Prompt: Write a Pantun

A pantun consists of rhymed quatrains (abab), with 8-12 syllables per line.

(I started working on one and then I got sidetracked by the tragedy in Boston and I haven’t really the heart to work on it any more. I’m aware this doesn’t follow the Pantun formula but at some point in the future I’ll come back and work on it again. Weirdly though I think the content is kinda apt, given what  happened today.)

An army of followers, mourning one by one

No tears, just silent, their souls bereft

Stretched, starched and blanched by sun

Legs high in the air, no wiggle left

A poor, little, solitary bug

Breadwinner, father, hero no more

laid to rest on a textile rug

That covered a mottled stone floor.

A-Z Blogger Challenge: M

Mexico & MexPats

Regular blog readers will know that I’ve recently moved to Mexico, well I guess it’s not so recently anymore. I moved in November so this makes it 5 months that I’ve been here. Some of you have been following the journey on this blog through the Year of Reading in Mexico category. And for those of you that are just popping in via NaPoWriMo or A-Z Blog Challenge, maybe you’ll have a little look around the Mexico category and see what you think.

To be a white person living in Mexico is an interesting experience and you can either roll with the punches or you can remain like a rock in the middle of the sea. I’ve talked before about the locals staring and the name calling but for the most part the Mexicans I’ve met have been lovely. They’ve been very generous and hugely supportive when it comes to the language barrier. I am learning Spanish but despite my efforts I’m still woefully bad at it…you know I’m still using the ‘to form’ of the verb rather than the correct tense. I still don’t know the words for some basic things. But I am trying. And the people that I’ve met do appreciate that.

I think there’s an interesting set of people who decide to become MexPats.

I think you have to be willing to accept the lifestyle the way it is. Accept the good and the bad. Accept the beautiful weather and amazing food alongside the poverty and the grime. I always wonder about people who move to a place and don’t seem willing to appreciate the culture. People who won’t learn the language or try the food always surprise me.

When I went to Puerto Vallerta over Easter I saw an example of the worst kind of MexPat. As with all beach resorts there are locals selling trinkets every few minutes. There are dresses, jewellery, sunglasses and all the usual type of holiday tat available. Some are also offering services such as massage, or parasailing. This one incident involved a massage person and an American lady. (I’m not suggesting that all American’s behave like this but this is just what I saw)

The rep from the hotel was handing out leaflets for their massage service and the lady asked him the price. He said it was 400 pesos. (roughly £21/$31)

She said, “Don’t you dare try to con me, I live here. I’m not on vacation you can’t con me”

He said, “I’m not trying to con you ma’am. The price for a massage is 400 pesos.”

“That’s a ridiculous price. You’re trying to con me cos you think I’m here on vacations. Well I’m not, you can’t make a fool out of me”

He gave her the flyer from the hotel with the printed details and price list on it and said, “Look here are the details. I’m not trying to con you. 400 pesos is what it costs.”

She said, “I’m not paying that. Totally ridiculous”

He walked away and as he did she was saying to her friend how awful he was for trying to con them into an expensive massage. How they take advantage of the white tourists all the time and it’s important to show them whose boss.

I was kinda disgusted by her tone and attitude. Maybe some people are taken advantage of but you cannot judge an entire race of people by the actions of a few. The people who sell things on the beach work an extremely long day for very little reward. They often have their young children out helping them or working a patch all of their own. I feel very sorry for them because needs must. They must pay rent and they must provide food for their family to eat.

Yes, life is tough here. It is a very poor country and people are doing their best to get by. It’s tough enough without having to deal with the racism from others.

I know that is not the kind of tourist I am. When I travel to a country I want to get involved, eat as much of the food as I can, learn the language so I can communicate. I know it is not the type of MexPat I am. My stay here may only be a short one but it will be respectful.