The Federales

The Federales are pretty famous. Before I lived in Mexico, I had heard stories about them. My mental image was of a macho man dressed in combat gear, carrying a foreboding look gun across his back. I didn’t want to make eye contact with these men; they are scary and potentially dangerous. But when I moved here, that mental image changed into something much different.

From what I see on a day-to-day basis, the Federales are just a bunch of guys with fancy outfits. They do regular guy things while on the job. To give you a better idea of what I mean, I have put together a quick list of things that I have seen Federal Policemen doing, while holding machine guns. He was:

  • Washing his car
  • Shopping for shoes
  • High-fiving a friend
  • Drinking a coke and smoking a cigarette
  • Buying a roasted chicken
  • Riding a horse
  • Watching the sunset
  • Playing the cornet
  • Feeding bread to the birds
  • Hanging out at archaeological ruins
  • Enjoying the parade of tuba players and men on horseback
  • Playing tetris on his cell phone
  • Carrying a kilogram of fresh tortillas
  • Getting cash from the ATM
He is watching college students as they photograph at a 1,000 year old pyramid

He is watching college students as they photograph at a 1,000 year old pyramid


Making me smile

  • Spotting a macho dude walk down the street, wearing his daughter’s tiny pink backpack with a machete poking out the sides
  • International dinner club! Every two weeks, my old neighbors and I cook a meal and listen to music or watch a movie from a different country
  • Reading a letter from Bangladesh from a friend that I spent a month with in West Africa while listening to German/Russian Gypsy Ska music in Mexico
  • Hiking more than 50 kilometers per month in a beautiful place…because that is my job

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