It´s May in San Miguel, which means it´s hot and there is very little business. Everything comes to a standstill for a minute, and then June happens and kids in the States get out of school and the summer tourists begin to pour into town.
One year ago, things felt very different. One year ago, due to, or perhaps, promoting the Swine Flu Hysteria, the Mexican government shut down businesses, schools, playgrounds, pools, night clubs...anywhere where people might meet and "spread the disease" or spread the news that the hysteria was invented and furthered by the government, which was my suspicion. Tourists fled the country, clutching their straw hats and passports. Doctors met incoming tourists at the airports, when they returned later in June, to inspect them for signs of the flu. Welcome Foreigner! Stick out your tongue! Life was not easy.
On top of that, our landlord was kidnapped! I don´t write about kidnappings in Mexico lightly, so let me add right away that he was released a few days later unharmed but lighter in the pocket. Kidnappings don´t happen to random rich people here. Rather, it´s like this: In the States when someone wrongs you and you want retribution, you can sue the offending party. Here, you can kidnap him to let him know that in your opinion he hasn´t been behaving like a very nice fellow. I guess I want to bust the myth of the Random Kidnappings here in Mexico. It´s not like that.
I like this analogy: In the 1920s in America, Al Capone was conducting lawless activities in Chicago. The rest of the country went about its business. People went to school, to work, to the lake on weekends. But the US had a reputation of being a criminal land where all order had been lost. That´s how it is in Mexico. People are living their lives, getting haircuts, buying tortillas and watching soccer and drinking Victoria but all anyone hears about is the narcos.
How did I start talking about kidnappings?? O well, like I said, people are by and large, just living their lives. Tomorrow my 9-year old nephew, William makes his First Communion so to the church we go, and then to my sister Ann´s house for a mole lunch after.