Jaza's World Trip

¿Donde están los gringos?

So here I am in New York City, in the beating heart of the USA. And what do I hear in my first hour outside today, walking down the streets of Manhattan? Do I hear "let's go for coffee", "put it in the trunk", or "you want that to go"? Not a chance! Every 5 seconds, it's "qué cabrón es mi primo", "hasta once y media", and "estamos tardes, vamos". What's going on — have I left Latin America, or what?! I could barely put one foot in front of the other, in this city, without hearing people talking Spanish, seeing shop signs in Spanish, and even giving passers-by directions in Spanish! Seriously: "¿donde están los gringos?" (lit: "where are all the gringos?"). Apparently, Spanish is just as useful back here in the USA, as it is down south of the border — in some neighbourhoods, perhaps even more useful than English.

Of course, they're mainly Mexicans, here in the US — with most of the others being from nearby Central American and Caribbean countries. And a whopping 50%+ of them are here illegally, getting exploited with below-minimum-wage pay, and having no rights and no security whatsoever. There are estimated to be literally millions of them, spread throughout the country, and doing all the s$#% work that nobody else is desperate enough to do. What's more, the government is doing very little about it, and for a very good reason: they've become an essential and much relied-on part of the US economy; and without their virtual slave labour, that already-fragile US economy would spiral even further down the plughole than it is right now. A sad and a complicated situation, but that's how it is around here.