of the sweetest aspects of traveling in Mexico is experiencing a
society that has not been thoroughly corporatized. Big U. S.
corporations have infected Mexico on a large scale, but you only see
the manifestation of this in localized areas of big cities — the strip
developments on the outskirts of towns where Wal-Mart and Office Depot
rule. There's a Burger King and an Applebee's on the malecón in La Paz, but they still seem anomalous, like unsightly trash dumps in a vacant lot.
Everywhere else, businesses seem to be run by, stamped
with the personality of, actual human beings. Restaurants and taco stands
are decorated according to the eccentric tastes of the
proprietors. You visit them not to find some standardized form of
service and decor, originating in some distant corporate headquarters,
but to have the adventure of meeting and interacting with the individuals who have personally organized these enterprises.
Las Vegas knows the advantage of this sort of eccentricity —
restaurants here, like casinos, have quirky themes, promise to be
“experiences” . . . but it's all professionally designed, the product
of artful concepts rather than of individual obsessions or
passions. It's better than nothing but it's a far cry from the
organic expressiveness of everyday Mexican culture.
For previous Baja California trip reports, go here.
[Photos © 2007 Harry Rossi]