I had lunch on Tuesday with a relatively new blogger -- Beth Berube of Barra Beth's Blog.
She and her husband live part of the year in Barra de Navidad; part of the year in Seattle.
They settled here because, in her words:
My love affair with Barra de Navidad began ten years ago as soon as I wandered its cobblestone streets and drank in its color. It has multitudes of delicious restaurants. Some of them are fine dining eateries but without an ounce of pretense. If you are in the mood for dancing, there are some live music venues, too. Yeah, I have fallen for Barra, hook, line and sinker.
She contacted me about some blog questions before I started my trips in December, but we were unable to meet for lunch until today.
For two hours, Larry, Beth, and I talked about blogs. How to post photographs. How to monitor comments. How to interest more people in reading a blog. The type of topics that are usually handled at the Latin American Bloggers Conference. (By the way, does anyone know if it is happening this year?)
And we talked about our experiences in Mexico. I always find these blogger meetings fascinating. I have yet to be disappointed in meeting a blogger who seemed interesting on line. THis was no exception.
Every Mexico blogger has a personal take on living in Mexico. Hers is "As the Taco Turns."
Her most recent blog started some of my own thoughts on Spanish construction -- the language, not the missions.
She correctly points out: "Mexicans have cultivated a guilt-free and blameless approach to life. Even the Spanish language supports this philosophy."
Whatever the reason (and some of us would lay it at the feet of the prevailing Ibero-Catholic culture that pervades Mexico), Mexican Spanish is built primarily on the passive voice. The type of sentence where there are no actors. Things just seem to happen. As if the love child of a succubus and a poltergeist was in charge of nature.
You know the passive voice when you hear it. It is the voice of bureaucrats and teenagers. Where responsibility is a stranger.
The odd sentence in meeting minutes: "It was decided to delay any further discussion."
The hidden bandit in regulations: "It is a requirement that all businesses pay a fee of $5,000 each day."
The excuse of the tear-stained face of your younger son: "It went off the road -- all by itself."
Beth has her own take on the use of the passive voice in Spanish:
Mexicans have an innate understanding that grudges and finger pointing, especially towards themselves, are counter productive. At least when it comes to day to day annoyances. Maybe that is why they are so joyful in their dance, their music and their celebrations.
I am not certain I agree with her sanguine approach. That "day to day annoyances" may save her -- but is is a huge qualifier.
Anyone who has listened to the blame-ridden speech of some Mexican politicians or who has read the bloody history of how Mexicans have dealt with one another in their civil wars would draw a different conclusion about grudges.
But that history may be the reason that Mexicans tend to avoid confrontation when basic rights are not at stake -- such as who has the right to pass whom on a highway.
Take a look at what she has to say. And comment on her take of life in Mexico.
I think you will enjoy both experiences.