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by Peter Moskos

July 31, 2009

Viva Mexico

I'm in the same place for two nights for the first time in a week. So I have a little more time to write and check email and the like.

I'm always amazed how different things are in Mexico from what most Americans think things are like. Maybe things are worse up in border towns in the north. Or some of the nasty resorts. Or in the slums of Mexico City. But down south, in the Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Campeche, and Tabasco, everything is fine. Clean. Civilized.

The drivers here (I've done a lot of driving) are generally more polite and courteous than drivers in America. Actually the people here might be more polite and courteous than Americans, too.

When it comes to driving, there are some different rules, like using your turn signal to indicate what others should do (a car with the left blinker going means you should pass it. Unless of course it's turning left, but then it will pull over to right. Usually). But if you learn the rules, the driving here is easy and the roads fine (as long as you keep your eye out for topes, killer speed bumps).

Now yes, in the back roads of Chiapas, we did see a freshly butchered cow being sold on the side of the road. But who doesn't like fresh meat? And that's the country. There are still cowboys riding around.

You can even drink the water... at least in three cities. Maybe it's clean everywhere. I don't know. My rule is to ask a middle-class person. If people who can afford to buy bottled water say the tap water is fine, I'll drink it. There's no magical Mexican immunity from drinking dirty water. It's either clean or it's not.

With the recent flu problems, there is a great emphasis on hygiene. I wish I could say the same about New York City. Even many street food carts, and they're a lot of them, have hand-washing stations.

And Villahermosa, where I am now, had a horrible flood two years ago. Today everything seems find. I dare you to go to New Orleans and say the same about the flood five years ago.

I know people talk with their feet and you don't see too many Americans sneaking across the border to live here. It is poorer here. And people want a better life. I'm just saying it's not all bad here. And it's far less third-world than most Americans think.


Big Bill said...

I don't understand why we wouldn't go to Mexico to live. I would love to live there with my US income, hire people for pennies a day, don't give them any welfare, medical care or education the way they do each other.

But they will not let me.

Before moving there, they demand proof of income. I cannot buy nice property. Nor will they give me free medical care or education in Mexico as a diverse "anglo".

Worse, they will stop and frisk me with no notice or probable cause and throw me in the hoosegow if I don't have my papers in order. And God help you if they catch you living there as an illegal alien!

Worse, they won't let me vote in their elections, and will beat the living crap out of me and eject me from the country if I politically agitate as their illegals do in the USA.

Although over 50% (!) of the Mexican public when polled a year or two ago said they would like to move to the USA, they don't like Americans ... at least not white Americans.

PS: don't drive in Mexico. Car accidents are considered felonies, they have no habeas corpus, they can jail you without charges and keep you there until they get around to your case -- which can take months or even years. In which case it helps to have a pile of money to pay bribes.

Why do you think over half the Mexican population wants to move to America?

PCM said...

Wow, you're oh for two, Big Bill.

FYI, Mexicans seem to like me just fine.

And I've been driving about 300 miles a day.