June 11, 2007

I was driving through Haw River, North Carolina yesterday observing the changing landscape for my project studying the Mexicanization of the southeast. It is interesting what you come across. For instance, over a span of several miles I came across the following signs that definitely look different than what one used to see in NC. It is not just that Mexican stores are a new phenomenon in the SE, it is the visual style they are bringing, as in this:

and if you look at it closely, it really is right out of some Mexican town:

so, it is interesting to track these changes, which are quite stark in parts of the South. North Carolina is the epicenter, as I have discussed here before.

I also went to the large flea market in Mebane, NC because it is supposed to be heavily Mexican. And indeed you can buy a lot of Mexican food there, the most notable part being the food. Huge stands with many varieties of peppers, nopales (cactus) and other stuff you just never saw before. I was compelled to buy this hat:

The Tres animales of course representing drugs: parrot for cocaine (perico), a cock for marijuana (gallo) , and a goat for heroin (chiva).

Truly, what better captures my life than this?

It should be noted though that they guy selling this hat was Chinese, not Mexican, and the hat was made in China. Maybe there were seconds, it was only 2 bucks brand new (if you look past the dirty ring across the top). But the side reads "Aztec Spirit" which is good because it really captures that Aztec Spirit in English, which was the Aztec native tongue.

My wife is sure to be proud to walk around with me in this hat.

That aside, I also saw this great sign in Haw River, which has nothing to do with the Mexicanization of the South but which is amusing nonetheless.

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