I’ve been in Mexico for two months now, and I though it would be fun to enlighten those who have not been here about “The Mexican Way”
What I am realizing after living my life in the USA is that, as a culture, we are absolute control freaks. We like everything to flow with a certain order. We are taught that time rules all, and that order is critical for civilization. This, to me, has made us a frustrated and angry people. We lash out when someone bends the rules. We lack a sense of community unless it’s to gang up on someone else.
Here in Mexico things are slightly different. Things are more “Pirate Code” which, we all know, are really just guidelines. Time has meaning, but it is not critical. A meeting will happen on time, more or less. But somethings are left to fate and chance. You could say things are more “Inshallah”. Example - “Tomorrow I will come help you”. Meaning - some time that week. What’s more amazing is how happy and unified the people are. Walk into any bar on a Friday night or town center, and you will find people singing and celebrating life as if it was New Years.
(A wine tasting on a Guanajuato street)
“The order of things”. In the USA, we have rules, and signs for everything telling us what the rules are. In Mexico, rules are more like informal norms. Everyone knows the norms, but they are flexible. You won’t find stop signs at many intersections because the people know that it is their responsibility to look for on coming traffic. This actually makes things flow smoother. And if you are on a motorcycle, you basically have free rein on the road. You don’t sit in traffic, you just work your way through, around or in some cases over it. Road rules are organized chaos, and every inch of the pavement is used. To the meek this would be suicide, but in the two months I have been traveling in Mexico, I have seen a total of 4 accidents. And three of them have been single vehicle accidents.
(Here a typical "2 Lane" road being used as three lane. Slower vehicles ride the shoulder while faster vehicles pass in the center. Sometime this is a 4 lane road)
Then there are the rules that keep people for getting sued. In the USA we have warning signs for EVERYTHING, because some idiot spilled hot coffee on themselves and sued for a milliongazillion dollars. Here in Mexico there are no warning signs, there are no safety rails, and there are no law suits. While in Laz Pozas I was fascinated by carte blanche everyone had to explore even the most treacherous sculptures with 100 ft drops should you lose your footing. The mentality here is, if you fall you were stupid for not knowing your own abilities.
(One of the many sculptures at Las Pozas. No handrails here!)
Finally, there is the mother of necessity. In the USA if something breaks we have it fixed professionally, but most likely replace it. We throw out everything! If we need something that performs a specific task, we have an item to do that. Here in Mexico, everyone thinks outside the tortilla. If something breaks, repairs are done in house with what given materials are available. And, what we might consider to be a temporary fix, is permanent in Mexico. If you need an item to perform a specific task, you make it.
(Bad switch? No problem. Fixed!)
Mexico by global standards is a poor country with limited resources, but for a county who is listed as one of the happiest, I think the “Mexican Way” makes them among the richest and is something we can all learn from.