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Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico




esperanza

Oct 26, 2009, 1:43 PM

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Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I've been thinking about this for quite some time and today I have time to post here. My questions are piqued by a few recent posts about customs and border crossings, but my concern goes back much farther than those recent posts.

I'm assuming that most if not all of us who use Mexconnect are generally law abiding citizens. Whether we are native-born Mexicans, naturalized Mexican citizens, foreign residents of Mexico, or residents of other countries who have an abiding interest in Mexico, we're not confirmed law-breakers. Yet some Mexconnect posters write very revealing posts about their desire to get around Mexico's traffic laws, customs laws, and immigration laws.

I find it quite amazing that some foreign posters think it's just dandy to figure out how not to pay traffic fines (I'm not talking about mordida, just fines for actual infractions), how to avoid paying duties by making newly purchased articles look used, and how to get around certain immigration laws--for example, by moving money out of and into a bank account to give the appearance of meeting the income requirement for an FM-3 or an FM-2. I think one of the threads that most surprised me was a fairly recent one in which some posters acted annoyed that immigration might question their right to work in Mexico without a work permit.

If the shoe were on the other foot--in other words, if Mexican nationals were posting somewhere about how to get around all those laws in other countries--what would we think and how would we feel? Would posts like that be all right with us?

I feel certain (well, almost certain) that most if not all posters on Mexconnect abide by the laws of their countries, whatever those countries might be. What's the rationale behind being--or wanting to be--a scofflaw in another country? What am I missing?

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com










Gringal

Oct 26, 2009, 1:48 PM

Views: 22399

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I don't think you're missing a thing, Esperanza. These are the same people who stand on their heads to avoid paying taxes NOB and whose ethics in general might make Genghis Khan blush. They do what they can get away with. Anywhere. What else is new?



arbon

Oct 26, 2009, 2:45 PM

Views: 22380

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In some areas of Mexico foreign volunteers need "work permits" how about "Moderators".
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Hound Dog

Oct 26, 2009, 3:05 PM

Views: 22376

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I feel certain (well, almost certain) that most if not all posters on Mexconnect abide by the laws of their countries, whatever those countries might be. What's the rationale behind being--or wanting to be--a scofflaw in another country? What am I missing?

Here is what you are missing, Esperanza, my friend.

In France, when I first visited there in 1966, traffic laws were always violated and never respected.

Last May (2009), we re-visited Paris and stayed with family and I noticed that my brother-in-law´s car had a feature that sounded the bells of Big Ben occasionally as we drove form Charles de Gaulle Airport into the city and across the city to their home in the cross-town suburb of La Defence. I inquired as to why the sound kept occasionally going off and he informed me it was a radar detector even though he could not call it that as radar detectors were technically illegal in Paris and that Paris had installed speed detectors all about the city with cameras and if one sped through an intersection in excess of the speed limit one would get a traffic ticket in the mail so this "radar" detector was warning him that a speed detector was installed on the approaching intersection so he could simply slow down for a few moments until he passed the offending camera and radar trap and then he, like a true Frenchman,would step on the gas and drive like a maniac until Big Ben sounded again and then he would slow to a snail´s pace until he passed the next detector and camera and then he would speed up again and that´s the way it is.

People obey reasonable laws that make sense and scoff at laws that make no sense whether they are in Mexico or Alabama or France or Ouagadougou. Go with the flow.



yucatandreamer


Oct 26, 2009, 7:55 PM

Views: 22315

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I have had similar thoughts and thought it would be a good idea if Hacienda or Immigration had a few eager English speaking employees reading forums that cater to expats. Here is a country that is struggling for revenue and we who live here by choice try to opt out of a few taxes.



RickS


Oct 26, 2009, 7:55 PM

Views: 22312

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"What am I missing?"

Well, there are laws and then there are laws. And one cannot lump them all into the same bag. And there are people and then there are people. Can't lump them into the same bag either. And whether one is a 'scofflaw' is sometimes in the eyes of the beholder.

While I can't make a specific statement, because I don't personally know 99% of these folks, what I suspect is that you left out one very important word in your statement of "I feel certain.... that most if not all posters on Mexconnect abide by the laws of their countries...". The word is "MOST" and should be placed after "abide by" in the above statement. Most will abide by MOST of the laws of their countries. And, I suspect that is exactly what they are doing in Mexico, just as they did in the country of their origin. But not all.

Take me, for example. I live in Colorado and drive around with South Dakota plates on my vehicles. Not exactly according to Colorado law. Shame on me. Why? Because of (unsupportable high) cost. It cost $275/yr to plate my hybrid Prius here but only $75/yr in South Dakota. Colorado required that I get my almost new truck emission-tested to the tune of $90 each year even though it passes those tests with flying colors (and is not even required if I lived in the western part of the state!). South Dakota says it's not required by them and oh, by the way, they'll plate it for $150/yr less. So I rationalize that it's OK to bend this law. Is it? Of course not! Other folks play games with the IRS . Playing games is another way of saying breaking the law. Maybe not big-time (add a few bogus contributions, 'forget' a few cash payments not otherwise documented, etc etc etc). I must say that's one in which I'm not prone to participate. I could give a few more examples but I think you get my drift.

So Esperanza, I think your premise may be shaky..... all posters abide by the laws of their country of origin. They abide by MOST of the laws of their country..... just as they probably abide by MOST of the laws of Mexico. The "important" ones in their (my) eyes. But they (I) will still try their luck with the "red/green nothing-to-declare" lane, etc. but otherwise be pretty law abiding citizens of their adopted country. But if they can get away somehow without paying sales tax on a new item..... well I think you know what MOST might do.

Your mileage may vary, but that's my two cents worth.....

(This post was edited by RickS on Oct 26, 2009, 7:58 PM)



bournemouth

Oct 26, 2009, 8:10 PM

Views: 22301

    

Re: [RickS] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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And that's a pretty good two cents worth - I feel it covers a lot of people.



Zorba

Oct 27, 2009, 2:23 AM

Views: 22246

    

Re: [bournemouth] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I've had to think about this myself. And I've had to think about it in terms of what I would want my son to see or what I would want to teach him about life. It's definitely not as black and white as the OP proposes.

In the end that is probably what I will end up telling him: different situations require different actions. Use your own discretion.

I would bribe a cop or a government employee or whoever to get something done. No question about it. That's just the way it is done in Mexico like it or not. When that is no longer the situation, my approach will change. I don't like it. I would much rather Mexico had a strong rule of law. So, I guess you could say I look at it primarily from a practical point of view. Would you stop to lock the door of a house on fire?


(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 27, 2009, 2:25 AM)



zzRider

Oct 27, 2009, 4:08 AM

Views: 22236

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Maybe if the corruption stopped with the local police, local transito cops, state police, immigration officials, mayors and governors then maybe expats would stop trying to get around the laws.

We see what the about people in authority do and in some case do to us, so who sets the example in the first place?

Not saying it makes it right that expats in some cases try to get around the rules, but geez, the Mexicans need to clean up their act before you can expect expats to clean up theirs.

In a number of cases these officials take one look at us and see big $$ signs in our eyes and they take full advantage of it.

Before they can get our respect for them and their laws they need to clean their own house first.



gpkgto

Oct 27, 2009, 6:39 AM

Views: 22216

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"If the shoe were on the other foot--in other words, if Mexican nationals were posting somewhere about how to get around all those laws in other countries--what would we think and how would we feel? Would posts like that be all right with us?"
No one has addressed this--which I thought was your point. I think most people in the US would be upset if a group of immigrants publicized how to break US laws. But this does happen--Spanish radio stations (in LA, at least) announce areas the avoid in the city when the immigration police are active.



Zorba

Oct 27, 2009, 7:26 AM

Views: 22202

    

Re: [zzRider] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"Maybe if the corruption stopped with the local police, local transito cops, state police, immigration officials, mayors and governors then maybe expats would stop trying to get around the laws.

We see what the about people in authority do and in some case do to us, so who sets the example in the first place?

Not saying it makes it right that expats in some cases try to get around the rules, but geez, the Mexicans need to clean up their act before you can expect expats to clean up theirs.

In a number of cases these officials take one look at us and see big $$ signs in our eyes and they take full advantage of it.

Before they can get our respect for them and their laws they need to clean their own house first."

Yes. Some claim the person doing the bribing is just as guilty as the person accepting the bribe. Im not sure if I buy that. Everybody in all of Mexico could one day decide not to bribe anybody, and they will still have to do it because it is the authorities requiring it. It is those people in positions of authority who are primarily to blame. In Canada, for example, you wouldn't even consider trying to bribe a cop for a lot of different reasons.

