MEXICO, Why Do I Love You ? Must Be Your Split Personality !

| January 17, 2011 | Comments (2)
Sam and friends in Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful, small town in central  Mexico with a cathedral fit for a world-class megapolis. Its soaring twin spires and pink-tinted exterior lend a dreamlike quality to the sleepy Jardin – the town square – that sits peacefully in its shadow.  Legend has it that La Parroquia Arcangel de San Miguel was  built after a San Miguel silver baron returned from Europe dazzled by the sights he had seen. He showed a postcard of the  Cologne Cathedral to a local architect and told him,  “I want one like that here.” And it was built.

Parroquia Arcangel was built from a picture postcard image

In another most unusual way, the interior of the cathedral is even more striking. The church’s colorful murals depict the usual Christian  story found in most religious art, but suddenly one comes upon a fresco showing a group of figures that include  Lenin and Trotsky mingling with the saints and disciples, giving  “holistic” a whole new meaning!

Marx & Trotsky Join the Saints in a Church Mural

The juxtaposition of the reverent and the earthy is found everywhere South of the Border. Nearly everybody who passes the Cathedral will cross themselves, but a few steps further down the street a movie poster advertises a new Mexican film,  “Horny Nuns with Guns.”

Socially, Mexico is a very conservative society. White collar job vacancies specify that applicants must be tattoo-free to qualify for positions. Yet gay marriage is now fully legal in Mexico. And an old Mexican proverb reminds us of how lusty and Rabelaisian the culture is:  “una cantina que no huele orina, no es una verdadera cantina !” (a pub is not a real pub unless it reeks of urine). There are actually old ranchero watering holes where open urinals are installed next to the bar !

Mexico’s split personality is also reflected in the races of its population. While most of  its citizens are an intriguing and handsome  mixture of European and indigenous blood lines, films and television are still dominated by “rubias” – blonde bombshells.  It seems that the desired standard for beauty is still very much the old-fashioned Hollywood Lana Turner idol. Several years ago I found myself on a ski slope fascinated by a group of flawless, light-skinned beauties in stencilled mink jackets. I struck up a conversation with one of them and was told they were from Mexico City ! Yet walking the steets of Oaxaca, you feel you were in pre-colonial Mexico.

Age difference is also striking in Mexico. Unlike Japan where the population really is old and on display, Mexican streets are a panorama of mostly young people. That is, except in places like Ajijic, a quaint little town on the shore of Lake Chapala.

With its near-perfect climate Ajijic attracts lots of silver-haired snow-bird Gringos from up north. Withered, but cheerful and ever on the move, going from spanish classes to animal rescue meetings, they resemble nothing so much as the ubiquitous  laughing skeletons one sees depicted in Mexican art.

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Comments (2)

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  1. SS says:

    I really the pics with this blog. The cathedral looks magnificent and the mural is entertaining. With the words, the visualization is wonderful

    • Sam says:

      I think you guys should plan a trip to San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato ! I could live in either of these towns with No Problema !

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