Mexican revelations

4 Apr

Some of my observations and revelations about Mexico after being here a month:

**Mexican men never, ever wear shorts, not even when it’s 35 degrees C. Shorts are for little boys and futbol players.

**Many Mexicans seem to LIKE yapping, yelping, barking dogs that go on and on and on.


**Mexicans still have the most amazing artisans, doing old traditional skills, sometimes on the side of the road. This man canes chairs on the corner of the Carretera; across the street from him another man makes plastic baskets on a box loom. Others make beautiful wooden furniture, or elaborate beadwork.

**Real life in Mexico goes on behind all those walls and gates. As Alan Riding wrote in his book Distant Neighbors:  “The high walls that surround most Mexican homes, including frequently those of the poor, serve as both real and symbolic frontiers of security and authority.” Architecturally, these walled barriers and flat facades reveal little of what might be beyond; once inside those walls, an enveloping calm, perhaps with garden and fountains, may greet the resident or visitor. Outside is hot, chaos and noise; inside is cool, peaceful and gentle. Cats live here, not dogs–or rather, cats stay inside the walls to escape the dogs that roam the streets.

**Life in Mexico does move at a different pace, but it isn’t necessarily a quiet or serene one. Perhaps because we have been living here next to a construction site, my sense is that the Mexicans work hard, often doing manual labor without machines, from dawn to dusk without interruption; then at night, quite often, they party with lots of music. Mexico is a noisy place.

**Mexicans are overwhelmingly cordial, polite, and non-confrontational. Even in their chaotic traffic, manners are observed. I can’t imagine incidents of road rage here, even if there is a small bang up. We haven’t seen a bang up, small or large.  That seems odd, considering the seemingly informal approach to sharing the road.  We have had nothing but positive interactions with everyone we have met, and they are more than patient with our attempts to speak Spanish.

**Images of the Virgin of Guadalupe appear everywhere, and in every conceivable medium. For those of us familiar with the Virgen in California Chicano imagery, the ones we have seen here are more reverent, not–understandably- as defiantly a statement of Mexican identity and solidarity with the causes of La Raza. For those who don’t know the story of this beloved image (I must admit that even I, a non-Catholic, carry around a Virgen image!), Wikipedia gives a good synopsis of Her significance:


I’m sure I’ll have more observations in the next few days, but I just wanted to get these down. And I did include another image of cats!


3 Responses to “Mexican revelations”

  1. Jonathan Gluckman April 4, 2017 at 11:53 pm #

    On the other hand…

    So many journalists are being killed in Mexico that one newspaper decides to shut down

    Kate Linthicum/L.A. Times

    A Mexican newspaper is shutting down because the country has become too dangerous for journalists, according to its owner.

    In an editorial published Sunday on the front page of the Norte newspaper in the border city of Juarez, owner Oscar Cantu Murguia said a string of deadly assaults on journalists is “preventing us from continuing freely with our work.”

    “Dear reader, I am writing to inform you that I have taken the decision to close because, among other things, there are no guarantees nor the security to exercise critical, counterweight journalism,” he wrote.

    The newspaper had apparently been suffering financially, but Cantu said it was the March 23 killing of Miroslava Breach, one of at least five Mexican journalists targeted by violence last month, that prompted him to close it.

    Breach, who covered drug cartels and corruption stories for Norte, along with the much bigger La Jornada newspaper, was gunned down outside her home in the city of Chihuahua. A sign left at the crime scene said “tattletale.”

    On March 19, columnist Ricardo Monlui, who worked for El Sol de Cordoba, was shot twice as he left a restaurant with his wife and son in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz. On March 2, Cecilio Pineda Birto, a freelancer and the founder of La Voz de Tierra Caliente, was shot and killed at a car wash in Guerrero state.

    Two other journalists were wounded last month in attacks believed to have been carried out in retaliation for their work.

    Those incidents are a part of a recent rise of killings and other crime across Mexico. Chihuahua, the state where Breach was killed, has been especially hard hit. The 121 homicides there in January were nearly twice what the state saw the previous January.

    In his final note to readers, Cantu complained about a culture of impunity in Mexico. There have been no arrests in the killing of Breach.

    Cantu titled his article “Adios.”

  2. esauboeck April 4, 2017 at 11:56 pm #

    As one says in Yiddish, “Nu?” That’s Juarez, and Mexico is an enormous country.

  3. esauboeck April 5, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

    Jon, hope you see the email I sent you–there are scary moments here!

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