If Mexico wants to stop corruption, they will have to pay for it. That means paying cops and government workers enough to not want to risk their jobs. That means having checks and balances in place. That means promoting a culture of honesty and integrity. The latter of which will be extremely difficult considering the fact that corruption has been going on so long in Mexico that it could be said to be PART OF the culture and not just a malady within it. Im concerned that the recent spike in violence and drugs is slowly becoming PART OF the Mexican culture as well. It becomes a way of life just like corruption does.

Thanks for bringing up this topic. Very good to discuss it. However, the title of your thread is rather condescending. You might want to consider rewording it.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 27, 2009, 7:27 AM)



Tab


Oct 27, 2009, 7:39 AM

Views: 22189

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Well I don't know if they have an "online forum" per say, just because I haven't taken the time to look for one, but the Mexicans definitely have organized groups who help others find their way into Canada and the USA by sometimes taking advantage of our systems, finding loopholes, illegally crossing and/or illegally residing. Hence the new Visas required for Mexicans to visit Canada. And I won't even get into the other nationalities who help each other get into Canada and USA only to also find ways to exploit our very generous Welfare, Medicare, Government Housing etc. It's been happening forever. Atleast the expats who are moving to Mexico are not going there in order to "feed off the systems which are funded by the taxes paid by the citizens". Expats who choose to live in Mexico have to pay for their own housing, medical care, groceries etc., and in general fend for themselves. They cannot fall on the Mexican government for these things. So whether they find ways around little things here and there, they are still helping the Mexican economy more than they would by not being there, and they are not burdening them whatsoever, which is really what is the most important thing, I think.

We are all human and thankfully the majority do not break the law in areas that will "hurt others". It's a big "overly governed" world made necessary thanks to a huge population that the world cannot in fact support. We could go on and on, but this Forum is for people to discuss "Mexico" and its no secret that in general Mexico is not well known for it's law-abiding society. So I truly think it's simply a matter of learning how to deal with "the way it is in Mexico".


(This post was edited by Tab on Oct 27, 2009, 7:42 AM)



Peter


Oct 27, 2009, 7:42 AM

Views: 22188

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Everybody in all of Mexico could one day decide not to bribe anybody, and they will still have to do it because it is the authorities requiring it.


Or is it the people that want it? Personally I like the opportunity to take care of a minor infraction on the scene as opposed to having to go downtown to pay a fine; a few pesos and I'm on my merry way.

A police officer acquaintance was telling us he's confused. The people don't like going downtown either, and they get rather irate and abusive if he doesn't accept a payoff in the street. "You people complain when we take the money, and then complain when we don't. What do you want?"

I have respect for Mexico's longtime institutions and customs.


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 27, 2009, 7:46 AM)



zzRider

Oct 27, 2009, 7:56 AM

Views: 22181

    

Re: [Peter] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Maybe where you live the mordida is a few pesos, but at Lake Chapala it can be anywhere from 100 pesos and up, to over 500 pesos in Guadalajara. :)



Peter


Oct 27, 2009, 8:02 AM

Views: 22176

    

Re: [zzRider] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Maybe where you live the mordida is a few pesos, but at Lake Chapala it can be anywhere from 100 pesos and up, to over 500 pesos in Guadalajara. :)


Economic considerations have to be factored into the equation when deciding where to live. The Lake and SMA typically are higher priced areas to live in because of the foreign community. It stands to reason your mordida is a bigger bite as well.

I should add, though, that I have never paid a bribe or have been asked to do so, though I have witnessed such events. My federal career was such that I have had to toe the line for many years or be stripped of my enabling abilities to do my job. But yes, I was selective about which laws I would uphold, those I agreed with. I scoff at idiotic laws but am, overall, law-abiding and concientious.

The one time I drove down here to bring my car and some household items I started to pull into the "declarations" lane but was asked if anything I had was for resale. It wasn't so I was intructed to drive into the other where I pushed the button and got a green light. I was just doing what I was told and it made sense to me.

But, c'mon, 100 pesos is about $7.50 US, I don't think I ever paid even a parking ticket for that little.


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 27, 2009, 8:37 AM)



Zorba

Oct 27, 2009, 9:04 AM

Views: 22141

    

Re: [Peter] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Haha Peter ! Yes, that is a good point. I remember a saying of some sort to that effect. It was something like:

"In (insert highly regulated country) everything can be organized but nothing can be arranged. In (insert lawless society) everything can be arranged but nothing can be organized."

I may be quoting it wrong. Something like that. I agree that it is much more convenient to be able to pay on the spot and whatnot. Mexico actually is a paradise if you are rich. Anything can be arranged with enough money. A stubborn rancher friend of mine waited years to get electricity installed on his property. If he had paid the mordida it would have been done in days.

However, there is a dark side to these seemingly innocent transactions. They permeate deeper into society. It is a slippery slope. I dont give a shit really if someone can bribe themselves out of paying a ticket. I do care, however, if they can bribe a judge. Especially if I am the defendant! Nevertheless, as somewhat of a libertarian, I do enjoy the ability to circumvent the government in Mexico.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 27, 2009, 9:09 AM)



isorachel

Oct 27, 2009, 9:20 AM

Views: 22132

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Zorba

Oct 27, 2009, 10:44 AM

Views: 22096

    

Re: [isorachel] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Why would you rigidly follow all the rules, when Mexicans don't even do it? One could argue that by following the rules, you are actually going against the grain of society and not adjusting to the culture.



Hound Dog

Oct 27, 2009, 12:45 PM

Views: 22051

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Why would you rigidly follow all the rules, when Mexicans don't even do it? One could argue that by following the rules, you are actually going against the grain of society and not adjusting to the culture.

Well said, Zorba. A thoughtful response and it takes much time living here to understand the wisdom of your comment.

I am reminded of a story from my youth.

In about 1952 or so, a European American Yankee lady moved to my small but relatively affluent South Alabama home town where African American ladies were typically employed as housekeepers or nannies and she was appalled at the exceedingly low wages paid these women for long hours and grueling work so she, with zero understanding of small town South Alabama life circa 1952, decided to pay her African American housekeeper twice the going rate of pay in those days
.

Now, we all know from living in Mexico and/or other foreign lands, that all is not what meets the eye and you can believe that South Alabama was a foreign land to this woman. For instance, it was customary to pay housekeepers, all of whom in that area were black in those days, subsistence wages but to allow them to , shall we say, de-refrigerate food, especially luncheon leftovers, to take home for her own family meal and that was what today we would call a perq. But, let´s not get too compllicated here. Societal customs grow and become ingrained especially in small towns and this was especially true in the 1950s.

Anyway, the local white ladies auxilliary got together and could see that this interloper was causing stirrings in the black community and possibly encouraging insurrectionist temperments so they, in a truly Southern fashion, held an afternoon
tea (tea in South Alabama was actually LeJon Dry Sherry served in tea cups with finger sandwiches) and invite this woman over to intercede with her on behalf of the community.

Well, this poor fool thought she had arrived and this false notion was reinforced by the pleasant, almost syrupy reception she received from the local white ladies´ mafia when in fact she was actually about to experience whet we today would call an intervention. You have to be Southern to understand the ensuing events but let´s just say that when that Yankee left the party at some grand mansion that afternoon , she knew full well that U.S. Highway 31 (these were pre-interstate days) not only went south to Mobile but also went north to Chicago and she could either conform with local customs or have her ass on that highway heading north with instructions not to stop until she saw the lights of Birmingham as she came down Red Mountain.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 27, 2009, 12:50 PM)



richmx2


Oct 27, 2009, 1:16 PM

Views: 22030

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Think about the first bribe and who is the culprit in what followed: Eve, who took the bribe, or Satan who offered it?


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jl1

Oct 27, 2009, 1:23 PM

Views: 22032

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I can appreciate the concern of the OP, but who is to say that those missing tax dollars would do anything to improve the standard of life of the average Mexican? Or that the government even cares? The Gringo community in my village contributes alot of money and time each year to pay for things like school bathrooms, trash cans, spay and neuter clinics, etc. Not to mention the amount of money contributed for the welfare of unfortunate individuals who just need help and can't get it from their government. I don't know for sure, but I would imagine this scenario is repeated all over the country. Give us a break. jl



Hound Dog

Oct 27, 2009, 1:29 PM

Views: 22030

    

Re: [richmx2] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Think about the first bribe and who is the culprit in what followed: Eve, who took the bribe, or Satan who offered it?

