Monday, August 31, 2009

Hotel people or I ♥ Mexico

Hotel People, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, June 2007.

The week-long obsession with taco trucks made me hungry and nostalgic for Mexico. I love Mexico. I love eating ceviche on the beach while it rains. I love the family-owned distellerias and the sweet-smoky smell of burning agave leaves. I love how they let you sample almond flavored tequila even though you're only ten years old. I love that I can smoke in Mexican airports. I love that I can practice speaking in Spanish, but only in the present tense; the way I would struggle to order a meal in Spanish only to hear the counterboy answer, "do you want cheese with that?" I love Mexican Coke which is superior to American Coke. I love photographing in Mexico as much as I love Mexican photographers. I love Don Manuel Alvarez Bravo and his wife Lola, Graciela Iturbide, Nacho Lopez, Flora Garduño, and Tina Modotti, although she's really Italian. I love that Mexicans are not scared of color but also look great in black and white. I even love how they call me Chino even though I'm not really Chinese.

Nostalgia for all things Mexican had me clicking on my picture archives, where I found this old set of portraits that I took of hotel workers in Jalisco. A relentlessly friendly bunch, they make the phrase "hospitality industry" actually mean something. It's no different outside the hotels. People are pretty much all smiles and carefree everywhere in spite of the hard life and the hard work. Like they say in Mexico, good face to bad times. "Al mal tiempo, buena cara."

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