What So Much of Mexico Really Looks Like

For all its natural beauty and amazing culture, Mexico is still a deeply impoverished country. People do the best they can, scraping together what work they can find. But there is no “American Dream” here — for a variety of complicated reasons, it is quite difficult to become a self-made man or woman in this country. If you’re born rich or poor, you’ll likely die that way — unless you immigrate to countries where people are given more freedoms to fight their way out of poverty.

When you leave Mexico City (or any of Mexico’s major cities) you quickly see a different reality. The countryside — once gorgeous — has been burned to clear land for crops, and many people live in simple cinderblock hovels, some with electricity and water, some without. The infrastructure has not been maintained, the roads are littered with deep potholes. People are standing on the side of the road, selling what they can.

My father-in-law — always an observant photographer — took these photos from our minivan as we left one giant oasis, Mexico City, for the small oasis of Malinalco. The two hour drive between the two locales is less idyllic, but beautiful in its own difficult way.

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Churches are always the nicest buildings in the poor towns:

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Many people still make their living off the earth:

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3 thoughts on “What So Much of Mexico Really Looks Like

  1. Akkleptos says:

    Sure, if you quicky drive away from civilisation and the humongous, modern and bustling urban reality that is Mexico City, with it’s 20 million inhabitants, or any other of the major cities (where most of the population reside) you’re bound to find yourself some poor, rund-down place so you can say “Hey! THIS is the REAL Mexico” and apeace any preconceived Speedy Gonzalez notions.

    Also, villages and little towns in the State of Mexico -which surrounds Mexico City- are renowned for being quite ugly and impoverished.

    It’s as if I had gone to the US and quickly drove away from a major city into some backwater towns and said “-sigh- Now THIS is the REAL USA”.

    Next time, try Patzcuaro, San Miguel de Allende (little towns), and while you’re at it, visit Guanajuato and Morelia (medium-sized cities).

  2. Joy says:

    I challenge you to find any “backwater towns” in the U.S. that look anything like the poor towns in Mexico. The Estado is incredibly representative of most of Mexico, and to deny that is not healthy.

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