paid a ransom of 30,000 Mexican pesos ($1,980; £1,330) and he was released.

Then, eight weeks ago he was kidnapped again. This time, he was shot in the head execution-style and his body dumped in a poor neighbourhood. Paradoxically, she says her family was lucky.

"What's happening in our lives is so depressing, so brutal," she says.

"We used to have to thank God for another day of life, for our health, to be looked after. Now we have to thank the criminal gangs that we are alive. We have to thank them for allowing us to be with our families for just one more day.

"But we also have to thank them for giving us my brother's body because there are some people - those families of disappeared - who don't have their bodies or only parts of them."

In the wake of the students' disappearance, Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca was arrested along with his wife, accused of ordering police to confront the students on the night they disappeared.

Few people here trust local politicians - the feeling is that Mr Abarca was just one of many corrupt mayors in office in Guerrero. There is now a growing movement to boycott elections in June.

Lethal mix

"Nothing has changed since the disappearance of the students," says Ezequiel Flores, the Guerrero correspondent for national magazine Proceso.

"The same political forces that encouraged that mayor are working with other people but with the same practices and the same links. In other words, mafias have won over the political parties."

In Guerrero's capital Chilpancingo, I meet a businessman who says he is different. Pioquinto Damian Hueta is running for mayor and knows first-hand about violence.

Last year, 180 bullets were fired into his car, killing his daughter-in-law and injuring his son. Mr Hueta believes he was the intended target. Despite this, he still wants to run for office.

"Yes, I'm scared but I'm more scared about staying silent," he says. "I'm more scared about doing nothing, about being a spectator and seeing my municipality come apart. Fear of being paralysed and doing nothing, watching Guerrero and how it's come undone."

The events of September turned the world's attention to the violence in Guerrero - but six months on, little has changed.

Life is hard for people who live here, especially in towns like Iguala.

After a while, it is hard to trust anyone you speak to. Everybody has a shocking story to tell and none of those stories are simple to understand.

Politics, drugs and violence - it is a lethal mix. And one that seems almost impossible to unravel.

 

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday 25th March 2015….just a regular day!!!

I had the morning off and sent it washing my car, doing some laundry, doing my Spanish homework and preparing for my class tonight and then I went off to poker this afternoon on the way passed by this great tree, they are everywhere and so wonderful!!!

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What can I tell you about poker…….another 180 pesos in the kitty!!!!!!

Came home and do you see anyone waiting for their dinner!!!!

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Look at the white in the middle of the shot!!!!

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He is a strange stray cat who comes every morning and evening for dinner but he still will not let me any closer than about 15 feet of him.

As I was getting ready to leave for my class the heavens opened and it started to throw it down so I had to go to town in the car something I do not care for as the traffic is just nuts and of course had to find a parking spot…but I got lucky I did find somewhere to park close to the school.

It was a good turn out considering the heavy rain……another great class and this time their homework for today was to be the teacher and conduct a spelling contest..it was fun and they did so well.

Back home had something to eat a nice long soak in the tub and now watching hockey!!!

 

Today is Sam’s birthday, my beautiful niece, here we are in 2011 on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond!!!!!    Trust you had a great day Sam!!!

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Yashi Kochi!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday 24th March 2015…..a nice easy day!!!!

Which started here at 9am….

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Another great two hours of tennis and as you see hardly a cloud in the sky.

A few little chores to do in town before I came home for lunch and then off to Rita’s for the usual Tuesday afternoon of fun and good company and cards which I am delighted to tell you I was a winner at long last!!!!!

Back home just after 4 o clock and I took my book and sat outside in the back yard and enjoyed the sun and the relaxation.

A nice dinner, a long soak in the tub and just finished watching a hockey game.

So there you have it short and sweet…….

Yashi Kochi!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday 23rd March 2015……..Monday again!!!!!

Boy these weeks sure roll around fast these days and no I am not getting older!!!!!

Went to yoga this morning and from there straight to my Spanish class where I always am challenged and I do see how much I have learned and I also try and talk when ever I am out and if anyone in SMA wants to learn the language contact me and I will give you Maryisol’s contact she is the best!!!!

I had lots of chores to do in town and afterwards I went to deliver some things for Rita and had a short visit with her.

