Wow. It has been a couple of hard to describe days. I had my first visit to Cancun, and been bumming around Playa del Carmen. I have a whole new respect for the restraint of Playa after seeing the total blow out of Cancun. The experience was really topped off by my interactions with four very drunk eighteen and nineteen year olds who were screaming about 3.2 and how the States is the best country in the world to live.
I have been struck by what a blessing and a curse being from the United States is. My country affords me huge opportunities but it is also wrought with terrible stereotypes and ugly foreign policies. I read a fascinating book, ¨Mountains Beyond Mountains,¨which discusses the guilt of privilege, something that I wonder if everyone is conscious of experiencing. It is far easier, way too easy really, in the States to ignore the state of the rest of the world. Tourism creates an almost impenetrable insulation, so that even when the vast majority of my countrymen take the step of leaving the country we still feel at home. I am guilty of it too, I was in heaven at the Playa outpost of American Apparel. But where is this globalization of brands and economy leading? Is the goal to transport all the comforts of home to every outpost in the world? How long until there is a Starbucks in Antartica?
I travel to experience the differences. I do get homesick and want the comforts of the familiar. And many of the things that I love most are fruits of the fusion of different cultures. But I also respect and adore the traditions, the foreigness of things. The way markets smell differs from Thailand to Vietnam to Guatemala. I don`t want everything sterilized and uniform. But sometimes that feels like the world is heading, the ipodization of the world.
Good thing just off the Quinta you can still get a 5 peso chorizo taco at Billy the Kid, that`s the shit that keeps you sane out here.