For the third straight year in a row, Finland was named the world’s happiest country. I’ve never been to Finland but, my vote goes to Mexico as having the world’s happiest people even in a Covid 2020 year.
My experience with Mexico as a country is that it is full of so many contrasts. In California when we hear news or read about Mexico, it’s usually about bad things like the violence, illegal border crossings or drugs. Yes, there is social inequality in the country however, when we visit as tourists we mainly experience the warmth of its people, the simple beauty of the country, and the fantastic foods and drinks. Maybe the surprisingly high happiness levels is just another one of those contrasts.
The Mexican recipe for happiness IMHO is to have lots of social contact and social bonding time. Families eat together and these meals also include the grandparents— usually the hosts — sons, daughters, in-laws, grandchildren, cousins, and even gringos like me that one Christmas and New Years, while in LaPaz, got invited.
When and if you are also invited to a holiday know in advance that there will be too loud to talk carnival like music playing and lots of awesome and wholesome foods and drink consumed.
And don’t forget about God. Also another important ingredient in the happy Mexican household. Jesus Christ is usually hanging on a picture frame. A good chunk of the population still leaves stuff in the hands of God. They worry, yes, they suffer but, eventually they say something like “God has a reason,” “in God I trust,” “it’s God’s will,” “God is with me.”
Maybe this helps to shorten the impact of all life’s difficulties and alleviate any anxiety associated with it.
So, what can Americans learn from Mexico? Spend less time alone. Grow your circle of friends — as happiness gets amplified when surrounded by other people.
Laugh more often and at times at yourselves. Find happiness in the little things of life. Stop glorifying being busy all the time. And most of all try to be a little less humble.
So, you tell me you’ve been to Mexico, you saw it, been there, done that? So, then you must know about: Chichén Itzá.
Chichén Itzá is an ancient Mayan city located on the Yucatán Peninsula. At its peak, around 600 A.D., it was the center of power in the region. Many of the original stone palaces, temples and markets remain throughout the city.
How about Teotihuacán. Teotihuacán, an ancient city possibly built by the Toltecs, is located in the state of Mexico. The city rose to power in 150 A.D. and was a strong influence on Mayan culture. It is also the location of the world’s third largest pyramid, the Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun).
What about the Paquimé Ruins?
Paquimé, located in the state of Chihuahua, was a cultural center in north Mexico for over 300 years. At the height of its power in the 13th century, the city’s population is thought to have reached 10,000, with most of the citizens living in five or six story buildings similar to modern apartments. Paquimé featured a ceremonial area, temple structures, a ball court, pyramids and effigy mounds, including one that resembled a cross with perfect astronomical orientation.
Then there is Cuarenta Casas.
Cuarenta Casas (Forty Houses) are cliff dwellings located in the state of Chihuahua and discovered by the Spaniards around the 16th century. Despite the name, only about a dozen adobe apartments are carved into the west cliff-side of a dramatic canyon at La Cueva de las Ventanas (Cave of the Windows). Cuarenta Casas is believed to have been an outlying settlement of Paquimé in the 13th century.
Have you seen or visited the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City? It’s home to the three-story Palacio Nacional (National Palace), built in 1563 on the site of the Aztec leader Moctezuma’s palace. Originally, the palace housed all three branches of the government. Today, however, only the executive branch resides there. Palacio Nacional was destroyed by fire twice, once in 1659 and again in 1692. It was reconstructed in 1693 and remains largely unchanged today.
In the early to mid-1900s, Diego Rivera painted a collection of huge murals on the walls of the palace that illustrate the colorful history of Mexico. I saw these and they are an impressive history mural. The palace is also home to Mexico’s Liberty Bell.
The Catedral Metropolitana. Located at the north side of Mexico City’s town square, Catedral Metropolitana is the largest and oldest cathedral in all of Latin America. Construction on the building, which blends Baroque and Neoclassical styles, began in 1573 and took three centuries to complete. The cathedral features 14 chapels, five altars and numerous statues, paintings and altarpieces of Christ and the saints.
The Sea of Cortez also known as the Gulf of California, is situated between mainland Mexico and the Baja Peninsula. Located on Isla Partida, one of numerous sea islands, is Ensenada Grande beach, which many consider to be the most beautiful beach in Mexico.
The Sea of Cortés contains many unique species of marine life, including the mantra-like Flying Mobulas, which can leap from the water and glide through the air, and the Vaquita, the most endangered porpoise in the world.
Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Located on the eastern rim of the Valle de Mexico, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl are Mexico’s second- and third-highest volcanic mountains. Craterless Iztaccíhuatl is dormant and a popular site for mountain climbing; however, Popocatépetl, whose Aztec name means Smoking Mountain, has erupted more than 20 times since the arrival of the Spanish. It continues to spout plumes of gas and ash and is carefully monitored by scientists today.
Other less known facts about Mexico.
Mexico City. Mexico City, is the second-largest metropolitan area in the world after Tokyo, and is home to numerous attractions, including the Palacio Nacional and the Catedral Metropolitana.
Acapulco. With its golden beaches, tropical jungles and renowned daredevil cliff-divers, Acapulco remains the best-known and most popular resort town in all of Mexico.
The Baja Peninsula. The Baja Peninsula along Mexico’s west coast, is famous for its long coastline of fine white beaches,
Guadalajara. Guadalajara, Jalisco, is rich in Mexican culture. The area has become famous for its locally manufactured tequila, mariachi music, sombreros, charreadas (rodeos) and the Mexican Hat Dance.
Now tell me again about that cruise ship trip you once took to Mexico and how you’ve been there done that and why it’s so dangerous for people like me to visit.