I wasn’t joking with yesterday’s image-of-the-day. Try as one might, there’s no way to avoid Coca-Cola while traveling through Chihuahua, Mexico. In addition to the plague of sugar-infused, diabetes-inducing shit-water, this image also points to another serious problem south of the border: stray animals.
Stray dogs are common in the small towns in northern Mexico. There are few services to spay and neuter these animals, so they wander, wild, through the cities, rummaging through trash bins and begging from the arrival platform at the train station. It’s a different experience altogether. Local children are taught to keep these animals away, and for good reason; feral cats and dogs are unpredictable and they carry disease. On the surface, it seems cruel and awful to watch five-year-old children kicking dogs in the face, but what they’re really doing is making sure they don’t touch the feral animal and expose themselves to illness.
Beyond the poverty I’ve seen in Mexico, it’s the necessary neglect of wild dogs that breaks my heart.
If you’ve never traveled to Mexico before, let me just say this: Coca-Cola has won the soda wars with our neighbors to the south. Sorry, Pepsi, but you have lost. You can’t travel to a single town in Chihuahua without seeing the Coca-Cola logo emblazoned on billboards, grain elevators, street vendor carts, store fronts, public walls, and personal apparel (t-shirts, sweaters, baseball baps, backpacks).
While I can’t confirm this, I’m confident that the average Mexican drinks more soda than water. The native Tarahumara, including the smallest children, seem to be sipping from Coca-Cola bottles more than water bottles. And this makes some sense, even though it’s tragic; a liter of Coca-Cola is actually more affordable than a liter of bottled water. Just like us Americans, diabetes and obesity have become serious health issues for an ungodly number of Mexicans, and the affordability of soft-drinks (and the lack of clean water) is likely the culprit.
Today’s photo is but one example. You cannot escape the red-and-white logo. Outlandishly, it’s everywhere.