I lived in Ensenada for 13 months around 2021. I've never felt so belittled and unwanted in my life. It was worse for me than the Philippines. It wasn't so much that people openly showed hostility to me, rather virtually everyone simply ignored me. No one ever made eye contact. No one said "hola" much less "hola amigo." Granted I'm not a real charismatic person. But I couldn't help but detect an underlying, sort of simmering hostility toward gringos in general and me in particular.

(I can't help but wonder and speculate if some of my fellow Americans preceding me to Mexico perhaps put their arrogant, superior attitude on display thereby leaving many Mexicans wary of the gringos and their bad attitude?)

In addition I almost was hit by cars a couple of times due to drivers who simply weren't looking where they were going. (Much like the Philippines: addled, distracted probably stupid drivers who step on the accelerator first and think second if at all. Often ignoring cross-walk right-of-ways to pedestrians.)

The one time I was foolish enough to walk into a bar in Ensenada the bar maid immediately glared at me before I could even pull up a bar stool. I ordered a beer, drank it quickly, left her a good tip and "vamosed" with alacrity before someone took too much of a disliking to me.

Are Americans hated this much all over the world or did I just happen to pick two unfavorable countries (Mexico and the Philippines) to end up in?

To be fair, the one exception to all this was a guy in Ensenada who was a street vendor on the same block where I rented an apartment. He sold these very good seafood cocktail cups. He would fill a Styrofoam cup with this tomato sauce mixture he had concocted and then add shrimp and raw oysters with a local hot sauce and limes if desired. It was delicious. It was obvious that this guy was 100% native American. Unlike a lot of Mexicans in that part of Mexico he didn't speak a word of English. Come to think of it I'm not sure he spoke Spanish either. I always tried to tip him well. Rents were so low in Ensenada I could afford to be generous to the point of extravagance with tips for the first time in my life and it was a pleasure to do so. Knowing that by giving 20 or 25 pesos I might be providing him (and other hard working servers) with half again his day's wage (or at least a good portion of it.) And this guy was on that street corner with his vending booth from seven a.m. until eight or nine at night, six days a week. By the way, limes and avocados, grown locally, were virtually given away they were so cheap. I recall you could buy four or five avocados for about the equivalent of one U.S. dollar and limes were sold by the bagful for about the same low price. But it was almost impossible to find lemons. Fortunately for me there was an American chain grocery store within walking distance of my apartment, "Smart and Final" was the store's name. Coincidentally, when I Iived in Sacramento (at least before I got priced out of my apartment), the same corporation had a store about the same walking distance from my Sacramento location.

To be perfectly fair, (that is to say not all Mexicans hate all Americans) now that I think about it there was a coffee shop where a bunch of local surfers hung out in back. One afternoon, trying to read, I was struggling with the bright sun streaming in the front window. One of the surfer guys saw what was going on and he very kindly found a sort of camera shade device that he set up for me to provide me with shade. Since I was a regular in that coffee shop the device was kept available for me when ever I dropped in. Very kind of them. The liability or downside of that coffee shop was they not only had no posted business hours; but it was "iffy" what time they would open or even if they would open at all on a particular day. Many days I arrived around nine a.m. only to find them closed and me half fuming impatiently while I paced up and down the boardwalk across the street waiting for them to open.

I departed Ensenda hastily and unexpectedly when I got into a row with my hot-headed property manager. Considering the fact that he had a duplicate key to my apartment I felt it prudent to pack-up and leave without spending another night there. Not wanting to be knifed in my sleep.

All I can say is, "adios, amigos."

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Where in the Philippines did you stay? Why? How long?

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Why do you ask?

I was in Dumaguete for a month. I was there in the south of the country on Island Negros for the month of January, 2024. Everyone spoke English but I felt like the proverbial "stranger in a strange land."

I have tried to think about my experiences in both Mexico and the Philippines and the only conclusion I can come to is that Americans (American men) preceding me acted poorly and left a bad reputation. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I was considering moving there (to the Philippines) permanently. I am retired and the cost of living is much less than the U.S. Unfortunately for me I didn't feel at all wanted.

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Have you watched this guy's YouTube channel?


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Thank you very much, Gecko 1.

Where is this guy in the Philippiines? I missed that? Also, the bigger problem, at least for me, is the Visa requirements and restrictions. I dreaded overstaying my Visa and ending up in custody under Philippine immigration authorities without the Due Process rights citizens have in The States to a lawyer, etc. I was afraid, if I overstayed my Visa, I'd end up in jail with my pockets turned inside out to pay fines, penalties, etc.

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He's on the main island of Luzon, an hour or two north of Manila, perhaps 40 mins or less from Angeles. In his first video he explains it and shows the cheap house he is renting and fixing up. $36 a month rent!


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Thanks for your reply. Was curious, as I hail from the islands originally. From what I've read and heard, Dumaguete might be overrun by foreigners including American men retiring there. Never been to Dumaguete (the eastern side, closer to Cebu, thus Bisaya is spoken there), but have close family hailing from the other side of Panay- the western, Ilonggo side, where people speak a softer and more lakadaisickal Visayan language, Hiligaynon. Am sorry to hear you didn't feel welcome in Dumaguete. I can't really say why you were met with hostility or apathy there.

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Thank you kindly for getting back to me. It is much appreciated. I think you are correct, Dumaguete is full of Western men. Particularly old, retired Western men who are looking to take advantage of naive, young Philippinas. That was not at all my intent. I am not at all a womanizer. But apparently, at least from my observations, that is how older American men are seen in Dumaguete and I presume, much of the Philippines.

