Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sex sells (autoparts)

What the guys see and what the girls see

A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of spending three full days at Expo Automotriz at Centro Banamex here in Mexico City. The massive expo was full of stands for things like spark plugs, door handles, car jacks and what-not. The aisles were full of Mexican mechanics and the stands were full of hot girls in lycra outfits (which, thank God, I was not rocking).

I was representing my new employer, who develops industrial parks throughout Mexico. Hopefully, we'll snag some new clients out of the Expo - most of my day was spent handing out pens and little red balls with our logo on it and telling confused-looking people just what we do. Most of the guys were more interested in hitting up the stands whose hostesses were wearing less clothing. The girls above were the unofficial favorite, causing a mild traffic jam for the entire three days. There were lines 30 deep in some places to get a signed poster.

There were three of us blondes in our stand and even we fielded a handful of requests for photos. Just what these photos are used for, I don't even want to know. I was walking behind a middle-aged couple and the woman remarked to her husband as they passed, "Ella está buena. ¿Quieres tomar una foto con ella?/She's hot. Want to take a photo with her?" Right...

My new vocabulary word of the week was: edecán, which is a catchall term for sexy girls who promote stuff. We had two of our own edecanes in the stand, one of whom runs her own edecan service and filled me in on this fascinating line of work.

1) The girls come in three flavors: A, AA and AAA. AAA are really hot, basically supermodels and they get paid as much as $35 to $40 an hour. AA are cute, swelling the ranks, and don't get paid quite as much. A would be classified as normal people and they might only get $70 for the whole days work and more gigs like serving samples at Costco.

2) The gigs include everything from working conference booths during the day to handing out free shots of whisky at a night club from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sometimes they get to travel to nice resorts and work there all week.

3) Work attire ranges from suits to little spandex outfits. One of the girls said she worked an Axe promotion in a nightclub. At one point a guy started spraying axe all over himself and that was the cue for the girls working throughout the club to start stripping.

4) Clients request what kind of girl they want and look at photos. They might request Mexican girls or güeras or Brazilian girls or who knows what. One time, she had a client request 40 blue-eyed blondes.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

¿Por qué estas aqui?

Todo el mundo me hace esta pregunta. Y de verdad no tengo una buena respuesta, más que decir “Pues, no sé. Me gusta México.”
A veces pienso en Portland, San Francisco y Sonoma, lugares bonito, las montañas, mi gente. Pero no tengo ganas de estar allá.
Más o menos lo que me pasó es que estaba aburrida. Traté de animar mi vida. Leí mucho, viajé a varias partes del norte de California, pero ya no estaba contenta. Me faltaba algo – quizás más que nada lo inesperado. Vine aquí sin expectativos, sin esperar algo, por eso todo que encuentro es inesperado. Mi hermana me preguntó si la vida aqui es diferente que lo me imaginaba. Casi todo es diferente. Pensé que iba a pasar quizás un mes con mi hermana y después mudarme a Guadalajara o Guanajuato, algún ciudad mas pequeña, para trabajar como una reportera de freelance y profesora de inglés. Tres meses después de llegar aquí, todavía vivo con mi hermana, cuñado y sobrinos por elección y acabé de empezar a trabajar para mi cuñado en el campo de parques industriales. ¿Existe una situación más inesperada?
Por eso me mudé aquí. Porque de verdad no tuvo sentido ninguno y por eso tiene sentido. Y porque la comida mexicana es muy rica.

Funny signs

Not a sign, but funny. The bookstores in Mexico aren't big on attractive or themed displays. Here's a typical shelf - "Lesbianism in Mexico," "Red Abortion!" and "Learn Japanese in 30 Days."

This place is sacred. Respect it, vendors and lovers. (Courtyard of church in Cuernavaca)

No pets without diapers. (Pasaje Polanco, DF, in front of Café Snob)