The Dark Side of Yucatan
At the insistence of some of our more pragmatic readers, we've been working on an editorial we were going to call, "The Dark Side of Yucatan". We thought it might offer some balance to our Merida Moments article. But the truth is, we've given up. We just can't think of any useful and original negative observations.
Many others have written about conditions in Mexico that they find unpleasant. It seems there are whole websites devoted to the subject, and the major media certainly seems fond of reporting bad news about this country. Their list of criticisms ranges from the ridiculous to the profound, including: loud music, crazy drivers, lazy or careless workers, crime, poverty, trash in the streets, poor treatment of animals, unemployment, drug wars, corrupt govenment and abusive law enforcement.
The list of complaints is as long as you want to make it.
But upon reflection, it seems to us that everything "wrong" with Mexico can be observed to some degree in almost every country. We've witnessed some pretty wretched examples in the United States. In fact, Mexico's problems have been stereotyped for so long that people from Gringolandia tend to overlook many of the things we've come to appreciate about our adopted home, the things we do write about.
After living here for several years, we've concluded that much of the "mess" in Mexico - the inconvenience and disorganization - is simply a symptom of liberty, something that far too many "developed countries" seem ever more willing to sacrifice so that their "trains run on time". Comfort, convenience and security are awfully nice, but we prefer free expression, healthy struggle and frequent visits from the unexpected.
Apart from Mexico, Yucatan does have its own special problems, like the vestiges of a caste system that tend to isolate various groups and hinder social change, but this subject is very political, and there are better people than us addressing it.
We have written about many of the challenges of living in Yucatan, including the heat and humidity, Moctezuma's Revenge, insects, the language barrier, stray dogs and city traffic, but we try to approach these subjects in a way that is useful to potential expatriates, not as reporters trying to sell papers.
Most of the items on our unpublished "Dark Side" list are about growing pains. The indigenous Maya, the working-class Yucatecos and the casta divina are all enduring swift changes brought about by the accelerating invasion of the modern world. Meanwhile, retired expatriates are experiencing consternation as younger (and wealthier) gringos move in. It's seldom easy to accept or appreciate change, especially in a place with a history like Yucatan's. Not all of the changes that modernity brings are for the better, either. We are seeing that here first-hand.
The purpose of Yucatan Living is to provide information that is helpful, honest and (hopefully) entertaining about living here. On a practical level, we are trying to make it easier for people to choose Yucatan as their new home. We also believe that if people have the imagination, inspiration and courage to escape situations that do not truly serve them, then something quite meaningful has been achieved. We're big fans of Reality, both dark and light. And we're big fans of liberty. It takes a special talent to write about the dark in an original and useful way, but when it comes to this website and its subject matter, we are exercising our freedom to write about the light.