Saturday, May 9, 2009

Swine Update

Guadalajara, Mexico

A few days ago, a restaurant owner shared his Swine Flu conspiracy theory with me. He was certain that the government (I think he was referring to the man, or el hombre) was whipping up a Swine Flu frenzy in order to distract the population from the bad economy. He argued that the economic crisis was at a point where people’s desperation was about to become violent. This at a time when the U.S. State Department, much to the chagrin of their southern neighbors, placed Mexico on their list of potential failed states – right next to Pakistan! The restaurant owner believed, with this new diversion we will all band together in a touching display of humanity to fight the piggy pandemic. A pandemic, he felt, that did not actually exist. Aside from the obvious gaping holes in his theory (for example the devastating hit the Mexican economy is taking in the loss of billions of tourist dollars), it is an interesting theory. At least, it was until the Swine Flu hit Jalisco.

As of this morning, the number of reported cases of Swine Flu in Jalisco has mounted to 26 and there are now three possible cases of death by the flu. Schools were closed last week as a precautionary measure and the government was set to let learning continue Monday of this week. Now with the mounting cases and casualties, the government has declared that all schools in Jalisco must close until Monday, 18th. It is 90 degrees here and it feels like “school’s out for summer!” However, access to the summer blockbusters has been denied. Two days ago, there was a diagram in the paper that demonstrated the new protocol for cinema seating. Three empty seats must be between each person in every direction; meaning in a 16 seat area, four people would be seated. As of today the cinemas, bars, clubs, all public spaces, etc. have been closed until the 18th. One can only imagine the economic impact of this decision.

Personally, I do not think there is cause for alarm; conspiracy theories yes, but alarm, no. My husband, Carter, is a teacher, so the shutting down of our schools and city gives us bigger things to ponder, like what to do with all this time off. As I mentioned, it is 90 degrees and nothing is open, I think we will head to the beach. Vamos a la playa! Viva Mexico!

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