Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo & Tourism

Most people celebrate Mexico today, but I bet if you ask them what they're celebrating, they'll shrug and say, "cheap beer?" I always understood Cinco de Mayo to be a celebration of a revolution, or independence, or maybe some battle, but I never really questioned it, I just went out for burritos and Coronas, maybe a margarita or two.

Since living in Mexico I've discovered that Cinco de Mayo is just another day on the calendar. There aren't any big celebrations (that I'm aware of anyway) -- that was last Friday on Primero de Mayo, May 1st. That's Labor Day and everything shuts down in honor of the workers. Of course, since most things were closed for the swine flu it didn't have quite the same significance this year, but there were a lot more tour buses that day and the beach was packed.

"High season" officially ended at the end of Easter week, and Zihuatanejo has become a ghost town. May is typically one of the slowest months for tourism, and then the "nationals" (Mexicans) start arriving in June and stay through the end of August, when the kids go back to school. It's ironic because just when Americans are donning sombreros and slamming back tequila, the celebration is ending here.

We went to dinner the other night at one of our favorite little restaurants and the waiter told us that they'll be closing for a month at the end of May, but "possibly sooner" if it stays this slow. No more burgers for us.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to not have to fight crowds at the grocery store, and I love being able to find a parking spot at the market, but I feel bad for all the vendors whose busy months have passed. Now they have to somehow get by with no income, at least until the nationals arrive.


*****

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Check out his site here:

Owen's Due Process Legal Fund

15 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

Interesting insights to today in Mexico! Thanks for sharing. :)

ralfast said...

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla were Mexican forces defeated a French force that had occupied the country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Puebla

But the whole beer and tequila thing n the U.S. is probably an American beer company invention.

WendyCinNYC said...

How funny that Cinco de Mayo not such a big deal there!

Turkey Lurkey said...

I think it has become more of an American custom, and an excuse to enjoy some Mexican food and beer! I had no idea that May was so quiet though. I've learned something new today! (Time to go back to bed now.)

Melanie Avila said...

Anytime Janna. :P

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks ralfast! I hoped someone would be more industrious than me and inform us what today honors.

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, I know. My first year here I went home for a wedding and missed Cinco de Mayo and that's when Ibis informed me it's really not a big deal.

Melanie Avila said...

Turkey, I think you're right.

Now get more sleep!

Nadine said...

Interestesting that it's not a big deal there! Funny how we make out to be a big day.

I never did anything on the day, although after your post, I am craving a burrito and a corona. With a lime. Yum.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, now I'm craving a burrito bowl from Chipolte. They just don't make stuff like that here.

Although... I now have an idea for dinner.

spyscribbler said...

Wow, that's tough for them! I could use a beer. Cinco de Mayo means you're supposed to drink five beers, right? I think that sounds good. That sounds like a plan. I wish I didn't gain five pounds with every beer I drink!

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, what the heck kind of beers are you drinking? :P

Robin said...

I'm drinking the same beers that Spy's drinking, unfortunately!

Last year Alex requested that we take him to a Mexican restaurant on his birthday, because his Spanish teacher told him there would be all sorts of special, regional dishes on Cinco de Mayo. When he ordered, he sweetly asked the waitress what sort of special dishes they served that night. She looked at him as though he had 3 heads and pointed to the regular menu. We expected her to follow up with a "duh".

Melanie Avila said...

Oh Robin, poor guy! I hope he wasn't too disappointed.

Benjamin Solah said...

Ah I know the feeling of hating crowded shopping areas. I went shopping after work tonight and it drove me mad.