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Stuff Mexicans Like #15: Extreme Baby Bundling

2 Jun
Babies are a gift from Heaven. It is a parent’s job to protect these little bundles of joy. In Mexico, this involves more swaddling than eskimos in Antarctica. Mothers can often be seen in San Miguel de Allende waiting for the bus carrying a gigantic lump of furry blankets. As the sweat drips down Mami’s forehead, she will peek under the four layers of cotton, wool, and polyester swaddling to check on her sleeping, or half-cooked bebé.

The reasons are multiple for this “protección.” Sun, breeze (mal aire), dust, sustos (sudden scares), and jealous looks from others (mal de ojo) can all hacerle daño (cause harm). Aparte, newborn babies cannot yet regulate their own body temperature, thus the pink beanies, thermal blankets, and fuzzy white booties. However in Mexico, babies of all ages are considered to have frio (cold) pretty much at all times without the help of Mami and Abue’s (gramma’s) coverings.

FRIO
Mexicans believe that getting cold inevitably leads to sickness, especially if the frio comes on suddenly. They do not walk around barefoot ever, even in their own clean tiled homes, even on very hot days. This is well-known as the fastest and surest way to get gripe (a cold/flu). It’s also known as one of the most naco (low class; uneducated) and tacky things one can do. My friend’s mother here in SMA shared a story with me about the time she went blind as a child for walking around in wet clothes all day after swimming in the presa (canal). Eventually she went to el DF (Mexico City) for a surgery that left her seeing blurry trees. Presently she squints most of the time. Por andar mojada, she explains (for being out & about wet). I’m not sure if she was trying to inform me or warn me with her cuento, as she has been appalled on more than one occasion by my daughter’s lack of heavy parkas…. in the summer.

CONSEJOS (advice)
I remember when I was pregnant here in San Miguel de Allende, the advice slowly started flowing to me from aquaintances and even strangers. No corras. Don’t run. No comas lo frio cuando hace frio. Don’t eat cold things when it’s cold. Duerme la siesta. Take a nap. Toma más té. Drink more tea. No tomes café. Stop drinking coffee.Toma más leche. Drink more milk. Come frijoles. Eat beans. Toma agua. Drink water. Desayuna. Eat breakfast. No trabajes tanto. Don;t work so much. Necesitas mas Jamaica. You need more hibiscus water. Cuidado manejando. Be careful driving. Ponte un sueter. Put on a sweater. No andes descalzada como India. Don’t go around barefoot like an Indian.Ya no uses chanclas. Stop wearing flip-flops. No subas la escalera. Don’t climb stairs. No levantes nada. Don’t lift anything. And this was just from the men!

When my baby was born, I really got an ear-full! Tápala. Cover her up! Ponla otra cobija. Put another blanket on her! ¿No tiene frio?  Doesn’t she have cold?¿No le das fórmula? You don’t give her formula? Dale un té. Give her a tea. Tápala. Cover her up! Toma cerveza para producir más leche. Drink beer to produce more milk. Toma atole para producir más leche. Drink Atole rice drink to produce more milk. Tápala. Cover her up! ¿No tiene frio? Doesn’t she have cold?¿Se va a enfermar. She’s going to get sick. El aire le hace daño. Wind and cold air will harm her. Tápala. Cover her up! El sol le hace daño. The sun will do her harm. Cobíjala. Blanket her. ¿No tiene una chamarra? Doesn’t she have a coat? Se va a enfermar. She’s going to get sick. ¿No tiene un gorro? Doesn’t she have a hat? Tápa su cabeza. Cover her head. Tápala. Cover her up. Tápala. Cover her up. Tápala…. Cover her up…

“BEBI SHAUGÜERS”
En fin, if you want to get in good with Mexicans, make sure the baby shower gift you bring is a blanket. Always a blanket. Multiple blankets of all sizes, fabrics, textures, colors, and thickness. If you have your own baby and will be in viewing range of Mexicans, keep the child covered up, for crying out loud! As far as blankets go, the Mexican rules are,  “When in doubt, wear it out.” And, “When not in doubt, wear it out.”  If you are caught unawares by a Mexican and your child is not wearing a parka, snow hat, or multiple layers of quiltings, don’t panic! Always keep a spare thermal blanket in your diaper bag and immediately cover the child’s head, shaking your own head, confused, at your temporary recklessness. Mexicans all around will release a collective sigh of relief and you will be “in” again if you can avoid future neglect.

