Erik Orrantia

author of Normal Miguel

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Thanks for the Warm Welcome!
Hotel California
erikorrantia guys at Cheyenne Publishing do seem to be a pretty tight knit group!  It certainly makes me proud to be a part of it...'s a stupid question: how is this blog different from facebook?  I'll be some people have LiveJournal, Facebook, maybe even myspace!  How do they compare?  How do you keep up with them all?

As you may have read in my biography on Cheyenne, I live in Tijuana.  Lots of people wonder what it's like, so what can I say?  In lots of ways, it's not that different from the US--I rent a little 3BR, 2 1/2bathroom house, I shop at the grocery store, we go to the movies, etc., etc.

Of course, there are a few differences: there are police all over the place that drive around in caravans of pick-up trucks with their weapons hanging out (literally).  The internet is a little slow and the television sucks.  Blockbuster is a profitable business.  The street food is wonderful--tacos, tortas, seafood, tamales, etc.

Other than that, life is rather normal.  Well, there isn't nearly as much entertainment in Tijuana as in San Diego, but I'm a bit of a homebody anyhow.  Drinking age is 18 and the bars are funner.  People are less worried about driving drunk and breaking traffic laws which is a worry for me.  I guess after 12 years, you can get used to anything.

I know some of you live on the other side of the world...what's your life like?


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There aren't many of us at Cheyenne (yet)--the group is small but mighty!

Facebook is a lot more popular than LJ and LJ has some ethical issues I disagree with--it hijacks Amazon links and takes the commissions--and they allow ads with links to risky sites, so be careful about clicking on their ads. I mean to move to Dreamwidth when I get spare time... soon... really. I've stayed with LJ mainly because I don't like learning new systems, this one is very simple, and I'm in touch with most of my writing friends here. I got around to trying myspace at just about the time it started losing popularity, and most of what I got out of that was boobytrapped spam mail--not worth it in my book.

I live up in the 'deep south' of Canada--US citizen but our marriage is legal here. It's colder than where you are, (obviously!) and if I want a good pot of beans I have to cook it myself. There are decent tortillas at the grocery (though not like the Mexican mom next door used to make when I was a kid) but the street food--what little there is--seems to be mostly based on sausage... the original ethnicity of the town is German-eastern European, and Italian. It's interesting; the Waterloo area has several big companies (RIM--not a double entendre, they invented the Blackberry) is here, and there are several universities so the area has tremendous ethnic diversity, but it's not a great town for dining out, especially as a vegetarian; most of the good restaurants we've found are an hour's drive away in Toronto. On the other hand, even the grocery stories have good croissants, which was never the case when I lived in Ohio.

It's much more sedate here, no major show of police force--the news I've seen makes Mexico's drug-related crime sound pretty horrifying. This is a big enough area to have inter-city highways, and the fabled courtesy of Canadians is less visible on them. On the other hand, people do seem to be a little less cut-throat about parking. (Then again, I learned to drive in Chicago...) Gas is a bit more expensive than in the US - usually a little less than $1 Canadian per litre - but cheaper than in Europe or the UK. Public transportation is a bit better, in general, than the US. It's an interesting combination of more conservative in some ways and more progressive in others. Lots of churchgoers, but much less of the folks who feel that their way is the only way and must be imposed on everyone.

Right now we're doing a home-improvement project (we're learning to shingle the new porch) and getting the garden ready for our short summer. (We can't put tomato plants out for another couple of weeks, and they usually die off by the end of October.) My wife teaches math at one of the local universities, and this is the first week of the new term, so she's either working at work or on her computer here at home most of the time.

When you start promoting Normal Miguel, I'll send links to a friend of mine in Columbus--she has a close friend who's from Mexico and I'll bet he would love to see your book. I'm guessing there aren't many gay Latino romances out there!

Hi Lee,

Thanks for propping the book. I'm looking forward to its release.

Anyhow, my mother lives in Southern Michigan and, even there, I can hardly stand the cold of the winters. It's beautiful and all, but damned cold!

How long have you been married?

It's about the same here as southern Michigan, but I grew up in the kind of winters we have here and they really do make you appreciate summer!

How long...? Ten+ years together, eight years since our pagan handfasting, coming up on six years for the legal/Unitarian one. We joke about going to a legal state in the US and tying the knot again, just to make it really solid. We had been friends for over 20 years before that--really a case of friendship catching fire.

How about you? Settled down together for awhile?

Yes, I've been with my partner for six years. I met him down here in Tijuana and he doesn't have a visa to enter into the US even as a tourist. Hopefully one of these days though the US is, at best strict, at worst despotic, about giving visas. In the meantime, we travel extensively in Mexico and are hoping to go abroad sooner or later.

As far as marriage, the country did approve gay marriage in Mexico City only. Most states are still pretty conservative about it although gays have definitely taken a more visible place in the society over the last ten years.

You know, with all the overwhelming opposition to gay marriage and the repeal of DADT in the USA, sometimes I feel so disheartened I think I'd be better off in Canada or Mexico. It's not that I don't love my country, I do, but the religious right is so vehemently opposed to social change that they really want to take us back to the dark ages. Other countries are moving forward, the US is (apparently) moving backward.

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