Came home and did chores around the house including getting rid of a huge nest that some critter had built under the engine hood of my car…I only found this out yesterday went I went to see my friend Gregg and he told me he has a big container of window wash fluid did I want to fill mine up and when I opened the hood I could not believe what some animal I think it is a Mexican critter that is like a cross between a raccoon or otter or rat I sometimes see them in the garden at night and they are so ugly anyway this one had built a huge nest glad we found it as I am sure on a long journey in this heat I could have had a serious issue……

Went to my English class tonight it is getting near the end of their year and I have so loved being a small part of their learning tonight my students from last year joined the class as their teacher never showed I really feel sorry for them they have had so many teachers and some not showing I know we are volunteers and it is hard but my class have had the same teachers both semesters….anyway we just all talked about our weekends and what they did for world happiness day last Friday..they are amazing especially Matilde who works for my friend Rita…..when Matilde came to the front she said she wanted to talk about Rita and she told us all how much she loves going there and how wonderful Rita is and then she read us a note that Rita had given her…needless to say there was not a dry eye in the classroom!!!!!

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Can you believe it there should be a law against it…. it is just not right and yes I am complaining…….no hockey or soccer or tennis on TV tonight!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Violence the Mexican city of Acapulco is taking a toll on the tourism industry, says the BBC's Katy Watson

 

It is early evening and a crowd has gathered on Acapulco's palm-lined beach road.

People are staring at an empty public bus, empty apart from a pair of legs sticking out near the rear stairwell.

This is Acapulco's latest crime scene. Less than an hour before we arrived, a man was shot dead as he was getting off the bus.

Police take notes and photographers take pictures.

Crime scene

It is the material that will fill the next day's crime pull-out in the local newspaper.

When I ask one of the bystanders whether this sort of thing is common, the man shakes his head and tells me that it is very rare.

I walk away and another man, Jesus Rodriguez, stops me.

"This happens a lot, it's a lie that he says that doesn't happen," he insists.

"It's really tough. Tourists aren't coming - and without tourism, there's no money in Acapulco. We all live on tourism in one way or another."

Dream location

Acapulco was once a destination for Hollywood stars.

A sign listing the Hollywood stars who visited Acapulco over the decades There are reminders of Acapulco's glamorous links with Hollywood all around

Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne were just some of the names who came in its heyday, but drug-fuelled violence and street crime have given Acapulco more of a reputation for high homicide rates than for high-end glamour.

And when crime is not in the headlines, natural disasters are.

Acapulco was badly damaged by Hurricane Manuel in 2013 so the tourism industry has been hit hard in recent years.

The past few months have seen more problems.

Acapulco is in Guerrero state, the same as the town of Iguala, where 43 students went missing in September.

Violent protests in the months after their disappearance put tourists off.

The end of November is usually a weekend for Mexicans to celebrate the 1910 revolution and for hotels to celebrate because their rooms get booked up.

But last year was very hard. In the run-up to the weekend there were 14,000 hotel cancellations.

Around half of the rooms remained empty.

Police presence

Federal police have taken over security and policing from municipal forces in Acapulco.

Federal police officers on patrol in Acapulco in March 2015 The government sent federal forces to Acapulco in an effort to drive down crime

Officers patrol the beach road in pick-up trucks, wearing body armour and toting machine guns.

Even a minor traffic offence is met with armed policemen telling drivers they are stepping out of line.

But the federal police are not the only ones who have been sent to Acapulco.

More than 1,000 soldiers are protecting schools in neighbourhoods across the city.

A soldier watches as children arrive for school in March 2015 Soldiers are now on watch at schools in the city

Their teachers went on strike late just before the Christmas holidays because of a spate of murders and kidnappings, some within schools.

Teachers only returned to the classrooms once they were guaranteed protection.

"The brutality of violence is getting worse and worse," says Walter Emanuel Anorve Rodriguez, who is part of CETEG teachers' union in Guerrero.

"As a sector, we are employed and we have the means to have a modest and stable quality of life - and so we've been targeted as a group that is able to pay a ransom."

'Speak well'

Down on the beach, people are trying to look on the bright side.

