Guanjuato Musings

You can’t paint any country with just a few brush strokes. In contrast to news stories that paint all of Mexico as a place of narco-trafficking violence, there is a world of civilized services and practices here that are totally missing in the “supposedly” safe USA. 

Safe, clean, affordable bus transportation is one of them.  Twenty years ago, the government abandoned its rail service and put those funds to work to create a bus system that really works.  Imagine, clean well maintained and staffed bus stations, wifi, tv and ipads for rent on buses.  Here you can you can buy your ticket online with a reserved seat.  It is not necessary to arrive an hour early to stand inline hoping for a seat.

Last weekend we took a first class bus from San Miguel to Guanajuato.  It is about the same distance as it from our home in Dartmouth to Boston.  Before we boarded, a uniformed employee of Primera Plus bus company, made sure the arriving bus was clean and placed new antimacassars on each seat. The seats were large and comfortable – unlike airline seats, you can actually recline without giving the person behind you claustrophia or a panic attack.  Wide shouldered guys like David are not hanging over the adjacent seat.  The windows have shades, as well as curtains, and the AC works fine. The round trip cost was less than a one-way ticket from New Bedford to Boston.  Yesterday’s first class buses are retired to become second class buses…

While American health care is supposedly the envy of the world, Mexico does a thriving business in providing health care to foreigners who travel here for procedures that cost 2-10 times more in the US: dental implants, cosmetic and other non urgent surgeries.  In the last few weeks, no fewer than four of my San Miguel acquaintances have told me about the dermatologist they visit here every year.  She gives them a thorough exam and removes all suspicious moles etc for not much more than my co-pay at home.  I have a “pretty good” Blue Cross PPO but between co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles, the same service in Massachusetts will cost me hundreds of dollars above the premium I have already paid. 

If you look, the picture is always richer, deeper and more finely nuanced–but the 24/7 news cycle won’t slow down enough to see what is really there.