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OTHER ITA SITES:
Living In Mexico: Gringolandia Denial
I cannot begin to imagine what life must be like in isolated little enclaves where the inhabitants have only one another for socializing. In areas like Guanajuato that still have such few Gringolandians, the "Social Incest" (as the southeast Asian locals used to say the Americans there committed) must be incredibly horrid. At least in San Miguel de Allende there are enough Gringos (about 12,000) so one can avoid some and commune with others. In Guanajuato, that luxury is not yet open to the Gringo. Since they cannot speak Spanish, for the most part, they are forced to deal with one another. This is a perfect recipe for mental instability.
I had an email correspondence with one of Guanajuato's mentally unstable Gringolandians recently. I had stupidly believed that I should seek reconciliation with this woman over an incident that happened months ago. I tried letting time heal before approaching her, only to be told that I lacked the ability to perceive anything, think anything, be anything, and the list droned on. Why had I bothered? I am asking myself that very question this morning.
The brouhaha in the Guanajuato Gringolandians that is coursing its way through this little isolated and exclusive group is the fact that I have been sharply critical of the need to have in existence something called Gringolandia. My contention is that if the Gringos would untwist the panties they have all twisted in a knot over learning Spanish, they would not need to form enclaves because they would live in Mexican neighborhoods, shop in Mexican stores, and live in the Mexican culture. Why would you need to form a Gringolandia if you learned the language, the portal to the culture?
Another thing that has riled them is that I have also criticized aspects of the Mexican culture (I try being an equal opportunity critic) that I had to deal with at the time I wrote about particular issues and had yet to arrive at some sort of personal coping skills. I was offering a running commentary, of sorts, of what I was going through in the culture. One particular thing was the issue of how Mexican woman will plainly and determinedly push you out of the way at a counter and demand that they be waited on before you.
At first, we wondered if this was because they were secretly thinking, "You piece of Gringo slime, get the infierno out of my way."
So, we began asking the local shopkeepers what this was all about.
One lady, who was not from Guanajuato but from a different region of Mexico, told us that the fine ladies of Guanajuato were a bunch of Malcriadas. This means basically ill-raised. (I might add that other Latinos have told us that the Mexican women here are generally rude and deeply disturbed. Whether that is true or not, I do not know.)
Well, you would have thought I had reported something like, "all Mexican women have sex with burros, all the Mexican men are the offspring of the coupling, and Americans love to watch it all happen!"
Really, you would have thought I had reported the vilest pornographic thing.
Their reaction was that strong.
Their current consensus is that I have lied about everything I've reported. They contend that no one else has told me such things and that I should go to prison for breaking the libel laws of Mexico.
Now, hold on a minute and be sure you get this. Here is a group of people who COULD NOT ask a Mexican employee any question, much less one relating to culture, telling me I made this up. I lied. I am a liar. I should have to live in a Mexican prison for the next few years.
These people are such a collective group of nutters that they've had meetings, mostly by email but some in the flesh, to plot my demise. What I have written above is just part of the package to present, I suppose, to the local Mexican prosecutor.
To be fair to these poor deranged souls, I have to tell you that there are other articles I've written to which they object and for which they would love to see my head on a stick.
But, back to the store counter thing. I am not sure whether they think I am making up the answer we received from one of the store's employees that these pushy women are "Malcriadas" or that they will shove you out of the way, or both. Probably both, if I read my nutty Gringolandians correctly.
The Blogger of "Adventures Of A Third World Shopkeeper" reported this:
"My favorite baker here in downtown Tampico was very busy, as usual, and there seemed to be a shortage of staff to wrap one's bread and pastry selections. Also, there seemed to be an issue with their cash register and an older lady (who had the mien of the owner of the business) was taking money and making change from a small pile of coins. Waiting in line, a young woman pushed to the front, rapping her metal bread tongs on the counter, loudly demanding to be served - and she was. However, I was before her in the line to pay yet this didn't stop her from shouldering me aside with a withering look. Being of very British reserve, however, I kept my counsel. Yet another person, an older woman, pushed in front of me to pay and I politely said to her, "Excuse me, Señora, there is a line just here." The reaction was incredible. Had I called her a c**k-su*k*ng wh*re it might not have garnered the same kind of shock from those within earshot. It was almost comical. The three employees behind the counter, the lady customer and the lady owner regarded me with such loathing for committing such a gross solecism. Immediately, the lady owner made soothing noises, apologized fulsomely to the LADY WHO PUSHED IN and accepted her payment. I was tempted, at that point, to leave - but I happen to like their bread. I couldn't make this up if I tried and I tell of it by way of illustration of a certain aspect, perhaps, to the Mexican 'national character'. Pushing forward in a waiting line is not seen as being something worthy of public comment - although, naturally, certain exceptions exist. The reader may draw their own conclusions."(www.eddiesayshola.blogspot.com)
The point of today's rant is that there are other observant Gringos who have experienced what I have reported and what my wife and I have experienced.
This star member of Gringolandia, this women with whom I sparred, has told me repeatedly that the Guanajuato I report is not the Guanajuato she knows. Well, good for her.
I wonder if she's ever in her life been in a store other than the Super Wal-Mart (which they have in a couple of larger towns to the west of Guanajuato) where there are no counters at which she would most certainly be shoved out of the way by Mexican women.
Here are two comments from The Blog entry I quoted above:
I often do what you did. Of course, the folks rarely get back in line, they just stare blankly at you and stay put. The people serving them continue serving them, also blank-faced. Sometimes I wish I had an UZI. It amuses me greatly when I read and hear from Gringos (Yeah, I know you are a Limey, not a Gringo) who say they moved down here, or want to, because they loooove the culture and the people. The people are soooo polite. Yeah, right. My arse they are.
Similar experiences here lower in Mexico, the Xalapa area - Most of the time when I bring the subject of a line up the offender totally ignores my existence. This most often compounds the frustration. I certainly don’t think Mexicans have the corner on line rudeness – but as you write so well it is alive and well here in this the most tranquil of countries.
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Travel Part B