Humanities Information

Mexican Living: Somethings Got to be Done!

Mexico needs to do something about the behavior of Gringos who come to their country who are hell-bent on acting out the Ugly American Syndrome stereotype no matter what.

I concluded this after an early morning shopping trip with the wife to the local Supermarket. There I saw this 70-year-old hippie, with his gun moll, cussing up one aisle and down the other looking for liquor. Doesn't that just figure? He ended his search with a screeching revelation,

"They don't even have beer here for Christ's sake!"

Why do Americans always want to attribute something mundane and worldly to Christ and for His sake? I mean, really, is it for Christ's sake that this early morning lush was searching so diligently for some booze? Anyway.

So, off he marched after screaming loudly enough to wake the dead.

I have some ideas that Mexico could do to stem the ever-increasing tide of displays of the Ugly American Syndrome:

First off, Mexico could pass a stupid tax. Americans who insist on acting like horses' butts in Mexico would be charged $50,000 pesos for each incident. I think this is a grand idea for Americans acting stupid in America too! What do you think of that? This money could be used to improve the infrastructure of the Colonial towns (like where we live!). But, after the tenth commission of a stupid act (which will take about 2 days), Americans would be deported immediately and without recourse.

Second, Mexico could enact a drunken bum or boozehound tax. There would be an allowance of three times you could appear in public WITHOUT falling down before you they would start taxing you. This would be particularly profitable in Puerto Vallarta where American drink to excess day and night.

We were in a little place in Puerto Vallarta once for breakfast when this couple came in and had three rounds of beer before their scrambled eggs and hotcakes came. We were told (because we asked the manager) that this goes on all the time. Americans are constantly drunker than skunks and are falling down all the time.

We saw more 75-year-old plus men stumbling around town like drunken sailors trying to pick up young coeds. Mexico could make a killing in Puerto Vallarta and no doubt the other resort towns as well.

The highest tax would be for each incident of The Ugly American Syndrome. This means that, each time you do the following, the Mexican government will charge you a tax of $150,000 pesos:

1. Insisting on paying for something with dollars because you are too lazy (or stupid) to get them changed into pesos. This would really be a moneymaker for the Mexicans since Americans do this routinely.

2. Telling the waiter who brought you EXACTLY what you ordered that you wanted a REAL taco.

3. Shouting English at a Mexican vendor or salesclerk as though will miraculously change them into a bilingual person.

4. Cutting your finger and toenails while in public. (This not only will get you taxed but a good slapping as well.)

5. Loudness or obnoxious behavior that is so typical of Americans when they come to another country. For example, statements like,

"Gee are all Mexican women this fat?"

"It sure is filthy here."

"Don't they serve real beer?"

"These Mexican houses don't suit our American tastes."

"Don't you know how corrupt your government is?"

And so on!

There is more, much more, and the Mexican government would have to publish a handbook with hundreds of examples of the Ugly American Syndrome to be fair to the visiting or expatriating American. Perhaps they could use Rick Steves' Europe Archives: Ugly American Sightings as a template for their handbook for Ugly Americans!

Check it out at:

Doug Bower is a freelance writer and book author. His most recent writing credits include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Transitions Abroad. He lives with his wife in Guanajuato, Mexico. His new book, Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country, can be seen at


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