Well that´s an easy one Rich. Eve (a wifman) has been stewing in hell for what the fundalentalist Christians tell us has been 5,000 years for using her female charms to screw (figuratively) Adam while Satan (a man) is the HMFWIC, (Head MF What´s in Charge) of the place so now we know God´s values. Reminds Dawg of some banks for which he´s worked.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 27, 2009, 1:29 PM)



Hound Dog

Oct 27, 2009, 2:00 PM

Views: 22018

    

Re: [jl1] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I can appreciate the concern of the OP, but who is to say that those missing tax dollars would do anything to improve the standard of life of the average Mexican? Or that the government even cares? The Gringo community in my village contributes alot of money and time each year to pay for things like school bathrooms, trash cans, spay and neuter clinics, etc. Not to mention the amount of money contributed for the welfare of unfortunate individuals who just need help and can't get it from their government. I don't know for sure, but I would imagine this scenario is repeated all over the country. Give us a break. jl

Yes, by all means, let´s cite the "Gringo" community that came down here because they could live on peanuts and deserted their desperately poor communities in the U.S. where their real obligation lay from Jersey City to Detroit to the Mississippi Delta to Stockton and assuage their guilt at their good fortune by pumping money into Mexico which they could have pumped into their own communities of their births where their primary obligations incur for no other reason than that is where they are of and the need is in both places but there is nothing exotic about Jersey City or Stockton and these towns are damned dangerous so let´s go where the tortillas are fine and we can play hero with those extra bucks we retained because we came into a poor community where we could live like royalty among "peasants" and give our change to the poor of which we have an abundance because the cost of living in a poor place is cheap relatively speaking. So these "compassionate Gringos" come down here and while patting orphans on the head and themselves on the back and mouthing platitudes they cheat the government by engaging in tax avoidance and then have the audacity to presume that that unsociable behavior is justified because they can posit that the government is corrupt anyway unlñike the U.S. government and its countless local political districts which become more corrupted every day with institutionalized thieves they call "lobbyists" and who are every bit as corrupt and they can sleep at night for now at least but there will be a reckoning.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 27, 2009, 2:02 PM)



bournemouth

Oct 27, 2009, 2:18 PM

Views: 22006

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Time to get over yourself Bubba - you spend way too much time blaming people for doing things that others might deem helpful. I note that you did not stay in California or anywhere of your other haunts in the US - why not?



arbon

Oct 27, 2009, 3:57 PM

Views: 21979

    

Re: [bournemouth] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"Time to get over yourself Bubba - you spend way too much time blaming people for doing things that others might deem helpful. I note that you did not stay in California or anywhere of your other haunts in the US - why not?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A little bit of "haunting" never hurt any one that is feeling guilty, especially at this time of year. It helps them to get ready for all the "Christmas Carol Ghosts" that will appear soon enough to volunteer.
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(This post was edited by arbon on Oct 27, 2009, 5:00 PM)



jl1

Oct 27, 2009, 4:36 PM

Views: 15585

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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You are a piece of work. There is a big difference between stating opinions and attacking individuals. You're the guy who referred to windshield cleaners as lower than life. For your info, I grew up in one of the poorest housing projects in NEWARK N.J. What the hell do you know about Jersey City? As for your insinuation that I do nothing for my own community, you're even more of an idiot. I and my wife do more for our community here than we do in Mexico. This forum has taken a decided step downward ever since you arrived, or returned, or whatever. Give your stilted opinions a rest and let the grownups talk for a while.



mcm

Oct 27, 2009, 4:44 PM

Views: 15580

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Thanks for the thoughtful, and thought-provoking (I hope) post, Esperanza.
You're absolutely right -- what some posters (re, bringing goods across the border, circumventing residency and work requirements) advocate is breaking the law. What I find a bit astonishing is that folks encourage others to do the same. There are all sorts of justifications (see several posts above), but it does seem to me that if you want to live in a country (or state), you should make an effort to abide by its regulations. For the most part (I've lived here more than a decade), they seem pretty reasonable to me.
This is not, of course, to say that I haven't packed various banned food products in my luggage and hoped for a green light...



Peter


Oct 27, 2009, 5:08 PM

Views: 15570

    

Re: [richmx2] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Think about the first bribe and who is the culprit in what followed: Eve, who took the bribe, or Satan who offered it?

I'm not sure who to thank most for that but the world from my point of view the world is a better place for it. I don't think life could have gone on like it did before that all happened. I'm rather glad Adam became a participant and helped put a grand scheme into action. Hats off to all those who continue the tradition.



Axixic


Oct 27, 2009, 7:00 PM

Views: 15548

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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My interpretation of the Garden of Eden story and according to a priest I told it to a decade or so ago, he thought I was right. I'll write the short version. The Garden of Eden story of which I believe never happened and is reported in religions older than the Bible, has caused harm to women by blaming them for male weaknesses.

Adam was in charge of the Garden, When he saw that Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit he knew she would be punished, banned from their home which meant he would never see her again. Adam decided that he loved woman more than he loved God The Parent. Adam chose Eve over his own comfort and security knowing that outside the Garden he would work hard hours providing food, shelter and protection for Eve but he would rather suffer with her than be without her. The Parent saw what Adam had done, that Adam chose to join Eve in Eve's banishment and the Parent knew he had created the perfect man. For humans to survive, a man had to be able to love something or someone more than he loved himself, so the Parent God succeeded in his creation of Adam and he was pleased.

There wasn't sin. It was a test of maturity and the ability to love. God wanted man to be able to love woman or anything else, more than man loved himself of even God.


(This post was edited by PamelaDelafield on Oct 27, 2009, 7:02 PM)



Axixic


Oct 27, 2009, 7:30 PM

Views: 15529

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I feel certain (well, almost certain) that most if not all posters on Mexconnect abide by the laws of their countries, whatever those countries might be. What's the rationale behind being--or wanting to be--a scofflaw in another country?

Quote

I hope you didn't misunderstand what I asked on the other thread. We will not be crossing with anything that needs to be declared once I understood what is exempt. Her easy chair is considered part of her handicapped items since she has to sleep sitting up, I was concerned with new and enthusiastic border agents wanting to examine everything which means unpacking the back of a Suburban. With a 90 year old mother on oxygen and because I have several herniated discs, I really do not want to pull everything out. At least I will be bringing my full torso back brace that I left behind 4 years ago. I didn't bring anything then but a small amount of clothing because I thought I'd return to the U.S. within 2 weeks. This will be my first trip across with any belongings.



smokesilver

Oct 27, 2009, 7:40 PM

Views: 15526

    

Re: [bournemouth] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Of course Bubba is just telling it like it is...nothing more & nothing less.



tashby


Oct 28, 2009, 11:42 AM

Views: 15451

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Yet some Mexconnect posters write very revealing posts about their desire to get around Mexico's traffic laws, customs laws, and immigration laws.

<snip>

What's the rationale behind being--or wanting to be--a scofflaw in another country? What am I missing?


My thoughts on this are so cynical I'm reluctant to share them. But I think for some people who move here from the United States it often involves:

1. A uniquely oversized and profoundly unhealthy sense of entitlement
2. A lack of respect for Mexico and Mexicans

and, in some cases....

3. An underlying, subtle form of, racism

Oooops. There's the "r" word, which I really hesitate to use. To be clear, I'm not talking about the "string 'em up and hang 'em" variety. I'm talking about a vague, ill-founded sense of superiority, probably rooted in simple-minded ingnorance, that allows some people to feel entitled to ignore Mexican laws. (There's that word 'entitled' again.)

And I am not talking about mordida. I think it's interesting that this discussion immediately focused on that.

Obviously, these also aren't "rationales" for behavior either, just my theories as to why some people might conclude that Mexican laws aren't worth respecting.

And again, I'm only talking about people from the United States because those are the only people I know anything about. I also suspect that expats from the United States who move to other countries besides Mexico behave in much the same way.

I don't imagine this post will make me any fans.



Gringal

Oct 28, 2009, 12:10 PM

Views: 15442

    

Re: [tashby] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I will repeat: The people who are law-abiding in the NOB tend to be law-abiding wherever they go. Why? because they have built-in ethics. There are plenty of people who will try to get away with whatever they can, whever they are. I don't think it's about racism. I think it's about "me first, to hell with the others". This attitude was generously spread all over our NOB financial sector very recently, and continues unabated wherever it is permitted.



