Saturday, December 20, 2008


I am sitting here trying to figure out the rest of my life. What I mean is I am trying to figure out if I am going to spend the rest of my life in Mexico, if I will stay until death do us part in Guanajuato, and if all this means that my life's goal, quest, or work is to constantly harangue about the ever-growing Gringolandia here and in other cities in Mexico.

If you've never read a word of my hundreds of columns, blogs, or books (and the Gringolandians would tell you to consider yourself blessed, but I digress) in which I try so carefully and scientifically (I just made that up) to explain life for the Gringo in Mexico, then maybe a sentence of two is in order to demonstrate what it is I do.

Basically, though originally (2003) on a Science Fiction quest as my writing goal, I stumbled across a fact that made writing Sci-Fi seem a reality by comparison: GRINGOLANDIA.

Gringolandia is a make-believe world where creatures called Gringolandians live.

To become a Gringolandian you have to be someone, American, Canadian, or from wherever it isn't Mexico, who comes to Mexico to live but has the following characteristics:

1. Someone to whom language, culture, history, or anything else related to Mexico doesn't matter. It is someone who cares only if she can buy her Oil of Olay or if he can buy all the liquor he can possibly consume while pretending to be expats in Mexico.

2. Someone who will tell you to your face that the reason he or she will never learn Spanish is because Mexicans aren't that interesting and besides, anyone who works for them has to learn English, so why bother?

3. Someone who believes that if the Mexican in a Gringolandian city like San Miguel de Allende does not understand that his existence is to serve (service) the Gringo community, then he is welcome to leave and live somewhere else.

These three points, by the way, were actually conveyed to me through the Internet and email. This means I am not making THIS up.

The list actually goes on and on and I am thinking of posting them on my website with the names of those who made the comments to me.

Now here is what is stranger than reading a science fiction novel.

Once the foreigner moves to Mexico and joins these Gringolandias, they become part of a totally separate dimension in time and space. For example, in San Miguel de Allende, there exist two cities. Each one, believe it or not, has its own government. One is officially The City of San Miguel de Allende with its Mexican government. The other is the unofficial government of the Gringolandia called The Lord of the Flies.

I am sure, if the emails I get and from the online chat room forums I read, that the Gringolandians would very much love to infiltrate, take over, and assimilate the weak and ineffectual Mexican government, creating a Lord of the Flies mandate in the city.

This, you must know, is the goal of almost every Gringo who moves to Gringolandias all over the republic. But, for now, there exist two worlds, two peoples, two groups who live together in a city that was originally a colonial Mexican town.

When we visit the Gringolandians, we are so tempted to go into anything that smacks of Mexico to see if it is really a stage prop. But, thankfully, we never go anymore unless it is a life and death issue like renewing our visas for another year.

Because I know you are wondering how these two worlds function, I will tell you:

The two worlds intersect, like some collision of Quantum cosmic strings, only when they have to. The Gringolandians lower their shields, creating a rift in the fabric of their dimensional walls, only when they have to let a Mexican come in and service them. You see, Gringos who lived a middle-class life in their home country, one without a maid, suddenly forget how to make their own beds or clean their toilets when they move to Gringolandia. They forget how to cook, too, and in some cases, the forget how to dress themselves. Once Gringos are teleported into Gringolandia, they have to live like the Rich and Famous did back home and hire help because the knowledge of how to live is sucked out of their Gringo heads when they cross over.

Oh….before I forget, almost all Gringos who move to Gringolandias come with the idea that learning a foreign language is impossible for them. Therefore, you can see now why exactly they move to Gringolandias and become Gringolandians. Why bother when Anywhere America awaits you complete with Starbucks, Subway, Wal-Mart, Sam's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and more there in your new Gringolandia. You are essentially moving to a city in Mexico that has become an American annex. The foreign in this foreign country has been assimilated by Gringolandia.

Here's another tip to know just how much Gringolandia has assimilated the local Mexican city in which it has infected:

When there is a Mexican event going on, you can know five blocks away if the Gringos have arrived by the volume of Gringa harpies screeching. I say Gringas because the female Gringos are the ones screaming like banshees because the male versions, Gringos, are much too drunk by noon to utter much else other than, "Where's the booze, for Christ's sake?"

Why do they always attribute finding booze to Christ's sake? Is it really for Christ's sake they are making this hootch inquiry? Who can say?

Anyway, the Gringas come to the arts and crafts fairs where Mexican artisans, some from the campo and who only speak their indigenous language, display some very fine crafts and art pieces. What the Gringolandian women do is scream bloody murder, like someone has been killed right before their eyes, in an attempt to communicate to the vendor of the crafts a question like, "How much is this?"

I mean this most sincerely. Gringolandians, in the majority of the cases, move to Mexico, live here for up to and exceeding thirty years, and cannot ask how much something is in Spanish nor order a cup of coffee. But all of them seem to think that if they scream some insane rant loud enough to a non-English speaking Mexican, this will somehow transform the Mexican into an English speaker.

My wife and I go to these things to collect fodder for the articles we write. I was talking with an indigenous lady from another state in Mexico. She was able to speak passable Spanish. While we were talking, this American monolingual walked up and asked how much something was. Of course, the poor vendor had no idea what this woman was literally screaming. I translated for her. Then, the Gringa screamed in such a way that it appeared like she would kill someone, "Put this aside for me. I will be right back with the money."

Let me just say that if I had been interested in the piece (I forget now what it was, exactly), I would have purchased it just to see the old crone's face when she got back.

The screeching harpy disappeared into the crowd (she never returned) whereupon I seized the opportunity to ask the indigenous Náhuatl speaker (who spoke some Spanish) what she thought of that English-only American. Her answer went something like this:

"Le falta un tornillo."


"She's missing a screw."

So, will I continue my mission of exposing the Gringolandia Lord of the Flies community?

I always swear I am through and am going to begin that Sci-Fi novel. But, reporting on Gringolandia is so much more entertaining!


Don't forget to check out my new book: A WALK THROUGH MEXICO's CROWN JEWEL

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