A few years ago I had a startling revelation about myself; I was prejudiced against Mexico. Not Mexicans, but the country of Mexico. I realized this when in coversation with some friends who were going to Mexico and I blythely opined that I wouldn't want to go there. "Why?" was the question in return. This forced me to come up with a reason. I think that over teh last few years I've internalized the so called warnings about Mexico that you hear on the radio or see on line or hear from other folks. You know what I'm talking about, the dire warnings of death, destruction and drug running. There's even been a movie 'based on a true story' about a Mexican journalist investigating the horrific serial killings of women in Cuidad Juarez.
But really what did I know... as opposed to believe or feel about the countryÉ I decided the only way to confront my prejudice was to go. In one year months we went to Mexico 4 times. The first time was a taste test, a one day drop in at Ensenada just south of the boarder in Baja California. We decided to do one of those cruise ship excursions to a winery. The reality of the country, dry, dry, dry, made the biggest impression after the tasty vino. Back in town we stopped in at a road side bar for fish tacos and a pee break. My prejudice was already falling away by the time I hit the toilet in this little taco stand it was pretty well done for - not only was there toilet paper, but the place had running water and soap. It was cleaner than many toilets I`d used in Italy.
After that wonderful day in Mexcio I was pretty sure that everything I`d heard was wrong. We next ended up outside of Cancun in a luxury all inclusive. The staff were friendly and helpful. In fact they reminded me very much of Canadian`s I`d worked with over a decade ago in the Lake Louise area. When we left the resort and travelled by collectivo we were treated like regular customers, we paid the same as the locals. We got a tip from a waiter at a local bar about where the Chef got his vanilla. We found the local store and went to town on the bulk spices.
Next I succumbed to a great deal at another all inclusive in Peutro Vallarta area. We road local beach bikes along the tourist route and then into the neighbouring town. Yep, dog shit and crappy roads, but hey, not that different from the Yukon - excepting the heat.
Finally we spent 2 weeks in the `Cabo Corridor` which is what the tip of Baja California has become. This time we brough our bicycles which was perfect to get around and see the sights. The best part was getting fresh orange juice and fresh coconut water as we peddaled around town. One of the best things we did was a cooking class at a local organic farm. There we found the Mexican upper class and expats who live in the Los Cabos area.
You will notice that all of these are well known tourist locales. I personally wonder about how much the tourism windfall changes the essential nature of a culture. In some respects the essential culture is the same, but the invasion of massive numbers from another culture necessarily has an impact. The most distressing of these to me is the homogonization of food. I want to have startling food, different food. I don`t want Yoplait yogurt and helman`s mayonaise.
My only prejudice against Mexico now is that it is too much like America.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
This year I am starting my seeds a little late. Tomatoes, ground cherries, herbs like basil, thyme, sage and borrage. I've also started lots of flowers like pansy, alyssum,lobellia and other lovelies. We also shovelled off the vegtable beds to get the soil warmed sooner.