RickS


Oct 28, 2009, 12:21 PM

Views: 15437

    

Re: [tashby] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
"I don't imagine this post will make me any fans."

But it sure as hell shouldn't loose you any either....

But I'm with Gringal on this one. I don't see it as racism at all, although there is enough of that going on otherwise in all corners. No, I just think that there are many of us who sometimes let our desire for 'cost containment' (or is it just 'control'?) over-rule our thinking process.

(This post was edited by RickS on Oct 28, 2009, 12:23 PM)



tashby


Oct 28, 2009, 12:38 PM

Views: 15432

    

Re: [RickS] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Thanks.

And sorry! I tried to write carefully, but....

I didn't mean to suggest that racism plays a role in all cases, just in some. I agree with you and Gringal in large part.

Don't want this to unravel because of my sloppy writing.


(This post was edited by tashby on Oct 28, 2009, 12:42 PM)



Zorba

Oct 28, 2009, 1:06 PM

Views: 15418

    

Re: [tashby] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Mexicans themselves don't follow the laws! So how is it that foreigners are being disrespectful to Mexicans?

Some expats come to Mexico in order to live a less regulated life where rules can be bent or broken. You have no right to judge them. You are imposing your own rigid belief on both expats and Mexicans.

Having said that, I do agree that expats seem to leave their brain at the border plenty. Just don't do anything that even the locals don't do. Unfortunately some people who haven't lived abroad enough, have a false sense of security based on their nationality. Your government can't do shit for you if you break a serious law of the land.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 28, 2009, 1:31 PM)



Gringal

Oct 28, 2009, 1:13 PM

Views: 15415

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Oh, you mean it's okay to be "a law unto oneself"? ...And those who are "law abiding" are therefore "self-righteous"?

Easy shot....but unless you favor Anarchy as a system for society......


(This post was edited by Gringal on Oct 28, 2009, 1:23 PM)



Zorba

Oct 28, 2009, 1:22 PM

Views: 15412

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
No man, it's called Me-hi-co! Haha! Cheers!



Zorba

Oct 28, 2009, 1:26 PM

Views: 15408

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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You guys need to start following the law in Mexico which is there is no law. Stop f'ng with the WA!


(This post was edited by Zorba on Oct 28, 2009, 1:28 PM)



Peter


Oct 28, 2009, 2:09 PM

Views: 15391

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
You guys need to start following the law in Mexico which is there is no law.

Actually there is a law, it's called "La Ley de Herodes."



Manuel Dexterity

Oct 28, 2009, 2:34 PM

Views: 15400

    

Re: [tashby] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Yet some Mexconnect posters write very revealing posts about their desire to get around Mexico's traffic laws, customs laws, and immigration laws.

<snip>

What's the rationale behind being--or wanting to be--a scofflaw in another country? What am I missing?


My thoughts on this are so cynical I'm reluctant to share them. But I think for some people who move here from the United States it often involves:

1. A uniquely oversized and profoundly unhealthy sense of entitlement
2. A lack of respect for Mexico and Mexicans

and, in some cases....

3. An underlying, subtle form of, racism

Oooops. There's the "r" word, which I really hesitate to use. To be clear, I'm not talking about the "string 'em up and hang 'em" variety. I'm talking about a vague, ill-founded sense of superiority, probably rooted in simple-minded ingnorance, that allows some people to feel entitled to ignore Mexican laws. (There's that word 'entitled' again.)

And I am not talking about mordida. I think it's interesting that this discussion immediately focused on that.

Obviously, these also aren't "rationales" for behavior either, just my theories as to why some people might conclude that Mexican laws aren't worth respecting.

And again, I'm only talking about people from the United States because those are the only people I know anything about. I also suspect that expats from the United States who move to other countries besides Mexico behave in much the same way.

I don't imagine this post will make me any fans.


Well you picked up a fan here, tashby. I also agree that many many Americans and Canadians share an underlying racism that prohibits them from accepting both Mexico and Mexicans as their equal.

I have lived in this country for a very long time, been married over 30 years and the oldest of my kids just turned 30. When we were first married we lived in a small beach town that had its share of foreign tourists and snowbirds.

Back then we would socialize some with foreigners but after hearing countless comments with racial or bigoted undertones we simply stopped accepting invitations to gringo gatherings. They weren't like you say, vitriolic racist statements but tidbits here and there that revealed their true opinions of this country and its people.

The same goes for many people on these boards. And the sad part is they just don't get it.



esperanza

Oct 28, 2009, 3:10 PM

Views: 15379

    

Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
Tashby and Sr. Dexterity, I agree with both of you.

It's always amazing to me to hear the amount of conscious or unconscious racism that exists among English-speaking foreigners in Mexico. It starts with this belittling kind of statement: "Oh, that little woman who runs the corner store is so sweet..." and goes right on up the ladder to, "If only they weren't so backward..." and farther still to statements that I wouldn't even mention here.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com










arbon

Oct 28, 2009, 3:11 PM

Views: 15376

    

Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

|
Mexicans do not want to be treated as equals to foreigners .. Mexicans want to be treated as Mexicans and equal to other Mexicans. (and they are not treated as equals by other Mexicans)

That would be something to work towards, as well as giving all Mexicans a birth certificate at birth, so they can go to school.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The "World Series" is a case in point, do you "get it"?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by arbon on Oct 28, 2009, 3:24 PM)



mazbook1


Oct 28, 2009, 3:15 PM

Views: 15373

    

Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"Back then we would socialize some with foreigners but after hearing countless comments with racial or bigoted undertones we simply stopped accepting invitations to gringo gatherings. They weren't like you say, vitriolic racist statements but tidbits here and there that revealed their true opinions of this country and its people.

The same goes for many people on these boards. And the sad part is they just don't get it."

¡Por fin!
I get to agree 100% with Sr. Dexterity. My wife and I stopped socializing with the expats a number of years ago for exactly the same reason. Also, with one exception, ALL of the expats I know who are in mixed (gringo - Mexican) marriages feel exactly the same. The one exception I know of makes their living at services for gringo snowbirds, so they feel obligated to accept invitations, attend events, etc., but they often have to grit their teeth and let off steam at home afterwards. The amount of condescension is/was absolutely unbelievable, in some cases it definitely was/approached racism.

On one forum there were once so many posts of this sort that I couldn't contain myself and was often threatened with expulsion. However, I persevered and now (2-3 years later) there are seldom any of these sorts of posts on that forum.


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Oct 28, 2009, 3:36 PM)



RickS


Oct 28, 2009, 3:26 PM

Views: 15365

    

Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"...many Americans and Canadians share an underlying racism that prohibits them from accepting both Mexico and Mexicans as their equal."

A couple of thoughts.... it is not just Americans and Canadians and it (racial prejudice) is not just about Mexico and Mexicans of course. I would direct your thoughts to the world at large as proof of that fact. But even with 'Americans', of whom I have the most experience since I am one, the focus is not solely on Mexicans although that is currently the most-favored clan. We tend to spread it around.

Your comment 'we would socialize some with foreigners but after hearing countless comments with racial or bigoted undertones we simply stopped accepting invitations to gringo gatherings' brought back a painful memory. I grew up in Louisiana in the 40-50s, graduated and left the state for the rest of my adult life. But still having family and extended family in the bayou state I made numerous trips back over the ensuing years. What I experienced, and this was well into the 70s-80s mind you, is that the 'talk around the table' invariably turned to race... in this case the Negro of course... and the comments and jokes were unmistakably racist in tone. And these folks were supposedly educated and not 'white trash'. So, like you, I simply stopped accepting invitations to 'go home' (but all the while kept my mouth shut, for which I was not particularly proud then or now, but that's another story).

Anyway, I sticking to my view that it is probably not racism that causes the majority of folks who cross the border to 'try their luck with the nothing-to-declare line. It may be another frailty, but probably not wholesale racism (and I tend to know that when I see it).



Gringal

Oct 28, 2009, 3:29 PM

Views: 15362

    

Re: [mazbook1] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
...and there is a reason why it takes 400 times as many personnel to protect President Obama as it did to protect President Bush.

...and then there's the prejudice of Mexicans against Mexicans with lower status or darker skin.

...and all the other mindless and cruel treatment of one segment of mankind against another. Is this just the human condition: trying to make the "other" less in order to feel "more"?



RickS


Oct 28, 2009, 3:33 PM

Views: 15358

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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BINGO!



mazbook1


Oct 28, 2009, 4:25 PM

Views: 15342

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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This is a reply both to Gringal (love that handle!) and arbon. Gringal says (and arbon posted something similar), "...and then there's the prejudice of Mexicans against Mexicans with lower status or darker skin."

