Friday, January 24, 2014

Life Interrupts............In the Jardin

I had intended on writing on a whole different subject today along with another photo.  What happened here was just too good not to post about and to take a photo.

Here it is.  As I arrived in the jardin at about 11AM, I noticed quite a few groups of high school students on field trips, I presume. From where I don't know.  For years, when they arrive from Guanajuato or Leon, usually, they are practicing their English so they come up and inquire as to whether they can ask you questions in English.  It is quite fun and definitely a learning experience for both sides - me and the students.

As I sat on the wall, warming my body today, I saw a swarm of students walk up to this man who was dressed in a straw hat and bermuda shorts.  The typical tourist.  They asked if they could have their picture taken with him.  He had been sitting there reading his paper, but he broke into a large grin as the kids surrounded him for one photo after another.  As they left, I listened and each and every young person thanked him, in English, for allowing the photos.  It was priceless.

I waited a while and then walked over to talk to him.  I inquired if he was a Canadian since he was in bermuda shorts, but, in fact, he was from Northern Indiana.  He was tickled at the event with the kids.
We talked more.  Twenty years ago he and his wife, who worked for a company in Chicago, came down to manage a factory in San Miguel that made the little glass and brass enclosed cases to put decorative items or whatever in.  Then the Chinese saw them somewhere, copied them and started making them for pennies on the dollar.  Fifteen hundred families no longer had employment here when the factory closed because of the undercutting of the Chinese company.

This man and his wife returned to Chicago and Indiana, but continued to come down every year to enjoy San Miguel for a week or two.  Now, both retired, they spend a longer period of time here.

I remember when that started happening in Mexico.  Even the hand blown glasses with the blue rims were knocked off in China and the small factories in Mexico were forced to close.  Such a shame.  Part of it is not having the knowledge of how to design another product.  Part of it was not having the money to change in midstream.  Fast forward to now.  That business, for the most part, is back.  And, it's back in great numbers.

A friend of mine who is a consolidator in Tlaquepaque said their number one country to export to today is Italy followed by Australia.  Who knew?  I think it is magnificent.

The man and I talked a bit longer and then I joined friends to head out to lunch.  However, that brief conversation, with the man from Indiana, sparked a long forgotten memory for me today.  Along with a fun photo.

6 comments:

Sissy said...

How delightful for you and I so enjoyed reading about this. Do you know if Mexico exports to the USA. I live in Tennessee and have never seen a product from Mexico. Yet, I don't get around much either. It doesn't seem quite upright that China did this deed and damaged so many people. I frankly think their products are so inferior and "Made in China" is all I ever see.

Babs said...

Hi Sissy - Mexico exports a lOT to the USA - fruits, vegetables, cars, airplanes, and lots lots more. At the international bridge at Laredo, the 18 wheelers on both sides are sometimes backed up for as much as 5 miles while waiting to be inspected!

Steve Cotton said...

As always, an interesting and informative post. Sometimes, people forget how dynamic trade can be. A number of companies that moved manufacturing to China have repatriated those operations to the NAFTA countries. Trade is seldom a zero-sum game. But, why am I telling you that? The Queen of NAFTA information.

FREDERICKA said...

Very nice that the young people asked permission before taking a photo, unlike many American tourists. And I agree it's fun to sit in jardin practicing Spanish with those who want to practice their english. One of the many joys of living or visiting in SM.
Enjoyed the comments regarding Mexican products as well. We get lots of vegetables, etc. here in Texas and I always look for the Hecho in Mexico label.

Babs said...

Steve, hardly the Queen of NAFTA but since I was exporting at that time, I certainly experienced the major changes that took and have taken place, all for the better, in my opinion.

Babs said...

Fredericka, one never knows what to expect when you go to the jardin. I guess that's why, even after 13 years, I still find it so delightful.

Yes, the amount of trucks going north from Mexico is huge, with everything from cars to huge road construction equipment to furniture and of course fruits and vegetables.