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When I was growing up poor in the states, my mom would always remind us that being poor doesn't mean being dirty. We had an old car, old small house and hand me down clothes, but everything was spotless. Things last longer too if you take care of them and maintain them. 

Love Mexico. I mean really love. But it's a bit unkept and dirty to me. 

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I completely disagree. Are you living in the real world or some kind fantasy world? I have been travelling to México for over 25 years and live here now for 9 and this is complete nonsense. Have you ever been in a Mexican's home? Have you ever looked at the immaculate children going and coming from thier schools in thier spotless uniforms? Do you even know what you are talking about? Yes, maybe the streets might not be as clean and the garbage not picked up as in your perfect hometown, but have you ever heard of the phrase "behind the walls"? I suggest that you take a look some day before you spout your "Ugly American" reteric. And even if you are not American I suggest that you reconsider your offensive remarks or maybe think about why you are here in the first place. Just my opinion.  

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Wow, you surely read more into that short Post than I did!  I see nothing about spouting 'Ugly American'  and I also see nothing 'offensive'. The man just said that he sees Mexico as a bit unkept. I think that is probably an understatement. He also said he 'loves it'... emphatically in fact.

 

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Was that personal unpleasantness necessary gringohombre?  I see nothing in the OP that warrants this response.  He didn't opine that "they" are dirty, he did opine that "it" is dirty.  Big difference.

To address what he wrote, "it" definitely can be untidy out in the public spaces.  I will say that when we came here the level of municipal services was far better and they actually did a pretty good job of keeping the streets reasonably clean.  This is no longer the case and things have deteriorated to the point where not only are there no street cleaners except in favored areas, the trash pickup is not reliable so that people put trash out, it isn't picked up and then the animals, mainly street dogs, scatter it, adding to the mess.

I'm a moto rider.  I've visited a lot of Mexican towns.  Some are not the most tidy but most seem to be a great deal better run and kept than here these days.  What you are seeing here has not always been the case and although some are still in denial about it, the reality is that we have a problem with transparency, honesty and efficiency in this municipality.  

No doubt I'll be attacked for pointing out the obvious but your eyes are telling you the truth.  It would be a lot worse but both the Mexican and expat community do a lot of cleaning up.   Volunteers control the graffiti, the municipality does nothing about that either.

Some communities, like Tapalpa and Mazamitla which are major tourist attractions are spotless and virtually free of graffiti.  When I visit I never fail to see municipal workers out taking care of things and it shows.  Here we either take care of the trash and graffiti ourselves, or it quickly accumulates.

My point is, don't assume all of Mexico is equally untidy as you are seeing around here these days.  And don't assume it has always been that way.  It hasn't been.  And it doesn't need to be but until we get better leadership at the local level this is probably going to continue.

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many people throw used plates & bottles into the vacant lots. these people are mostly weekend visiters. there are many large garbage cans nearby. there i said it. poor doesnt have to mean disrespectful. the city doesnt pick up the garbage much & it sits on the streets stinking. thats not the fault of the residents.

Edited by betty7
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The OP clearly states "that being poor doesn't mean being dirty." and again i would refer to the scrubbed kids and the many immaculate homes that I have been to even though they are poor and are doing thier best in a country that defiantly has a ineffective government system.

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yes Mexico is unkept, I agree with that 100 %. A few towns or villages are well kept and clean but most of them are not.. Same with the houses of the poor.. People are very clean as a rule but the houses are not and they usually are a disaster. I can only speak of the houses I  go to but I see  lots and lots of poor houses  some are immaculate and the majority of them are a disaster. That is just the way it is.

Poverty makes it tougher to be clean but one of the cleanest place I have ever stayed in was a house in a village near Oventik in Chiapas where women have to walk 4km to get water, I got there late one day and had to stay overnight and the house was extremely clean. Water was offered to wash hands before eating although it was scarce..but I have to stay that house sticks up in my mind because it was so unusual.

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Like most places, some people are clean, and some are messy or dirty. But in my experience, it is quite dirty here. I look after an airbnb rental and I can tell you that all the foreigners who have stayed there have left it immaculate, and all the Mexicans leave it like a pigsty. I wish this wasn't so, but that is the truth. I know Mexicans who own nice rental homes who won't rent to other Mexicans for this reason. I rented a place to a young Mexican doctor- when I had to go in to do some repairs (and he knew I would be coming) I walked in to find garbage all over the floor, piles of dirty dishes with cockroaches crawling over them, open food all over the counters. I actually asked him if, as a doctor, he didn't make a connection between filth and disease. He didn't have an answer for that, just looked ashamed.