It was disconcerting for me to have people glaring at me (such as the clerk at my hotel) and treating me like a "carpetbagger" coming into the country to take advantage of the situation. Perhaps I am too overly sensitive? It just made me very uncomfortable. Everyone seemed wary of me and no one smiled. I grew sick of it.

The equation I saw ( I may be wrong or right) was that relatively wealthy, older, retired Western men seeking poor (often dirt poor) young, naive Philippine women leads to a lot of resentment and even hostility. No society wants to see its vulnerable young people (women in this case) exploited by opportunistic carpetbaggers who have the money to essentially corrupt susceptible and vulnerable young people.

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Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz's advice to the American farmer in the 1970's was "get big or get out". As if the American farmer had a choice in the matter.

My maternal grandparents, teenagers during the depression, from very humble Germanic backgrounds were able to acquire and operate a thriving farm between the two of them. The postwar years were good to them and I remember a well tended southern Illinois farm with dairy and beef cattle and hogs in the eighties although I often heard talk of how things were changing.

Some of the happiest days of my life were detasseling seed corn during junior highschool summers. Kids had been walking those rows late July, early August for a couple of generations. Aside from the usual punkery, those times in the early nineties were still idyllic and innocent. Part of me has stayed in those fields and I won't let it go. I remember sitting on the front porch of the house that I grew up in and watching a summer thunderstorm roll across the fields of wheat and soybeans across the yard. It was hypnotic and those thunderstorms are still worth watching. To this day, I make it a point to walk the treelines on the edges of fields. It's a forlorn feeling when I think about the ass fuckery that subsistence farmers worldwide have endured at the hands of American agribusiness. It's criminal and it's appalling.

While I don't relish the idea of a James Howard Kunstler World Made By Hand (a fun series of books) future, if it means the end of Earl Butz's sick warning, I'll consider my options.

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Let us remember what NAFTA did to the small Mexican subsistence farmers. These campisinos were run out of business by cheap American corn (maize) being shoved down their throats. Maize was originally cultivated and developed in central Mexico thousands of years ago just as wheat was developed in the Middle-East. The American imported maize had a limited gene pool and it was feared, because maize pollinates on the wind, that the diverse gene pool of native Mexican corn would be contaminated and ruined.

Many of the, what had once been independent and self-sustaining Mexican farmers lost their shirts (and farms) to cheap imported American corn and suffered the ultimate indignity of migrating to The States to work as farm laborers on American agra-business farms with their GMO crops and frankinfood. Transformed from independent, small subsistence farmers to peon farm hands, essentially slaves to American agribusiness.

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May 23·edited May 23Liked by Linh Dinh

That's another sickening aspect of Leviathan agribusiness. GMO and seed patents used as economic warfare. I've heard that native seed stock was rounded up and destroyed in Iraq. I can't corroborate it, but if it's true, that's about as sad and malicious as it gets. It hurts to know that the overwhelming majority of the corn and soybean fields that I live around have little resemblance to the staple maize and bean crops raised by the native Americans. It's an industrial agricultural nightmare in all reality Thomas. My end goal is a small garden, some heirloom varieties and things like that. Earl Butz said "get big", maybe dreaming small is a good answer.

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May 24·edited May 24Liked by Linh Dinh

There is a very good book that came out about 15 years ago titled, "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by the renowned journalist Michael Pollen. He does an amazing job in documenting how U.S. agriculture has become essentially a monoculture of Soy beans and corn (maize). (The one geographical exception is the Imperial Valley in southernmost California where most of U.S. produce is grown as well as my old stomping grounds, California's Central Valley where most fruit trees are cultivated.)

If one looks at food labels, especially processed foods in the U.S., most foods contain large amounts of these two foods, corn and soybeans in one form or another. Thus many Americans who eat a lot of highly processed foods are eating mostly soy beans and corn.

Perhaps even more insidious, as Mr. Pollen documents, for the sake of cost saving, cattle in America are feed an almost exclusive diet of soy and corn because it is cheap to do so. However cattle are ruminants who have evolved to eat grass. There is some evidence that cattle feed corn produce less healthy meat with the wrong ratio of fatty acids which may be contributing to the heart attack epidemic in America. Thus from time to time one comes across "grass feed beef" in the supermarket. Presumably a healthier version of beef.

The whole American agribusiness industry seems riddled with questionable practices seemingly in the pursuit of, not healthy foods but maximum profits for agribusiness.

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May 24·edited May 24Author

Hi everyone,

To subsidize corn is to feed Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald's and Burger King, etc. Soft drinks are sweetened with corn syrup, and factory raised cows are fed corn. Whether politics, entertainment, news or commerce, everything in "free market" USA is rigged!


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Amen to that sir. All I can add is every sentient American needs to read George Orwell's "1984" as well as Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." It can't happen here? Yes it can. That's another indispensable book, Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here." Yes it can.

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I accidentally posted this on the previous article. These thoughts and Earl Butz came about after reading about NAFTA's impact on Mexican agriculture here.

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"Taylor was robbed, but that’s boxing, and life too."

Life even more than boxing, some would say.

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I love Mexico. If I could convince my hubby, I would move there. Such lovely people and good food!

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My takeaway from this: Mexicans die young, and they die often. But they are readily replaced, so it's not a problem to the Rockefellers who set up NAFTA.

NAFTA was just a first step to an eventual amalgamation of Canada, the US, and Mexico into one borderless geopolitical entity with the dollar to be replaced by the Amero. Not quite there yet, but the Rockerfellers are nothing if not persistent. They usually end up getting what they want.

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