“It’s crazy. I’m living the American dream here in Mexico and it’s kind of funny. I just work on the weekends and have the rest of my day free,” Bo Johnson told Reuters.
It’s rare to hear stories about U.S. citizens moving to Mexico for work, but that’s exactly what happened to Bo Johnson. Ever since the release of the latest “Star Wars” movie, friends and strangers have commented on his resemblance to John Boyega, the actor who played Finn. Using this to his advantage, Bo was able to find work as an impersonator in Las Vegas, wearing Finn’s iconic stormtrooper uniform. Before committing to a full time job as an impersonator, Johnson decided to visit Mexico City for a year so he could take in the culture and work on his Spanish. On the suggestion of a friend, Bo brought his stormtrooper outfit with him, a decision that has paid off well for the 28-year-old out of Chicago.
Bo Johnson was originally nervous that his gimmick wouldn’t pay off in Mexico City, but on his first day, he managed to rake in nearly 3,000 pesos — roughly $150 U.S. “I just work on the weekends and have the rest of my day free,” he told Reuters. Not one to take it easy, Bo has spent over 20,000 pesos (more than $1,000 U.S.) to upgrade his stormtrooper costume, which looks almost as legit as the ones from the movie. That, combined with his natural resemblance to Finn, keeps him busy with fans. As fellow street performer, Miguel Vasquez explains, “The most curious thing is that he looks like the Star Wars character, Finn. He’s just like his clone.”
If you happen to visit Mexico City, be sure to get a picture with Johnson, who can be found posing on Madero Street.
Ever struggled to drag yourself from bed for a little morning gym? Yeah, you’re not alone. Getting into shape is often a matter of finding the right motivation.
Would $525 help?
That’s the amount that the Mexico City government is planning to reward its police officers who’re prepared to drop the extra pounds. That’s right – they’ll be paid to get trim.
Mexico City has launched the ‘Healthy Policia’ program which aims to help police get in shape.
The Secretariat of Citizen Security of Mexico launched the program to combat the problem of Mexico’s overweight police. The problem is so huge, no pun intended, that a 2017 study by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) found that a whopping 8 out of 10 city police officers were overweight.
The government hopes that rewarding MXN10,000 (525 US dollars) to agents who lose weight, might finally help put the force into better shape.
Overweight police are a common sight on city streets.
Anyone who’s visited Mexico City will likely have seen large and heavy uniformed police officers pacing street corners on duty or standing in the torta line.
Obesity is a massive issue that cuts through all segments of Mexican society.
But you wouldn’t be crazy to expect a higher fitness standard from those whose duty should be to keep la gente safe and maintain order in this bustling city.
But, sadly, seeing overweight agents on duty is just business as usual.
Obesity in Mexico, not just among the police force, is an epidemic.
In fact, a 2018 National Survey of Professional Police Standards and Training found that 79.4% of officers exceed their recommended BMI. And not only does it affect job performance – it’s also a serious health issue for them.
A national survey found that 81.4% of police officers suffered from at least one chronic disease. Topping the list was high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic stress.
That same survey found that, interestingly, police with operational roles were more likely to be overweight or obese, than those in administrative roles.
The new Healthy Polícia initiative is designed to pay off over 6 months.
This new Healthy Polícia initiative will benefit up to 2,000 members of Mexico City’s police force and will even require them to sign a letter of commitment to the cause.
The program rolls out in stages over 6 months. To start with, the agent’s level of obesity will be diagnosed. For the next five months, the agent will receive 1,000 pesos for every month that they manage to lose weight. On the sixth month, they’ll receive a final bonus reward of 4,000 pesos as the proverbial cherry-on-top.
Participants will also receive medical, psychological, nutritional and dental care during the program.
Mexican police authorities are also making an effort to improve their force’s diets, across the board.
In a country with more cheap chicharron and tortas de tamale than ya can shake a stick at, it’s not too surprising that the authorities behind the Mexico City police force were forced to take some sort of measure regarding diet.
