Rebeca


Con mi prima Bequi en su fiesta de graduación, México DF.

One of the highlights of my trip to Mexico was going to my cousin Becky’s college graduation party! Becky invited me last summer when I visited with my sons, so I planned to go to México for it. She graduated as an engineer in December and from now on she will be addressed by her official title of ingeniera. As part of her curriculum, she had to learn English because it’s an international business language. So when she couldn’t take courses she needed in Spanish because they were closed, she would take them in English. We went to see The Day the Earth Stood Still, El día que se detuvo la Tierra in Spanish, and Becky insisted that we see it in English with Spanish subtitles. In many Mexican theaters you have the option of watching movies dubbed in Spanish or in the original English language with Spanish subtitles. Unlike when I was boy, the movies come out at the same time in Mexico as in the U.S.

This was such a cool graduation party! We went to the Ex-Convento de San Hipólito near the Zócalo in downtown México City. There is a courtyard in the middle of the building, but they put up a temporary roof in case it rained. We arrived at 9:30 pm, even though the party officially started at 9:00, and many graduates and their guests were still arriving. Becky had a table for ten reserved for her. Her parents, my cousin Mara and her husband Enrique, Becky, six of Becky’s friends, and me sat at that table. There was a DJ playing music until the evening program began. A few students gave speeches and each table cheered on their graduate. Click on the link below to hear Becky’s. And, of course, there were Mariachis. Everyone who wanted to drink brought their own liquor. The waiters for our table would then mix our drinks. We had tequila, so the waiter made me a Paloma, tequila with Squirt (Esquirt in México). This custom was something foreign to me. For some strange reason, one of the waiters kept speaking to me in English. The waiters served us our dinner, but I can’t even remember what we ate! After dinner, there was dancing. Everyone danced except me. That is until Mara asked me to dance. My cousin-in-law Enrique commented that I danced like an American because I didn’t raise my hands above my head.

Each graduate was seated at a table for ten, for family and guests. Throughout the night, tables would cheer on their graduate. They would erupt into cheer unexpectedly. Click the link below to hear our table cheering Rebeca proudly.

http://davidrodriguez.us/media/Becky.aiff

The party roared all night long. About 6:30 am, the waiters started asking us if we wanted coffee and chilaquiles, fried tortillas with eggs. That was the one thing I loved about the party. We didn’t have to forage for food after the party as we usually do in Chicago. As the evening progressed, the waiters became friendlier with us and talked with us when they weren’t busy. The one who spoke English to me was especially friendly. I told him I could tell he had lived in the U.S. At first he denied it, but then admitted to living and working in Las Vegas for about eight years. But he came back to Mexico because he missed his family. I asked him why he spoke to me in English. He told me that he thought I was Canadian! Go figure!

Well, the party was a lot of fun! When we got home, we immediately went to bed because when we woke up, we were driving to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo!

Mexican stereotype


 

Mariachi Sponge Bob by Burger King

When Americans think of Mexicans, one of the most prominent images that comes to mind is the Mariachi. There’s nothing wrong with that since the Mariachi does have positive connotations and reflects favorably on Mexicans. The Mariachi has become the epitome of Mexico even though Mariachis originated in the state of Jalisco. There are many more cultural facets to Mexico than just the Mariachis. As further proof, think of Hollywood movies that depict Mexicans. Okay, please try to block out Beverly Hills Chihuahua because it’s not representative of all Mexicans. I haven’t actually seen the entire movie, so I’m not qualified to comment on it. Okay, I did see the previews where they showed the Chihuahuas as advanced civilization similar to the Aztecs. When Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short made the movie The Three Amigos, they dressed like Mariachis. I once took my sons to Burger King and the toy in the Kid’s Meal was a Mariachi Sponge Bob. I often take Mariachi Sponge Bob to Spanish classes with me and the students love him so much I make I keep my eye on him so no one steals him from me.

Ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores.

Nacho Libre


CTA bus in Chicago, Illinois.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to see Nacho Libre with my sons. This movie was filmed entirely in Mexico with all-Mexican cast, with exception of Jack Black. Perhaps I should translate his name to Juanito Moreno.

The movie is set in Mexico, but all the characters speak English with a Mexican accent. I guess that was the director’s way of letting the audience know that the movie was set in Mexico. The accents weren’t very convincing, particularly because the scenery was actually Mexican.

Did this movie offend you? Some characters speak Spanish and there are no English subtitles! Whatever happened to English only? Where is the public outcry? Well, there was none. I wasn’t the least bit offended. In fact, I was happy that Mexico could be represented in American cinema without any controversy.

This was such a fun movie to watch. I laughed so hard at some scenes and then wondered why I wasn’t offended. I noticed that the other people in the theater who were laughing were also of Mexican descent. The movie brought back some memories of Mexico. The movie accurately portrays Mexico as I remember it when I visited my family there as a boy. The movie represents Mexico in its stark reality without any social critique, as does Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi.