May 21, 2006

Changing Mexico

Mural in Morelia

After three months in Mexico, I thought I might scribble a few thoughts about it.
I really love the people of Mexico. They are warm and hospitable.
I will write a bit about its culture, government, infrastructure, and economy.

When I think about Mexican culture, I think about its foods, music, dance, handicrafts and arts.
I love Mexican food. I love the variety and regional differences. Tortillas differ from region to region as do many of the common foods. And each region has its specialties. Many people believe the food is spicy, hot or picante. Compared to some countries this is partly true, but in general the food is not hot. The flavors are great. They really know how to cook beans. Two things bothered me about the food on this trip. The quality of the beef is terrible. No doubt this is because they have some of the lowest quality, most awful looking cattle that I have seen. Also, over a period of a couple of months, one can still expect to get sick from eating the food. I know that food borne diseases have decreased dramatically in Mexico, but their frequency is too common.
I love Mexican music and dance. It is varied from love ballads to ranchero to banda to jazz to rock to rap and hip-hop. Some of these musical forms are quite unique. Others are not. With its super heavy bass rhythms and no mater what language rap and hip-hop are sung in, I cannot stand rap and hip-hop. Thank god, the other forms of music are more popular.
Mexican art and handicrafts are wonderful.

Oaxacan Market Woman

The government is like so many other Latin American countries: ineffectual and inefficient and often very corrupt. The road system is adequate, but its fast highways are paid for by insanely high tolls. This diverts traffic from safer roads to more dangerous roads. The use of speed-bumps to control traffic flow in towns and cities ruins cars. Mexicans are much more courteous drivers than Argentineans. On the national highways the police are doing traffic stops, so there is not a total disregard for traffic laws. They seem to be better at keeping traffic violators from going crazy. Still, sometimes you have to wonder why more policemen seem be guarding the jails - than the neighborhoods. I must ask, How can any modern nation not supply its people with clean potable water? I ask this, because public water supplies cannot be trusted to be bacteria and chemical free. Congressmen can only be elected for one term, so they are all lame-ducks and many - but all - are looking to enrich themselves. Lastly, they really like to give monopoly concessions to their friends, political allies and patrons; for example, Senor Slim, the third richest man in the world, who owns TelMex and for many years had monopoly on land and cell lines.

It was once described as sleepy, old Mexico. If Mexico was once a slow moving, quiet county, then it is no more. Mexico is a county on the move, rushing headlong into the twenty-first century. The economic growth can be seen everywhere. More people are working and getting paid better. This is not to say that they are paid well. From what I could see they earn about as much as Argentineans, but the cost of goods and services are much higher than in Argentina. So, Mexicans do not live as well as the peoples of southern South America. This is not to say that it will always be like that. The Mexican economy appears to be growing like gang-busters. If this continues much longer, the numbers of Mexicans that want to live in the USA is bound to decrease. This would be a pity, because they make wonderful immigrants.

Well, I will say no more at this time. Perhaps, I will write more later

Posted by bill at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)