An Air Force friend lives in South Dakota. During the 80s and 90s, I would fly out there to visit him and his family each year.
So, I was very interested when I saw a column in the Aberdeen News entitled: "Mexico, air conditioning and unexpected joys."
I am always interested in hearing the opinion of others concerning my adopted place of residence. Especially, hearing opinions from the American heartland. The kind of people whose "yes is "yes" and who do not drop arcane names as if their audience was educated at Eton in 1857.
The columnist, Gerald Krueger, sounds as if he has added a few sophistication notches on the handle of his pistol. Educator. Coach. Commercial pilot. Farmer. The type of guy with whom you would like to share the blue plate special at the Woolworth's lunch counter.
The theme of his column was an admission that he had suffered some misconceptions about Mexico. That the country was "a violent place where lawlessness abounded." Misconceptions that were set straight on a family vacation to a luxury resort in Cancun.
These were his breath-taking revelations:
- "Cancun is a thriving metropolis and appears to have a very lively economy"
- The van ride from the Cancun airport to the resort was "air-conditioned"
- The accommodations were "exquisite"
- "The grounds and amenities" were "utterly squeaky clean"
- The heat was a drawback, but was bearable because "our rooms were so nicely air conditioned, and the restaurants and buffets were all air conditioned"
- The beaches were "heavenly"
- The pools were "wonderful"
After all, I have been pounding that drum for years.
But I do not want to imply Mexico is perfect. It isn't.
It is far more than Cancun luxury resorts. Like the rest of the world, it is not Disneyland. It is a real place with real joys and real problems.
Take Melaque. It is a prosperous village providing support for the local farmers and serving up fun and sun for tourists.
But it certainly is not Mr. Krueger's vision of squeaky clean grounds and amenities. It is rather dirty. And there are pockets of poverty throughout the village. As for air-conditioning, it is a rare commodity.
Taking all of that into account, those of us who have chosen to live here enjoy what the village offers. And many of us are willing to be part of the answer in attempting to find a way to alleviate local poverty.
As for the dirt and the heat? We learn to live with it. After all, it is where we choose to live throughout the year.