tarekturjuman

Guatemala, drowning in algae!

In Places I Love, Young unemployed professional on December 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM

The following writing style might not make sense or follow the commonly accepted style of writing and communication, you might get confused and want to pull your hair out. I don’t intend to offend, inspire, or sell anything. I am just typing!

After a long year of career struggles, working day and night, I finally make it home for the holidays. I wanted to relax, enjoy the nature, my mother’s food, and all the drama Christmas with the family can bring, but I can’t!

Home to me is one of the most interesting places in the world, Guatemala.

What makes Guatemala so interesting is that despite it being a rather small country, it holds some of the most important history and culture in Latin American heritage. It is the birthplace of the Mayans and one of the major Spanish capitals during the colonization.

Most vividly, Guatemala is one of the most physically striking places in the world. It’s never-ending blue skies, and eternal greenery make you smile all the time. Every where you look you see a volcano, and the temperature seems to change only mildly.

Because of its political and criminal struggle, Guatemala, unlike Cost Rica or Mexico, has not been able to establish itself as a tourist destination, to a larger extent. Yet, one of the jewels of Guatemala has kept thousands of people from around the world returning to this exotic land, and that is lake Atitlan.

Lake Atitltan, according to scientists was a large volcano that caved in and filled with fresh water. It is now an eternal blue lagoon surrounded by numerous volcanoes and mountains. Un fortunately the ignorance of people in the area, and the irresponsibility of the Guatemalan government has taken its toll on this natural wonder.

In 2009, lake Atitlan suffered a dramatic growth of algae in it waters. This algae feeds on the waste coming from the drains, and the waste that the rains wash down from the mountains. Today lake Atitlan is packed filled with bacteria, algae, and the intoxicating smell has kept tourists, visitors and residents away from the waters.

This does not surprise me at all, it usually takes an event like this to steer people into action, right? Apparently not!

Not the government, not the residents, not the tourists, no one has started organizing and planning the repair and cleansing of this world marvel. WHY? Are Guatemalans stupid? Do they understand what this means to our economy, to our geography, to our history and future? It saddens me that my friends in the United States that keep asking me to take them to Atitlan might never see it, it saddens me to think that I might not be able to bring my children to Atitlan and watch their faces as my father watched mine, just before I said, “it looks fake, like a picture!”.

It is time to start talking about it my fellow Guatemalans, travel enthusiasts and naturalists. What is the plan? What are we going to do?

Guatemalans, we have already lost one of our lakes to our ignorance. Lake Amatitlan is the most recent victim of Guatemalan irresponsibility. As a kid we had a small house by lake Amatitlan and I remember playing in its white sands, and swimming in its clear water. Fast forward about six years, and the algae has taken over its sands, the deep green tone has replaced its clarity, and the ungodly smell keeps us from visiting.

We need to start by educating the residents of this lake and re directing the sewage and waste channels. We need Guatemalans to understand that every time we loose a lake, a forest, a quetzal, a child, we loose our nation, we loose our identity, we become invisible.

Check this out:

http://www.americasquarterly.org/node/1129

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Miami! So beautiful, so much fun, but where is the MONEY?

In Where should I live? on May 25, 2009 at 5:55 PM

The following writing style might not make sense or follow the commonly accepted style of writing and communication, you might get confused and want to pull your hair out. I don’t intend to offend, inspire, or sell anything. I am just typing!

I found this not to long ago:

http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/09/cities-professionals-young-forbeslife-cx_mw_0709youngprofessionals.html

And while it is a little dated, it seems to still run true today.

Miami’s industry is too limited and, for there is no better word to describe it, POOR! There is no money here. I heard once that Miami is the biggest poor city in the United States. Don’t know if this is true, but I believe it. For so much hype its created around the world for its GLAMOUR, this is truley the least glamourous city in the world. You don’t come to Miami to make money, you come here with money to spend. So what is it like for the millions of us trying to make a living in this concrete, over p0pulated, jungle? It has always been and will always be a struggle. Because of Miami’s direct dependence on Latin America, it is continouslly suffering economically, for Latin American economics are very unstable. Miami depends on banking, real estate and tourism, and all these idustries suffered monumentally during this recession. So what to do? Leave Miami? Maybe not to soon, its to much fun. That is exactly the problem here; we all have to much fun, and really are not investing the time and the money where we should be.

People in Miami need to get their spending priorities in check. Remember, 6 dirty martinis at Mansion are not an investment, and just because you can use your credit to take out a Hummer from the dealership doesn’t mean you should.

Cities like Houston are not doing to bad, and a lot of people have moved there in search of opportunities. Texas has oil! We, we have cocktails!

The young professional woman

In Young professional woman on May 23, 2009 at 7:38 PM

The following writing style might not make sense or follow the commonly accepted style of writing and communication, you might get confused and want to pull your hair out. I don’t intend to offend, inspire, or sell anything. I am just typing!

Having grown up amongst the four most dynamic women in the world, I incautiously have become the most feminist man on this planet. Since my birth my two older sisters and mother bossed me around, played with me, fed me, entertained me and kept me in awe of their talents, strength and beauty. Few years later my little sister came into my life, and immediately became the center of my universe. I dragged her around everywhere, and forced her to play with my toys, dig holes in the garden with me and let me use the barbie I wanted to use, (yes, I played with barbies, most men do, it is very fun, I miss it) and she gladly obliged. As she got older it started getting harder for me to get her to play with me. She wanted to play with her toys, not share her new barbie with me and  not go out to the garden and dig holes. I did not know what was happening, until I realized she was coming into her own and she was going to do it weather I liked it or not. She was now an individual. She was like my older sisters now, in charge and responsible for her own happiness. She became a “modern” woman.

