Friday, December 07, 2012
I don't usually recommend movies, and I'm pretty up and down on Mike Leigh, but, wow, I have to say his early movie Nuts In May is by far the best I've ever seen. I recommend you give it a try.
I started this book, El Narco in Mazatlan because it was at the house where we were staying. It's about the drug wars in Mexico, going back to the very early days. It's fascinating. Mazatlan is in Sinaloa and historically that's been the spot (in the Sierra Madres) where peasant farmers have grown opium poppies and pot. In the 1800s, lots of Chinese immigrated to Mexico to work on the railroads and such, and they consumed opium and even started opium dens, some in Mazatlan!
Then the Sinaloans figured out that they could be making more money off of this and kicked the Chinese out of the business with horrible, racist campaigns. That started the whole deal with the Sinaloan cartels, of which there are three or so now, I think, based in Culiacan, the capitol of Sinaloa.
The really gnarly parts started with the Zetas, who are from the northeast and were started by a former Mexican special forces guy who recruited other military dudes. They are basically a terrorist insurgency at this point, although the Mexican and American government waffle on calling them that because it makes Mexico seem unstable.
The Zetas have been at war with the Sinaloans (who fight among themselves as well) and that's when things have been getting worse and worse.
Nothing the least bit sketchy happened in Maz, and they have gotten a handle on their graffiti problem, which made things appear sketchy last time. My mom claims it's not gang graffiti but I'm not sure I believe that. The only crazy thing is that cops cruise around standing in the back of pickup trucks with machine guns and their entire faces are obscured by black cloth thingies. That looks pretty nuts. It's to protect them and their families from assassination. However, their were less sketchy dudes there than in a typical night walking around Sac. And guys are respectful of women there, I didn't hear any catcalls for any ladies at all, which is certainly different from other areas.
Also: no trace of Montezuma's revenge although I had ice in everything and even ate a pile of lettuce this time and a bucket of salsa fresca and ceviche and everything. People are very careful not to make anyone sick because then they won't get any repeat business and will get a bad rep.
Posted by beckler at 9:57 AM