Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dental and drug adventures

Sorry that we've derailed on the blog for a few weeks... the rest of the Mexican tour was a blur of tacos, huge crowds, fireworks, and the biggest tortillas I'd ever seen.

But first, back to Culiacan:
Culiacan was about 45 minutes from the coast, and the capital city of the state of Sinaloa. Our host families from the rest of the tour were very concerned that Culiacan was on our itinerary, because there is a long history of drug-related violence in this area. (Of course, most of them had never been to Culiacan before themselves...)
Because President Calderon has a personal agenda to severely cut down on drug-trafficking, there is a large military presence in Culiacan. But, like so many things, it sounds so much worse in the media than it feels when you are actually in the community. The only difference we saw at all was occasionally passing a military vehicle full of patrolling soldiers with machine guns. Otherwise, its normal everyday life for the community. We asked the cast how they felt after being in the city for a few days, and had a really great discussion about perceptions, realities, daily life in cities that have a bad rep in the eye of the media, and what their host families thought about it all.

And then, the rest of the city was a blur to me, as I broke a tooth on the first show day, and spent the majority of the rest of my time in the city at the dentist.

Differences in Mexican dentistry, at least in my experience:
Though he had a spit-sucking tube, my dentist didn't use it but rather had me sit up and spit, to give my jaw a break. What's gross was actually seeing the color of my spit as he worked on my tooth... not recommended.
I had a television hanging in my line of sight, and held the remote so I could channel surf during my appointment.
There was no dental assistant or nurse of any kind-- just one on one, me and the dentist.
After my first of two appointments, my jaw had been wide open for almost two hours, so my appointment ended with a jaw and face massage. Relaxing, yet very odd. I chalked it up to a cultural experience.
Best of all, the price difference. I always want to break my tooth in Mexico: what surely would have set me back $600-800 in the US cost $120 cash in Mexico. Two appointments and three hours later, I was good as new. On to our last city: Hermosillo!

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