A Mexican friend of mine told me that she was trying to teach her young son to put his garbage in the garbage can instead of just unwrapping something and dropping the wrapper on the ground or the floor. But her husband kept undermining this, telling the boy to drop it on the floor, that it was his mother's job to sweep it up.

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First I will start off staying that I love being in Mexico and in all of América Latina, but especially México.  Yes, Mexico is very dirty, dusty, and extremely unkempt in many areas.  The Chapala area seems to be going on the trashy side of recently.  Just drive down the Libramiento, it stays trash strewn up and down it, and that is after they cleaned it recently.  Of course poverty doesn't automatically have to mean dirty, but it means uneducated and at times dissatisfied with life in a way you think it doesn´t matter.  Why should the rich have it all?  Lets give them a taste of how we live!   I live in Chapala next to the arroyo with a large open area with a hill where the barrio kids come out to play all day and night.  The arroyo is filled with trash and god knows what and the whole area where the kids play looks like a public hazard zone, not to mention all the sling shot stone throwing we endure all day every day.  I also sit on the malecón most nights and see the Tapatio culture up close. There are many families that are clean and seriously make an effort to throw away all their trash into the trash receptacles, but there are many more that just leave there trash to be blown into the lake.  That really bothers me, I am constantly picking up and throwing away trash like the blowing beer cans and plastic bags, before they end up in the lake.  I love México, I love the people, I love the culture, I speak the language, and I understand that it is a hierarchical class based culture that as Americans it is difficult to truly comprehend.  You either are a servant in some shape, form or fashion, or you have servants that clean, cook, drive and work for you.  Most large cities in their downtown area have street sweepers that clean and keep the streets litter free.  The Chapala malecón has sweepers that remove the trash and clean the area. Although, there isn't enough of them, and they work less hours than I would prefer.  At night is when they should work harder to clean and empty the trash cans before the night wind blows it into the lake.  I guess the Tapatios feel that if they leave the trash, there are workers that are paid to clean it up.     

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8 hours ago, mudgirl said:

 I walked in to find garbage all over the floor, piles of dirty dishes with cockroaches crawling over them, open food all over the counters. I actually asked him if, as a doctor, he didn't make a connection between filth and disease. He didn't have an answer for that, just looked ashamed.

 

Looked ashamed when you criticized him for something?  You're lucky he didn't want to fight you.

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there are people who are bussed in to ajijic for a day trip. these people eat fast food throw the trash on the ground. they hang out near taco places or vacant lots. they are worse than most of the residents. poverty is no excuse for this. i have no desire to delve into the reasons for the behavior.

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Last week a group of young people was picking up trash in west Ajijic around the fisherman´s camp.. They had scarves around their neck and belong to some organization so there is hope and change will come. Plastic is the worst .. and it makes me angry to see how people throw trash without a thought.  Europe was that way in the 60´s, I was appalled when I saw the beautiful white beaches in Alabama when I arrived in 70 full of garbage so that changed and it will change in Mexico but in the meanwhile it is a real shame that people are not more careful with their surrounding.

 The hotel next to us is for ever dumping trash at the lake, the other gardeners reported them to the city, the guys from the environment spoke with the people at the hotel who denied doing it and that was the end of it... and the mess continues..  Many people contribute to the mess and many of them are not poor..

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13 hours ago, Herman said:

When I was growing up poor in the states, my mom would always remind us that being poor doesn't mean being dirty. We had an old car, old small house and hand me down clothes, but everything was spotless. Things last longer too if you take care of them and maintain them. 

Love Mexico. I mean really love. But it's a bit unkept and dirty to me. 

Feedback?

Here's a bit of a different prespective: On my regular trips down into in th e1960s and 1970 we all marveled at the houses built of mud (Adobe) with dirt floors what had youngins coming out to walk to church or school and they were spotless. The young men with clean white cotton pants and the girls in starched and ironed frilly white dresses. We always talked of this. The garbage was burried, The freshly washed clean clothes hung on the barbed wire fence. There was NO trash blowing around. It was dusty as the fields were just plowed with oxen. We were always amazed. There was a mess of broken down equipment on the ranches but there was on mine as well. It wasn't junk it was the spare parts storage area.

This was before cartels and the institutionalized corruption at todays levels. How many governors under indictment or on the run today. Theft of public funds at all government levels just doesn't ;eave enough to pay for garbage pickup in the towns and villages. But I bet the moms work just as hard to clean and provide for their kids.

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there was a time (before the big highway to guad several years after) that most of ajijic was spotless. also very quiet even on a weekend. you hardly saw a obese mexican or a trashy looking one. there was no pollution. then along came oxxo & other attractions. there is no turning back. wait untill they build more all night fast food places in those lots. 