From October of last year, a program was kicked off to cut back on the calorie and carb intake of the force’s diets. They’ve since changed the menus of its 60 dining rooms to offer a much more balanced, low calorie diet, and have nutritionists keeping an eye on the daily fare.
While the new food regulations have supposedly been effective for many, it hasn’t been all fun and games. Some of the police have apparently struggled with the switch in focus from meat, to fruit and veg. One officer reportedly said the measure is “hard” and “leaves us very hungry.”
This comes a month after news of 625 Mexican federal police officers being rejected from the National Guard for being too heavy.
News surfaced last month that a huge number of federal police officers who wanted to move to Mexico’s new National Guard division, were instead instructed to slim down.
According to a leaked audio recording, over 625 federal police were rejected for not meeting the strict physical requirements of the National Guard. Instead, these agents were transferred to the National Immigration Institute (INM) to help control immigration at checkpoints on Mexico’s northern and southern borders during the ongoing crisis.
And obesity isn’t just a problem for the cops.
The obesity epidemic in Mexico has skyrocketed in the last decade. More and more Mexican families are gorging on processed, sweet and saturated foods and the collective effort has turned Mexico into one of the fattest nations on the planet – with five million clinically obese people living in Mexico City.
According to WHO, Mexico has one of the highest per-capita consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the world. It’s estimated that almost nearly 10% of total energy intake for adults comes from sugar-sweetened beverages. Duuude.
In fact, things are so bad that the city even installed machines that give out free metro tickets in exchange for squats!
Mexico City has one of the most used transportation systems in the world – more than 4.5 million people use it every single day. And it’s a big system too! It spans some 140 miles and has 195 stations. That’s impressive.
In tourist guides, the Metro is often recommended as the best way to skip the city’s notorious traffic.
But Mexico City’s Metro is in the news now for a totally different reason – its map. Or more specifically, the English translation of the system’s map.
It all started when a map of the CDMX Metro (in English) started making its rounds on Twitter.
A map of the network of 12 lines translated into English began to circulate on Twitter, and for non-Spanish speaking foreigners, it seemed like a great idea. Now they’d be able to better understand the map.
But it hasn’t quite worked out that way because for many the translations are far off.
The names of metro stations are often historical in nature, highlighting people, places, and events in Mexican history. There are stations commemorating aspects of the Mexican Revolution, the nation’s Indigenous history, the country’s advances in science, medicine, and sports.
Even some Mexicans appreciated the map in English because they had never been able to easily translate the Nahuatl words into English.
Words like Tacubaya (where the water is gathered) and Chapultepec (Grasshopper Hill) have their origins in the ancient language of Nahuatl.
Few people also realize that Mexico City is home to one of the world’s few metro systems that have corresponding icons for every station.
Each station is identified by a minimalist logo, first designed by Lance Wyman, who had also designed the logo for the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
Logos are generally related to the name of the station or the area around it. At the time of Line 1’s opening, Mexico’s illiteracy rate was high. In fact, in 1960, 38% of Mexicans over the age of five were illiterate and only 5.6% of Mexicans over the age of six had completed more than six years of school.
Since one-third of the Mexican population could not read or write and most of the rest had not completed high school, it was thought that people would find it easier to guide themselves with a system based on colors and visual signs.
Although the icon system was designed with the illiterate in mind, it’s also a huge help to non-Spanish speaking visitors to the city.
That system of icons and colors carries over to today. Visitors to city often remark on how easy it is to navigate the Metro system because of it.
The CDMX Metro also prides itself on being inclusive of all Mexicans.
Mexico City, despite being in a traditional and conservative country, takes its Pride seriously.
Though, to be clear, the CDMX Metro isn’t always so cool…
In fact, it can be a pretty major nightmare for the millions of people who use the system each and every day.
It seems like every day there is a warning tweeted out about this line being delayed or that station being overcrowded.