Post Script Trabajo en Mexico: LA VERDAD? The truth?
I was going to start a multi part blog post today about when I owned Cool World, my old aquarium store. But I still have more to say about Trabajo en Mexico, my job in Mexico. A post script.
First, despite the brush with Policia Federales, despite my idiocy of losing my exit paper and having to run for my plane, despite falling down the rabbit hole and seeing the poorer side of Mexico, it was a great trip.
For one simple reason. The people. Not just the people we worked with, not just the participants at the green screen photo execution — but everyone. While the Policia Federales demanded a bribe, other native Mexicans (including one who left a comment on this blog) were horrified and embarrassed that this should happen in their country. I’ll go a step further — I’m not sure I would have done any differently if I was a Policia Federales.
And, while I sat and fumed as the official looking SENORA first did her make up and then played Angry Birds on her cell phone while I waited for the Officina de Immigracion to open, as it turned out, she was just a security guard trying to earn her living, probably having worked all night, and now going home after her shift.
Night shifts suck, in any language. I know, I’ve worked them.
What appears to be one truth is often another. And that fact is what I’ve learned — and continue to learn — about travelling.
What seems to be LA VERDAD, isn’t. You book a 5 star hotel room at the LA Live Ritz Carlton, expecting your cameras and equipment to be safe — and they are not. (I truly intend to work that dig into every blog post I can!) You book a room at the Red Roof Inn version of a Mexican Airport Hotel, and they go out of their way to help you have one of the most magical evenings of your year. The price on the Mexican hotel? About 1/5 the price of the LA Live Ritz Carlton, even without factoring in the $30,000 worth of stolen camera equipment.
What is La Verdad ? Sometimes, it’s not what you think as you are looking through the fog of a language you barely speak, and a culture that is just slightly different than your own. The result: what you perceive as the truth simply…isn’t. Yes, there are dishonest cops out there. Were these two part of those dishonest cops? Or, maybe, I did go down a road I shouldn’t have — and rather than impound my car to make sure I paid the fine, they let it go with the Mexican equivalent of a slap on the wrist. Or, perhaps they did extort a bribe, and I’m being naive to think otherwise. But, what would I do if I was in their shoes? It’s easy for me to gripe and moan about them getting a bribe out of me — but what are their circumstances? I make good money. True, I work hard, but I want for nothing. I don’t know what they are going through. Maybe they are just worried about how to put food on the table, and my tourist tax is one way to solve their current problem. I don’t know — and that’s the point. I don’t know. I don’t know what the truth is.
I don’t know if they live in a house that has fabric for a door, and a tarp for a roof, just off the rabbit hole and to the left.
I write this from my office, which has a fountain in the entrance hall and three laptops sitting on my desk.
It’s easy to view the “No Se!” (I don’t know!) and turning the back as a “get the F*** away from me tourist and I’m not dealing with you.” But…
Today on my way to sushi, I saw a bumper sticker of Calvin peeing, and the word “tourist” under the urine flow. I did not see this in Mexico.
How many times does that police officer get asked the same question, when all National has to do is put up a freaking sign? Or the host at that restaurant. Maybe it was his first day. Or maybe he’s worked there a year, and simply doesn’t know where the terminals are. Or, maybe, JUST MAYBE, he didn’t understand my pig Spanish? I don’t know. It’s awful easy for me to assume he’s just being rude, stupid, or both.
And, the TSA (Mexican Version). I have equipment which is the highest end. They have probably never seen my extended batteries before — they are about $600 each, and most photographers don’t carry two. They can’t see through them on the x-ray. They’d have to wonder what the hell they are. I’m always early for my flight — I’m always sitting at the gate two hours ahead. ALWAYS. For me to be running for a flight, due to a calamity of my own errors, is unheard of. And, of course, it’s always this time that you end up looking panicked, and putting through security equipment that is totally foreign. Choice of words intentional. And, I get pissy?? Really?? Didn’t I LOOK suspicious?!
Working internationally isn’t for everyone. What LA VERDAD is in one country, is going to be a different VERDAD in another country. If I can’t adapt, I need to stay home.
I can adapt. I love it.
Last night I went to dinner in my historic home town of Lewes, DE. The streets stretched before me, little shops closed for the season, bakeries shuttered for the evening, a soft breeze floating off the Delaware Bay. I stopped at the Mexican joint to have some enchiladas en mole sauce (I was missing Mexico) — there was a line. Instead, I went to the Buttery, a high end bistro, and had mahi-mahi in a pistachio crust, with a bottle of Pana water, all chased down with homemade apple pie. I am blessed, and I know it. It feels so good to be home, and that’s the truth.
I leave again in 7 days.