I've been meaning to write this post for some time now - and what better time than July 4th for this topic?
First of all -- yes, I do realize that Mexico is in "America" - but having said that, let me assure you that when someone here says "American" - they are referring to a person or style from the U.S.
OK - now that I've given my blurb, let me get to my post.
There is an area of town, a strip mall really, that we call "America". Why? Because if you didn't know you were in Mexico - if you just saw the picture or landed from a space adventure in this strip plaza - you would think you were in Novi, Michigan or Carollwood, Florida - any suburban plaza in the U.S.
America is pretty close to Atascadero (our neighborhood) and has (1) a very modern, large Grocery store, (2)A megaplex movie theater with movies in English and Spanish, (3)A Sushi restaurant --yep... (4)A coffee shop - with a name in English (5) A McDonalds coming soon and (5)A number of clothing boutiques selling American style clothes at American prices (600 frickin pesos for a dress, come on!).
Anyway, we visit America about once a week - on America Day (aka Saturday or Sunday)...generally on America Day, we sit at the coffee shop and study Spanish, eat dinner at one the Sushi place or the Sports themed Mexican Restaurant and then head over to a movie at the megaplex - Ocean's 13, Fantastic 4 - all the stuff you would expect at home - plus the Spanish subtitles do help with the learning - really. It's nice to hit up the Gigante on the way home to grab all the groceries that we could live with but wouldn't want to live without for 4 weeks (but Cous-cous and Ivory soap are rare commodities - even lacking at the Gigante).
This place is apparently brand new - within the last 6 months. The construction was meant with a lot of - understandable - resistance from the local community. Plus, I don't think that it is just land availability or a coincidence that the plaza is very close to the upper class white part of town.
Nonetheless, America makes a good diversion and a nice place to study/take a break from the trip 1 time a week - but anything more would be nauseatingly to similar to home.
Amazingly, the community has been very successful in keeping out big business - or at least tacky construction - within the heart of the town. Not even a Starbucks here. But there are a few places I will post about later......