The Expat Phenomenon

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About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
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11 Responses to The Expat Phenomenon

  1. Grant says:

    Interesting, Beryl. Of course, Mexicans had long experience with El Norte before any of us showed up in Merida, so there shouldn’t be too much culture shock. Also, from what Wm Lawson writes, the locals are more affected by the influx of waches from DF and other parts of the Mexican mainland than by the still relatively small numbers of foreigners. That said, the observations you note are well taken.

    I asked the engineer who supervised the work on my house why he and his young wife wanted to live in the north end of town instead of restoring a pretty old colonial. It wasn’t an issue of money, he said, as much as fashion and amenities. All the other hipsters (my interpretation, not his words) were living in the north end in more modern houses. For them the downtown was very old fashioned. I suspect that if the gringos weren’t fixing up the old houses, the locals wouldn’t have much interest in them, so we ought not feel like we’re driving the locals out of the market. I think they’re happy to let us have the old ruins.

    • BG says:

      I agree. No young hip Mexican couple wants any part of these gorgeous old homes. We have done a great job on Centro, don’t you think?

      • Grant says:

        I do. Not to make us sound like we’re so great, but we’ve seen the old houses with different eyes and in some cases made the locals more sensitive to the beauty in their architectural heritage.

  2. kwallek says:

    I suspect that progress has as much as anything to do with the city looking better. People investing in their homes is a natural thing, Merida is no different than anywhere else on that count. The town I grew up in Ohio had many homes with out-houses and kitchen-pumps, there are none today. I was born in 56, there were people in my high school class who were still sweeping a dirt floor as part of their chores when I graduated from high school. The US standard of living has been ahead of Mexico for about 100 years, Mexico is catching up fast.

    • BG says:

      I bought my house in Sta.Ana in 1988. I was lucky because although it had been empty for a year, it was completely habitable. I dont think there was anything lacking in the standard of living for the wealthy Mexicans who owned what are now our homes. When I first went to Merida, downtown looked neglected and ugly. I think a lot of the original owners had already moved north.

  3. You may not have known that the banks will not float loans to mortgage or renovate these homes. Apparently only new homes can be mortgaged. No wonder the locals abandon Centro for newer parts of the city.

  4. Sandy L. says:

    Remember the village we drove to to bring the sick girl to Merida for her surgery?
    The one aunt didn’t have money to go to Merida. The bus fares are very expensive for them. She lost her cleaning job because of a death in the family, didn’t have money to call to her job, nor a phone. Their toilet was out in the back yard. They didn’t have any food. So many of them live in squalid conditions. Just a few examples.

    So, I don’t think the influence of the ex-pat community has helped the majority of the folks who mostly live in abject poverty.

  5. Beryl,

    Enjoy reading your observations-
    The changes that are taking place in the world are amazing!
    At the same time, there are Hispanics in Santa Clara County (CA) (Silicon Valley) (about 2 hours and a half from Davis, CA where students were pepper sprayed for sitting on the ground with bowed heads) are wanting to buy houses but are afraid to speak to realtors to help them. Or the Chinese who want the best deal always and the realtors’ commission too. Or the Indians who want to buy houses without letting the realtor talk to their lender even in order to make a competitive offer on a house. And the Japanese who want only new houses that have never been lived in. They select their fruit the same way (only blemish free produce). In some places, woman Muslims are going about their lives covered from head to foot with large bangle earrings peeking out of their outfits; only their eyes and their earrings showing, especially at Ross for some reason. Here and there a few Israelis, Portuguese, Brits, some Vietnamese with baggage, maybe a few Cambodians with stories of their escape from their country, Peruvians, Chileans, Italians with their food, some Russians from love, a few Africans from various parts of Africa including Xi’s home territory- he has such a great smile, Thai restaurants everywhere in between the McDs, Taco Bells (bells for Christmas?) Burger Kings, Dairy Queens, Dennys (serving only clean shaven white folks), Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc. I can walk through Safeway and hear 10 languages besides English to get our groceries for the week. Or just watch The Thom Hartmann’s program on the Free Speech channel. Fred has been watching Thom’s program a lot and getting angrier. or philosophical depending on your perspective.
    It is cold in the Santa Cruz Mountains tonight-
    Fred built a fire in the stove; the house is warm without the big PG&E company’s electrical or the chemicals used for accessing natural gas by fracking, (sp.?) which pollutes the ground water.

    May we all live in peace.

    • BG says:

      Sally, you are absolutely right. I should have said the Northamerican caucasian Expat Phenomenon. Sorry about that. The issues I am talking about concern what happens when the American white majority, the ones denying the American (“minority”) immigrants their rights, go forth into the “third world” and stridently demand goods and services just like those in the USA.

  6. monica says:

    Can anyone tell me please how many Brits and Germans are living in Merida? Does this area have a tourist industry and if yes which countries are they coming from?
    When is the best time to visit Merida and does it have an international airport?

    • BG says:

      This is all probably available on the internet. Of course we have an international airport. Does this area have a tourist industry? Is this spam?

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