Sunday, May 2, 2010

Guanajuato, Mex -- Differences

When the gnats invaded our home and we had to flee, we went to our neighbor's place. She is a lovely chemical engineer from Guatemala. We know several Guatemaltecos who live here in Guanajuato for work or other endeavors. They are different folks.

Those whom we know have all zeroed in on a common thread when we've talked about living in this to-a-fault provincial Mexico. Living in Guanajuato is like living in a closed society. I have mentioned this before. In fact, I have mentioned it several times. The heartland of Mexico is very much like living in the Ozarks in the United States.

It is provincial.

...having or showing the manners, viewpoints, etc., considered characteristic of unsophisticated inhabitants of a province; rustic; narrow or illiberal; parochial: a provincial point of view.

A lot of Gringolandians will tell you I am out of my mind to say that this is the provincial mecca of Mexico. But, keep in mind that those who do, do not live in this culture but live in a Gringo Bubble (Gringolandia).

Anyway, our conversation with our Guatemala neighbor focused on how hard it was for her to break into any sort of relationshop with Mexicans for almost 2 years. She agreed (as has all our Latino friends who were not born in this city) that this sample of Mexican culture is very "closed" compared to the rest of Latin countries. Spain might be an exception and could be considered as closed as is Guanajuato.

Also, she agreed that the Spanish here is sheer madness sometimes. She could not understand anyone, when she came to work here, unless they stopped their modismos laced language.

I most heartily concur with her. The Spanish is here is almost all modismos or consists of so much idiomatic expressions which makes it almost impossible to understand them. On the street, the Spanish is so full of idioms that you just have to scratch your head trying to comprehend what it is they are trying to say.

In more "educated" conversations with those who have more formal education you have a better chance understanding Spanish.

Now, having said all this I do not mean to imply that Guanajuato is so dreadful that you should not come for a visit and spend a few thousand dollars in the local economy. Rather, here is what I mean:

Americans and a lot of Canadians come here expecting Guanajuato to be like cities that cater to Gringo tourists. Guanajuato DO NOT cater to Gringo tourists. The Gringo wants English to be spoken from their hotel staff to any and all eateries they frequent. They want the vendors to speak English. They want E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E to speak English and in this part of Mexico all I can say is: don't hold your breath!

Guanajuato is NOT San Miguel de Allende or any other resort town that panders to Americans and Canadians. I fear this will change, but for now find a Spanish phrase book and leave your Gringo expectations at the border.


Crimes and misdemeanors: Staying safe in San Miguel
Is SMA still safe, or falling prey to drug dealers and thugs?

By Anne Nicolai
August 11, 2009

Knowledge is power: Spanish-speaking residents are safer

Across the board, every official interviewed for this article agreed that one of the best ways for foreigners to provide for our personal safety is to learn the language of the country that we’re living in. They point out that Spanish speakers have an easier time getting to know their neighbors and the local police. Knowing the language also helps when calling for help or reporting a crime.

In fact, the author’s calls to the various emergency telephone numbers prove this point: on two different days, at two different times of day,...there were no English-speaking operators.

Click On This Link Reach The ROCKET SPANISHROCKET SPANISH Website!

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