COMENTARIOS

As far as your comments go with other Mexcians, especially in public places, a solid question-suggestion passive-aggressive combo like, No tienes frio?” (You’re not cold?) or “No quieres un sueter?” (You don’t want a sweater?) lets Mexicans know that you know what time it is. You are all on the same page with the frio debate. You will be much more likely to be invited to the next 5 de mayo fiesta.

EXHIBIT A
My baby on a warm day. Absolute negligence.
       
Mexican baby on a hot day. Proud parenting.
      
You be the judge.
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#12: La Coca (of Coca Cola)

21 May

What is the one beverage Mexicans prefer over tequila and agua de sabor? La Coca! It may as well be considered the 5th food group here in Mexico. In some, if not most, of my Mexican friends’ homes, if the garrafón of purified water and the Coca run out at the same time, the garrafón can wait. The Coca, however, is replaced immediately at the nearest tiendita (little store located in one’s garage or entry hall). Most family comidas (the most important meal of the Mexican day) are not complete without a bottle or five of Coca on the table. Coca is fed to the elderly, to babies in bottles, and to everyone else in between as a staple in the beverage diet. When a señora or a niño asks you for money or a stranger does you a good deed, like helping you change your tire in the street, the standard request is “Dame para una Coca, nomás.” Enough to buy a Coke is all I ask.

“According to Coke’s 2005 annual report, Mexicans lead the world by drinking some 533 8-ounce servings of Coke beverages per capita annually.”

(Read more at Suite101: Coca-Cola Global Sales: India Most Promising International Market | Suite101.com http://daniel-workman.suite101.com/coca-cola-global-sales-a8625#ixzz1pb4itYy0)

Water: A Basic Human Right?

Well, isn’t the Coca-Cola empire delighted, then, that Mexicans are drinking less water and more Coke? No! Either one is just fine with Coca-Cola! That’s because Coca-Cola owns Agua Ciel, the nationwide door-to-door provider of purified drinking water and mineral water. So is the love of juice a problem for Coca-Cola? Of course not! Coke also owns Jugos Del Valle, Nestea, and Powerade! As one student in class said, “I wondered why the government of Mexico has not filtered its public water supply, seeing that it is relatively simple and affordable. Then I heard the cry in the street advertising door-to-door service for Agua Santorini, and it hit me. I wonder what Coca-Cola and Pepsi pay the Mexican government to maintain the pollution in all public water sources?” Bingo.

“Es importante tener en cuenta que pese a que en México existen unas tres mil marcas, son 4 grandes corporaciones, extranjeras todas ellas, las que hoy controlan la extracción, el envasado, la distribución y la venta de agua en México. Específicamente estamos hablando de Danone (con sus marcas Bonanfont, Pureza Aga y Evian); Nestlé (con las marcas Santa María, Nestlé Pure Life y Pureza Vital); Pepsi-Cola (con el agua Electropura) y Coca-Cola (con la marca Ciél).
México es el país que más refrescos consume por habitante en el mundo. Ingerir alimentos y bebidas con altos contenidos de azúcar (incluyendo los refrescos) es una de las principales cau- sas que provocan problemas a la salud: como la diabetes. Una persona que padece esta enfermedad siente una sed permanente , por lo que debe mitigarla bebiendo agua. Como el agua de la llave esta contaminada, debe comprar agua envasada y así se cierra el círculo de las compañías fabricantes de los refrescos (como Coca-Cola y Pepsi-Cola) que producen la diabetes en determinadas personas, también venden el agua que alivia la sed de esos mismos enfermos. ¡Todo un verdadero negocio!”

