Archive for May 2009
As my roommate (a life-long resident of Mexico City) has told me, the greatest thing about Mexico is its chaos. I would add to that its quirkiness. Here are two stories from this week that are particularly odd, and completely Mexican – and I mean that in the best way.
So swine flu has got you down, nearly ruined your economy… well how’s about erecting a statue to memorialize it then. And so it seems, we here in Mexico are commemorating this “pandemic” outbreak with a statue of the little young’n who was the first to contract the virus (don’t worry he didn’t die).
I wish I had more weird stories but I’ve been a little busy trying to find $650,000. Either way, I got the best weird news story right here. It seems one Veracruz government employee decided to go desnuda to work one day to garner support for a legal case against her ex-husband (er… what? Isn’t there better ways to do this?). Apparently, Ms. Garcia says her ex-husband who is the Minister of Finance for the State of Veracruz and is swindling her out of her monthly alimony of MXN $7000 (USD $500) a month. So, obviously this kind of injustice calls for naked civil disobedience.
I got acquainted with an eastern part of Mexico City, known as Chimalhuacan on Monday. We drove to this area of Chimalhuacan, called ciudad dormitorio, from our main office which is southwest of the city center. Although the total distance was less than 20 miles, it took us nearly 1.5 hours to get to these centers because the roads and traffic are tremendously bad.
I am told the area is called Ciudad Dormitorio (sleeping city) because many who live there travel to the city center to work and do not return but only to sleep. I asked my co-worker if the eastern part of the city was the poorest and he said that there are poor areas like that all over Mexico City, in every section. However, he did say that of all the wealthy parts of the City, none are in the east.
There was a Slumdog moment during this drive when we passed up the pepenadores who are trash collectors and live on the city dump. They cart tremendous amounts of trash on the back of their caballos (horses) to a pepenador market where they sell the best of what they got in order to earn a living.
As my co-worker observed “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I understand that many people would have probably a range of feelings about this, from pity to shame, and of course these pepenadores are stigmatized in society for being dirty and uncivilized. But, I guess my feeling is more of an admiration for people like this because they work hard for what they got and put up with so much crap just to make it by. I don’t know what I would do if I was born in conditions like that. Actually, I know very well what I would do. I would make a B-line for the border and try to find my way in the United States.
So, I believe I decided on a thesis topic. Or at least something definitive enough to look into. I was thinking that an analysis of the Merida Initiative would be good.
What kind of analysis, I’m not to sure. Potentially it could be about how the $1.4 billion USD is being used for the initiative. Most of it is going to supply Mexican counter-drug forces with equipment to do interdiction. For this, the US is supplying Mexico with various types of equipment from helicopters, to reconnaissance aircraft, to non-intrusive inspection equipment. I may look into the Merida legislation to see if this type of equipment is the best use of our resources, or if other types of assistance would actually work better, bearing in mind that probably the principle goal for any US-assistance in this regard would be for interdiction of narcotics entering the US and not as much to aid Mexican officials in decreasing their violent crime or own domestic drug problem.
And Carlos Slim is no bueno.
Also, today during my heated battle with a hangover, I thought it had the best of me for a second when I felt like the earth was moving. But actually that wasn´t the hangover but this.