I know this absolutely does exist in some upper-class/wealthy Mexicans, but if you associate more with working-class folks or even working-class folks who have boot-strapped themselves up to educated middle class, you never see this. They seriously take to heart the Constitution, which says that all Mexicans are equal.

This was very much true 50 years ago. The "Spanish" girls didn't even shave their armpits or legs and never went out in the sun without a parasol in order to prove to folks they weren't mestizo. Well-to-do "Spanish" parents even had private parties for their children where no mestizo children were invited so that their children would meet the sort of girls/boys that the family considered acceptable future mates for them. That sort of thing is very rare today in México, but does still exist in some social circles (not the no-shaving thing, though. That was ugly and disgusting.) You do still see, even in the colonias, older obviously mestizo, women who won't go out in the sun without a parasol so they don't tan. But I've seen this phenomenom fade by almost 50% in the twelve years I have lived full time in México (Sinaloa).



esperanza

Oct 28, 2009, 4:51 PM

Views: 15329

    

Re: [mazbook1] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply

In Reply To
This is a reply both to Gringal (love that handle!) and arbon. Gringal says (and arbon posted something similar), "...and then there's the prejudice of Mexicans against Mexicans with lower status or darker skin."

...but if you associate more with working-class folks or even working-class folks who have boot-strapped themselves up to educated middle class, you never see this. They seriously take to heart the Constitution, which says that all Mexicans are equal.

Boy oh boy, this status and skin color prejudice is still the rule in among the many working-class people I know, not only in Morelia but all over the República. For example, a few years back my working-class neighbor gave birth to a baby boy. Her first comment to me was, "Gracias a Dios que salió blanco y no tan prieto como su papá." ('Thank god he came out white and not so dark like his father.') Another friend, also working class, commented about her nephew's girlfriend: "Si se case con esa trigueñita, los niños van a salir bien morenitos igual que la mamá. Qué triste para mi hermana." ('If he gets married to that little black girl, the kids will come out really dark, just like their mother. How sad for my sister.') And the comment about a recent quinceañera: "Qué ridícula se ve esa muchacha indita, como una puerca vestida de novia. Porqué no se queda con su propria raza de gente."

I could cite another dozen remarks just like that, but those will suffice. This type racism and prejudice hasn't died off at all.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com










Carron

Oct 30, 2009, 8:45 AM

Views: 15182

    

Re: [mazbook1] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
When I taught at two universities and a couple of exclusive private schools in Chiapas the vast majority of my students were wealthy, tall, and fair-skinned. "Spanish", in other words. There was a huge disparity between their class and the short, dark indigenous peoples who usually sold things (or simply begged) on the sidewalks in the mercados or were relegated to the kitchens for 6 1/2 days each week, well out of sight of more socially acceptable guests.

Even I, who had been raised in southern Louisiana during the 40's and 50', had much more normal associations with "coloureds" back then and was shocked at the current segregation in Chiapas. Chiapas didn't even need to have signs posted!!

I don't predict this changing anytime soon, no matter how many Zapatistas rise up in protest.



Peter


Oct 30, 2009, 10:07 AM

Views: 11073

    

Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply

In Reply To

In Reply To

I also agree that many many Americans and Canadians share an underlying racism that prohibits them from accepting both Mexico and Mexicans as their equal.

...we would socialize some with foreigners but after hearing countless comments with racial or bigoted undertones we simply stopped accepting invitations to gringo gatherings. They weren't like you say, vitriolic racist statements but tidbits here and there that revealed their true opinions of this country and its people.

The same goes for many people on these boards. And the sad part is they just don't get it.



I've heard the comments all my life, from both sides of the house. I grew up in the 50's - 60's California, a time and place where the racial barriers were coming down much quicker than in other times and places across the country, but it was not a perfect process, it takes time.

Fact is, we are not all culturally equal. There are probably no two bordering countries around the world more culturally different than Mexico and the US. Neither has exclusive claim to the high road, we're different is all. It also would be an injustice to claim the differences do not exist or merely try to ignore them.

My friends and I here in Morelia often have a little fun pointing out our differences, and we've all become a bit more culturally aware in taking notice and making light of these. For most of them they have had little or no contact with 'gringos' before and consider me quite a novelty and are not overly sensitive with my lapses or parts of my cultural background they do not understand - There really are a number of things, such as the way English-speakers phrase things that would violate normal protocol, that might cause tension if there was not a mutual curiosity that bonds us.

It's not a perfect process, I love my adopted country and my friends sense this. None of us benefit from being too sensitive. We often discover how much alike we are when we are exploring our differences. All of us are a bit different than we were before we met. I think we are all pleased with the changes.

Or it could be that I just don't get it, which would be sad.


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 30, 2009, 10:10 AM)



richmx2


Oct 30, 2009, 11:20 AM

Views: 11048

    

Re: [Carron] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Chiapas is an anomaly within Mexico (Mayan, historically and culturally more Guatemala than Mexico, etc.) and is the exception to the rule -- which is not to deny that discrimination doesn't exist. There was in the Mayan region legal discrimination against Mayans until after the Revolution, and the "usos y costumbres" of 500 years are not going to disappear within a few generations.

Consider the way some people North of the Border still are hung up on the fact that the country elected a non-white President, and even those who support the man find it remarkable. Considering Mexico has had Afro-Mexican and Indigenous (and part-indigenous) Presidents throughout it's history here one asks, "what took them so long?".

There has never been any taboo against what we call by the negative word,"miscegenation", and for which the Mexicans use the value-neutral term "mestiaje". To be considered "indigenous" after all is more a matter of lifestyle and language than bloodlines. As it is, "indigenous" is defined in the Constitution as an "ethno-linguistic" matter: in other words, if you stay home speaking Zapotec you're indigenous... if you move to the city, speak Spanish you probably aren't.

I got a negative lesson in this one afternoon on the Mexico City Metro when a blue-eyed, blonde drunk lost bowel control -- grossing everyone out -- and was called a "sucio indio" by a dark-skinned, roman-nosed, short and very proper Chilango. The point being that "indio" (not a term normally used in polite conversation except by the most reactionary of nacos) and stereotyped indigenous BEHAVIOR is what people object to. I think there's a reason beyond his political and historical importance that Benito Juarez is a central figure in Mexican thought.... born an "indian" he became Mexican.

Not to say that there is not color prejudice in Mexico or Latin America, but that WE -- coming from societies that made "race" central to our way of thinking about people -- see "race" where Latin Americans often see something else. Physical appearance does indicate family, of course, and -- much as north of the border one assumes brown skinned people are "foreigners" and black-skinned ones came from a less-wealthy background -- there is an assumption that the more dark skinned and short and "indian" one looks, the more likely one came from a rural, uneducated, family.

The alleged "white" control of the economy and politics is partially due just to the fact that people tend to find their life partners, and pass on their economic control (as well as their DNA) among their own social class. If anything, the Revolution led to an INCREASE in Europeans at the wealthy end of the social spectrum, having made Mexico a refuge for European capital and people in the 1930s and 40s. Look at their grandchildren, though, and they look and act pretty much like any other spoiled rich Mexican kid.


None of which says anything about foreigners bragging about "getting away with something" here. Not that I haven't used my "gringo pass" on occasion, and not that I haven't occasionally bought an officer of the law a refresco to simplify legal procedures, but it's not something I would take pride in, nor in any way would consider honorable behavior. And certainly not something I'd defend on the grounds that "everybody does it".


http://mexfiles.net
http://mexicobookpublishers.com



mazbook1


Oct 30, 2009, 1:18 PM

Views: 11025

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
"I could cite another dozen remarks just like that, but those will suffice. This type racism and prejudice hasn't died off at all."

esperanza,

After posting what I did, I had a long discussion with my wife about the subject. She has lived in different places in México (not the far south, though) and is pretty "up" on these sorts of questions. According to her, the predjudice you describe in your quotes definitely does exist still, but does vary with locale. She says that Mazatlán is very much in the lower tier NOW, and that Sinaloa and particularly Los Mochis in the north of the state where she has family are, of all the areas where she has lived, probably the lowest in this sort of predjudice, in her opinion. She did agree with me that with the growth of the educated class (regardless of skin color or family background), there has been a noticeable decrease in this sort of predjudice here in Sinaloa, but she doubted it had had much effect in many places in the country where she had lived. She reminded me that some nightclubs here used to ban any [dark-skinned] person wearing huaraches and even had signs posted that this was their policy, but that now most of those clubs were out of business and their successors no longer obviously had the same policy.

