Mexico Oh Behave

Do Americans have a sullied reputation in foreign countries? I think they just might indeed!.Soon after moving to Guanajuato, Mexico, my wife and I began meeting other American expats who moved from America to a town called San Miguel de Allende, and then to Guanajuato. Their reasons for jumping from one Mexican town to another were so astounding that we had to check this out for ourselves.What our new fellow-expats told us is that San Miguel de Allende was a town full of spoiled, rich Americans who not only treated the locals worse than subservients (the word "slaves" also comes quickly to mind) but also were transforming the culture into something not Mexican.

Therefore, off we went for three days of fun-filled intensive note-taking research. Little did we know how quickly events would begin to unfold.The first day of sitting in their main plaza (El Jardin), we saw a beggar approach this older, country club-dressed woman for a handout.

The old lady simply came unglued! She began screeching as chickens do when a weasel has invaded the hen house?clucking loudly and flapping her arms wildly. She screamed obscenities at this beggar and demanded the beggar fork over his pesos to her! Not only that, but she chased the beggar through the plaza and down the block. She returned, laughing triumphantly that she had found a new method of dealing with street beggars.

A woman walks into a bank and begins screaming, "I know someone speaks English here and I want to talk to them right now!".Another woman refuses to get out of a cab until the driver accepts dollars instead of pesos. They summoned the police.Recently we went to San Miguel for some visa business where we saw another older, rich-looking American woman, roll up a newspaper she had just purchased and begin hitting a man who had begged a peso.

She hit this man as if he was a street cur and screamed at him to get away from her.We saw an American woman lecturing a Mexican woman on her choice of breakfast food for her child. She conducted the lecture in English (of course). I suppose the woman thought, as many American tourists commonly do, that all Mexicans are bilingual.

The town still looks Mexican. There are Mexican festivals, foods, clothes, and crafts. However, what has changed is that more than 10,000 gringos have infected it with a way of life that is not Mexican.

There are million-dollar homes that no average Mexican could ever hope to afford. There are gated communities. These are American enclaves designed to keep out--you take a guess. The Lords of the Manor apparently want some section of society kept at bay. Only about 6% of the Mexican population makes $60,000 or more a year. Take one wild guess who these real estate agencies target in their advertisements!.

My observations are this: Americans do not know how to behave in someone else's culture. One does not act the way one can in one's own home when the guest of a gracious host. Americans act abroad the same way they do at home?badly! They do not know how to be good guests."That is not to say that a lack of decorum is a uniquely American trait.

It's just that Americans seem less subtle about their rudeness. Of course, we are all familiar with the term "ugly American". The characterization has earned us a special brand of resentment around the world." ? Armstrong Williams.Amen, Armstrong! Amen!.


Expatriates Doug and Cindi Bower have successfully expatriated to Mexico, learning through trial and error how to do it from the conception of the initial idea to driving up to their new home in another country. Now the potential expatriate can benefit from their more than three years of pre-expat research to their more than two years of actually living in Mexico. The Plain Truth about Living in Mexico answers the potential expatriate's questions by leading them through the process from the beginning to the end. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn not only how-to expatriate but will learn what to expect, in daily life, before coming to Mexico.


By: Douglas Bower

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