Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Major Discovery In Chiapas

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

It has long been estimated that there are tens of thousands of un-excavated archaeological sites in Mexico. It will take many decades to get to all of them, which is very comforting to me. It’s good to have mysteries in our lives. Here is an example of a stone jaguar that was just discovered, weighing in at over a ton. http://www.mexicotoday.org/article/new-archaeological-discovery-2000-year-old-jaguar-adds-history-mexico . The next time you are in southern Mexico, get away from the city and the tourist track and go see some of the lesser known sites. You will feel the mystery.

A Fascinating Look of DF Via the Subway

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Aussie Peter Davies spent 7 months visiting nearly 150 subway stations in Mexico’s capital city. So what did he find out? Have a look at this MexicoToday article to find out. http://www.mexicotoday.org/article/peter-davies-discovers-culture-mexico-mexico-city-metro

Michoacán, with More and Better Roads

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Morelia, Michoacán, 10 July 2012.- President Calderón inaugurated the road pass at the exit to Quiroga.

The president declared that 130,000 vehicles will use the road pass every day and that traveling on a more comfortable, safer highway will reduce their traveling time by 20 minutes. Construction of this road work will benefit traffic from Morelia and long-distance traffic, currently forced to cross the city. He also declared that the reduction of time, noise and pollution will substantially improve the quality of life of Morelia’s inhabitants.

During his address, the president declared that this administration has given a record boost to the construction of infrastructure works, which will enable the state to progress and release its full potential. He explained that between 2007 and 2011, 6.6 billion pesos were invested in the modernization and construction of highways and country roads, such as the Road Pass at the exit to Charo, the Morelia-Salamanca highway, the Nueva Italia-Apatzingán highway and recently the start of the expansion of the Michoacán coastal road, among others.

The president announced that over a billion pesos have been invested in the modernization of Lázaro Cárdenas, turning it into the Pacific Port with the greatest commercial growth in the entire continent.

Middle-Class In Mexico

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

When I first started traveling in Mexico there weren’t many cars on the road. Seriously, in a ten-mile stretch of highway you might pass 10 or 20 cars or trucks going the other way. Mostly you saw truckers hauling goods and buses hauling people. Not many Mexicans could afford a car. This was still true in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. In 1975, a buddy and I hitch-hiked down the trans-peninsular highway in Baja, took the ferry over to the mainland at Mazatlan from La Paz, finally ending up in Belize a couple of months later, bedazzled by all we had seen and done. But we got very few lifts by thumb and ended up on trains and buses for most of the way because rides were hard to flag. There just weren’t many passenger cars on the road and most of them you saw were barely running and only going a short distance.

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program.  I was also invited to an all-expenses paid trip to Oaxaca as part of my role and for the launch of the program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blogs are completely my own.

 

Mexico then was a land of the rich and the poor – not much in between. Decades of rule by the dinosaurs of the PRI had produced a country, although rich in resources, stuck hopelessly in a class system that provided little chance of upward mobility. By the mid-1970’s nearly 50% of the country population was living in urban areas, up from just 20% in the 1940’s. By 1980 that number was over 70%. Many were fleeing their farms while others sought a better life north of the border. A small middle-class was forming as manufacturing increased, but most of the country was still poor, by any measure.

 

I have really seen a difference in the past 11 years or so, ever since President Vicente Fox of the PAN party was elected in 2000. He paved the way for foreign investment in the country, liberalized trade laws, and instituted marketed-oriented economic policies, as hundreds of thousands of jobs were created. And although many of these jobs were minimum wage, many more were not. Increased tourism has also been a major factor in well-traveled pockets around the country, as foreigners discover all that Mexico has to offer.

 

It is now estimated that 20% of Mexico is now middle-class, and that number is rising fast, despite the global economic downturn. As I sat in the Mexico City airport recently I marveled at the changes I have witnessed. Mexican families flying around the country and abroad, dressed in designer duds (they looked a hell of a lot better than I did), peering into their laptop screens, texting on their phones. This is a country in transition, and it is so uplifting to experience this major shift.

 

The irony is that Mexico is building their middle-class at the same time that the U.S. is rapidly losing theirs. Unless the U.S. can restore some sanity and fairness in their policies, I think that Mexico could possibly become the more powerful economy by the end of this century. They have the resources, the work-force, and the will. That’s a proven formula that seems to have been forgotten by their northern brothers.

Enjoy Mexico Life, Don’t Try to Change It

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

David Simmonds

Everyone who thinks about, or actually does, move to Mexico has their own personal reasons. The list is long and varied, but a factor on everyone’s list is the appeal of the lifestyle that Mexico offers. By that I mean the slow, uncomplicated pace of every day living where you know your neighbors, the local shopkeepers, cops and community honchos. Where there are not strip malls on every corner that look the same in Los Angeles as they do in Atlanta. Where houses are built to live in, not to impress, with 2,000 more square feet than you need. Where you can walk to buy most everything you require, often without driving your car (if you even own one) for several days. It’s just a different life than we have in the U.S., and once you experience it, you’ll never want to return to the mind-numbing, ulcer-causing treadmill in el norte.

Maybe.

