Monday, December 05, 2005

Are We Helping or Hurting?

Juneau is a tourist town. The transformation has taken place over the last several decades and there are many residents who abhor the changes. Once a home for fishermen, loggers and miners, Juneau is now crawling with the passengers and crew of up to six giant cruise ships a day. New jobs, we say. A clean industry. They put a lot of money into the local treasury.

Now, we are the tourists and we are the ones changing the landscape and the economy. Americans and Canadians number in the thousands in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area. Some live here year round and many more come down for the mild winter months. We buy property, we fix it up, our friends come to visit, they buy property... on and on it goes. What was once a fishing village is now a base for large scale resorts and a huge market for second homes. Prices keep rising. People keep pouring in. It is such a great place to be.

So, nothing stays the same and I really do not bemoan change. It is inevitable and some people will be happy and some will not. A few will become rich and many will be unfairly displaced, either legally or economically. A man wrote a local letter to the editor of the English language newspaper outlining the construction of a new harbor in front of his million dollar beachfront home. His point was that proper procedure was not followed and that his property would not be what he bought anymore. But he failed to describe the place as it was 10 years before, when his home and the homes of his fellow Americans did not exist. Surely there were Mexicans who lived there. Do you suppose they are happy that he arrived?

We spent the weekend in Lo de Marcos. It is a town up the coast, beyond Sayulita. It is like hopscotch. Puerto Vallarta gets too big for the quiet beach life. People move to Sayulita. Now Sayulita is crowded, expensive and gentrified so Lo de Marcos will be next. On it's web page, Lo de Marcos says it is "waiting to be discovered". Yep. Get in on the ground floor.

Lo de Marcos

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