From Euromonitor International: Bottled Water in Mexico (http://www.euromonitor.com/bottled-water-in-mexico/report):

“COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

  • Danone was the number one player in bottled water in 2010, claiming 26% of total volume sales. The company led still bottled water, the dominant category, with its Bonafont brand. It also ranked second in flavoured bottled water, where it offers the Levité brand. Coca-Cola was the second leading company overall, accounting for 24% of total bottled water volume sales. Coca-Cola offers the Ciel (still bottled water) and Ciel Naturae (flavoured bottled water) brands. Pepsi Bottling Group was the third leading player, claiming 13% of total volume sales thanks to its Electropura still bottled water brand. Other prominent players included Envasadora de Aguas en México S de RL de CV, Nestlé, Pepsi-Cola, Grupo Peñafiel and FEMSA.”
From Wikipedia: Bottled Water: 
“The United Church of Christ, United Church of Canada, National Council of Churches, National Coalition of American Nuns, and Presbyterians for Restoring Creation are among some of the religious organizations that have raised questions about whether or not the “privatization” of water is ethical. They regard the industrial purchase and repackaging at a much higher resale price of a basic resource as an unethical trend.[27]
The recent documentary Tapped argues against the bottled water industry, asserting that tap water is healthier, more environmentally sustainable, and more ecologically sound than bottled water. The film focuses on the bottled water industry in the United States. The film has received largely positive reviews, and has spawned college campus groups such as Beyond the Bottle.”

Problems with BPA found in the plastic that houses purified water (Wikipedia):
“The Beverage Marketing Corporation defines the bottled water market segment as “retail PET, retail bulk, home and office delivery, vending, domestic sparkling and imports”, but excluding “flavored and enhanced water.”[28] The Plastics Symbol no. 7 is a recent concern worldwide on discovery that large numbers of no.7 plastics are made with Polycarbonate plastic which, experimentally were found to leach bisphenol A. This chemical is a known hormonal disruptor causing miscarriages and birth defects, according to a study conducted by Case Western Reserve scientists. “Synthetic xenoestrogens,” one of which is Bisphenol A or BPA “are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.” Responsible baby bottle industries are producing BPA-free bottles that are clearly marked.

Reverse osmosis water purification systems can remove up to 90% or more of certain inorganic chemicals. These inorganic chemicals include: fluoride, sulfate, nitrate, iron, copper, lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, silver and zinc. Reverse osmosis can even remove some microbiological contaminants, including Giardia cysts. However unless equipped with an activated charcoal post-filter, reverse osmosis by itself does not remove dissolved gases and organic chemicals such as radon and trihalomethanes,<http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az9419.pdf>.

The U.S. is the largest consumer market for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil.[41] In 2008, U.S. bottled water sales topped 8.6 billion US gallons (33,000,000 m3) for 28.9% of the U.S. liquid beverage market, exceeding sales of all other beverages except carbonated soft drinks, they are followed by fruit juices, and sports drinks.[28] Americans drink 21 US gallons (79 L) of bottled water per capita per year.[42]

Global bottled water market
Per capita consumption by leading countries, 2002-2007
2007 Litres Per Capita
Rank Countries 2002 2007
1 United Arab Emirates 133.2 259.7
2 Mexico 142.7 204.8
3 Italy 167.3 201.7
HEALTH HAZZARDS OF COCA-COLA CONSUMPTION (http://bolsonweb.com.ar/diariobolson/detalle.php?id_noticia=26208):
“La sucia verdad detrás de Coca Cola: Es peor que el tabaco

Como antecedente: En el libro “The Coke Machine – The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink“, el autor Michael Blanding examina la historia oscura de The Coca-Cola Company. El libro comienza con una descripción gráfica del asesinato del sindicalista Isidro Gil, hecho ocurrido cuando Coca-Cola fue acusada de complicidad con paramilitares para llevar a cabo asesinatos de sindicalistas en América del Sur. El prontuario de esta corporación es largo teniendo en cuenta que fue querellada en La India y México, ya que sus plantas embotelladoras drenaron contaminantes en las fuentes de agua locales. Diagnostico medico: Coca Cola, Pepsi y todas las gaseosas son peores que el tabaco acorde a los daños que causan al organismo.”
Marcas/Brands of Coca-Cola en México:
Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Vanilla, Beat, Delaware Punch, Fanta, Fanta Multi-Sabores, Fresca, Fresca Toronja Rosa, Lift, Lift Manzana Verde, Quatro, Senzao, Sprite, Ciel, Ciel Mineralizada, Keloco, Kin Light, Mickey Aventuras, Nestea, Jugos del Valle, y Powerade