The dead are coming

Muertos

WALKING AROUND the downtown plaza on a lovely, cool, October afternoon today, I noticed these windows across the street and their Day of the Dead banners.

Yes, the Day of the Dead approaches. It’s when we celebrate dead people, most of whom hereabouts are found in cemeteries, just like where you live.

This will be my 15th Day of the Dead, or Los Muertos as the natives call it, and it’s changed quite a bit in that time, mostly for the better. Every year a tianguis, which is a street market, comes to the downtown plaza. My first year, in 2000, it was poorly organized, butt ugly, and included lots of five-and-dime junk. That’s changed.

Now it’s nicely organized, covered by a uniform tent all around, and most of the junk is gone. Artisans from all over our state — and beyond — come to sell stuff, and lots of that stuff is creative and beautiful.

The primary draw, of course, is not the tianguis but the eerie, candlelit night in the cemeteries, which can be quite moving and incredible if there aren’t too many tourists underfoot. Best to choose your cemetery with care.

Our town is one of Mexico’s primary tourist destinations for Los Muertos. With luck, it will be a raging success this year because the merchants need that. We’ve had a bad rep for years, due to the dumb U.S. media* bludgeoning us on a regular basis because of “narco violence,” most of which does not affect tourists in the slightest.

But it’s hit tourism hard.

Narco violence, such as it ever was, has pretty much vanished. The touchiest times occurred about five years ago hereabouts, and a year or two ago there were problems in remote, rural areas of the state, but that’s blown over too. You’re safer here than in most of the United States today. Believe it.

But our reputation lives on, sadly. And the U.S. media continue to misrepresent and harm us.

Yes, most of the dead are in the cemeteries, and you will not be among them. Not horizontally, at least.

* * * *

* The U.S. State Department is no better with its warnings issued by clueless officials who’ve obviously never set foot in our tranquil, picturesque area.

14 thoughts on “The dead are coming”

  1. Well, public enemy #1 in MX, El Chapo de Sinaloa, was caught over the weekend. He seems to be quite the inspiration behind lots of the murders committed by his familia. Haven’t heard anything lately about La Familia de Michoacan, Knight Templar. Maybe they’ve moved into cyberspace.

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    1. Carole: I heard about ole Chapo. Glad he’s in jail, but he’ll just be replaced. Narco troubles will not end till drugs are legalized and the huge profit motive vanishes.

      But things are quiet in our neck of the Mexican woods.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: I just scanned that website, and I read the part about our state. My lord, how am I still alive? Clearly, no one in his right mind sets foot here. It is truly nuts and bears no connection to reality whatsoever.

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  2. Mexico is ranked 10th globally in international visitor arrivals and is the largest foreign destination for Americans, regardless of the misinformation published by the US State Department. Very few people pay attention to what they say anyway. They are simply incapable of telling the truth, like nearly all federal government agencies.

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  3. ¡Ay, Felipe! You’ve now gone and undone my good work. (http://gringosuelto.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/how-i-survived-the-horrors-of-patzcuaro/). I tried my best to paint Pátzcuaro as a completely boring place, even going so far as to suggest that “day of the dead” was the day when everyone stayed home to get their tax records together.

    But now you’ve let the cat out of the bag. So you’ll have no one to blame but yourself when the place is overrun by hordes of Gringo tourists who will immediately plan to move there, and begin over-tipping the service folks, and driving up all manner of other prices.

    Tsk, tsk…

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Which is pretty overrun by tourists this time of year too.

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