A view of the beach in Acapulco in March 2015 Acapulco's beaches have been more quiet than usual in recent months

Erick de Santiago runs a beach bar and is part of a group called Habla Bien de Aca, which translates as "Speak well of Acapulco".

Together with other local businessmen, he is trying to boost Acapulco's image and bring tourists back.

He says that with 80% of Guerrero's income coming from tourism, the federal government is not doing enough.

"It does damage us because people think twice about coming to Acapulco," he says about the violence, adding that security is not necessarily the most worrying issue.

"What's more important are the demonstrations, the blockades, people seizing control of pay booths on toll roads."

Impunity

While businesses worry about the impact of protests and violence, for the tourists that do venture to Acapulco, the golden sands of the Pacific beaches will likely guarantee a relaxing holiday.

"The violence is really directed at certain people here, whether it be people involved in drugs or other bad things," says Tina Phebus from Michigan who has been coming here for the past 27 years.

View of a bus in which a man was murdered in Acapulco in March 2015 Crime scenes have become an all too common site in Acapulco

"I'm not involved in things like that so for me, I don't feel unsafe."

But the reality for many living in Acapulco's poorer neighbourhoods is that violent crime is not the only problem.

Jazmin (not her real name) says her daughter was murdered just over a year ago and despite the police knowing who her killers are, they remain free.

"My daughter was strangled with a steel cable, hands tied behind her back as if she was a criminal," says Jazmin.

"Justice hasn't been done. The government doesn't consider us, it doesn't want to believe there's a huge problem. We citizens have a right to security, to live safely here in Acapulco."

Brutal reality

We put Jazmin's situation to Acapulco's interim mayor, Luis Urunuela Fey.

In charge of the city until the mid-term elections in June, even he admits little can be achieved in that time.

Luis Urunuela Fey in March 2015 Luis Urunuela Fey says corruption is everywhere

A view of Acapulco in March 2015 Acapulco's views and beaches are still for many

The armed bodyguards he travels with show the dangers people in power here feel, too.

"There are corrupt people everywhere," he says.

"It's not a justification nor an expectation that with some good people we can achieve things, but it is about knowing that we are all in the same boat. We can't have some people doing nothing and others leading the way, we all have to make an effort."

The federal police are making that effort, as are businesses here, too.

But the reality is brutal. The day after the man was shot on the bus, images of his bloodied body are splashed across the papers.

The page is shared with a man stoned to death naked and the murder of a taxi driver.

Tourists may be able to enjoy that dream holiday but the violence suffered by Acapulco residents is real.

 

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday 2nd March 2015…hiking day!!!

A beautiful sunny morning and after going down town to the meeting  place and  4 of us set off and a long hard hike to the crater summit

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The first hill we have to get to the top of….

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Lovely scenery!!!

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Looking back to the lake where I live!!!!

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It was a hard climb but enjoyable!!

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The next and last peak  we have to scale…

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Seems friendly enough!!!!

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We made it 9100 feet and a great lunch spot …..

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Pierre  our great leader!!!!

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It was a great hike about 12 miles and one that I enjoyed.

Got back to the house by 3 o clock and guess what!!!!!

I was just in time to watch the final of the men’s tennis from Indian Wells and a great three sets that was…

Then guess what again……

After that game there was a soccer game from England that was played earlier in the day and it was involving my Brother’s team Hull so I really enjoyed watching that and I even think I saw my bro in the stands(kidding).

Going to have a long hot soak in the tub now!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday 21st March 2015…Happy Solstice!!!!!

Well the first day of spring was a lovely one and I had breakfast whilst watching a live soccer game from England and then off to tennis at 9am but this time a little different Loren and I played singles we have not done that for months and it is a totally different game…but we had a great time sunshine, laughter, banter and the occasional passing shot…I will not tell you who won!!!!

Then it was off to the market before coming home and getting ready to go get the kids and take them to the water park…they had so much  fun and silly me forgot my camera…..they stayed in the different pools for nearly three hours and then for a special treat I took them out for dinner and they enjoyed that and they were so well behaved.

Back home in time to get cleaned up and pack a sandwich and off to the Botanical Gardens there was a music concert which was originally to have taken place in the canyon but because of all the rain last weekend the canyon floor is still under water so they held the concert on the open air plaza……

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Before the concert they welcomed Spring

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  A great turn out for the concert which was all percussion instruments!!!!

