Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Desperation Follies

From the February 2007 edition of Undergound Voices:


Zihuatanejo, Mexico, a once remote fishing village north of Acapulco, has in recent years become a destination for savvy gringos who want to avoid the crowds in the usual tourist spots like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Cozumel and the all-inclusive resorts sprouting up along Baja and the Yucatan. But like those better known places, Zihuatanejo caters mainly to Americans who hesitate to leave the safety and comfort of their hotels and rarefied social circles to wander the narrow, litter-strewn streets of the barrio (think of crushed cans of Tecate and Modelo Especial in the gutters and packs of mangy dogs scampering through the evil-smelling alleys) where portly men in ragged clothes accost you at every turn to buy worthless trinkets. Little wooden lizards painted in the festive colors of the tropics, chess pieces whittled from soapstone that snap in two or disintegrate before you can capture your opponent’s queen, bottles of mescale and absinthe, overpriced Cuban cigars, costume jewelry made of copper and glass. And we must not forget the occasional dope peddler who, with the slightest shift of his eyes, tries to sell you “the real McCoy, and, ah, senor, maybe a pipe for you? hand-carved, eh? do you like the leering skull?” Yes, a sort of Mexican memento mori, a reminder to the hapless tourist that your trip might end in total disaster. “Smoke up, for tomorrow we die.” My trip did coincide after all with the Mexican Day of the Dead.

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1 comment:

kevin said...

WOW - and i thought you had a good time. little did i know, you were busy quitely judging everyone...