Saw an interesting advertisement for one of the local foreigner-run non-denominational churches. This particular church has a long history of being both rude and belittling in regards to Mexicans on matters of faith and culture. Luckily, Mexicans in San Miguel have a long history of ignoring we foreigners’ swipes and ignorance.
So I was impressed to read the church was having a Mexican tour guide speak on tourism in San Miguel. The speaker is a nice young man well versed on dates and names. Why have someone who makes a living on the topic speak on the topic baffled me a bit but happens often with insurance agents, so why not? One just has to keep in mind it is like asking a dog’s opinion on annihilating all cats. Their view may be inherently skewed.
Instead the tour guide is introduced as San Miguel’s moral conscious. Wow, I give occasional tours and have difficulties aligning my own consciousness at times, but to be in charge of morals for a town must be exhausting! Much more so than him being a tour guide simply looking for work.
It was obvious from the advertisement the thrust of the lecture was on the evils of increased tourism in town – the traffic, new hotels, new neighborhoods and alike.
Putting aside the need for possessing the good manners to never say anything negative, particularly in public, about your host or hostess, I simply don’t understand why some resident foreigners hate tourism.
Now, in an effort of full disclosure, I’ve always been biased towards living in a tourist based economy. I grew up Hershey, PA which is economically vastly similar to San Miguel except instead of folks from Mexico City, it was New Yorkers that came to Chocolatetown, USA on weekends and holidays. Then I raised my kids on the remote resort of Bald Head Island and now I live here.
What made we foreigners come to San Miguel to begin with? Exactly because San Miguel is a tourist town. If not we could all be living in nearby Escobedo, Silao or Pozos but we aren’t. Why? Because living in a vacation destination is nice. Sure, you’ve the occasional swarms of tourists but most of the year you’ve all this beauty other folks flock to all to yourself.
Naturally, when the swarms of tourist land there are problems with traffic, getting a dinner reservation and such but as every post-pubescent learns you have to realize life isn’t always about you.
Tourism is our adopted hometown’s only business. Even teachers, architects and nurses are serving folks who are connected, through less than six degrees of Kevin Bacon, to tourism. Just like in Hershey, PA the factories of San Miguel are long gone. If tourists stop coming to Hershey, Bald Head or San Miguel the towns would quickly be ghost towns. Why would we foreigners, as guests here, want to even try to put a damper on the town’s success and economic lifeblood? Tourism is why we came, why we are here and what makes the town survive.
Even less intelligent dogs know not to bite off their nose despite their face, or the presence of cat. Baffling how some resident foreigners insist on biting the hand that feeds them.
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin