As tourists to Mexico, we were watching the fuzzy black-and-white television image of Neil Armstrong when he became the first man to set foot on the moon July 20, 1969. My then-boyfriend Jim and I were sitting in a somewhat seedy workers’ bar in Mexico City, lamenting the fact that the U.S. government could better be spending the money on schools. Jim was even considering moving to Mexico; the specter of the U.S. war in Vietnam and the draft hung over both of us. But suddenly, practically the entire bar was hugging us, congratulating us, buying us beers. We were Americans, and the Mexicans were proud of us…even if we weren’t.
Six years later, I was off on a long and unstructured trip through Latin America. In Cartagena, Colombia, I met a young student and asked him his advice on my next destination – should I go to the jungles of the Choco in eastern Colombia or to Caracas. “Caracas” he replied, not missing a beat. “That’s much more interesting.” It was not until many years later that I realized how we carry our own perspectives into our touristic contexts. For Mario, who had never been to Bogota, Caracas was the far-off paradise, the big city, while I was lured by the exotic otherness of the jungle region.
Tourism provides a mirror for others and ourselves. After September 11, many in the Americas became aware of the huge economic and development impact of the tourism industry. But, beyond development, tourism is also important because it creates links between cultures. For better or for worse, it shapes culture, identity and history.
Here in the pages of this second issue of ReVista, you will experience how tourism is the epitome of an interdisciplinary study, shaped by the perspective of our different fields.
Winter 2002, Volume I, Number 2
Ellen Schneider’s description of Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in her provocative article on Nicaraguan democracy sent me scurrying to my oversized scrapbooks of newspaper articles. I wanted to show her that rather than being perceived as a caudillo
Cuba may be the only country on the planet that sports statues of John Lennon and Vladimir Lenin. Uruguay may be the first in planning a full-fledged monument to the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I have to confess. I fell passionately, madly, in love at first sight. I was standing on the edge of Bogotá’s National Park, breathing in the rain-washed air laden with the heavy fragrance of eucalyptus trees. I looked up towards the mountains over the red-tiled roofs. And then it happened.