Monday, March 22, 2010

Seven things you'd never see in Canada

As we get ready to leave Mexico we're looking at it again with fresh eyes.  I've been collecting a list of things that you would never see in Canada and thought I'd share it with you.

1.  People in face paint juggling at an intersection for a few coins.  There are lots of these acts, including young women standing on a big guy's hand, and even fire breathing.  The juggling and acrobatics are fine, but the tragafuegos, the guys who take accelerant into their mouths and then light it on fire, are really courting danger--like mouth ulcers and brain damage.  (It shows how desperate some people are to earn a few pesos.)

2.  A guy jack-hammering the pavement wearing flip-flops.  This is probably the most extreme but we've seen people sand blasting without eye protection and nobody every wears any kind of ear protection while working. (The attitude towards personal safety here is very different from Canada.)

3.  Unmarked open manholes in a main lane of a busy street.  (This takes the need for defensive driving to a new level.)

4.  A nine year old girl dressed in a bridal gown and veil at a pool party. (I'm thinking it's her first communion celebration.) 

5.  Guards with machine guns outside the bank.  (Too many bank robberies I guess.)

6.  A young man and his wife and a baby and six bags of groceries on a motor scooter.  (At least they have transportation.  No helmets though.  See #2)

7.   City workers sweeping the public basketball court with palm fronds.  (In Canada we'd have noisy battery powered blowers; I like the soft sweeping sound of the palm fronds much better.)

I could have listed more, but these are what came to mind in the last few days as we were out and about. 


  1. joanna - you're right - those are not things you would typically see in canada. i wonder how you feel about them? when i've visited places like the dominican, or cuba i've felt guilty and uncomfortable knowing that i live a life far removed from their reality. in some respects better. in some respects much worse. what do you think? steven

  2. Oh, I long for those palm fronds. I detest the noisy blowers! However, that may be all I'm longing for on your list.

  3. Joanna - what a delight to share in a wee part of your Mexico experience through your writing and amazing pictures. It helps to provide an insight of your travels as such a personal one. And being a foodie....can you attempt this magical salsa making when you return home? XXOO Donna

  4. Hello Steven, you've asked a big question there and it's one that I've had almost four months to ponder. Just the fact of our being here benefiting from the cheaper price of food and gas is in a way an exploitation. Yet Mazatlan relies on tourist and expat dollars.

    What is most difficult to for me to see is the extreme poverty of some of the people in this country. There are children and crippled people selling Chiclets and trinkets at the street corners. Mexico has many wealthy people as well, but there is no social safety net in the country. We carry lots of small coins with us so we can give something to people we see. (Mexicans do this as well). It makes me glad that I live in a country that tries to take care of its people, even if it does mean high taxes. I won't ramble on any further. Thanks for asking this question. My answer could take several blog posts.

  5. Joanna, so good to read your blog! And I LOVED this one about things you wouldn't see in Canada. It's strange after living here for so long how used to things I get and how quickly I forget the strangeness. You captured it well. =) And as far as your answer to the comments, I think your heart is in the right spot.


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