My friends from New York City, where I lived for many years, often ask me why I live in Baja California, Mexico, near Rosarito Beach. After we announced that we were moving here, one of them asked my wife whether I had had a stroke. “Not so,” I said. “I moved to Mexico for the people.”
The effusiveness of the Mexican people has certainly been tamped down by the pandemic, but you can still see the friendliness in the eyes above their face masks. They are taking the coronavirus seriously.
Our favorite restaurants are only available for takeout. One of them, Ollie’s Pizza, didn’t permit takeout before the pandemic. You had to enjoy your pizza inside. Many of us go now and the pizza is brought to the car. The owner is sad about this, but he, like so many others, is determined to comply with the rules.
When you see noncompliance, bars in Puerto Nuevo or a gathering on a beach, you tend to find U.S. citizens who have ignored the laws in both Baja and California to come down to party. These are the ones who believe they can do anything they want in Mexico. Their favorite activities are drinking and shouting. Now they’re stunned that no one wants them here, and those who cater to them are shunned. It is shameful to the U.S. expats who live here that their fellow citizens feel they are entitled to jeopardize the health and lives of the Mexican people.
The Calimax near Puerto Nuevo is the Vons of Mexico. It’s a safe place to shop. One waits at the door before entry, a line like one behind a bouncer at a New York nightclub but with each person separated by six feet. I’ve seen women, not hulks in T-shirts and blazers inside the door, wearing virus armor and wiping the handle of a grocery cart with disinfectant. Before the employee gives you the cart, she squirts the Mexican equivalent of Purell in your hands. It’s mandatory.
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