Friday, September 17, 2010

To Live Up To Stereotypes - Or Not?

Exactly a year ago my family and I went on a vacation to Cabo san Lucas, Mexico (aka Los Cabos, on the tip of the Baja Peninsula). I was SO excited to go and rightfully so - it was beautiful!! I had so much fun just being somewhere tropical. Granted, we did stay at this ritzy resort, so everything was a hundred times better. But we did travel outside of the resort a few times. A couple times we took a shuttle to their sister resort (just as amazing) but then we walked outside the property and around the Mexican town. It was still an American tourist area, so it was still pretty nice (think a neighborhood around an American mall and you've pictured where we were). They catered to our stereotype of mariachi bands playing "La Bamba" everywhere (literally EVERY restaurant we went into had one - or two). However, I was surprised at how well most of them spoke English (better than some people in the US) and at how nice they were. Although these tourist-y spots were really nice, when I'd look out the windows of the taxis as we'd be taken to our next activity, I'd see how much was neglected at the cost of the beautiful resorts. The towns were shotty, and their sidewalks were worse than in NOLA. Their streets were alright, but a good bit of the buildings had tarps over the back half in lieu of a roof. Along the highways there were construction sites that had just been abandoned with no sign of completing the work that had been started.
But within the resorts it seemed like everyone who worked at the resorts absolutely loved their jobs and would do anything for you if you just asked. We read on some website that they expected tips (the resort was huge, so they had guys that drove around golf carts to taxi you everywhere) but every time we gave them a few pesos, they all looked genuinely surprised and ecstatic that they were being rewarded for their job. All-in-all, my vacation was amazing, between bungee jumping and zip lining and scuba diving and even the days where we just laid around our suite, everyone was so nice and wouldn't hesitate to help you out with directions or help you out of the vehicle. Although I did see some stereotypes upheld, I saw others broken down and realized that the only reason the other stereotypes lived on was because that's what made money - that's what the Americans coming to visit expected and wanted to see. It's our fault that the stereotypes live on; if we could look past them, then they wouldn't be forced into them.

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