Is It Crazy to Shop in Juarez?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] Plus, is the chupacabra Mexican?

DEAR MEXICAN: Why is it que cada vez that I talk to Hispanic people (not many Mexicans in New York yet), it seems they have a fantasma that they think lives in their houses? I know that Carlos Mencia has used this in his material, but I wonder if la raza is more liable to be haunted than other ethnic groups. Also, why does the chupacabra only live in Hispanic areas (including the South Bronx), but never in rural Mississippi?

Spooked in Soho

DEAR GABACHO: This column is ¡Ask a Mexican!—not ¡Ask a Hispanic!—but I'm making an exception for you because doing so allows me to dispel a long-held myth: The chupacabra isn't Mexican. The fantastical creature that preys on livestock (hence its Spanish name, which translates as "goatsucker") has obsessed fortean minds and popular culture in the Americas for the past 15 years. Its first claimed sighting was in 1995 in Puerto Rico, and other witnesses across Latin America (including the American Southwest and Florida) have also have reported seeing the creature. As Benjamin Radford reported in his well-researched, well-written Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast In Fact, Fiction and Folklore, folklorists have long-considered Latin American culture a fountain of mysticism and tall tales, legends usually created as socio-Jungian explanations of life. The chupacabra, according to this school of pensamiento and a folklorist Radford cites with a bit of skepticism, is "a form of cultural resistance that many [Latinos] use to maintain social bonds and gain control over growing fears surrounding the perceived destructive effects of 'toxic' U.S. political and economic imperialism." Typical—when in doubt, blame the problems of Latinos on gabachos, the true Nosferatus.

 

DEAR MEXICAN: A couple of weeks ago, to the horror of friends and family, my wife and I walked across the bridge from El Paso into Mexico for a day of wandering the mercados of Juárez. Our friends said we were crazy. The fact that we saw only three other obvious gabacho tourists over the course of the day shows that U.S. tourists are terrified of Juárez. Most of the usual border liquor stores were boarded up, and those that were open had scant inventory. The mercados favored by the locals, on the other hand, were buzzing. So, were we crazy to go? We had a great day.

Viviendo la Vida Loca

DEAR GABACHO: While your reasoning is fine—narcos usually shoot at their enemies or Mexican-Americans returning to the rancho and lay off gunning at gabachos lest the U.S. Army pull another Punitive Expedition—they're rather trigger-happy at the moment. Besides, why visit Juárez when you have El Paso—statistically one of the safest big cities in the United States—right across the border? It has everything Juárez has, plus Chico's Tacos, purveyors of the double order of rolled tacos, baptized in a flurry of Cheddar cheese and tomato sauce—as close to a Mexican god since the days of Quetzalcoatl.

 

GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK! Another Chuco landmark—Cinco Puntos Press, purveyor of fine Mexican-American books and a friend to the Mexican. Its catalog is at cincopuntos.com.

 
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18 comments
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Timscavo
Timscavo

I have a question for you Gustavo

when your mom was in show business, was her co-star a donkey, or a burro?

Paloma
Paloma

Thanks for giving a shout out to Chicos!

Clare
Clare

Dear Mexican:

Maybe not many Mexicans in Soho, but Mr. Spooked should take a stroll around Corona, Sunset Park, or Spansh Harlem. Muchos mixtecos.

Chiva 4 Gustavo
Chiva 4 Gustavo

If you are shopping for coca and black tar, you are in the right place.

frankieboy1
frankieboy1

the same reason no one goes to Tijuana to party anymore-why go there when you can go to better bars in the Gaslamp, and not have to fear for your life in the process? All the nice looking Mexican women from the other side of the border are in the Gaslamp on weekends anyway....

Pepe
Pepe

In response to Mr. Juárez adventure: Of course you were crazy, but not because it's all that dangerous, but rather because Juárez is butt-ugly. Hell, even the cachanillas in Mexicali make fun of Juárez for God's sake.

Pepe
Pepe

Really? This is the best you can do? Retarded variations on Your Momma jokes?Well, I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise considering the very modest dimensions of your gene pool.

together
together

What about Baja California is it cool? it has like a 40% white population.

Deportgustabo
Deportgustabo

that sounds like a threat.

that's what you people call AK-47s.

goat's horns

Pepe
Pepe

Parts of Baja are bitchin'. Ensenada has some freaky-good restaurants and the wine country in the Guadalupe Valley rules, for example. It is not, however, 40% white (if by white you mean non-Hispanic Americans).And the Gaslamp? Only douchebags go there. If you're looking for something in San Diego, try North Park.

Pepe
Pepe

Wouldn't that require, you know, for him to be something other than functionally illiterate? Unless, of course, there is an illustrated version of "The Interpretation of Dreams" I don't know about.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Um, read up on your Freud instead of your Glenn Spencer...

 
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