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I walk the lake shore areas fairly frequently and without doubt, the trashiest places are where the fishermen have their boats and little shacks for hanging out.  They are off the beaten track and get no municipal help to pick up trash but I think it is a little strange that ones who derive some income and pleasure from the lake would be so oblivious to the consequences of their actions.  Mexicans do not take criticism well... especially from gringos.  I do, however, take opportunities to teach by example.  Alan

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probably people were not given plastic bags every time they bought something.. there was a time when bottles were returnable etc... but I remember in Europe the metal cans of sardines left by the workers after lunch also when you grow up with garbage you do not see it could explain why Mexico that was so clean  is not anymore. I do not remember Mexico ever striking me as clean and I remember getting sick every time I came here in the 70´s.. Did not get nearly as sick in Asia which had plenty of dirty places as well..

I remember people in the US dumping paper cigarettes and other garbage on the street and on the beaches  and I arrived in 70 so if you were used  to see garbage you did not see the garbage in Mexico now people are more aware of it and therefore see it.

I have to agree on the clothes being whiter than white but everyone agrees here that people dress in a clean manner in Mexico, actually the white does not seem  be as white since clothes are washed by machine. When we got here in 2001 we were shocked by the garbage , now we do not see it anymore..

One improvement around here no more carcasses of horses and cows left with lime to decompose by the side of the road for at least a year..

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Cigarettes were quickly absorbed by nature, before filters!

Tin cans rusted away, before plastic and aluminum!

Grocery bags & paper wrappers were quickly gone, before plastic!

Even cars and trucks rusted away, before plastic and aluminum!

Old carpets, clothing & other natural fibers, too, before synthetics!

I am old; born before plastic. I will be recycled soon, without plastic!

Music, when I was young, was acoustic.  People had good hearing!

Progress?

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They were absorbed and were treash in the meanwhile and plenty of trash same with paper and other garbage.. I remember filthy parks in Paris in the 50´s and 60´s... dog ´poop´everywhere on the sidewalks.. that too disappear eventually but that did not make it pleasant to be around.

Plastic is worst but that does not mean it was nice before.

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1 hour ago, RVGRINGO said:

Cigarettes were quickly absorbed by nature, before filters!

Tin cans rusted away, before plastic and aluminum!

Grocery bags & paper wrappers were quickly gone, before plastic!

Even cars and trucks rusted away, before plastic and aluminum!

Old carpets, clothing & other natural fibers, too, before synthetics!

I am old; born before plastic. I will be recycled soon, without plastic!

Music, when I was young, was acoustic.  People had good hearing!

Progress?

Not only that, there was far less packaging when we were young than there is now.  It has just been in the last decade or so the U.S. has really gotten on top of this problem of trash.  Mexico has a lot further to go IMO.  

 

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I spent a summer living with a Mexican family and attending the University of Guadalajara back in the mid 60's.  The streets and sidewalks in the residential areas were clean as was the historic district and the area around Mercado Libertad which was only a year old then.

There were few cars and far fewer people so life in Guadalajara was more close up and personal so people took more care of their surroundings. 

When visiting the lake down by the Chapala pier the lake was pristine and I clearly remember being shown an area where they had what was a primitive water sanitation system.  It was a point of pride.

 

 

 

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On 5/4/2017 at 9:27 PM, gringohombre said:

The OP clearly states "that being poor doesn't mean being dirty." and again i would refer to the scrubbed kids and the many immaculate homes that I have been to even though they are poor and are doing thier best in a country that defiantly has a ineffective government system.

Just a minor point of order.  Don't mix up his first and second paragraphs.  "It" as used in the OP clearly refers directly back to "Mexico" in the same and second paragraph, not to the observation about people in the first.  However I think the inference is that people here tend to throw trash around and I don't find that an inaccurate or unfair observation.  

However, just linking it to poverty is not an accurate observation IMO, the tendency to throw trash around is much more general.  Poor people don't have cars yet look at the trash along any road.  So I think it is valid to take issue with his connecting poverty to littering.

I remember when there was a lot more roadside and street litter NOB as well.  It took decades of education plus a consistent effort on the part of government to cut the problem way back.  I see local schools trying to educate the kids so that is at least a start.  Can't say the same for government yet, at least not locally.

Bontepar, believe it or not constantly telling people to leave if they don't like it is not a recipe for either civil discourse or civic progress.  As with the noise issue, it is the larger Mexican community that is leading the way in addressing it.  The expat community is pretty much limited to setting a good example by keeping the spaces around us tidy.

It would be great if we here would resist the temptation to "tell people to get lost" or get personally unpleasant when we don't like their opinions.  Consider the possibility that it just shows that the person posting in this manner can't or won't contribute substantively to the discussion.

 

 

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