I’ve two hours to go before the shuttle picks me up for my return trip home. It’s been a very fun, educational, and profound view into a bit of Mexican culture. I got out of it what I had hoped to, a bit of an inside view. I loved my morning conversations with Marina, my house mother, if you will. She told me, from her view, about life as a Mexican living in San Miguel.
¡San Miguel – Más bonita que nunca! – San Miguel – More beautiful than ever!
Most recently, San Miguel was ‘rated’, by Condé Nast as the number one city in the world. We spent quite a bit of time in class listening to Enrique, my Spanish teacher, talk about opinions, and instead of us saying something like San Miguel IS the best place in the world to live, instead say: For me, San Miguel is the best place to live. He went on further to say that anywhere outside of el centro, or the center, the government is not concerned. Further, he said that if you want to know what it’s like for working-class Mexican, ask them.
Since the ‘vote’ for number one city of the world was made, San Miguel is busy cleaning up and getting the place shipshape – in El Centro. Right outside of Marina’s door, there is work being done, scaffolding going up, walls being repaired, walls being painted, all at government (taxes) expense. Outside of the few blocks that comprise El Centro, nothing is being done.
Marina was telling me that the minimum wage, in Mexico, is 60 pesos per 8 hours: that’s about $4.80/day. Many people try to struggle through with this, but it is difficult. Sure, things are much cheaper here, but when you consider how much they make, it changes the playing field. She confirmed, also, that there are two prices in the markets: one for Mexicans, one for gringos. I get that. From their point of view, gringos, extrañeros, or foreigners have lots of money and should pay more. I bargain for the best price that I can, but honestly, don’t put a lot of effort into it. I’m very aware of the poverty here and a few dollars here or there won’t break me, but I suppose it could make a difference to them.
I’m ready to go home, ready to see Vanessa, ready to get back into my routine, but I’m so glad that I took this chance to stay with a family. I plan to return. I’ve already gotten her e-mail address and will be sending a message, some time later, asking her if ‘my room’ is available.