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This was a very different concert and they were three very talented drummers!!!!

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This is Karina one of my students who was on the opposite side and I think she was taking a shot of me taking a shot of her!!!

It was a lovely and unusual evening.

On the way home I stopped at one of the miradors for these shots!!!

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Love the Jacaranda trees!!!

 

Now resting after a bath and some tea and watching a late night hockey game!!!!

 

OK I just cannot help myself I whupped Loren at tennis this morning!!!!!!

 

 

 

Doña Leandra 

 

Doña Leandra, 127, passed on yesterday

Born in 1887, she might have been the world's oldest woman

 

Mexico News Daily | Friday, March 20, 2015

Doña Leandra Becerra Lumbreras, quite possibly the world’s oldest woman at 127, died yesterday at her home in Zapopan, Jalisco.

Doña Leandra made international news last August when she celebrated her birthday. Though deaf, age had not affected her ability to converse and she still had some mobility. She told a reporter at the time that she was looking forward to blowing out the candles on a tasty cake.

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Her long life was attributed to a healthy appetite and lots of sleep. She enjoyed singing to her grandchildren and flirting with young men who came to visit. She never married — and attributed that, too, to her long life — but had five children, all of whom died before her. The last passed away two years ago at the age of 90.

She also enjoyed eating chocolate, which was allowed, and tortillas and beans, which were not.

Born in 1887 in Tamaulipas in the 50th year of the reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria, Doña Leandra was 23 when the Mexican Revolution began and is believed to have been one of the Adelitas, women who joined the revolutionary soldiers in the fight against Porfirio Díaz in 1910.

She supported her family with her work as a seamstress, and was sewing and weaving until just a few years ago, said a great-granddaughter last year.

Doña Leandra moved to Zapopan, 41 years ago to live with her daughter.

Her door was always open to visitors and she was known for her hospitality. That hospitality lived on last night and the door remained open when friends and family gathered to pay their respects.

She leaves 153 descendants.

 

My friend Carol sent me an e mail today of some wonderful sights in México in case I wanted some day to visit…there were a couple I will but the rest I am thrilled to say I have already seen like these below!!!

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Yahsi Kochi!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday 20th March 2015…World Happiness day!!!

 

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    International World Happiness Day – 20th March

    The International World Day of Happiness is on 20th March every year, and was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012

    Why

    Because if we continue to believe that we can only be happy through consuming more, we are going to run out of things to consume very quickly – and we still won’t be happy!

    “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do”.
    Freya Stark[i]

    Happiness is a state of being.[ii]

    Studied for decades, the question “what makes us happy?” has been posed all around the world, over time, and in different ways. Happiness is an important emotion, and has a role in the survival of the species.[iii]

    Feeling good is an overall motivational state that keeps us alive. The avoidance of loss and pain and the search for good feelings is the mechanism that has preserved and multiplied the human race.[iv] The impact of happiness has been demonstrated in different studies to improve health, life expectancy,[v] recovery from setbacks and much more.[vi]

    Dr Ross McDonald describes most as wanting love, acceptance, respect and esteem from others. They want romance, happiness, success and a sense of positive purpose. And given the fundamental nature of these needs, people will give huge attention to anything that suggests it will satisfy them.[vii]

    Happiness consists of positive emotion (hedonic pleasure), and assessments of flourishing, meaning and purpose (eudaimonic well-being) – both are important in evaluations of life satisfaction.[viii]

    Happiness is not only an individual quest, but is something organizations are keen to enhance among employees because there are organizational benefits to a positive, engaged, and energized workforce.

    Well-being is part of the measure of human capital, which is finding its way into the annual reports of listed companies. There is little doubt that management of health and well-being in the workplace reduces healthcare expenditure and yields a significant return on investment.[ix]

    If we look at happiness and unhappiness as two ends of a health dimension – the cost savings of reducing unhappiness (both in direct financial terms and down-time resulting from unhealthy employees) alone should raise the priority of the “happiness” agenda in the workplace.  At the other end of the dimension, optimal health is a factor in optimal productivity;[x] engaged employees are associated with innovation, described as moving the organization forward[xi] and with putting their discretionary effort into driving growth and performance.[xii]

    And the quest doesn’t stop at organizations. Nations too are keen to enhance the overall “happiness” of their populations. With an ageing population and the growing health challenges across the age spectrum combined with the benefits that happiness can bring, happiness is a vital economic issue.

