Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where Old Mannequins Go To Die

Having worked at Marshall Field's in Chicago for many years, I understand department stores and retailing. But I never knew what happened to old display mannequins. Now I know. They move to Mexico to live out happy lives in somewhat reduced circumstances.
I've walked past dozens of little clothing stores with the most hideous mannequins. Startling, really. Enough to make you stop dead in your tracks. Today I saw a black mannequin with a 70's Afro. I recognized it because I lived through the period....in Michigan. It's nice to know that old department store mannequins have a place to go.

Which brings me to my question of the day: Why is Jesus blond? Down here, you see pictures of Jesus everywhere. Of course, you say. It's a Catholic country. But the weird thing is that we is always depicted as blond, with light eyes, and white, white skin. Now come on. He was a Mediterranean Jew. How blond to you really think he was? My supposition is that this is all part of the Mexican obsession with fair complexions. In fact, the lighter the better. Most Mexicans will tell you that they don't have prejudice like we have in the U.S. But they do. Virtually every ad, every poster, every t.v. commercial has a blond woman (blond women are very big here, even if bottled version) with a cute-as-a-button little blond kid and a light-skinned husband. The posters in the fancy department store chain, Liverpool, show lots of Anglo-Saxon types. Now my guess is that that represents only about 15% of the Mexican population. So what's wrong with light-brown?

Today, I got up early and took a "combi," which is a collective van to the bus station. The combis stop anywhere along a predetermined route, picking up and dropping off passengers. And it's dirt cheap, about 50 cents. But you get as may as 10 crammed into a little van. From the station, I took a bus up to Patzcuaro....a 45-minute trip. Patzcuaro is the little mountain town I stayed in when I attended a seminar sponsored by the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix about 5 years ago. It's cute, but small. I went to the weekly Expat men's breakfast. Some 28 guys showed up, and many had stories about life in Mexico. It was a nice way to connect. This afternoon, I came back to Morelia and switched hotels (the old one was too noisy). I'm goig back to the little family place I tried last night for dinner. The call them "comida corrida" and it's a fixed price meal from soup to dessert.

The picture attached tonight is the National Music Conservatory....a former convent. There is a really pretty interior courtyard and garden open to the public. And you can sit there and listen to students practicing in they small practice rooms around the perimeter of the courtyard.

Tomorrow, off to Valle de Bravo.