Expats in San Miguel can be divided into two groups – the Tourists and the Gang Members. Each group is easily identifiable. The Tourist will be holding a guide book and a camera. The Gang Member will be holding a parasol or a dog or a pamphlet and wearing something found around the house. But what is more interesting is the metamorphisis from the Tourist State to the Gang State. It quite amazing to think that someone can change from
How does this happen? What force begins the change. The cause is the Guide Book and a Movie.
Guidebooks are crutches for Tourists. Travel is about SEEING the most you can in the least amount of time. The Guidebook tells you what to see and the camera records it. Tourists arrive and start to follow the advice of one of these guidebooks.
They start with looking at a quaint little church here, eating at an authentic restaurant there, taking pictures of doors or door knockers or window or flower boxes, finding a Mexican Artisan, buying an original piece of Talavera pottery or a silver bracelet, stumbling on a cobblestone or two and then the AWAKENING happens. At that moment the Tourist knows who they are or are FOUND. A quick trip to the Bienes Raices, an application to a Gang, hiring a maid and voila they are locals.
These books are published by Gang Members as part of the GRI (Gang Recruitment Initiative) that was created as the first step in increasing the English speaking population of San Miguel until it is the 51st state and can be annexed like Texas was.
A newer strategy was the developed by Caren Cross of a movie. She called it Lost and Found In San MIguel. This movie was created for those tourists who don’t have time to read Guidebooks. It is a visual seduction of Tourists. By the end of the movie they are AWAKENED and FOUND. Here is a review of the Movie on Staring at Strangers
The success of the San Miguel Guidebook Strategy to Gang Recruitments has spawned other parts of Mexico to use the same technique to snare their own gang members.
Once the Gang member is settled in San Miguel then the guide book is put away and used only for guests. Gang members now use Atención to guide their activities. This local newspaper tells everyone what to do and where to go.