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Georgia


Jun 7, 2009, 8:15 PM

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Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Wow! I am SO happy to be back. I was stunned at the perceptions of people in the US about the US when I went back to close a law office whose solo practitioner had died. I used to work for him and the secretary is a friend ... so back I went. On at least three separate occasions (there may have been more) people from different political and social arenas commented to me that I was lucky to have left when I did and that the country had changed in the last 9 years and not in a good way. They were not happy campers.

I stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn for the month so I didn't have to eat at restaurants all the time and had my own kitchen. I went food shopping. Holy Cow!!!! I bought four bags of ordinary stuff: peanut butter, jelly, chicken breasts, salmon, veggies, one steamer basket, a pack of 8 oz. cans of Diet Coke, bread, yogurt, cheese and coffee as well as three spices: black pepper, crushed red chili peppers, and dried basil, a very small bottle of olive oil and an equally small bottle of balsamic vinegar, cereal, black beans and brown rice. This is not exotic stuff. $170 US. Honest. I had four bags of groceries. $170. Huh???

Then there was the weather thing: 30 degrees and ice on the windshield on a Tuesday, 89 degrees and humid the next afternoon. This pattern continued. No further comment. I managed to stay healthy. I have no idea why I am still alive.

People seemed generally angry ... and rude. Now, I haven't been around for 9 years, so I know it wasn't anything I had said or done. So, what's up with that?

The price of gasoline rose 60 cents a gallon in the month I was there. I have no idea why.

My daughter and son in law are contemplating selling their house: their property and school taxes approach $10,000 a year. They are not wealthy. Son in law has been unemployed for a year, daughter, luckily has a job as a high school Spanish teacher.

But worst of all: people did not gather, people did not stop and chat, no one was sitting outside on that 89 degree day taking in the local scene, not even the elderly, retired, or unemployed. There were cars in evidence, but no people, except in the malls. But they don't talk to one another. There was no "center" where you could go for a cup of coffee and find out what was going on. No hugs, no kisses on the cheek, no handshakes, nada, zip, zero.

The best day was Mother's Day: I went to my daughter's house (my family is, in large part, Ecuadorean) and a whole passel of inlaws, outlaws and other Ecuadoreans were there. A heated discussion about whether or not to sit on toilet seats in public bathrooms ensued. It was hysterical and very loud. In case anyone wonders or cares: Ecuadoreans do not sit on public toilet seats. A family member who is a cardiologist intervened and said the toilet seats were cleaner than the kitchen sink, but that he didn't sit either. There were fifteen of us discussing this simultaneously in Spanish, each of us louder than the next. This was the high point of my trip.

Oh, I am happy to be back.



Rolly


Jun 7, 2009, 8:21 PM

Post #2 of 39 (6817 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Welcome home, gal.

I think I will send your post to my sister in Dallas who can't understand why I don't want to come for a visit.

Rolly Pirate


MazDee

Jun 7, 2009, 8:47 PM

Post #3 of 39 (6810 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Oh, Georgia, that's wonderful! Thank you-


esperanza

Jun 8, 2009, 7:47 AM

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Judy and I also just returned from the States, dumbstruck with sticker shock. The grocery store was the worst. Like Georgia, we stayed in a VRBO rental (absolutely wonderful) with a full kitchen so that we could save on restaurant spending during part of our trip. We went to the grocery the day we arrived. We bought 6 eggs, a pound of butter, a package of bagels, less than 1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, a gallon of water, a small can of ordinary coffee, a cantaloupe, a 2L bottle of soda, and a pint of half and half. $57.00 USD--WHAT! The checker asked if we had that store's discount card. No. She prevailed upon the man behind us to let us use his, which discounted our purchases to $47.00 USD.

And gasoline--it went up 40 cents in the 8 days we were in California, and we had to pump it ourselves.

We are grateful to be home and blessed to live in Mexico.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Professor


Jun 8, 2009, 7:51 AM

Post #5 of 39 (6762 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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I'm guessing that you are living in a small town in Mexico because here in Mexico City where I live, the people are just as bad, if not worse than people in the States. I live in the southern part of Mexico City in Villa Olimpica. Let me tell you,the Mexicans here and the ones I've come across in the city so far, are not warm friendly people at all.
Here where I live they are the snobbiest people I have ever seen. Very materialistic and could care less about knowing their neighbors. I don't think all of Mexico is full of warm people like where you live. Try tasting the capital for a while.You'll feel like you're in the States with the large amount of materialism that is here.
Plus the prices for EVERYTHING here in DF makes Dallas look cheap. Everything here costs more. After living in DF for a year I can tell you that Mexico is a very different place here in the capital. I now understand why my Mexican students I had in the States hated the Mexicans here in DF.
I came to Mexico to get away from the materialistic mentality that exists in the States. I picked the wrong city. Even the women here are like women in the States...No money no love.


