How I spent my summer vacation.
I spent a month in Spain. I have flown through there many times but never stopped for long. But now my golf buddies were going to spend 12 days competing in a tournament that would play in various locations around the country and I thought that would be fun. After that nonsense, (I played poorly), I stayed another two and a half weeks, traveling to Barcelona to attend yet another Spanish school. Why not add Spain to my collection of Spanish schools that include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, and no less than six different schools in Mexico? But I’m not going to bore you with my pathetic attempts to speak Spanish, this is just background so you know why I was in Spain.
What I want to discuss today is, I returned home not knowing much more about Spain than before I went, and that bothers me. I’m critical of the foreign community here in Los Cabos who know so little about Mexico, and here I am guilty of the same thing after a month in Spain. My summer vacation has taught me how difficult it is for our tourists, and even our sun bunnies who live here part time, to understand what is going on in Cabo. And they have the extra excuse of not understanding the language. At least I can talk to the locals.
For many years I have wanted to make a business of buying a van, picking up tourists at the various hotels, and taking them out to the barrios behind town. If they could even just get up on a hill and look at the thousands and thousands of homes spread out for miles and miles, they would at least get some appreciation for the size of the support team that works for the tourist industry. It’s jaw dropping.
But I would go deeper than that, I would take them to see how a well off family lives, middle class family, then a lower middle class, and finally troll them through the cardboard shack areas. I would explain how much these people earn, what their job is, how much education they have, and how many hours a week they work. I would explain how they have bought their home; was it through a bank? Then how much interest do they pay? And what’s up with those half finished homes with rebar sprouting out of them? I would explain why they are being built payday by payday. There is a reason. What kind of car do they drive? How did they finance it? At what interest? Is there a credit bureau here? Do they have credit cards?
I would explain the political structure of the federal, state, and city governments, and the various attitudes the locals hold toward their leaders.
What is going on with the police and why don’t they police? An explanation of the generations and generations and the layers and layers of corruption would give our foreigners a much deeper understanding of Mexico, and why it is so difficult to climb out of the dark hole of corruption. It’s not a simple problem that can be solved by a single Sunday school minded politician.
I would explain the Mexicans’ challenges in getting their children educated, and their attitude toward that. Is it important to them? Would they like to go to the U.S. to live on minimum wage rather than go to school? Because that’s their choice to live an easier life. And yes, in many ways picking lettuce is actually better than living in Mexico with no education. (Refer above to those neighborhoods of tar paper shacks).
My interest in helping the foreign community understand the country they are visiting explains our feature, “Ask a Mexican” where we ask six average Joses what they think about a question we ask them. I am making the leap that you, our precious reader, are at least somewhat interested in the lives of the people who support you here.
I have never pursued this business, mostly because I can’t get anyone else interested in working it. I can’t, I have a newspaper and a golf game to worry about. Seriously, at my age my career is winding down and I don’t have the energy to start a new business. But if anyone else out there wants to run with this, I will be glad to advise and fund it.
Meanwhile, our pilgrims will go home knowing very little about the Mexican people, just as I don’t know much about the Spanish people. We seriously need to fix this kind of travel.