I walked to the Mercado Escobedo, equally large, no parking, zillions of stalls, fresh fruit
and vegetables, meat hanging, clothes, hardware, anything, if you can figure out which
aisle to take and duck through. The Second Culture shops here.
My concern is that we are becoming Mexican faster than they are becoming us. The grow-
ing division between rich versus poor, tech-skilled versus menial labor, haves versus have
nots, private school versus public is not the development I favor. Good jobs and near-
tuition-free education invited me to California in 1958, but that Education Master Plan is
now history. It's most apparent in hotel, restaurant, car wash, landscape gardening, and
construction businesses that the owners are likely white, the workers brown. I prefer a bell-
shaped culture, with the vast majority within one standard deviation versus the bimodal
Mexico enjoys the good fortune that the Second Culture has a passive nature, responds to
authority, feels fatalistic and doesn't terrorize the First, yet. Chiapas is on the verge.
The more I walked Queretaro's colonial center, which was about a half-mile square, if not
larger, the more I realized that I had found a patio paradise. I couldn't determine if all these
buildings were once convents, church related or private homes now converted. I peeped in-
to the archways as I walked. Single-arched doorways opened into a patio with a fountain,
sometimes working, but always beautiful and always raising the question, “What was the
source of the wealth that built Queretaro's historic center, and who lived here?” Most of the
buildings were shops, restaurants, and hotels, living a modern life in colonial garb.
I took my last comprehensive postcard mailing to the post office, sent all my former clients
greetings and affixed each card with a bright, colorful stamp, just to let them know that
I'm well, healthy and teaching in Mexico. I felt that one more postcard was in order so old
clients would know that it wasn't just a business relationship, but that there was also a per-
When our tour of duty ended in Queretaro, I was fortunate that three of our group wished
to see more of Mexico. We visited the parents of a good friend, a restaurant owner from
the hometown of two of the group. The parents lived in Sierra Gorda Mountains. They had
eight children, none educated beyond junior high, and they lived in the high desert where
you'd swear starvation ruled. From his cinderblock house, which was as clean and shiny as
my shoes, the 67-year-old father, raised chickens, goats, cows, grew vegetables, including
corn that he dried and ground for tortillas, and nearly fifteen varieties of fruits, including a
sour orange, with a tortured skin that I was unfamiliar with, which was used for cooking.
From the road, you would never guess the productivity of that arid, hillside property.