Georgia


Jun 8, 2009, 7:51 AM

Post #6 of 39 (6762 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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So, I wasn't hallucinating about the grocery bill and the gas prices! Thank you. Thank you.


Georgia


Jun 8, 2009, 7:56 AM

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Re: [jfurgers] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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When I was a small kid my dad worked in DF and NYC. 'Nuf said. Needless to say, I've never chosen to live in either place.
I was comparing a small city in upstate NY with a small town AND Tlaquepaque here in Jalisco.

Mexico City has - what? - 24 - 28,000,000 people. One thing NYC DOES have in certain parts of Manhattan are small ethnic neighborhoods that are semi civil. DF not so much.


Professor


Jun 8, 2009, 8:03 AM

Post #8 of 39 (6757 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Which part of Mexico do you live in, Georgia? My wife and I have considered moving to a smaller place because of the pollution here...and the very cold mentality of the people here. We own our unit where we live so we thought about renting it and living off of that plus me teaching. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

John


Carron

Jun 8, 2009, 10:36 AM

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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We live in Cd. Acuna, Coahuila, just across the border from Del Rio, Texas, where probably a majority of the citizens are of Hispanic descent and Spanish is the language spoken everywhere. Even most native speakers of English have a distinct Spanish accent. My kids, who moved to Del Rio to be closer to us, are all married to Mexicans and their in-laws there welcome us just like family, so when we visit the States we don't experience a social kind of culture shock.

That can't be said for "sticker shock", however. The only things we find cheaper in Texas are canned goods, pet food, and motor oil. Once in awhile I dare to take a look at the meat counters in WalMart and HEB, the only two large grocery stores in Del Rio. I RUN back SoB.

We have always found the produce here in Mexico to be outstandingly delicious and beautiful to look at. Not the artificial cardboard stuff we suffered back in Texas. And the meats are excellent, although a little lean for North American recipes.

We live mostly on our social security retirement benefits with an occasional driving job to deliver a new car to a customer for an automotive dealership in Del Rio, so we limit our meals out to about once a week here in Mexico. The only time we eat in a restaurant in the States is when we have an out-of-town delivery and the company pays for our meal. Even a Subway sandwich for two costs over $15 US. We would rather have tortas at 20 pesos from the guy around the corner from our house.

Glad to have all you girls back where you obviously belong......in Mexico!!!


Hound Dog

Jun 8, 2009, 10:58 AM

Post #10 of 39 (6719 views)

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Re: [jfurgers] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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I'm guessing that you are living in a small town in Mexico because here in Mexico City where I live, the people are just as bad, if not worse than people in the States. I live in the southern part of Mexico City in Villa Olimpica. Let me tell you,the Mexicans here and the ones I've come across in the city so far, are not warm friendly people at all.
Here where I live they are the snobbiest people I have ever seen. Very materialistic and could care less about knowing their neighbors. I don't think all of Mexico is full of warm people like where you live. Try tasting the capital for a while.You'll feel like you're in the States with the large amount of materialism that is here.
Plus the prices for EVERYTHING here in DF makes Dallas look cheap.


It seems to me you are both living in Neverland. I am spending a couple of months in France among family members and you Dallas and Mexico City and Upstate New York folks with your petty complaints do not impress the Dawg at all. France is the land of the Ten Dollar Hot Dog and Twenty Five Dollar Cheeseburger and the Three Dollar for Two Hours street parking meter and the thought police staring over your wall to make sure you are not watering your lawn or have an extra television set and the VAT or IVA of 19.6 Percent and the "Service Compris" of 15 Percent and myriad folks you do not even know who hate you just for occupying their sidewalks and know you are dirt before even having met you.

Of course, they do have incomparable food folks in Mexico and Dallas and Upstate New York are incapable of even dreaming of but then who can afford it. There is always a catch, no? As for The Dawg, I be eatin with family you all. Scuse me, I think the oysters on the half shell, the haricots verts, Tunisian Style couscous and farm raised chicken tajine are ready for the fat boy. I be off.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jun 8, 2009, 11:17 AM)


Georgia


Jun 8, 2009, 11:19 AM

Post #11 of 39 (6714 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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The fact that France is outrageous doesn't make the prices any cheaper in upstate NY compared to Jocotepec, Jalisco, where I live and cook. I am not a fan of restaurants in the first place; prefer my own cooking anyway, so cuisine is not an issue for me, nor is good wine: Thursday's vintage of Padre Kino is aok, even if it does stain the bottle red.