Because here’s what I see way too often: some people are so wired and conditioned into Americana burnout that they can’t slow down and adapt to the Mexico tempo – and so they try to change the place they have escaped to. You see it in the expat havens that have become so popular, especially around Lake Chapala and the once idyllic beach towns like Sayulita in Nayarit and Playa del Carmen on the Mexican Riviera. They come, settle in, and then the complaints start. “We need to control the dogs in this neighborhood!”, “I’m goint to to buy a few lots, tear down some jungle, and build spec homes”, “Doesn’t anyone speak English around here?”, “Whaddya mean the maid wants more than $5.00 to clean the house?”…it goes on and on. These people, and their numbers are not small, try to turn their new home into the crappy place that they left. They act like they friggin’ own the place, and it creates a resentment amongst the locals that poisons the relationshp for everyone else. They think that because they have lighter skin they are superior.

So I’m asking you, think very hard about whether you have the right personality to live in Mexico. Before you make a permanent move, rent a place for at least 6 months and try it on. Check your temper and anxiety when you try to get something done and it’s not like it was back home in HeartAttack, CA. Can you handle it? Can you mellow-out and just appreciate a different culture without trying to change it? If not, please…stay home. You’ll only frustrate yourself and piss off everyone else.

Dealing With The Hawkers

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

We’ve all been there, right?. You have just spent a day and a half dealing with airports, unplanned layovers and flight delays, knee-destroying plane seats, humorless flight personnel, lost luggage, a view-room that overlooks a parking lot…but it’s OK, because now you’re on the beach, settling into a bright-blue wooden beach chair with a cold Pacifico floating in a bucket of ice and a fresh shrimp cocktail on order. Your heart beat clicks down to about 120 as you gaze out to sea as all your life troubles suddenly seem trivial, or at least manageable. Life is damn good. This well-deserved peace lasts about, oh, two minutes, when the first “salesman” squats next to you, welcoming you to paradise, and oh, by the way, how about a nice piece of “real silver” jewelry, and if that doesn’t work he happens to have a line on some good ganja or blow, or his cousin gives a great massage.

 Now most of us don’t want to be rude. After all, the beach hawkers work very hard and make very little. It’s good, honest work (the part about the drugs is actually rare) and they deserve your respect and kindness. But what you really want is to just be left alone to chill with your numb thoughts. So, how do you handle this without being a crass jerk? First, learn these three words of Spanish ” no gracias, amigo (a)”. Say this in a friendly manner, but with no equivocation. And above all, do not so much as glance at their merchandise, unless, of course, you really are in a buying mood. Then you are likely to barter a good price compared to the shops, as there is no storefront overhead for the seller. Once you show any degree of interest you have opened a door that will not easily close. If you can’t remember the three words, gaze straight ahead and simply shake your head. Generally, the same people work the same beach day after day and they all know one another. Eventually, it will be known that you are not a buyer and will be left alone, more or less.

In town it’s the time-share people who you encounter. It varies from beach town to town, but generally they have a small booth on the sidewalk. They might employ a “hook” to entice you, like “free information” or “$25.00 jeep rental”, and like all successful vultures, they can spot you  two blocks away. You, the savvy traveler, have a couple of workable options. One, when you see you are approaching  a sales booth, cross the street. Of course, you could spend way too much time doing this and it increases your chances of getting run over and badly maimed. A better method is to look and act like a local. If they perceive this they will leave you alone. This means walking with a purpose, like you know where you’re going, even though you have no clue. Lose the bright new t-shirt that advertises the local cantina and the straw hat with the multi-colored headband. Try to have tanned legs and arms. If they still come on to you, and you feel obligated to repsond, just say “I live here”. They’ll probably know you’re lying, but they won’t push the conversation.

Then, when you actually move to magical Mexico and find that time-share sales are one of your only employment opportunities, you will despise people like me who share their dubious wisdom.

Fresco Painting Workshops In Alamos, Mexico

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Fresco is a technique used for mural painting. Most of the murals painted by Diego Rivera, for example, were done in fresco. The Maya Indians did fresco paintings in the Pre-Columbian era, as did the inhabitants of  Pompeii.

Now you can learn this ancient technique in a simple, introductory five-day workshop in the beautiful colonial town of Alamos, Sonora.

You will learn every step of the fresco process, including preparing the plaster, plastering a fresco panel, how to grind pigments, and which pigments to use. Each student will paint at least one fresco panel on terracotta, the traditional support for practicing fresco technique. Classes are open to students ages 16 and up. One does not need to be an artist to learn and appreciate the process that Rivera and Orozco used. Location and hours: Workshops will be held Monday thru Friday, from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Casa de Cultura, Loma Guadalupe, in Alamos. Instructor: Daan HoekstraDates: January 14- 18, 2008February 4- 8, 2008March 10- 14, 2008Cost: $250 for the five day workshop, or $125 for Alamos residents. Materials included. Limited to 5 participants per workshop. Proceeds benefit a program to offer workshops to Mexican artists and paint public frescos in Alamos. http://www.hoekstrastudio.com/WorkshopsRegister:  by email, alamosartist@yahoo.com 
For travel information:
see www.alamosmexico.com