Thursday, November 03, 2011

Misunderstanding on Both Sides

This evening we began our walkabout looking to an Italian restaurant that I found in my morning walk.   We ended up across the street at a place called Cafe Iberico.  The Maitre d' got us there because he promised the food was good.  It was.   It turned out that he learned his English in Houston where he spent several years but overstayed his visa.  When he was discovered he spent another eight months in detention (which he described as worse than jail) and then was deported.  He came back at about the same time as his grandfather was dying.  He said he was fine with being back in the town where he was born but has a lot of family still in Houston.   He was a good waiter.   I am not a real fan of Paella and they evidently have chef who wins competitions for the dish in Spain.   The Tapas were superb - we had a range of five dishes and are likely to go back there.

The other story was the wife of the owner.  She is originally from North Carolina near Raleigh.  Her husband would like to live in Spain and goes there frequently.  She said business in the restaurant is down because Americans are staying away in droves.  Business is way down.   They are thinking of moving to Queretaro because business in San Miguel is so down.  She worried that the American news casts have so driven a false impression of the country.  So on both sides we have not achieved the kinds of conversations that neighbors should have.

Clearly, the US and Mexico would have benefitted from having Santiago in either place.  And, like we found in Ireland after Drumcree, the problems facing venues that depend in part on tourists are huge if there is a perception about a problem.

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