Thursday, February 24, 2005

This isn't some kind of desert Disneyland!

I was looking for some information for our New Mexico Unit and I looked up the NM Dept. of Tourism on the web. Here is a sample of what is on the page for those of you that are going to visit NM in the future...this should really help you keep from upsetting the Natives!

Cultural Rules & Traditions
Despite its bold landscapes, New Mexico is a land of subtleties. Things that appear obvious to the first-time visitor may not be what they seem. For instance, despite the fairly hectic pace of traffic in our larger cities, most native New Mexicans don't honk their horns at each other. There's plenty of time to get to where you need to go, and beeping is offensive to those who don't have to live their lives accounting for every second. New Mexicans, especially in rural areas, enjoy a leisurely concept of time. This concept sometimes is so unsettling to visitors that it's been used to stereotype New Mexicans for more than a century. Transplanted Easterner Charles Lummis, for example, wrote a book about New Mexico called The Land of Poco Tiempo. Loosely translated that means "slow time." Others have referred to New Mexico as the "land of mañana." Meaning tomorrow, "mañana" is one of the many Spanish words that have found their way into the New Mexican vocabulary. But time's passage depends, after all, on your point of view. New Mexico wouldn't be the charming place it is if we zipped around at a San Francisco or New York pace. New Mexico is a land of graciousness, which, like subtlety, takes attention to detail, and that takes time. Here are a few suggestions for improving your visit's quality by improving your personal interactions with New Mexicans:

This isn't some kind of desert Disneyland.

The people you meet here are real, with their own deadlines, frustrations and joys. They watch the same networks you do and cheer on the same sports teams. Approach them on an equal footing.

Take time to talk with those you meet. Most New Mexicans enjoy visitors and will be open to conversation if you respond in kind.

No wandering into people's homes without an invitation.

In short, if you're from a hectic environment, don't bring your pace with you. Park it, relax and enjoy the subtleties of our enchanting land.