Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu Stew

Guadalajara, Mexico

I feel I need to preface this post by saying that I am deeply sorry for the deaths that the Swine Flu has caused. That being said, I would be crazy not to take advantage of pork being on sale due to the international finger pointing at an unsuspecting Wilbur.

My first sense of the seriousness of the outbreak was when Mexico City mandated that soccer games would be played in empty stadiums. Closing schools and limiting travel is one thing, but denying Mexican soccer fans of their right to congregate, cheer and sing shirtless amongst each other was another thing. This is serious. I am in Guadalajara; a five hour drive from Mexico City, the epicenter of the “Influenza H1N1 Pandemic.” Although there are still no reported cases of the Swine Flu in Guadalajara, all precautions have been taken: schools are closed, restaurants are only open for take-out, the doors of cinemas and public meeting places are shut until further notice, and the ubiquitous surgical mask is the newest fashion statement.

People are being careful, but not irrational. Al pastor is the taco of choice in the state of Jalisco. Al pastor refers to spit grilled meat in the style of Turkish döner or Lebanese shwarma. In Mexico, the vertical spinning meat popsicle is always made of pork. Since the Swine Flu outbreak, I have yet to see an empty spit. It is good to see people still sucking down the hog with no fear. It is also a relief to see that Mexican’s are taking the international crisis with a bit of humor. A friend spotted a bronze statue of a man fitted with a surgical face mask in the middle of the city center of Guanajuato. I have come across several twenty peso notes on which concerned citizens have taken the careful precaution of covering Benito Juárez’s immortalized mug with a surgical mask. A large poster was plastered on a wall near the university picturing an audience of pigs watching TV, below it read: “Vaccinate This.” I am not exactly sure what that means, but I am sure it is funny to someone.

We do not have a TV and I have stayed far away from what I am sure is an extremely sensational news story – I can just imagine Fox News’s panic inducing special report on “Porky Pig Pandemic!” It is a time like this that shows how shock and fear are so totally isolating. It is the solidarity of humor that I find so refreshing. It is something people can share and bond over; have a good giggle while perhaps eating a plate of freshly assembled street-side tacos al pastor.

1 comment:

  1. yes. It is very shocking and the lack of any good cure or vaccine worsens it. Flus are like that. No cure. You have to get resistance to it. The only way is to make your body immune. There are some ways, - nature's ways.
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