Looking in.

So I’m going to San Francisco. It’s strange how everything has worked out so well since I started on this part of my life. I know there have been problems, but for the most part, everything has timed itself out perfectly. A year in Mexico, two months in San Francisco, then I should be able to make it to Taiwan before the spring semester begins. I wonder if it’s intervention or if it’s just the difference of my perspective on life. I know that I stayed in Mexico longer than I wanted, but not as long as I expected.

I still have a few months here, and I hope there are a few places I can still visit. I feel the distance from this place, my mind has already focused on what’s next, on where I might wind up. I have time now to do other things, to study what I want to, to work on what I need to. I can, but I did nothing all weekend. I don’t know if it was recovery or just laziness, but I enjoyed it. Sometimes I just need to do nothing.

I have fallen back into amusement at the antics of the people here. I find myself less annoyed than I have been over the last few weeks. There was a traffic jam today and the bus I was on decided to try and push through. At least, that’s what I thought at first. When the driver hit the curb I thought he was done. I wondered if he had hit a car. No, he choose to drive across the sidewalk to get from the access road into the main road on Periferico Sur. I have seen people in trucks do that, but I really thought the bus drivers would hold back from driving on the pavement. This place never ceases to amaze me.

I never understand how the people here can be so courteous and yet disrespectful, so family oriented and yet have a total disregard for everyone else in the world. A place that is primarily Catholic, and fairly devout, but has no real sense of community. In some ways it reminds me of New York. If you’re family, they are loyal to the death. Everyone else can go fuck themselves.

It makes it easy to make friends you can trust, people you can rely on, and really get to know them and feel welcome. On the other hand, being in the streets can feel like your back is against the wall. When the zombie apocalypse comes I’m getting the hell out of town.

There is a lot of love here, a lot of compassion, and family is so much more important than back home, but there is a schism between that and the world at large. The corruption in the government and the police means that people can’t trust people they are supposed to be able to. When the leaders cannot be trusted, that distrust spreads throughout the rest of the society. There are too many people here desperate for money, or work. Too many people with needs and too much time on their hands. You wind up with a city that’s decaying along the edges, covered in graffiti, and always seems to have garbage blowing in the wind. Just as quickly people repair the damage, put up new buildings, sweep the ground, and try to keep up with the paint. The problem is that the helpers have work to do and the destroyers either don’t, or just don’t care.

There was someone on the bus today playing guitar. It’s only noticeable since it was a woman. I have seen women occasionally on the bus selling candy, but never playing guitar like that. She was good too, where most of the guys are off key and their guitars are out of tune. It’s always interesting to see the dynamic between the people on the bus and the musician. No one looks, no one even acknowledges their presence, but at least half the people give them money. They never really treat them like a person, barely looking at them, it’s more like they’re paying a toll, or the train fare. I wondered if the dynamic changed anything, but there was no difference between this girl and the men who get on with open sores from diabetes or the clowns telling jokes.

I don’t understand this place, the combination of compassion and apathy, the distance from strangers and the closeness with family. In some ways I think this is that culture shock I hear about. Nothing extreme, just the mild confusion of an outsider looking in.

A wall of native art in the subway.

A wall of native art in the subway.

Art from Jose Orozco

Art from Jose Orozco


DSCN8792 DSCN8798 DSCN8799

This entry was posted in 2015-09, Guadalajara and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Looking in.

  1. mom says:

    Taiwan seems so far, in so many ways. Mexico, well at least your country was touching my country! I’m hopeful that you will still be able to call, at least sometimes. You’ve learned much there, grasshopper. You’ve learned you can depend on yourself, you can find your way around, you can make new friends. Your independence is showing. I’m proud of you.


  2. The lack of a sense of community has always bothered me. Apart from the fact that communities connect people, I feel it also affects us in the sense that it entitles us to wait for others to solve our problems. Like our streets, our trash, our parks. Instead of banding together and taking care of our spaces. Same thing with families; It’s not a generalized attitude in the whole of the country (And It’s a very Jalisco and Mexico DF thing, you’ll find warmer communities around towns) but as close-knit as families may be; it sometimes feels that apart from that Mexico is a Dog-eat-dog place. Homo homini lupus est


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