I guess I should have said where I live and not made my post appear that I was speaking for all of México. ¡Discúlpeme, por favor! Being on this forum is definitely a learning experience for me, as I "lit and set" here in Mazatlán and—as a resident and citizen of México—have traveled very little in México. I don't count the many, many years as a tourist, since tourists, no matter how knowledgeable, are [totally] clueless about the real culture of the country and the underlying attitudes and predjudices.



db52

Oct 30, 2009, 7:54 PM

Views: 10979

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
I've started reading this thread rather late so I'm sorry my reply is not more timely, but I just want to ask about the 'racism' implicit in the statement about the sweet 'little woman" who runs the corner store. As it happens, my landlady and I were talking a couple of weeks ago and somehow, in the course of conversation, she referred to the lady who runs the corner store(!) near the hotel I was staying in. The landlady had, in fact, said something complimentary about the store owner, and, just to make sure we were talking about the same person, I asked "La gorda?"

So, my question--was this racist of me? Why or why not?

And let's talk about "if only they weren't so backward." When I notice a whole lot of people wearing New York Yankee baseball caps and then I say "They sure do seem to like the Yankees around these parts," is this a racist comment on my part?

I'll concede that calling a people "backward" is, as a general proposition, not exactly a compliment...but, on the other hand...lack of indoor plumbing, pedal-operated sewing machines, and Coca-Cola made with real sugar are all things that are pretty much out-of-date rarities NOB, don't you agree?

I just don't see the racism here, I guess, is what I'm trying to say.



Axixic


Oct 30, 2009, 8:23 PM

Views: 10970

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply

In Reply To
...and there is a reason why it takes 400 times as many personnel to protect President Obama as it did to protect President Bush.

...and then there's the prejudice of Mexicans against Mexicans with lower status or darker skin.

...and all the other mindless and cruel treatment of one segment of mankind against another. Is this just the human condition: trying to make the "other" less in order to feel "more"?


Instead of the picture of Zeus that was borrowed to illustrate what Jesus was supposed to look like, if someone painted a reasonable representation of what Jesus really looked like, it would either cause a lot of racist people not believe in Jesus or convince them that their prejudice is wrong. Jesus was reported as being short which back them meant he was under 5'. He was stocky, very dark, thick nose, short kinky hair. It was against the law of Moses for a man's hair to touch his shoulders. If Jesus appeared today as he was 2000 years ago, he would be hated by many people because of his dark complexion and stature and not judged by who he is. Even 2000 years ago a fair complexion and height was more valuable than character.



Brian

Oct 31, 2009, 5:19 AM

Views: 10920

    

Re: [esperanza] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
 
esperanza, you initially wrote: "I'm assuming that most if not all of us who use Mexconnect are generally law abiding citizens. Whether we are native-born Mexicans, naturalized Mexican citizens, foreign residents of Mexico, or residents of other countries who have an abiding interest in Mexico, we're not confirmed law-breakers."

By now you have perhaps had the opportunity to read the opinion piece in Milenio that goes to the heart of the problem. In a nutshell, it says that people follow laws because of fear of punishment. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Mexican justice system is in such a state that lawbreakers can act with impunity because the chance of being caught, much less convicted, is statistically very unlikely. According to the author, Mexican society is overrun by people who do whatever they can get away with and, while acknowledging that there are some highly evolved folks who base therir actions on moral values, Mexico is basically a jungle dominated by disobedient, quick tempered and irresponsible individuals. Calderon cannot change this. Only the Mexicans can change themselves. Those are his words, not mine.

http://impreso.milenio.com/node/8664651

Brian



richmx2


Oct 31, 2009, 12:55 PM

Views: 10850

    

Re: [PamelaDelafield] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
HUH???

"It was against the law for a man's hair to touch his shoulders"... when and where? Graphic evidence from every era of Mexico includes men and women with long hair. I have never seen or heard mention of any legal proscription on hair length, though there may have been some local ordinance somewhere at some time... or missionaries somewhere at some time... may have forced some group somewhere to cut their hair in a different fashion, and I know the Army makes you cut your hair (the barbers across from Campo Militar #1 at Cuarto Caminos Metro do a thriving business in "cortes militares") -- but where did you come up with this?

Not to belabor a relatively unimportant piece of historical trivia, but this illustrates the problem most of us have when dealing with the "other". Coming from a culture in which "race" is central to our thinking about people, we create evidence of our own obsessions even where none exists.

And, a good number of us being familiar ONLY with the United States and/or Canada, assume that anything done in Mexico differently than at home is either "inferior" or somehow unique... forgetting the four percent of the planet's population living north of the Rio Grande River/Rio Bravo del Norte has its' unique ways of doing things too.


http://mexfiles.net
http://mexicobookpublishers.com



arbon

Oct 31, 2009, 1:12 PM

Views: 10848

    

Re: [richmx2] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
HUH???

"It was against the law for a man's hair to touch his shoulders"... when and where? Graphic evidence from every era of Mexico includes men and women with long hair. I have never seen or heard mention of any legal proscription on hair length, though there may have been some local ordinance somewhere at some time... or missionaries somewhere at some time... may have forced some group somewhere to cut their hair in a different fashion, and I know the Army makes you cut your hair (the barbers across from Campo Militar #1 at Cuarto Caminos Metro do a thriving business in "cortes militares") -- but where did you come up with this?

Not to belabor a relatively unimportant piece of historical trivia, but this illustrates the problem most of us have when dealing with the "other". Coming from a culture in which "race" is central to our thinking about people, we create evidence of our own obsessions even where none exists.

And, a good number of us being familiar ONLY with the United States and/or Canada, assume that anything done in Mexico differently than at home is either "inferior" or somehow unique... forgetting the four percent of the planet's population living north of the Rio Grande River/Rio Bravo del Norte has its' unique ways of doing things too. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes I could see what you mean, if "Moses" had been Mexican.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Zarcero

Oct 31, 2009, 2:21 PM

Views: 10831

    

Re: [Carron] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
Well let me ask you this: How many of you expat Gringos living in Mexico socialize with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status in the towns that you reside in?



wendy devlin

Oct 31, 2009, 2:26 PM

Views: 10828

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

| Private Reply
Zacero, now, that's what I call, a nitty-gritty type of question. (where's that pop-corn smiley, when you need it:)



arbon

Oct 31, 2009, 3:13 PM

Views: 10818

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Well let me ask you this: How many of you expat Gringos living in Mexico socialize with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status in the towns that you reside in? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Well that should put the cat amongst the pigeons.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




tashby


Oct 31, 2009, 4:02 PM

Views: 10798

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Well, yesterday my partner and I had lunch with a Mexican friend who I would consider, ummmmmm, how did you put it....."of equal wealth and/or social status". Actually, he almost certainly has more money than we do. But I'm a better dancer so I figure that makes us even, socially.

Anyway, the interesting part happened after lunch. We stopped at another business on the way back, and while I was taking care of my thing, I overheard a conversation between my friend the Mexican businessman, and the other business owner who is also from North America, but not from Mexico. (Whew.) They are in different, but not entirely unrelated, businesses.

So they were just checking in with each other, owner to owner, to see how things were going business-wise:

FRIEND: Yeah, it's been a little slow, but things might be picking up....
OTHER: Yeah, I think we're going to have a decent winter.....maybe not all of Mexico, but our area....
FRIEND: Maybe, but if the tax increase goes into effect...
OTHER: Won't hurt us. We fly as far under the radar as possible....I don't even know how to pronounce the word "IVA". Hahahahahaha!

Now, this "other" person does not run what I would call a small business. It's not a restaurant or bookstore or retail place. Large chunks of money move through his outfit. Large chunks. And, obviously, he's not talking about smoothing his way out of a traffic ticket....or sneaking across the border with a brand new TV hiding inside an old box.

He also proudly pointed to a giant house he was building for himself very nearby.

The part that amazed me most, in hindsight, is just how wildly vocal and open he was about it.

Well look at that. Back on topic.


(This post was edited by tashby on Oct 31, 2009, 5:02 PM)



arbon

Oct 31, 2009, 6:11 PM

Views: 10765

    

Re: [tashby] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Not even close.

http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/...es/SmileyPopcorn.gif
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Peter


Nov 1, 2009, 12:15 AM

Views: 10709

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Well let me ask you this: How many of you expat Gringos living in Mexico socialize with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status in the towns that you reside in?