I'm just happy to be here!


Hound Dog

Jun 8, 2009, 11:28 AM

Post #12 of 39 (6708 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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The fact that France is outrageous doesn't make the prices any cheaper in upstate NY compared to Jocotepec, Jalisco, where I live and cook. I am not a fan of restaurants in the first place; prefer my own cooking anyway, so cuisine is not an issue for me, nor is good wine: Thursday's vintage of Padre Kino is aok, even if it does stain the bottle red.

I'm just happy to be here!


Come on Georgia. You do not live in Jocotepec. You live in El Chante which is a fine place in my book. I am also happy, even ecstatic, to be retired in Mexico and will probably leave here feet first when that time comes. You could not pay me to live in France or anywhere in the United States for that matter.

Dawg


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jun 8, 2009, 11:29 AM)


Georgia


Jun 8, 2009, 11:35 AM

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Re: [Hound Dog] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Hound Dog, you are one of the five people who actually knows where El Chante is, since it's in the municipality of Jocotepec, I say I live in Jocotepec, which the average person seems to understand. You are not the average bear.


esperanza

Jun 8, 2009, 11:37 AM

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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I just came back from post-travel shopping at Superama. For almost exactly the same amount that I spent in California for a piddling amount of vacation-ish groceries, here's what I got at Superama in Morelia:

Pan rústico, house-baked large loaf
6 pkgs Act II popcorn
1.5 liters diet 7-Up
Box of the cereal Judy likes (48 pesos, I almost fell over)
6 onion bagels
250 grams deli ham (pierna)
2 kilos ground sirloin
4 half chicken breasts
18 eggs
bunch cilantro
huge cantaloupe
2 500 gram pkgs Barilla bavette pasta
2 cucumbers
half kilo zucchini
large sweet red pepper
half kilo broccoli, no stem
200 grams chile serrano
6 large potatoes
8 bottles yoghurt
250 grams manchego cheese
bag frozen peas
2 large china soup bowls

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La Isla


Jun 8, 2009, 9:20 PM

Post #15 of 39 (6627 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Mexico City has - what? - 24 - 28,000,000 people. One thing NYC DOES have in certain parts of Manhattan are small ethnic neighborhoods that are semi civil. DF not so much.


The neighborhood where I live in Mexico City is middle-class but not fancy. My neighbors are friendly enough for me, and even those who I don't know personally usually say "Buenos días", etc. when passing me in the street. I know all the local tradespeople and restaurant owners and am on friendly terms with several of the neighbors in my small apartment building. It's not an "ethnic" neighborhood (are there many of these here?), but it is definitely a neighborhood with a certain sense of community and identity about it. It's certainly friendlier than the neighborhood where I lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY!


Papirex


Jun 8, 2009, 10:31 PM

Post #16 of 39 (6618 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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La Isla you are right, educated people in México (City) are very polite, considerate and friendly. My wife is from México City, and when we were living there I learned to greet everyone on the street, etc., with buenos dias, buenos tardes, etc. Everyone in our colonia that had seen us before would always answer warmly, and most strangers would too.


Educated in México usually has nothing to do with a formal education, it refers to good manners, graciousness, consideration, and politeness.


A year or so ago, we had a couple of men here in Cuernavaca working on our house. My wife served them some sodas, etc. and told them if they needed to use the baño that they didn't need to ask. When the men were finished and were leaving one of them started praising my wife for being so kind and considerate. The other man had been here before, and he told his buddy, “She is from México.” The first man said that now he understood why she was so nice.


We wave at people we don't know when we are driving through our colonia, and they always wave back. They are all like friends now and we have never spoken to most of them. If you are polite and show consideration to everyone here, it will come back to you, it is its own reward. It is all part of assimilating into the culture here. Making the Mexican people happy is nice, but you will be happier too.


