Thursday, June 01, 2006

More Mexican Vendors Who Live by the Bike

Here are two more people who make their living by bike in Guadalajara. The first one is selling brooms and mops. The operator was a young woman from Chiapas. My aunt and cousins can always identify the vendors from Chiapas by their shorter than average stature and colorful clothing. I asked her if I could take some photos of her bike, and she said yes. Since I wasn’t buying anything, I tipped her a dollar for the favor, an amount my aunt said was considerably more than she would expect, and she did seem very pleased. (I didn’t have any pesos on me and no one ever minds American dollars.)

Her three small kids played in a patch of grass/dirt nearby. How she transported them on this bike along with all the merchandise, I don’t know. I asked if I could take a picture of them and she shook her head no. I think that to the American eye, kids having fun in the dirt is majorly cute, but to a poor person from Chiapas, kids-in-the-dirt is not a good photo op. Probably for someone to take a picture of her kids she would want to give them a bath first and get them all dressed up. Even for a photo she'd never see, she didn’t want her kids represented with dirt on them. I suspect that’s what was going on there.

I could say more about different cultural perspectives on kids at play, having tried out several of these as a child. No Italians, for example, rich or poor, are at peace with their kids getting dirty. They get their kids all dolled up to go play in the park, and scold them if they get any smudges on their stylish duds. In Italy, my siblings and I were always the only dirty kids at the park. Thanks, Mom, for not making us “blend in” when it came to frolicking outdoors.

The minute someone starts throwing large sums of money at me, I’d be happy to provide you with at least a book’s worth of material on this sort of thing. I could tell you a lot. Many people are fond of saying we human beings are all the same all over the world. They are so wrong. If people would bother to ferret out the differences and understand them instead of proceeding blindly forward under the premise of that stupid cliché, maybe we wouldn't get on each other's nerves so much and we could all quit killing each other.

Are we still talking about bicycling? Here’s the photo of the broom and mop vendor.

And here’s a photo of another bike peddler, this one from Oaxaca, selling very well-crafted mats and baskets and other woven items that he made himself, and continued to make as he sat waiting for customers. I bought two sets of brightly colored straw placemats for our summer dinners in the back yard..

Grrrr. Once again, blogger is not cooperating. I could scream. I'll have to try this again later. Don't forget to check back in to see the photos.


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