- Book: “This is Mexico – Tales of Culture and Other Complications”
- Author: Carol M. Merchasin
- Publisher: She Writes Press, 2015
What comes to mind when you think of Mexico? Is it the turquoise water with the white sand beaches, and the luxury hotels? Or is it the magnificent, ancient Mayan pyramids, such as the famous Chichen Itza? Or maybe it’s the infamous drug cartels and the high murder rate that still puts this country in the news today? Well for the young people – it certainly can be the famous party-city of Cancun, where the majority of middle-class American college students spend their Spring break holidays. Whatever your first thought might be – Mexico is a truly unique, culturally rich and a very diverse country.
This country is also famous for having the biggest class gap between the rich, and the poor. What it means in human terms is that their rich are extremely rich, and their poor… well, they are barely making the ends meet.
So does this book provide us with a good insight into the plague of the Mexican people? The short answer is – yes, somewhat.
The author of this book, Carol is an American lawyer. She bought a house in a small town called San Miguel de Allende, and relocated there with her husband Robert about 10 years ago. Since then they have been living surrounded by locals with whom they meet and interact almost daily. Of course, the author has a more privileged lifestyle, and she is able to afford a housekeeper, a cook, and a gardener, which does not really position her on the same level with an average Mexican. However, through those daily interactions, the author discovers and learns a great deal about the plague of those people she meets, as well as about their background, culture, and customs.
By reading this book, you will get a quick introduction into the beautiful Mexican culture from a perspective of a… foreigner. And since chances are – you are probably a foreigner as well, it can be a very interesting and insightful angle.
“I flopped into an empty plastic seat at the airline gate in Houston with a sigh. The woman to my left looked up from the book she was reading and smiled. She was a woman of certain age, wearing complicated makeup.
“Travel”, she said. “It’s a pain, isn’t it? Where are you coming from?”
She frowned. Then she moved her suitcase away from me.
Misunderstanding, I said, “Oh, it’s not in my way.”
“No,” she said. “It’s not that. It’s, um, I don’t know how much you understand about Mexico, but, well, they are really dirty there.” She glanced at me knowingly.
“Dirty?” I hung suspended like a trapeze artist in midair. Later, I delivered a soliloquy longer than Macbeth’s about Mexican children who go to school spotless despite having no running water. But in that moment, I had nothing.” (p. 155)