Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What Does a Tourist Really Know About San Miguel?

A few days ago the LA Times ran this article where the writer seems to have spent a day or two in town and thought she knew San Miguel. She was a tourist. She did tourist things like going to the Sunday House and Garden tour. She didn't know much about San Miguel when she left. There has been quite a discussion about the article on a local email group as reported in The Gringa in San Miguel's blog.

I live in a Mexican neighborhood in SMA. Right now I can look out the window in one direction and see the cages of fighting cocks on the roof that one neighbor raises and trains, I can hear the iron worker across the street pounding on metal, I can see the Mexican flag flying at a couple of houses, I hear a Mexican worker walking down the street singing. The tienda down the street is open as is the barbershop and another tienda just a few doors up the street. A man is delivering milk from cans on the back of a donkey. I see some Mexican women walking up the street with bags of veggies from the San Juan de Dios mercado.

Yesterday I walked across town to the Ramirez mercado. I saw Mexicans taking care of their business, buying things they needed for the day, walking children home from school, sitting on benches in the Civic Plaza talking with each other, I saw the streets jammed with cars with Mexican license plates. I saw almost no gringos until I got to the plaza in front of the Parroquia.

I'm not going to dispute that there are gringo enclaves or that the gringos usually build or remodel their houses to a comfort level that we enjoy in the USA, but it sure gets tiresome when someone comes to SMA, stays in a hotel and does the tourist thing for a few days like going to the Sunday Home and Garden tour and then goes back to the USA and writes a piece that the gringos have taken over the town.

Oh, and by the way, I know the people who own one of the houses she describes. They don't need 500 strangers traipsing through their home for some ego thing but did the writer ever stop to think that they did it because the $15/person X 500 people=$7500 that was raised will go to provide some educational programs for Mexican children.


james said...

you tell 'em. A very good summary of a lousy article. I have to admit I was warned, by mexicans, that I would be annoyed by gringos in SMA. But in the town itself I found their presence as innocuous as anywhere else. Why doesn't it surprise me that it would take a gringo NOT in SMA to get on my nerves?

Nancy said...

I'd say that article says more about Ms. Daum than about San Miguel.

Your response was right on.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's obvious she didn't do her research like the current article in the March 2007 Travel & Leisure.
If the writer came in the winter when the "snow birds" are here and went to a "snow bird" event - of course she would get a distorted image of how many Americans are here. What a one sided article. I agree with James!

Brenda said...

Quite the article. UGH

Anonymous said...

It is ALL OVER for the LA Times - since they were bought out they have gone down hill with too many cut backs and too narrow a vision for the future. I wouldn't give their last vestiges of existence a worry – they’re the ones worried and this kind of fluff and mis-information will only hasten their demise. The Blogs have it!