My column from today about American retirees (some of them illegal) changing the face of the central Mexico town of San Miguel de Allende talked a bit about the town's expat newspaper, Atencion San Miguel. Reading the "On My Mind" column therein by Joseph Dispenza reminded me anew that hell hath no sadness like an expatriate chagrined at how his "discovery" has been ruined by ... expatriates. The opening two grafs:
In this South of the Border Brigadoon, the recent appearance of monolithic supermarkets, multiplexes and fast-food franchises has many of us wakening to the sober realization that our idllic bubble may have burst. If one more superstore moves in, we may have to leave here and move to the next good place that still retains its enchantment -- its soul.
But what is happening here may not be merely a local issue. Towns a cities everywhere, it seems, are in the process of an inexorable debasement, a crumbling of culture under the weight of overdevelopment and overpopulation to the point of a bleak and depressing blandness. There may not be a next good place.
Well, there's always Cuba!