Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Monday September 1, 2003. I didn't go to the State Fair today.

For the past few years, I've been going to the Minnesota State Fair twice -- the second time on Labor Day -- because I couldn't see everything I wanted to in one day. This year, I only went once.

Europeans sometimes take it for granted that their countries have had more experience than the US has. But rural Spain is beginning to cope with a situation which Americans (and Canadians) have dealt with for at least a century and a half. From the September 02, 2003 Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0902/p07s02-woeu.html

'As in the rest of Western Europe, most leaders in Spain worry more about how to keep out immigrants than how to make them feel at home. But driven by a dearth of manual labor, a network of 83 one-bus-stop bergs like Aguaviva ("Living Waters") are setting out the welcome mat in the sparsely populated regions of Teruel, Soria, Huesca, and Valencia provinces, most of them in the country's arid, mountainous northeast.

'When the newcomers arrive, the collision of two worlds often ends in alienation. Some, mostly the Argentines, have scoffed at the construction and farming jobs offered; the lack of opportunities for women; poor communications with the nearest cities; and, naturally, the meddlesome townsfolk, who don't hide their disapproval of what they consider "frivolous" purchases, such as television sets, microwave ovens, or PlayStations for the kids.

[But some do adapt.]

'"It's a better quality of life," says Sergio Germain, who was an accounting assistant in his native Montevideo, Uruguay, but now works on a rabbit farm. His wife, Adriana Pereira, serves snacks at the town cafeteria.

'The locals have also adapted to the newcomers, despite the suspicion that many will eventually move on to more cosmopolitan surroundings.

'The local market now stocks the herbal tea yerba maté, polenta, and other favorites that please the Argentine palate.'

There are also Romanian and other Eastern European immigrants, who probably don't expect as high a level of prosperity as the South Americans.

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