Friday, July 16, 2010

Xalapa (or Jalapa)

I have been in Xalapa for the last couple of days working with a university.  I am struck by how this southern part of Mexico seems untouched by two things which are prominent elsewhere in Mexico and the US.  The first is the problem of violence.  As you move north in the country, formerly quiet places are racked by violence.  I've heard a lot of talk about whether President Calderon's effort to oust the drug lords was a good idea - there is plenty of opinion on both sides.  But in this small town, there is not the same kind of concern.

At the same time I was in a relatively new mall last night which was packed.  Admittedly, some of the packing comes from the rainy season - the mall is a new place to congregate.   But the mall has added a new wing which has four or five pretty spiff restaurants, most of which were pretty full.  The interior is a lot like part of Disneyland which includes a faux ceiling that moves from day to night over the course of about an hour. This town has not been hit by the recession or the "stimulus" we've had in the US.  I was amazed before I left that the President's chief economic advisor could claim with a straight face the the administration had created or saved 3.5 million jobs - when the number of employed people in the US is actually lower now than when the President took over.   But that is the stuff for another post.

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