The literature that exists in book form and especially in online newsletters and magazines presents to the "Move-To-Mexico Wannebee" Mexico as an Image and not Mexico as it Really Is.
I found an excellent example of this in an email featuring a popular living-in-Mexico magazine that appeals to the potential expat to Mexico. And, let me emphasize the point is to attract potential expats to Mexico who have lots and lots of money to invest in real estate. This is the draw. The Mexican picture that is painted is done so for one reason only: to attract the moneyed that can buy up the houses and the land.
These advertisements try to draw you into contacting their list of Real Estate agents who can show you all the Sugar and Spice and everything nice things that await the potential expat of means in Mexico. They present an Image or Concept of Mexico that will not only draw you in but will convince you that a Shangri-La is waiting for you. Move here! Now! Buy! Buy! Buy!
Mexico as an Image
The writer of the prose in this online magazine said that living in Mexico is easy. She went on to define easy as: your maid will cost you only a couple of American dollars per hour; you can get a doctor to come to your house for only about thirty dollars; dinner and drinks will run you about thirty-five dollars. She said living in Mexico is so easy and is just like life was like in America in the 1950 and 1960's. She goes on to say that you will find a strong family-centered life and a tightly focused community. Life, she claims, will be a daily enjoyment in paradise. She then invites you to a seminar in Puerto Vallarta to learn more.
An article that appeared in the L.A. Times described one lady's experience in another Prime Living Location, San Miguel de Allende. The time she spent on the San Miguel de Allende Tour of Homes is interesting to note.
"It was at this point that I realized that if I really wanted a taste of Mexico, I might as well go home to Echo Park. The tour wasn't so much a backstage pass to aspirational cultural immersion as it was an English-only how-to guide for getting away from it all without giving anything up. Each dwelling was mostly notable for just how thoroughly the householders had managed to bring the comforts of the north into the wilds of the south."
Do not miss the point here. What the moguls of the various Gringolandias all over Mexico present is that you can move to Mexico without giving up anything you had in America. You can bring all you had at home in America or Canada to Mexico. Life will not only be easy but it will also be just like life was in those days everyone seems to agree (a mass delusion) were the best decades of Western Civilization, the 1950's and 60's.
For the record, I remember the 60's well. Who, I am forced to ask, in their right minds would want to have that all over again?
But, that is the pitch, the spiel, and the screed of unbelievable propagandizing proportions. It is to sell real estate and make money. Mexico as an Image is presented as a heaven on earth, a virtual nirvana!
Mexico as it Really Is—the Truth
All of these hoodwinking bamboozlers fail to tell you that the areas to which they are trying to attract you are the Prime Living Locations in Mexico. Areas like Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, to name just a few, life is not cheap but will cost you dearly to buy property and live. We've not only spent time in those areas with friends but also paid dearly for meals in restaurants. Some of those we know in these cities no longer go out to eat because of the tourist-priced restaurants. We know one or two who are contemplating a move to the highlands of Mexico because of the increased price of living and the car congestion in these cities. We met these refugees in Guanajuato who formerly lived in these overpriced locations. They were trying to find more fertile grounds in the highlands.
The Prime Living Locations are easy to live in because you never have to utter a word of Spanish to live there. Much to the locals' credit, they've managed, without the money for classes or to study in an English speaking country, to do what the collective masses of American and Canadian expat claim they're not able to do. Another thing these used-car salesmen masquerading as real estate agents fail to tell you is how genuine Mexican towns are unalterably ruined by the formation of Gringolandias by their monolingual inhabitants.
An ethnographer I know is doing research for a book in which she examines the effect of Gringolandians on the culture of the Mexican towns Gringos infect (my word, not hers). Of the town she is concentrating, she says it is no longer Mexican, it is not American, but is some sort of hybrid. This is what happens. A cultural hybridization occurs that destroys a precious and ancient culture and changes it into something favoring the culture of the infectors. Truly, it is an infection that eats up that which it has invaded. And, as the lady in the L.A. Times article quoted above said,
"It was at this point that I realized that if I really wanted a taste of Mexico, I might as well go home to Echo Park..."