The sombrero, the donkey and the tequila

This is the post excerpt.


I honestly don’t know where this stereotypical image of Mexicans comes from, but this is the idea a lot of people have about Mexico: A dark skinned guy leaning on a cactus in a desert-like landscape. The sun burning while he is taking a siesta with his sombrero on his head tapping his eyes. Next to him lies a bottle of Tequila and his donkey stands close-by.

To be honest, I also had this idea before coming to Mexico. I was expecting emerging cities and industries but I thought that in the rural areas I could actually see this image. Until today I have not solved the question why we have this idea in western Europe. My husband has no idea where it comes from so this is a true riddle.

Another idea, basically promoted by news we see and her about Mexico in Europe is that it’s an incredibly dangerous place – dead People lying on the street because of a war between drug dealers and cartels.

I am just going to cut to the chase here – both ideas are not true. Well, concerning the drug war I have to say that there were times when in some cities in the North of Mexico the situation was truly horrifying. This was during the time that Felipe Calderón was president of Mexico (2006 – 2012), before and after this most presidents just let the drug cartels be and don’t bother them too much, but Calderón decided to fight them which let to an escalation of the situation. Anyways – more on mexican politics in another post.

So what I am trying to say is that Mexico is nothing like this – Mexico is huge for european understaning (it fits about 30 european countries, I think) and incredibly diverse. This diversity is visible in culture, clothes, arquitecture, landscapes, climate zones, altitudes, language, history, mentality and food. There is desert and jungle, people working on their land with donkeys and modern industries, handcrafts and made in China, Catholicism and indigenous Religion and traditions. We will look into mexican history, geografics, etc. later, but I just want you to know: Mexico is an incredibly beautiful country and definitely worth a visit!


Another very popular idea of Mexicans is that they are unreliable and lazy. That they are unreliable is mostly true – of course it depends on the person and the situation, but I would definitely say that Germans are more reliable. However, lazy is definitely an adjective that is not true for Mexicans: Most people have to work incredibly hard and long hours in order to supply for their family because of very low wages. In some rural areas, indigenous people are still growing plants and food with their own hands without any agricultural machines. Most students work and study at the same time to be able to pay for University.

So, here is a quick summary of what Mexico is for me: Living in central Mexico means sun (almost) everyday, it means spicy food, relaxed people, it means cars and busses everywhere, almost no bicycles and no train. It means being close with the family, because here in Mexico, family is everything. It means people looking at you like you are from another planet and people welcoming you into their home or helping you in an incredibly nice and welcoming manner. It means dealing with Machismo and with false friends and promises as well as having the best parties of your life and living life to the fullest. It means you can get yourself out of a ticket in exchange for some cash and driving around in a car with 6 or 7 people. It means you don’t have to worry and should just enjoy life instead of worrying about the future like they teach us in Europe. It means very high temperatures in spring and freezing in winter because of the lack of a heating in the house.

Ultimately, it means a lot of adjustment and possiblities, because in Mexico, everything is possible.

4 thoughts on “The sombrero, the donkey and the tequila”

  1. Muy interesante y cierto yo pienso que la desconfianza viene por un lado por la situación política y financiera que ha tenido México en su historia. Nadie se compromete con nada pues no sabes qué va a pasar. Por el otro lado también la ligereza del mexicano, no hay planes tan exactos no se ocupa el tiempo en organizarse. El que quiere algo normalmente tiene que estar detrás de sus intereses. Definitivamente ven la confianza desde otro punto de vista que un europeo. Son diferentes puntos de vista creo que en ese sentido podemos aprender los mexicanos de los europeos y al revés.


    1. Bueno, en general esos son las ventajas y al mismo momento desventajas de ambas culturas, no? En México como dices, nadie se compromete con nada y eso de cierta forma es malo para el país porque no sale adelante, pero al mismo momento es agradable ver las cosas un poco más relajados que en Europa. Allá al contrario si salen adelante pero también es demasiado compromiso y demasiado “hacer lo que es bueno/ que ayuda al país/ que nos saca adelante” en vez de pensar que es lo que uno quiere y que es mejor para uno mismo – puede ser muy estresante y cansado esa actitud europea incluso genera problemas como el burn out etc. mientras México no aprovecha sus recursos y posibilidades…


  2. Könnte es vielleicht sein, dass das dumme Klischee über den Mexikaner mit Sombrero und Tequila im Staub eine Siesta haltend, wie du es beschrieben hast, aus den amerikanischen Westernfilmen des 20. Jahrhunderts kommt? Die wurden meist im staubigen Südwesten der USA aufgenommen und Mexikaner kamen oft darin in solchen klischeehaften Rollen vor.


    1. Oh ja, das ist gut moeglich, dass das Klischee daher kommt und ueber den grossen Teich geschwappt ist… Haette man sich eigentlich denken koennen, dass die USA fuer solch ein schlechtes beziehungsweise falsches Bild der Mexikaner verantwortlich sind 😉


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