February 17, 2008

Things are slow, down in Mexico

I may well have been in the land of los americanos and felt overwhelmed by a need to be with people who have a different -- to be precise, one more like my own -- sensibility than I found. Yet according to the halting Spanglish conversations I had with the waiters on the beach, los Mexicanos are having a queasy trickle-down feeling about their own economy in 2008.

(Note to self: "trickle-down" added to vocab during Reagan administration. That would be the sum total of progress during those eight years: one sliver of enrichment to my vocabulary, at a cost to others I cannot calculate.)

If you hadn't caught the headlines that the U.S. economy seems to be tanking, any of the Mexican staff at the timeshare could have told you. Business was way, way off. Admittedly, I didn't see much beach or pool traffic, nor were the restaurants in town full.

My initial assessment was I'd caught an early-February lull in the tourist season. Granted, I'd never seen one in the Caribbean, but who knew about Mexico?

Alice considers the weather in Wonderland and on the East Coast: if it's winter, it's cold and dark. The middle of the country, you may have gathered, is not a locale to which she gives much thought. But yes, it's dark and snowy -- and colder than here, now that you mention it.

Since few mid-westerners tend to frequent the Caribbean in Alice's experience (from Haiti to St. Barts, with a dozen islands in between), and she is pretty sure most people dislike the freezing, daylight-deprived days as much as she does, it stands to reason that those who can must have some warm destination in mind. Yes, dear: Mexico for the Midwest; Hawaii for the West Coast.

Not until the owners' party did Alice ever met anyone from North Dakota. (That reminds her: last year in Cabos, she met people from Wyoming, another geographic spot that has been hidden from Alice's horizons.)

Then I pondered: if the Mexican economy depends for its well-being on things buzzing along in the U.S., it stands to reason that our tanking economy would topple down Mexico's, and that more Mexicans would want to emigrate here for jobs that don't exist. Catch-22?

My most fluent Spanish sentence remains: La via del train subterrano es peligroso. Translation? Subway tracks are dangerous. Not that it matters to anyone at the tip of Baja California, Mexico. It's just what I know how to say.

And bodega? I thought that was Spanish for small grocery and cigarette store, as that's its definition in Wonderland. No, it means warehouse. Whoops.


Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Being slow should mean good things such as better service and less people.

1:55 PM  

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