Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I was recently lucky enough to travel to Cancun, Mexico. Fortunately it is an immensely beautiful place, unfortunately it's sole industry is tourism and pandering to the rich passing through, (this may be a generalization, but a hard pressed one). Speaking as someone who has worked in the service industry for almost 10 years-God help me, I found it terribly sad. Even at the local Wal-mart (also sad) were at least three different companies selling tourism packages-with the elusive discount for real Mexicans who have identification to prove it. The Yucatan Peninsula is a beautiful place with a history of beautiful and rich culture, it was disturbing to see it decimated by the flow of American cattle that passes through on a consistent basis. EVERYONE I met (in the streets of Centro, the streets of Isla de Mujeres, and Wal-mart) was working in the tourism industry in some capacity, even the Mayans who live far outside the tourism capital, make souvenirs and depend on The dollar. We met a man named Ishmael, who was very intelligent and experienced, was making a living driving a taxi and hustling tourists for impromtu tours. It may have been a fulfilling job that he enjoyed, but I couldn't help but think that is not the case for everyone. EVERYONE was also extremely nice, nice in a way I am not used to (I currently live in a cold unfeeling metropolis). I know the people of the Yucatan would be infinitely richer if tourism, chotskies, and Americans were banned from the area. I couldn't help feeling guilty for being there.

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