What we miss from Mexico
We certainly miss the happy colors of Mexico. Quite different from Switzerland – for example on a normal working day. Take a walk along the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich in the morning from 7 a.m. and take a look around what people have been wearing. It’s all running around in black, dark gray or dark blue suits. Uni in color, uni in shape or simply uniform. The faces also resemble the dull colors. Pale, bland, without life, without a smile on your face – just exist. And Mexico? No uniforms. Cheerful colors that shine like neon signs but not so penetrating. Laughing, friendly faces greeting “Hola. Buenas Dias.” you can hear it in the countryside like in a city. So completely different. Ok, here the sun shines more often and maybe therefore does not hit the mind so much. And the work pressure is also different here. In Switzerland, it seems as if the working pressure is driven into people with the compressor at 300 bar. In Mexico, this is much more relaxed, and you even have time for a chat even with a long queue at the checkout in the grocery store.
Mexico is diverse
We didn’t really have big expectations of Mexico. The only thing that really expected was that the food was spicy. Chili in rough quantities. And, of course, we have heard and read all the terrible and murderous reports. According to the media, thousands of people have been falling victim to a deadly crime in Mexico every day for years (editor’s note). Think about it: with around 129 million inhabitants and thousands of people dead by crime every day for years or decades? Then this country would have to be sparsely populated by now. Almost extinct. Ghost towns. Peace and quiet at every corner. Nope… everything is wrong. There are still about 129 million Mexicans living in this country and they are neither quiet nor do you have your peace that is as sure as the Amen in the church. Ouh shit– Blasphemy…
Mexico is desert – Mexico is colored
In the north of the country is a lot of desert. The Sonoran Desert doesn’t stop at the border up near Arizona just because a president wanted to build a wall. You drive a few kilometers – or hours – south and still find desert. Somewhere from Durango roughly speaking, it gets greener. And hilly. There are really high mountains and deep valleys to be found. And each state has its own charm and character. Hidalgo, for example, is remembered as the state with the worst roads. Why? We drive away from the state of Querétaro. The roads are pretty good. Few potholes, well tarred. Then the plaque to the state border to Hidalgo appears. About 5 meters after the board deep holes on the road. No more tar. It bumps and rumbles – the shock absorbers squeal like pigs that are pricked off. I’m sorry – I can’t think of another comparison right now.
Dia del Muerto – Day of the Dead
The Dia Del Muerto is a day in Mexico that is celebrated in a big way. We are at this time in San Cristobal de las Casas. Here the festival is not quite as huge as in Oaxaca City (we were told) but we are close to the action. The Mexicans have make-up and many have a skeleton painted on their faces. Dia del Muerto stop. The Mexicans have a completely different way of dealing with the deceased. And this other way of honoring the deceased even found great acceptance in 2003. UNESCO named this day a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity and in 2008 included it in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The celebrations in their traditional form are considered threatened, as they are gradually being reshaped by the more commercially oriented Halloween custom from North America. That’s a nice train from UNESCO.
The Mummies of Guanajuato
Another way for Mexicans to honor the dead is the Museum of Mummies in Guanajuato. 119 mummies are exhibited in this museum. Some of them are so well preserved that you might think they just want to shake your hand to greet you. Yes – it’s a little scary in there but how the Mexicans feel about death, it’s part of life. Some are clothed, others wear nothing at all. The age ranges from children to the elderly and there is even a mummified fetus on display, making it the smallest mummy in the world.
Cliché of corruption
First of all – it’s not a cliché. It is reality. But unlike in industrialized nations such as the USA, Germany, France or Switzerland, it is openly known here that there is a high level of corruption. In the industrialized nations, this is simply called differently. Such machinations are more likely to be called rope teams or in Switzerland this is called trivialized “Vetterliwirtschaft” (to German nepotism) or spoken with the economic slang – network. If you want to solve this problem globally, then you need a complete change of perspective. But that will not happen. As a result, everything remains the same – as was clearly seen globally in 2020 and 2021.
Ancient Culture Mexico
Mexico has a very old history and culture. The stories of the Mayans are widely known and the Yucatan Peninsula was the main settlement area of this culture. This culture is dated back to the year 300 BC and the ruins and ruined cities are partly enormously well preserved. And some Mexicans – excuse me – descendants of the Mayans are proud of their ancestors. They do not call themselves Mexicans but Mayans. We think this is a great attitude and they have the deceased of over 5000 years with the Dia del Muerto behind them.
Mexico surprised us enormously with the multitude of natural phenomena and the different cultures. The food is sensationally delicious and varied. And yes, it’s hot. Sometimes you experience a spicy meal twice. In the evening while eating, the next day on the toilet. This completely etches away the hemorrhoids. Warranted. We like to be in Mexico and find this country one of the most beautiful and varied we have traveled so far. Colorful, cheerful, laughing, warm. A really great people. But this country has a disadvantage and is extremely annoying. Topes – partly shock absorbers and axle breakers. It is understandable that there are so many speed reductions in this country because the Mexicans know only two driving styles on the roads. Full throttle and full brake. Full throttle after a top and full brake before a topes. Consequently, if there were no tops in the country, there would only be one driving style – low-altitude flight. I once counted 24 topes on a 13-kilometre straight road. In the countryside. As a Swiss, can you charge the Mexican government for the wear and tear of the brakes and the higher fuel consumption?
PS: In Mexico, they are quite relaxed about the mass hysteria. Face diapers are only needed on official rooms of government buildings or sometimes in the big shops.