The Realities of Mexican Living Part II

Because of the flurry of e-mail responses I got from "The Realities of Mexican Living", I decided to write a part two. Hard as I try not to let them bother me, negative comments from readers still get to me. It isn't because I cannot cope when someone disagrees with me. It is that, as a writer, I want to write well. I want to get my points across.

I do not want readers to miss the point. I take responsibility when that happens.I should be clearer.Anyway, I got all manner of comments.

Even my naysayers were not uncivil. One lady from San Miguel de Allende disagreed with me in an unusually civil manner, for which I am thankful. Recently, an American woman from New York (which explains a lot, actually) threatened to come to Guanajuato and slap me for what I wrote in our book, "The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico.

".I guess you can't win.So, in the interest of fair play, and in an attempt to be even clearer, let me explain what I wrote in the previous article. I was trying to communicate "my" observations of what seems to be endemic to Mexican culture, specifically to Central Mexico.

I guess when Mexicans from other parts of this fine country tell me that Guanajuato is different, as a writer, I want to know how, why, when, where, and how I can report it.In Christmas of 2004, we went to Puerto Vallarta for 15 days. During that time, we spent the better part of each day on the streets interviewing shopkeepers, hotel staff, waiters, and restaurant managers.

What we found amazing was that most with whom we spoke had never been to central Mexico. Isn't that amazing? And, the entire atmosphere of Puerto Vallarta was radically different from what one experiences in Guanajuato.We did not find people getting pushed off sidewalks. We did not hear of pregnant women suffering accidents because they had to stand in a bus.

We did not hear of gringos being refused service in restaurants (this happened to a retired district attorney friend here in Guanajuato). The town and its locals were massively gringo friendly. And, just why shouldn't they be? Their economic survival is dependent on tourism, mainly from the USA and Canada.Guanajuato's survival is not.

Guanajuato has traditionally been a Mexican tourist hangout. By far, most of the tourism here is from Mexicans and not gringos. The reason I know this is because I asked and was given a spreadsheet showing the ratio of Mexicans to Gringo tourists. I would quote this to you but I cannot find the data since we moved to our new apartment. So, when I say that Guanajuato is not gringo friendly, I do not mean it in any pejorative sense.

I mean that Gringos have a really hard time here.Some of the negative comments I get from our books (available at are because some people think my point, "Mexico is not America", is stupidly redundant. The lady from New York told me that she wants to slap me for this waste of word space in the book.The issue is, Americans and some Canadians come here not realizing at all that "Mexico is not America." In fact, they come here expecting English to be widely spoken.

When they find this is not true, they, quite frankly, act out like spoiled children. They think all of Mexico is like the resort areas where English is widely spoken by those in the service industries. A magazine for which I write recently featured an article with a sidebar telling their potential American real estate buyers in Mexico that "English is widely spoken in Mexico"?an absolute falsehood!.By far, the majority of American tourists in the streets of Guanajuato who act like they hail from a long line of burros and monkeys act that way because they expected the people of Guanajuato to speak English, take Americans dollars, take their American credit cards, and the list drags on.In writing the books, I've tried putting myself in the shoes of American expats who want to move here. I want to cover what is going to freak them out.

But, alas, the readers' reviews of those books reveal that they have missed the point. I feel responsible for that.I think the reason is that those Americans who have or want to expatriate to Mexico think that all of Mexico is like those American enclaves whose motto is "We Are Gringo Friendly." That is the essence of San Miguel de Allende: "We are Gringo Friendly." And why not? The Americans now own the town.

They bought it.More and more Americans are flocking into Guanjuato at the speed of light. I am told so many are coming the real estate market cannot meet the demand. What I see happening here is what happened in San Miguel de Allende forty years ago.The Americans will set about shaping Guanajuato into their own image.

They will make it gringo friendly at the sacrifice of its unique culture.Their money will buy it.

.OUR NEW BOOK.Guanajuato, México--New Book offers survival tips in the Land of Frogs.Guanajuato, México ? According to the 2000 Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, published by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, an estimated 300,000 Americans would expatriate to other countries each year between 2000 and 2005.

Some estimates predict the number will continue to increase each year after 2005. Americans are leaving the country in droves, most of whom settle in Mexico. The authors of The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico have written a new book targeting a specific area of Mexico where Americans are moving as expatriates, study abroad students, or retirees. This new book is titled, GUANAJUATO, MÉXICO: Your Expat, Study Abroad, and Vacation Survival Manual in the Land of Frogs.http://mexicanliving. OUT OUR E-BOOKS ==> .

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By: Douglas Bower


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