It seems an odd question, but myself for one. Those closest to me are of about equal wealth and status, and among my friends and acquaintances here they run the gamut from being much more affluent to dirt poor, with titles and without. And the same could be said for my neighbors in both the colonias where I have homes, the poor side-by-side with the more affluent, my closest friends (about three different families) also having multiple homes here in the same city, Morelia.

You have me wondering what you are getting at with that question. Is my situation not the norm? I have been here several years but only just recently met other ex-pats, none of which I see outside a weekly social hour that I have been attending for about two or three months now.



La Isla


Nov 1, 2009, 7:56 AM

Views: 10666

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To
Well let me ask you this: How many of you expat Gringos living in Mexico socialize with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status in the towns that you reside in?


I don´t understand what you´re getting at with this question, but I´ll answer it anyway. I would say that the Mexicans I consider to be friends are similar in social status to my own, middle-class with enough money to live comfortably but not much more than that!



esperanza

Nov 1, 2009, 10:20 AM

Views: 10640

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Judy and I do. Our friends are about 50/50 Mexican and expat. Last night we attended a party attended predominantly by Mexicans, hosted by a bi-cultural expat friend and his Mexican husband. Yes, his Mexican husband.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com










gpkgto

Nov 1, 2009, 10:39 AM

Views: 10631

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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We are usually the only gringos at any gathering of our friends--either at our house or theirs. We had a birthday party at our house with 35 people--all Mexican except us. Most are professionals or business people, but we have a few unemployed friends (sadly for them).



mazbook1


Nov 1, 2009, 11:12 AM

Views: 10623

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Zarcero, Let me make a few comments here and then rephrase your question.

I would be willing to bet that MOST of the gringos on this forum who socialize with Mexicans of ANY income or social status are married to or partnered with a Mexican and speak a bit (or a lot) of Spanish—not just the tourist variety. The biggest tope on the way to actually integrating into Mexican society is your internal clock. If you can't change it from the breakfast somewhere around 7-8 AM, lunch between 11 AM-1 PM and the big meal of the day, supper/dinner somewhere around 5-7 PM, and then change your going-to-bed time from más o menos 10 PM to ¡whatever!, you will have a tough [nearly impossible] time integrating. Those of us with Mexican partners quickly learn that all of the foregoing is necessary and MAKE the changes in our lifestyle. It's pretty difficult to have a mixed expat - Mexican party when the Mexican component is just arriving as the expat component is leaving!

Now I'll rephrase Zarcero's question and pose it again: "Well let me ask you this: How many of you expat Gringos living in Mexico socialize with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status in the towns that you reside in?"

What I would ask is: "Well let me ask you this: How many of you expat Gringos, who don't speak reasonably conversational Spanish and/or don't have a Mexican partner, and who live in México, socialize with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status in the towns that you reside in?"

My bet is very few do, and those who do socialize only with Mexicans of equal wealth and/or social status who speak English, thus getting a rather narrow view of Mexican culture.

Definitely the ones, particularly the couples, who can answer MY question in the affirmative deserve KUDOS!


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Nov 1, 2009, 11:25 AM)



Zarcero

Nov 1, 2009, 11:30 AM

Views: 10599

    

Re: [mazbook1] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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mazbook1,

Good answer, but not for rephrasing my question. Learning the language and resetting the clock is part of the equation. Therefore no excuses.

My experience is that most US expats around the world "ghetto" themselves. And even if they did not, they lack the skills to acquire what is needed to be accepted by the local society of the host nation.


(This post was edited by Zarcero on Nov 1, 2009, 11:31 AM)



La Isla


Nov 1, 2009, 11:31 AM

Views: 10594

    

Re: [mazbook1] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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In Reply To



Quote
I would be willing to bet that MOST of the gringos on this forum who socialize with Mexicans of ANY income or social status are married to or partnered with a Mexican and speak a bit (or a lot) of Spanish—not just the tourist variety. The biggest tope on the way to actually integrating into Mexican society is your internal clock. If you can't change it from the breakfast somewhere around 7-8 AM, lunch between 11 AM-1 PM and the big meal of the day, supper/dinner somewhere around 5-7 PM, and then change your going-to-bed time from más o menos 10 PM to ¡whatever!, you will have a tough [nearly impossible] time integrating.


These are excellent points. I'm not married to or partnered with a Mexican but do speak Spanish well, and I have Mexican friends I socialize with. I hqave have changed my eating patterns. Since I don't cook much, I usually have my big meal of the day sometime between 2 and 4 pm, mostly to take advantage of the comida corridas offered at the little restaurants in my neighborhood. The same was true when I lived in Spain, where the eating hours are similar.



Hound Dog

Nov 1, 2009, 11:48 AM

Views: 10596

    

Re: [bournemouth] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Time to get over yourself Bubba - you spend way too much time blaming people for doing things that others might deem helpful. I note that you did not stay in California or anywhere of your other haunts in the US - why not?

Well, Bridget, if I may call you that since you persist in calling The Dawg "Bubba", how is it that you noted that Dawg "...did not stay in California or anywhere of (sic) your other haunts in the U.S....."

Dawg Bubba is 67 years old and (just to respond to your snide remark) will tell you that I spent 24 of those years resident in my hometown of Greenville, Alabama or at University in Tuscaloosa, one year in Washington, DC, 33 years in California primarily in San Francisco and environs and so far nine years in Ajijic and San Cristóbal de Las Casas Mexico. Now, I must admit that off-and on during those years I did drift about in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India for an aggregate amount of about two years as a backpacker smoking dope and having an immense amount of fun but that was in the 1960s and I fail to see how such a stable life´s journey could define one as a vagabond or malcontent as you implied in your indirect British manner not untypical of many of your ethnic and cultural origin trained to address every issue obliquely .

Now, since you have illicited that information from me by insinuating that I have spent my life one step in front of the sheriff, why don´t you tell us where you spent your life and why you had to leave whatever place from which you came and settle for Lakeside as a place to sit out your declining years.

I try to refrain from ad hominem insults and perhaps you should as well. Rather, my insults have historically been aimed at what I considered imbecilic chatter. These forums are meant to be both infomative and amusing. Let´s keep it that way


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Nov 1, 2009, 12:06 PM)



mazbook1


Nov 1, 2009, 11:48 AM

Views: 10593

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Zarcero, The expats who don't reset their clock and don't learn more than a little bit of tourist Spanish, automatically "ghettoize" themselves. Unfortunately, they are the majority of gringo expats in México. I feel sorry for them, but I sure don't socialize with them.



Gringal

Nov 1, 2009, 12:11 PM

Views: 10575

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Re people "ghettoizing" themselves in nearly every first generation expat situation, you just hit the core of the matter. I agree.

Look at the history of the U.S., as an example. First generation......clung on to the native country's ways and for many, the language. Second and third generation.....integration into the host society.

Added to that, many of the people who move here permanently are older. Much older than the folks who emigrated to the U.S. back when. Learning conversational Spanish and re-setting their "internal clocks" is more difficult. I fail to see why they should be expected to.

I believe we should be respectful of our host country's culture and its people in every way we can. The Golden Rule should suffice for those in their Golden years. If we can't start partying at midnight after a lifetime of going to work at 8 a.m., we needn't hang our heads. The Mexicans are okay, and so are we. Just different strokes.



bournemouth

Nov 1, 2009, 12:35 PM

Views: 10564

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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If you think I was insinuating that you moved one step in front of the sheriff, then your imagination is running wild. As "the Dawg" was Bubba for years before he became "The Dawg" and that's what he was when I first encountered him, I remember that name better - I won't say with affection - but that is the name I remember - but if you prefer to be called Bob rather than any of your other pen names, then let us all know.



Hound Dog

Nov 1, 2009, 12:40 PM

Views: 10555

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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Well put, Gringal but here is an aside.

Why is it that foreigners inclined to post hereabouts spend so much time lamenting their awkward inability to conform to local norms? The eclectic nature of a town or region is its spice. Imagine, for instance, living in the state of Michoacan which includes the somewhat cosmopolitan city of Morelia, the architecturally stunning but backwater historic town of Pátzcuaro, the rough hewn but tropically intriguing Uruápan and a primitive interior between these places and the coast emulating the movie Deliverence - a violent and challenging and uninviting place of suspicious backwater villages and isolated incestuous enclaves.

I don´t know of any expatriate community more self-effacing than that comprised of American immigrants in Mexico constantly questioning their inability to meld into the local community which, I daresay, they mght or might not find an inviting milieu once they arrived.