Doris has friends in many of the stores here, the people just light up when they see her. She gets extra service in many places that most people just dream of. If an item has the wrong price, there is never any quibbling to have it corrected in her favor.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Hound Dog

Jun 9, 2009, 12:48 AM

Post #17 of 39 (6613 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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This is an interesting conversation made all the more so for me as we are now vacationing in France and so far have stayed with family in La Rochelle, a small city on the Atlantic Coast, the Loire Valley and here in Paris.To get here we got a bargain flight from Guadalajara to Paris through Chicago.Mexican customs was a dream but in Chicago we had our first encounter with the Homeland Security Department or whatever they call themselves. The personnel at the Chicago airport were polite and obviously embarrassed as they informed us we could not hand carry those two gift bottles of expensive tequila on board and would either have to check them through where, they assured us, the bottles would definitely be broken in handling or leave the tequila in Chicago. The woman at American Airlines was a delight and helped us box the bottles so they could be checked safely and we have nothing but praise for the American Airlines people in Chicago even though they had to confiscate our shampoo and shave cream lest we use them as weapons to hijack the aircraft. Airport security was deeply concerned that my wife, who is a French citizen living in Mexico might not leave the U.S. once she got there so they frantically looked for her to make sure she got on the flight to Paris. Just imagine that. My wife might elect to sneak illegally into Chicago rather than fly on to Paris. They are living in a dream world in the U.S. We could not wait to get out of that chickensh°t place.

Anyway, they may rest assured it will freeze in hell before we fly through that country again to get to France no matter the savings.

As has Georgia, we have lived in small city Mexico for going on nine years either in Ajijic or San Cristobal de Las Casas and in the past have wondered if we should move to a large city such as Guadalajara or Cuernavaca although we have never remotely entertained the thought of moving to Mexico City. Walking the congested streets of Paris and squeezing onto the city Metro has helped us overcome that notion. We might swoon over the great Vietnamese Pho House where we had lunch yesterday or the true Japanese sushi restaurant (as opposed to the dreadful "sushi" places in Guadalajara) where we will eat lunch today or the great Tunisian or Algerian place at which we will eat tomorrow and the West African place we will dine in next week but riding the Metro across town has been an adventure we will be pleased to leave behind. Big, exciting cities are for the young and people with jobs there and France is no place to make friends and wave at folks you do not know unless you have family here in which case they could not be nicer. I would much rather visit the French side of my family than the Alabama HOWYALLDOIN phonies I fled for California in 1966 but if you start waving and happily greeting stranges in Paris they may lock you up in a looney bin.

I appreciate what some of the rest of you experienced regarding food prices in the U.S. but France has to take the cake. One can easily spend one hundred dollars here at a supermarket simply to buy food to cook at home for a small family. Even cheap bistro style restaurants are amazingly expensive. We took my mother in la out to lunch at a popular bistro in Tours and she ordered the inexpensive menu of the day which consisted of a boudin blanc sausage some mashed potaoes, a small salad and a nondescript cold dessert and that plus her share of a shared bottle of wine and an aperatif Martini & Rossi came to the equivalent of about fifty dollars and that was just for her bargain meal at a bistro of all places.

In 2001, when the Dollar was at par with the Euro, we considered retiring in France as well as Mexico.Now the Dollar is at 1.42 to the Euro and the cost of living here is astounding. Taxes are extremely burdensome with the VAT at 19.6 Percent and property and income taxes that are hard to believe. When I told relatives that the annual property tax on our Chiapas house, with the old folks discount, was the equivalent of about 18 Euros per annum they thought I had misplaced decimal point since the equivalent property tax in France would be in the neighborhoood of about Eight Thousand Euros per annum.

One last thought. The specialty farmed raised regional chickens in France are doubtless the best in the world but a four pound chicken will set you back the equivalent of about Thirty Five Dollars at the market. Viva Mexico I say.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jun 9, 2009, 3:03 AM)


Georgia


Jun 9, 2009, 6:59 AM

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Re: [La Isla] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Yes, La Isla, I'm familiar with the different neighborhods of DF, especially from the 50s when my dad worked there. We lived in Chapultepec. But the ethnic areas of NYC are, indeed, special, and don't really exist in Mexico. Just as in the north end of Boston (the only liveable city in the US -except for the weather - in my very personal opinion) you have a great Italian neighborhood. Believe me, in that neighborhood everyone knows everyone and minds their business (not their own, you understand, their neighbors) just like they do in my husband's village in Italy. There are other ethnic sections of NY as well that are very close knit as a consequence of language and culture. Mexico City doesn't have that as far as I know.


Gringal

Jun 9, 2009, 3:44 PM

Post #19 of 39 (6531 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Dawg: Did that tequila make it?

This is a fascinating thread. It's hard to absorb the many changes since we left the states, plus the big uptick in European prices.

