Thursday, 4 August 2011

But Aside from the Cartel Stuff, What About....?

     Then, there are the questions that come in or which are encountered in the great outdoors that can pretty well be phrased thusly:    "Are you received well by the people around you?   Do you feel comfortable in that rural environment, in that you are the only Gringo around?  "In a place where 3% of the people have everything and the rest have nothing,  doesn't the social vista depress you a bit?" and the question about "Why don't they ever progress?  No cars, no television, no cell phones, no computers....everybody living in cardboard boxes....why would anyone want to be surrounded by that?"
     One might like to visit this site,  in order to see that there are people in Mexico who are as deranged as the Old Gringo.    This place is in the perpetually charming city San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.    The owner is a bit "eccentric" and totally dedicated to her own path through life.   This individual, and several scores of thousands of others, find life interesting and rewarding while operating some kind of a business and living some kind of a life in some favoured corner of Mexico.
     There are still almost 1,000.000 American citizens living full or part-time in Mexico, each in his own zone of comfortability and his own particular corner of choice.   The Old Gringo chose this particular site because the owner personally redesigned what was a very irregular space and converted the space into an attractive, functional, asylum for sane people.
     Most of our readers already know that almost everyone in Mexico over the age of 8 has twelve or more cellular telephones...almost.   There are, however, as many people per capita in Mexico with cellular as there are in the United States or Canada.    Another thing that might surprize folks is that the comment almost always made by someone returning to Mexico for the first time in....say....twenty "Everything is changed.   The highways are so much better.   Wow, there have been a lot of improvements".
      The vast majority of the Americans who live and/or work, full and/or part-time are not hiding from anything in the United States, nor are they anti-American.   Some are pinkoes, some are rightwing crazies, some are wealthy, some are "independently poor", and some are trying to make one social security check stretch to cover everything (almost impossible).   There are surfers, fishermen, crafts people, artists, archeologists, aetheists, and even people who think that cats have souls.  
      Of people I have known, the youngest free-standing Gringo making his way actually lived in Mexico City and had a regular job at a technical lab working on computer apps.    He was about 21 years old.  The oldest is a geezer of some note who is a beach bum down in Oaxaca....who, oddly enough, is very well to do and has his personal airplane docked in Mexico and his small but very fancy two-master at harbour not far from his favourite beachfront saloon.   He was a very young 82 and made Hugh Hefner look like the  mummy that he is.   He also smoked cigarettes....although, according to him, not as much as he used to.
      The Old Gringo does not count among our number stoneheads, the mushroom hunters, the hostel/anarchist/666 people that can be found in a few places...I guess everywhere in the world by this point.     Most of these "I'll take a bath when I die" people are found around archeological sites and some out-of-the-way beach areas that are near not-to-far-out-of-the-way beach areas like Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido and Huatulco's upper reaches.   They are easily avoided.
      When they come up with their story, "My squeeze and I were shaken down by a greaser cop and we need a little money to by a bus ticket back to the can you help a fellow American?...We're really desperate, man, we haven't eaten in a couple of days." You can usually tell them that you are a bounty hunter down looking for someone..."who looks a lot like you". Admittedly, the Old Gringo has done that, because he looks mean enough. He has also said, "I was going to ask you for little bread man. The same cop must have hit you too".

     In any regard, there are a lot of us still-functional crazy people down here who are comfortable with the vast and overwhelming majority of the people who surround us.   One last thing is that the Old Gringo is of the opinion that the people who purposefully put themselves in the middle of the locals have a better time and go of it than the folks who buy or build into the "Almost totally Gringos Only" gated developments one might find in Baja California.   To each his own, however.
More later.   We need to see if  Hope and Change have totally destroyed my portfolio or if we have been annexed by Burundi yet.   Thanks for your time and attention.
El Gringo Viejo