Having been brought up in such a feminine atmosphere made me incredible successful at starting friendships with women, and so throughout my life I have collected several lady friends from around the world, each different, each beautiful, and each have enthralled me into a stir of admiration for their passion, ambition, and ability to relate to everyone around them.

Women are brought up to be emotionally intelligent; men are brought up to be mechanically intelligent. This practice in child rearing, has lead me to believe that since women have been developed to become more intellectually able, they are able to succeed more often then men when it comes to finding a career and an opportunity of their liking in this day and age. Think about it! A few months ago I was meeting up with a client from Guatemala. We had been working together for about a month and he wanted to take me out to thank me for all the hard work. So we met at a sports bar and had a few too many beers. We laughed all night and talked about the things boys talk about; sex, money, drugs and music. We got closer as friends and that has helped us business wise, but yet there is something I could not really read about him.

A few days later I had a seminar to attend and was going to meet up a friend of a friend (she was the only person I knew someone knew was going, so we thought we would be each others protection blanket around all these corporate types). She immediately agreed to join me when our friend told her I was going, and she quickly called me introduced herself, and we hit it off!

The seminar was boring, very boring (all these seminars about internet marketing and email marketing are all about the same thing, there is just so many people you can listen to talk about the benefits of us paying $30 a month to a company to write emails for us, not my cup of tea), but she was funny and pretty and talkative, which I love in people; well of course “My name is Tarek and I am an talkaholic”.  We later went to lunch together and talked and talked and talked. We covered our careers, our jobs, or lack there off, our families, our dreams, our love life. We spoke on the phone a few times after that, and emailed links, blogs and videos we thought the other would find interesting.

I think about my meeting with my Guatemalan client and compare it to my meeting with the friend of my friend (wait is she my friend now to? what is the protocol?), and I have concluded that as an individual she was more memorable and trustworthy in her demeanor because she was not afraid to ask certain questions, and in general be her self. The guy only started talking about more intimate subjects when he was well through his seventh beer.  Both are young professionals, and both talk and meet with people every day that might better and enhance their careers. From my judgment, she would be getting a lot more callbacks then he would just because she let her guard down. And that’s what women have been learning these past few years; how to let their guard down, be them selves, and go for the killing.

And while I do have a certain relate ability that most men don’t, I still wish I had the fearlessness that I see so many women display. Mind you not all women are like the ones I am describing, but lately all the women I have been surrounded by have been really inspiring. This present generation of young professional women has been bombarded with messages of independence, and self-sufficiency. It is the words I would hear my mother tell my sisters; and apparently those same words were being used all across the globe. I am so happy for these ladies, its time that they were give more importance and respect (this is were the devoted brother in me comes out).

What happened to all the men? It seems that while women were being taught to be more independent, men across the globe were being told, that it was ok for them not to be in first place, and not be the provider.

Have you watched television lately? One of my guilty pleasures is The Real Housewives of New York City. While other seasons of the show like the Real Housewives of Orange County and Atlanta really do not spike my interest, as I started to watch the New York City show I was mesmerized by all of them being so hard working and ambitious. They did not need anyone to do anything for them; they did not need a man! Not that I am surprised of course, but having grown up in a very conservative country, I was constantly infuriated with so many girls giving up their dreams and careers because they thought, or were told, or pressured to think, that while they can be doctors and entrepreneurs, they are still not complete without the company of a successful guys guy next to them making the “Real Money”. It is not just the women on the Bravo network. It is on every channel: Oprah (so many people talk crap about her, and while she can get a little annoying, she is the first African, women, billionaire in history, and no one gave her the money she made it herself), Tyra (again annoying, more then Oprah, but the girl knows what she is doing), Lauren Conrad (so annoying, have never watched a single episode of The Hills or any brain damaging program she has been featured on, I simply know her through magazines and TV news reports, but have you noticed how much business she runs?), and the list can go on and on.  

There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home dad, I believe there is nothing wrong with doing whatever you want to do with your life; the only person you have to justify it to is yourself, but I can’t help but notice how the stay at home dad is becoming a trend. John from the TLC show John and Kate plus 8 was fired and then later gave up his career to become a stay at home dad, while wife Kate has started a new career as an author, public speaker, and full out brand so many moms are spending their money on. Fabreeze now has men spraying their products in commercials, not just women! WOW, we have come long way.

The times are changing! These days are going to go down in history, and while I think a lot of the changes in our parenting norms are positive, I can’t help but think that women are now better prepared to face the challenges of starting and maintaining a career.

My sisters are more successful then me at so many things: profession, fashion, friendships, etc. I am proud of them, but I am so jealous. Come on people let’s inspire both sexes during these times. Let’s balance it out!

I don’t think I have reached a point during this piece yet, so to clarify, I guess what I have to say is, Men, take a look at the ladies around you, maybe they can help you with your crappy resume, or un creative cover letter, not just your fashion and food choices.

You go girls, SNAP!

P.S. I miss you cup cake, track #4 on the concert CD reminds me of you, “Its such a perfect day!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTb8FVo9q1w