Things That Matter

Mexico’s Mariachis Are Struggling Amid The Pandemic But People Are Showing Up To Support Them In The Best Way

The Coronavirus pandemic has wrought destruction on entire communities. Millions of people have been left without work and struggling to figure out a way forward, a way to support their families, amid the economic consequences of a global pandemic.

Some of us have been furloughed, others let go with the help of unemployment or a severance package, but far too many have been let go with no help at all: such is the case of Mexico’s large mariachi community.

For the first time in three months, the sound of mariachi filled Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

EArly in the morning, more than 200 mariachi musicians returned to Plaza Garibaldi – Mexico City’s unofficial mariachi hub – and filled the plaza with music.

The musicians hoped to bring attention to the dire economic situation that so many of them face. Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting government shut down orders, mariachis have seen a devastating drop in their usual source of income. People have not been able to visit Plaza Garibaldi or hire mariachis for parties such as weddings and quinceañeras, which is having a hugely negative impact on musicians.

“We want help, we want the people to know that the mariachis live on,” musician Marcos Montes told the newspaper El Universal. “We want to work and need the support of people — perhaps not with handouts but by coming to see us and by hiring us.”

The bands showed up to play music but also receive much needed aide.

Credit: Maxx Wolferson / Getty Images

The charity Agrega organized the event, making sure that those who showed up maintained a safe distance as they gathered and played classics like México Lindo y Querido. The musicians also wore masks at the request of the organization. 

Agrega works with businesses and individuals to raise money and provide food to feed the hungry. It is currently raising money for supplies via their fundraising website

The distribution of care packages, which are meant to last six weeks, are part of a campaign Agrega calls “Al Pie de tu Ventana” (“Just Outside Your Window”), a reference to the common sight of mariachis hired to serenade people outside their window.

Many Mexicans are employed in the informal economy – including mariachis – and have received little to no help from the government.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

It’s estimated that about 60%-70% of Mexicans are employed in the country’s informal economy: taco stands, food vendors, street artists, domestic workers, and musicians. Many have received little to no help from the government, despite being among the most vulnerable groups.

At Plaza Garibaldi, musicians of all ages and genders came out to play and receive much-needed help.

Jacinto Martínez, 71, said he has spent his entire life as a mariachi. “I’m the son of a mariachi,” he said. “I was taught to play the violin since age 8, and I don’t know how to do anything else. Now my children are helping me to keep going.”

Meanwhile, the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the country.

As of Friday, June 26, Mexico has more than 200,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 25,000 people have died. The country is now considered a global hotspot for the virus as numbers continue to reach record highs each day.

Despite the ongoing crisis, the government will be allowing phased reopenings beginning next week.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Hector Vivas/Getty Images

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Culture

Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Right now just about everyone is itching to go on vacation. But considering that we’re still mid-pandemic and the call remains to socially distance, what can one do?

Sure, glamping is nothing new – it’s filled our Instagram feeds for years and was around long before that – but it may just provide travelers with that socially-distanced staycation that so many of us need right about now. Or, better yet, wait a little while longer and get yourself to Mexico where several new glamping bubble hotels are popping up.

Mexico will soon have three “bubble hotel” options for tourists looking for the next level of “glamping.”

When you think of camping, many of us think of bugs, not showering, and doing our private business behind a bush somewhere. While that’s still definitely an option for those of us that are into it, glamping has been a trend towards making the camping experience a more comfortable one.

Glamping has been gaining popularity among nature lovers, who also want to enjoy those everyday creature comforts, but in the midst of beautiful landscapes. That’s why bubble hotels have been popping up across Mexico, to offer clients a unique stay, close to nature they’re the perfect ‘getaway’ to get out of your daily routine.

From the bosque outside Mexico City to the deserts of Baja, Mexico is a glamping paradise. 

These bubble hotels have rooms described by travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet as essentially inflatable, transparent domes designed to allow guests to cocoon themselves in nature without quite leaving their material comforts behind. 

There are already two such properties across Mexico with a third which will begin welcoming guests sometime toward the end of this year.

One of those that is already operational is Alpino Bubble Glamping in Mexico City while the other is the Campera Bubble Hotel in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region of Baja California.

Located in the Cumbres de Ajusco National Park in the south of the capital, the former has just two “bubbles,” a 40-square-meter deluxe one that goes for 4,500 pesos (about US $220) a night and a 25-square-meter standard where a stay costs a slightly more affordable 4,000 pesos.

Both have views of the Pico del Águila, the highest point of the Ajusco, or Xitle, volcano, and come equipped with telescopes that guests can use to get a better view of the surrounding scenery and night sky.

Bubble glamping isn’t the camping our parents dragged us out to do in the woods as kids.

Credit: Alpino Bubble Hotel

Sure you may be connecting with nature and enjoying awesome activities like horseback riding, stargazing, hiking or rafting, but these properties come with all the creature comforts we’re used to. 

Move nights, wifi, breakfast in bed, warm showers, luxurious bedding, and even a full bar are all standard amenities at many of these properties.

What do you think? Would you be up to stay the night at one of these bubble hotels?

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