The threads we've had here on "cost of living" usually were rather subjective. Depends on whether you consider full time help "necessary" or whether you travel NOB frequently, etc. Georgia's post and yours, dawg, got right to the point.

How much does it cost for a bag of groceries, or a modest meal in a bistro? Made me take an appreciative look at the nicely barbequed chicken I bought yesterday for less than six bucks. Enough for two good meals. And that's just the beginning.

Thanks for sharing the details, folks.


Oscar2

Jun 9, 2009, 4:25 PM

Post #20 of 39 (6517 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Today it was about 10:00 a.m. my time and my son who called me from Switzerland about 6:00 p.m. his time on the Magic Jack device which makes calls literally free through the internet, told us he could not believe the cost of living is some parts of Europe.

He explained that although WiFi, which makes his phone calls free in Switzerland, WiFi is mostly free all over Switzerland, albeit the price of a hamburger is $25.00 dollars. The same for Amsterdam, and France. Switzerland is gorgeous but cold and the people in Holland where he hooked up with a gal from Holland, we met in Bali last year, who lives in Amsterdam (a knock-out) is inspiring my son to want to get a job as a tour guide and stay on for awhile…..:-)

At 23 years of age, he’s getting a rude awakening nipping at his heals and hopes that when he gets to Spain, living will be more agreeable and welcomes a stay for awhile. Whatever you do son, stay away from the running of the bulls, yea, like he’d really listen to me…..ha!


Georgia


Jun 9, 2009, 5:05 PM

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Re: [Oscar2] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Let's see, 23 years old, male, listening to parents or running with bulls.... hmmmmmm..... I've had three boys that age ...., two went to Spain, were entranced with the place, sorry: the bulls will win. How fast can he run?


Professor


Jun 9, 2009, 5:55 PM

Post #22 of 39 (6495 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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You must live in another universe or something.People in DF ARE NOT NICE. The most materialistic people I've EVER come across. Here in Villa Olimpica they are VERY rude. I know it's not popular to say bad things about Mexico since so many who teach here are American haters.
Say what you want about the States...but Mexico!!! How dare one! Maybe it's just the south part of the city where I live. People here are 'educated" yet rude and cold.People in the States are MUCH nicer.


jennifer rose

Jun 9, 2009, 6:57 PM

Post #23 of 39 (6468 views)

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Re: [jfurgers] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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Jfurgers, you've posted essentially the same message twice. If the D.F. is so bad, and if you deplore Mexico so much, then why don't you just pack up and go back to wherever it was that you came from?


Professor


Jun 9, 2009, 7:24 PM

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Re: [jennifer rose] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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First of all, you need to back off!! If you don't like what I say about Mexico don't read my posts. If I point out some negative FACTS about DF you shouldn't get all self righteous. I have as much right to say what I don't like about DF as those who say what they love about it. It's called freedom of expression.


La Isla


Jun 9, 2009, 7:36 PM

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Re: [jfurgers] Just back from a month in upstate New York

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You must live in another universe or something.People in DF ARE NOT NICE. The most materialistic people I've EVER come across. Here in Villa Olimpica they are VERY rude. I know it's not popular to say bad things about Mexico since so many who teach here are American haters.
Say what you want about the States...but Mexico!!! How dare one! Maybe it's just the south part of the city where I live. People here are 'educated" yet rude and cold.People in the States are MUCH nicer.


Mr. Furgers, I have run into you and your negative attitude about Mexico on another website and tried to engage you in a reasoned discussion about our different points of view about life in Mexico. Of course, reasoned discussion was not what you were interested in, so I stopped responding to your posts there. When you popped up here and started posting again, I decided against responding directly to your barrage of negativity and just posted a brief description of my experiences living in this city.

But your latest post shook me out of my determination not to rise to your bait. Such invective, such nastiness!! I completely agree with JR that it's time for you to leave the D.F. and possibly the entire República. You are certainly entitled to your point of view, based on your own experiences living here, but you have no right to insist that my experiences here are invalid because they are so different from yours. I've never been to the Villa Olímpica, so I have no idea what life is like there or what kind of people live there, but your description of them does not jive with what I live with everyday here in the Colonia Cuauhtémoc, a few blocks from Reforma and El Ángel.

By the way, though I am a teacher here, I do not "hate" the US, so you have no right to pin that worn-out label on me, but neither do I see Mexico through rose-tinted glasses. I will end my tirade with a slightly-amended version of that famous international slogan, "Yankee, [why not?] go home"!!


(This post was edited by La Isla on Jun 9, 2009, 7:56 PM)
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