Yucatan, Mexico: Interviewing the Scientists — Johnny Monsarrat Mexico Trip

Here's a crazy idea. I want to write a book where some invasive high technology causes a "culture shock" in Mexico. What might happen if that type of technology became a factor in the area? How would the technology exist? What would the locals think? I had no way of knowing without learning more about technological and biological research in Mexico, as well as finding out more about real life in the country instead of only what tourists see.

To get more information about some of the aspects of my idea, we asked our tour guide if we could interview some biologists. He was a little weirded out by the request. Apparently that’s something not many tourists ask for, and I think he was not quite certain how to arrange what I wanted. But he checked around and managed to find a local college and a government research center where we would be allowed to visit and hopefully speak with some scientists about how research and development would work in Mexico.

We traveled to the nearby college looking forward to finding out details I could use in writing my book. At the university’s computer center, one of the system administrators was happy to talk to us, even though I think some of what I wanted to know gave him pause for thought. I doubt he was expecting some of the questions I asked about spies, technology, and the possibilities that might happen in a research facility in Mexico.

We also had a chance to speak with some biologists who were working on agricultural technology. They were willing to answer questions, and gave us a lot of information about science and research in Mexico. One of the biggest problems they have is the lack of supplies. Although lab supplies can be purchased in Mexico, the drug trade has negatively impacted the legitimate science. The Mexican government carefully monitors the supplies that are ordered for facilities around the country to make sure no one can use them to process drugs.

From the visits, I gained some useful information that could help me create the facilities and scientific experiments for my book. But I also learned how difficult it might be for something like I’d envisioned to exist and function. Scientific research in Mexico, unlike in the US, is badly hampered by having to wait for supplies, as well as by lack of funding.

Our tour guide found us a local college and a local government
research site.
Johnny Monsarrat: The nearby college.

The nearby college.
Johnny Monsarrat: We visited the computer center

We visited the computer center and met a nerd, Mexico-style! This fellow was tremendously nice to us. He is a system administrator and had many funny anecdotes for us. I asked him strange questions like, if James Bond broke in here, could he accomplish something exciting that I could write about. Those loco Americans!
Johnny Monsarrat: These guys are biologists work

These guys are biologists working in agriculture and food technology. We learned a lot about how science is done here in Mexico. The most frustrating thing for them is not having rapid access to lab supplies. The Mexican government places limits because they're worried about chemicals being used to process illegal drugs.
Johnny Monsarrat: One of the University's labs.

One of the University's labs. In Mexico, it's hard to compete with researchers in the USA for new discoveries because in Mexico lab supplies always take too long to arrive, and the Mexico peso can't buy much.

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