Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More on Mexico

As I said, I didn't get to see much of Mexico, except for little towns I glimpsed out of a bus window. Those towns, starting with Progresso, were rather dilapidated. To get to the ancient ruins we had to pass a large bunch of modern day ones. The 1-2 story buildings that lined the streets had gaps between them like missing teeth, where formerly occupied houses had been left to decay. In some places inner courtyards of houses had become open where a front wall had crumbled; I could see smoke, but not a single soul concerned with the fire: were those fires purposeful? Did people cook on an open fire right in the middle of their backyards? Or did they incinerate their trash, or...? Who knows? I didn't have time to speculate as the bus kept moving (too fast for me to take pictures) and new scenes replaced the old ones.

Even if you only spend a few hours in Mexico and stick to tourist routes, you can still see enough evidence that things are different there than here. Whenever somebody walked into a public restroom in Tulum, a restroom attendant would say: "water ees normal dee color". The phrase was worth repeating, because the water in the toilets was dark brown, the kind of color that would make you go "ewww". Of course, it may have been more effective to plaster the bathroom with signs in several languages, but then the attendant would be out of job. Stuff like that can lead you to ruminate on topics like poverty, many faces thereof. Poverty is not necessarily having nothing to eat, it is also the only job available to you being one where you have to repeat the same phrase over and over, robotically, every 5 seconds. I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I would turn into a blubbering idiot after doing this kind of work for just a few hours.

Next: tour guides that double as salesmen

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