point being missed


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Posted by ZihuaRob from 200.65.89.87 (dup-200-65-89-87.prodigy.net.mx) on miércoles, julio 02, 2003 at 20:08:37 :

In Reply to: Re: We would love to relocate in Zihua posted by STEW from 67.116.230.134 (ppp-67-116-230-134.dialup.pltn13.pacbell.net) on miércoles, julio 02, 2003 at 16:20:58 :

Stew, in mostly recent years there has been a tremendous influx of foreigners moving here to live out their various dreams. Some bring money, others experience, some both, and some neither. But what has happened is that a few have rubbed the local community the wrong way, planting seeds of animosity by not being respectful of the local community, its values and its culture. In some places and among some people there is a tangible animosity growing towards gringos that simply didn't exist before.

Recently I was speaking with one resident gringo who is developing land in an environmentally sensitive area. He acknowledged that he had committed ecocide as if it were of absolutely no importance to him, qualifying his almost boastful statement by saying "Yeah, what the heck are they complaining about? We paid the fines!"

Obviously he didn't and doesn't get the point either.

It isn't about the money they spend or the jobs they create or the gifts they bear, it's about respect for the local people and their way of life.

When a tourist is accidentally rude by not observing a local courtesy it is easier to overlook and forgive than when that person is a foreigner living here as a resident and commits the same error with regularity.

As hard as it may be for some people to imagine, not every Mexican wants to speak English or own a pair of Nikes or imitate a Hollywood ego or listen to the latest pop music fad. They absorb US culture because it is thrust upon them and for some because it makes them money. But fortunately there is a strong Mexican cultural identity, though poorly recognized by many visitors beyond the touristy Mexican Fiesta theme nights at some of our local hotels, it embraces music, art, fashion, romance, poetry, literature, cinema, foods, work, architecture, ecology, family and one's basic attitude towards the world, but by not being able to speak the language it is an entire world unseen by the majority of visitors as well as a great many foreign residents, who continue dealing with Mexicans on a mostly superficial level because they can't fully understand the language, acknowledging only that which they often already have a preconceived opinion about because it's all they can do. The more dedicated and adventuresome commit themselves to learning about this part of Mexican culture by first learning the language and then by watching the movies, listening to the words in the songs, understanding the nuances made in conversation, and so forth. Obviously a newcomer isn't expected to arrive knowing all these things, but they are hoped to arrive with a desire to be part of the Mexican community, not just the gringo one.

It used to be that visitors to Zihuatanejo, rich or poor, came for sheer simple pleasure of being among the people here, benignly enjoying sharing in their environment and way of life without changing it, and basically living like the locals lived then. Then came Ixtapa. Now we have a whole different kind of tourist demanding services such as AI and time share and condominiums and air conditioning and dolphinariums and marinas and shopping centers and wave runners and banana boat rides, etc, and along with that come the schemers and scammers looking to make a quick buck selling anything they can, whether or not it's even theirs to sell! Next thing you know Paradise doesn't look or feel the same anymore.

So pardon me, Stew, if I seem a little heavy-handed towards all the people who say they want to move here, I believe you'll find that most local Mexicans and a good number of our foreign residents feel the same way: very protective of what little we have left of this marvelous Paradise. No offense is meant towards anyone, only a plea for serious consideration of what a potential new resident may be getting themselves into. This is not St. Pete or San Antonio or San Diego, this is barely considered a civilized area, and not very far from here army troops still patrol the hills not unlike the calvary of the old Wild West and for reasons one could consider similar.

And there's nothing I'd hate to see more than for some nice people to move here following their dream, only to have it turn into a nightmare for them because it was not what they expected, and losing their savings in the process. I've seen it happen over and over in the places I've lived from the Virgin Islands to Florida to here.

Sometimes being on the other side of the looking glass causes things to appear very differently than when one is on the outside looking in. Just ask Alice. ;~)



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