Quotidiene: Mexico

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Third times the charm, right? This is only the third time I've sat down to write a post. The ideas are there but I can't seem to start or finish.

I have now been here for about two weeks. I didn't sleep last night, was feeling a little naughty, and I actually decided to extend our stay about four more days. I told my sister I changed our flight and her eyes lit up for a brief second before I shut it down by saying we we're leaving three days earlier than planned. She cursed me half way towards my grandmas house and after her shower until I finally told her the good news.

The last two weeks here have been so relaxing. Time is definitely flying by much too fast, but it is well spent. The first few days it was hot, followed by a some rain and cold, now the weather is temperate. I am reveling in it.

Granted, I haven't been here in three and a half years, but the the atmosphere of the town is different. & everyone agrees. (We live in a town by the official name of Venustiano Carranza, locally known as Agua Fria, in the state of Puebla, we are to the east right on the border with Veracruz. The nearest city, Poza Rica, is located in Veracruz. I would argue we are culturally more Veracruz than Puebla).

Our little town seems so much more livelier in my memories. The main road was bustling with cars and people, shops open and stocked up. Sure, the huge trucks and cars were annoying and dampened the beauty of the pueblo but it beats what it is now.  I may be exaggerating but during the week it mirrors a desolate Western frontier town. You walk through the main road, the parks are cleaned up and beautiful, but there is no one to enjoy it. Half the shops of the strip are closed or empty. At night it is no better. I have memories of walking the same area back in my teens. Families and young people alike enjoyed the cool evenings for a walk or treat. Times when you would pretend not to see your crush walking by, hoping he would strike up conversation. Now, like the day, it is empty and those who are there are quick to get to their destinations.

There are a few explanations that come to my mind, from my perspective:

  • tough economic times: in the last several years there was a lot of petroleum related business in the area but now that that has slowed significantly there isn't much business. Because it is a small town, there aren't jobs, there are small one or two person businesses. basic economics- no money earned, no money to spend. 
  • internet access/gadgets: even in the US we're all about the whole 90's baby, we used to play outside, eat dirt, and look awkward at 16. Younger kids are more likely to be on the ipad or YouTube than play marbles or swim in the creeks. I AM NOT THAT CRICKETY OLD PERSON THATS LIKE "TECHNOLOGY IS RUNNING OUR SOCIETY TO THE GROUND." Here, even a few years ago, internet cafes were a big thing and mostly everyone had basic cell phones. . If I have a laptop, a smart phone, and at home wifi I am probably less likely to go to the park and sit there. Plus those cyber cafes would be around town and people would have to go out to do their homework and all and were more likely to socialize thereafter. 
  • real life/illusion of danger: Poza Rica, the closest city to us, has been increasingly dangerous. It is one of the more dangerous cities in the state. Unfortunately, it spills over into our town. Thankfully, for the most part it's between the "bad guys". Whoever's dismembered body ends up thrown on the side of the road is usually just dumped and not someone from the town who's involved. That being said, I have heard a lot of casual comments of so and so was killed here and so and so was killed there, we were sitting at the gas station and someone stole the car parked beside us by gunpoint. And these stories aren't directed to me as storytime, but matter of factly to other locals. Moms don't want their young sons and daughters out at night for fear of getting stuck in the middle of something. Even my grandmothers home where they sell dairy products, the drive way used to be open for customers to come to the foot of the door, but now every gate is locked at all times, even if you're only stepping out for five minutes. 
  • newcomers: I'm not sure if this is relevant, but there are a lot of newcomers who aren't recognized by the locals who have been here for decades. Maybe that adds to the unease of the familiarity of the town. That, they themselves, don't feel like life is as it was once before, when you knew every person that passed you by. 

The town is not like before, but here is to hoping that things will start to look back up & the beauty of small town life can return.


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