I never heard any Yankee immigrant sumbitches in South Alabama lamenting their inability to meld into the rough-and-tumble backwoods society of my homestate and I, by God, would not give you two cents to live in a shotgun house filled with inbred morons out in the piney woods eating possum and squirrel and drinking moonshine to survive but tell me the difference between that environment and a redneck environment in Mexico or France and if you convince me of that difference I´ll kiss your butt in the zocalo and give you twenty minutes to draw a crowd.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Nov 1, 2009, 12:54 PM)



Hound Dog

Nov 1, 2009, 12:49 PM

Views: 7959

    

Re: [bournemouth] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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If you think I was insinuating that you moved one step in front of the sheriff, then your imagination is running wild. As "the Dawg" was Bubba for years before he became "The Dawg" and that's what he was when I first encountered him, I remember that name better - I won't say with affection - but that is the name I remember - but if you prefer to be called Bob rather than any of your other pen names, then let us all know.

"...but if you prefer to be called Bob rather than any of your other pen name, let us all know."

Whatever you wish to call me Bridget, don´t call me, I´ll call you. Please hold your breath in anticipation of that event.

Bob*

*I must point out that "Hound Dog" is a name I, Bob Plummer, a resident of Ajjjic for the better part of a decade, came up with because people such as Bournemouth were so irate at my previous iconoclastic postings they found irritating, that some managers of this forum requested that I no longer use that nom de internet to appease these control freaks so I invented the name "Hound Dog" to appease forum management. It is the height of irony that posters such as Bournemouth would subsequently use that against "Bubba" to infer he was hiding behind noms de internet meant to disguise his character.

Delicious irony if there ever was such a thing. Brits drowning in their own loos.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Nov 1, 2009, 1:16 PM)



bournemouth

Nov 1, 2009, 1:28 PM

Views: 7942

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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There goes that imagination again - working overtime.



Gringal

Nov 1, 2009, 2:05 PM

Views: 7927

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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An aside to your aside, Dawg.

Some years ago, my husband and I tripped off to France. Overestimating my working knowledge of the language with sometimes hilarious results, we set off from Paris to see the Chartres cathedral, by train. Now, any self respecting tour guide would have herded his charges to the local tourist restaurant, but that was not our destiny and we wound up in a bar cum food establishment where the local yokels could have come straight out of any redneck place you can name.
This is la Belle France? I wondered....but hell yes, of course it was. As you said.....there are some things you don't need to get into.

As Popeye the Sailor said: I yam what I yam. No head hanging.



mazbook1


Nov 1, 2009, 2:43 PM

Views: 7900

    

Re: [Hound Dog] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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"Why is it that foreigners inclined to post hereabouts spend so much time lamenting their awkward inability to conform to local norms?"

Dawg, purely my opinion, but I think it's because they bragged back home and when they first got here that they were going to learn Spanish and integrate and interact in the local (Mexican) community and now find themselves unable or unwilling to make the necessary changes or to study enough to actually speak a little Spanish…more than más cerveza at least…so they are embarrassed, yet won't admit it.

Gringgal, "Learning conversational Spanish and re-setting their "internal clocks" is more difficult. I fail to see why they should be expected to."

No one "expects them to" do anything. They're embarrassed because they haven't done what they said they would do. Personally, I think it's a damn shame. Anyone who retires and has the guts to move to a foreign country should be able to at least change their clock to the time of their new country.

I never said they should learn "conversational" Spanish, I said "reasonably conversational" and there is a huge difference. I'm certainly a case in point. I have a huge Spanish vocabulary (that's just memorization, after all, something that every healthy person can do if they wish to), and I learned the simple rules for correct pronunciation, and I bought programmable hearing aids that I have no use for in an English speaking environment so that I could actually hear the different (than English) sounds of spoken Spanish, and guess what? Even though my Spanish grammar is really bad (better every day, but the days are running out), I am "reasonably conversational" in Spanish and not the least embarrassed to use it in a social, non-English-speaking situation.

It all boils down to whether a person wants to retire to loaf and then die or wants to keep on learning new things every day and live a full life. That is what I believe and practice. Hell, I'm older than probably 70% of the expat retirees here in Mazatlán and I legally adopted four kids and started a major new international company just a couple of years ago. I'm here to tell you that that was one very steep learning curve (still going on too). If I had spent the preceding 10 years of retirement sitting on my duff, I would never have been able to accomplish it.


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Nov 1, 2009, 2:51 PM)



Zarcero

Nov 1, 2009, 2:43 PM

Views: 7900

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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mazbook1

Quote
The expats who don't reset their clock and don't learn more than a little bit of tourist Spanish, automatically "ghettoize" themselves. Unfortunately, they are the majority of gringo expats in México. I feel sorry for them, but I sure don't socialize with them.

That was my point.

Gringal

Quote
Look at the history of the U.S., as an example. First generation......clung on to the native country's ways and for many, the language. Second and third generation.....integration into the host society.

Not quite analgous. The expat moving to Mexico is generally wealthy by comparison. The immigrant coming to the US was/is usually dirt poor.

Gringal

Quote
Learning conversational Spanish and re-setting their "internal clocks" is more difficult. I fail to see why they should be expected to.

Correct, and at the same time they should not then complain when standards are not up to what they are accustomed to in the US.

I am enjoying the Hound Dog and bournemouth dialog.



Gringal

Nov 1, 2009, 3:10 PM

Views: 7889

    

Re: [Zarcero] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I think this discussion is about tolerance....toward each other. More wouldn't hurt.

I'm hearing a lot of "putdowns" in this thread.

I don't think we were discussing expats who are complaining about standards, etc. We are speaking about whether people should be looked down on for failing to reset their clocks, learn the language well and do whatever it takes to avoid loafing and dying. Nobody has to associate with people who are not of like mind. However, we can be tolerant of the differences. Not everyone has the same capacities for learning and changing. So?

Whether an immigrant is rich or poor, being uprooted from the familiar is not easy. Some people are more intelligent, some more flexible, but most people are trying to make the best of their lives, wherever they are.


(This post was edited by Gringal on Nov 1, 2009, 3:43 PM)



Zorba

Nov 1, 2009, 11:47 PM

Views: 7802

    

Re: [Gringal] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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I make a funny face and scrunch my nose when this sort thing goes on.

I find it highly arrogant and condescending when some expats judge other expats.

In effect saying, "They should do this or they're not doing this or how dare they this etc etc."

Just mind your own business. Everyone comes to Mexico for different reasons.
If said expat is doing something seriously wrong, the LOCAL population will certainly
let them know. Of course, it is nice if an expat points certain mistakes out to
another. However, this should be in the spirit of genuinely wanting to help them adjust,
as opposed to some sort of sense of superiority.

I have never seen this phenomena so strong as when I was living in Japan. The expats in Japan are
really weird in this way. They all seem to be competing over who speaks the best Japanese, who
is having the most "genuine" Japan experience etc. etc. You would see another expat face and they
would intentionally ignore you because you were somehow infringing upon "their Japan".

There is some of this in Mexico, but not nearly as bad as in Japan. I have found most expats in Mexico
to be fun loving folks and really friendly.

There does, however, seem to be a population of expats who have really integrated themselves into the society
and then, somehow, instead of being gracious towards less knowledgeable newcomers, prefer to judge them and
consider themselves on another level.

Let me tell you something and if you are truly integrated you will know it is true. No matter how much of the language, culture, customs you learn you will always always be a "gringo". An "other". Go ahead and flash around your Mexican passport all you want, who cares. Doesn't matter.

I've lived in several different countries and my degree of integration depended on certain things. For me, Mexico was the easiest country to integrate myself into. It just matched up best with my own personality. In Japan, I didnt do as well because it just didnt match up. In the Middle East not so much either because my primary goal was to make
a lot of tax free money. So it depends.

You may be in Mexico because you fell in love and had kids, maybe you are a student, maybe you are a snowbird, maybe you just want a lower cost of living in your retirement, maybe you are working at your company's branch in D.F. for a year, maybe you just want to party and get laid.

Why would or should all of those people behave the same? Just because you think so?


(This post was edited by Zorba on Nov 2, 2009, 12:22 AM)



tonyburton


Nov 2, 2009, 6:53 AM

Views: 7769

    

Re: [Zorba] Questions and Concerns about Foreigners in Mexico

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This thread has become too long to be easily viewable, hence I'm locking it. Feel free to continue the saner parts of this discussion on a new thread. Tony