    The 2012 World Happiness report argued: “if we continue along the current economic trajectory, we risk undermining the Earth’s life support system….necessary for human health and even survival in some places”. There is hope: “if we act wisely, we can protect the Earth” and at the same time “raise quality of life broadly around the world…..by adopting lifestyles and technologies that improve happiness while reducing human damage to the environment.”

     


    Last Updated Thursday, March 19, 2015 2:34PM EDT

    Canada’s summers may be mild and its winters cold, but its people are still happier than 90 per cent of rest of the world.

    Canada tied 10 other countries for 15th on a list of the world’s happiest populations, putting it ahead of most European nations. The Great White North trails several of its South American neighbours on the internationally-ranked list, but it finished dead even with the United States and several Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway.

    The website Gallup polled 1,000 residents from 143 countries worldwide to produce the list, which ranks each nation by the percentage of positive answers its citizens provided to a series of questions about sleep, respect, laughter, education and happiness.

     

    Paraguay dominated the list with 89 per cent positive responses, followed by a three-way tie between Ecuador, Colombia and Guatemala at 84 per cent. Several Central and South American countries fill out the top 10 with scores in the low eighties, while Canada tied 10 other countries at 79 per cent.

    Canada’s neighbours on the list included its neighbour to the south and a good mix of countries from different parts of the world. The United States, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Argentina, Bhutan, Chile, Dominican Republic and Rwanda all racked up scores of 79 per cent.

    War-torn, poor and bitterly-divided countries filled out the bottom of the list, with Sudan placing last at 47 per cent. Tunisia was next-lowest at 52 per cent, followed by a tie between Bangladesh, Serbia and Turkey.

    The list found an obvious discrepancy between national wealth and individual happiness, with poorer countries like Guatemala far outranking wealthy nations like the United Kingdom.

     

    Well today was a true Pearson hay sunny day!!!!

    My first stop was to go into town for 10am to watch the children’s welcome to Spring parade I have seen this before and if you cannot be happy after seeing hundreds of kids dressed up well then I am sorry..the only problem was that when I arrived in town everyone was leaving unbeknown to me and many more the parade started this year at 9am so all I have for shots are a few of the kids leaving…

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    A shame I missed the event.

    Came home and got packed up and on the road and 80 minutes later I was entering this city

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    Why are you asking….

     

    well this is why!!!!

     

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    You know how I feel about this sport and to be able to see some of the up and coming stars and some of the women ranked between 150 and 300 in the world was not an opportunity to pass up.

    I treated myself to a VIp pass and I knew the ropes here because Carolyn and I came to this event last year……the complex is just wonderful

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    The above section is the one I have a ticket for and this is the best way to see tennis behind the base line and I had the best seat in the stadium…

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    The first game was between the number one seed from Germany playing an unseeded American girl…..it was so interesting for me to take in the action before on and off the courts….the No.1 seed I saw behind the stadium before the game holding her baby daughter!!!!!!  Then she leaves the baby with her husband and goes out on the court…

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    The No.1 seed

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    Her US opponent..

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    Dad and the lovely daughter watching…

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    It was a great three set game and lasted over three hours with the No 1 seed being knocked out…but what happens after the game….

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    Off the court and changing the diaper!!!!!

    I then went to Number 2 court

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    and watched a doubles game involving a Mexican girl and the crowd were so funny cheering so loud after every point won…

    Another great game which the local girl and her partner won……I think I managed to get some tips for my own doubles game tomorrow!!!!

    I then went back to the stadium court and my seat and watched another wonderful singles game…..these women are so strong and they hit the ball so hard…lots of swallows returning home over the court…

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    It was a fantastic day and the game finished by 8 o clock and I was home by 9.30pm….the only thing I did not care for was driving home in the dark but they were main roads and I took it easy….

    Now relaxing watching guess what…..yes tennis from Indian Wells!!!!!

    Yashi Kochi!!!!