Cement, hammers, nails

HERE’S SOMETHING about Mexico you don’t know if you don’t live here: Our nation’s in a building frenzy. You can hardly drive an urban mile without passing numerous construction projects. You’ll see them on rural miles too.

These can be small, medium or large in scale. Businesses that sell construction materials are ubiquitous.* Trucks carrying material down the road from Point A to Point B are an hourly sight. Cement, rebar, bricks, you name it.

We never stop building here — or renovating.

hammerI view this positively. A nation that’s constantly building is a nation that’s moving ahead, and Mexico is moving forward at a remarkable pace.

(We’re even taking steps to legalize marijuana, and that would be lousy for the narcos and great for the rest of us.)

Construction labor is inexpensive. Compared to the United States, it’s incredibly cheap. I like this, of course.

A man who builds things here is called an albañil. It’s invariably a man. I’ve yet to spot a female albañil.

Mexico knows men and women differ.

A Spanish-English dictionary often defines albañil as bricklayer, but a good albañil does far more than lay bricks. A great albañil is a magician. He can build anything.

Barry Obama, the Mohammedan sympathizer and half-white Hawaiian-Indonesian, would not be able to look an albañil in the eye and say, “You did not build that” because the albañil would have built it, and built it quite well.

(Yes, I can inject politics anywhere.)

Unlike tradesmen in the United States and teachers in Mexico, albañiles are not unionized.  You never encounter them blocking highways because they are out of sorts.

The lack of trade unions is a big reason you can get work done at a very good price south of the Rio Bravo.

Many, perhaps most, get into the profession as children, helping relatives. An albañil now working at the Hacienda began when he was 13. Now 40, he’s remarkably talented.

Perhaps the narcos who find themselves without income due to drug legalization will put down their M16s and turn to honest construction work. There’s lots to be done.

Mexico is on the move.

* * * *

* I rarely use two-dollar words, but sometimes it’s fun.

12 thoughts on “Cement, hammers, nails”

  1. I like your $2 words, amigo. Your scholarly observations often serve to elevate my dopamine levels to a point only surpassed by a strong cup of joe on a chilly New York morning.

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    1. Mark: Back in New York, are you? You really need to keep me better informed.

      As for $2 words, I generally steer clear of them. Thirty years of newspapering had their effect on me. Newspapers in the U.S. aim to write on a junior high level most of the time, you know, so even people who vote Democrat can understand.

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  2. One of the many benefits being here is having tradespeople do work I would have usually done. They work diligently and do great work especially if you tell them exactly what the outcome should be.

    As I write this, the wife was thinking of getting some remodeling work done. Damn.

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    1. Now, Judy, I put an asterisk by the two-dollar word when it appeared near the top. I was trying to make life easy for you.

      I’m glad you got a chuckle. Chuckles are good. And two-dollar words have their place, but their place is usually not here. I am a simple, plain-talking man.

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    1. Señor Cotton: Of course, it would not be a two-buck word on your blog. It would be run-of-the-mill due to your frequent use of words that nobody on earth knows aside from you. But here we stick to plain English. Though many people know ubiquitous, some do not, making it a two-dollar word hereabouts.

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