Catering to Foreigners

Last week, the New York Times ran an article about rich Mexicans who lead parallel lives in Houston, San Antonio and Texas and those who serve them in El Otro Lado.

High-end real estate developments bore features – high walls, car patrols and locked gates – which replicated the back-home needs and wants of Mexicans who could afford to maintain houses in both countries.

Here in Mexico, real estate developments catering to the Estadounidense and Canadian market do the same, boasting of American-style kitchens, open yards, great rooms, unbarred picture windows, just to make them feel at home. But there’s usually one extra touch, which always leaves me chuckling: Hacienda style. The hacienda of yore could be a ranch, a farm, plantation, or a factory, and the style of the dwelling occupied by the patrón ran from rustic to Neoclassical and beyond. But the same group of folks who now cringe at the real estate term “master bedroom” clamor for that touch of hacienda style. It’s as bad a term as “Mexican colonial modern.” Whatever that is.

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