There was a time when it was believed that the entire universe revolved around the earth. Oops. Once people thought that the earth was flat. Sorry about that. More recently and on an obviously lesser scale it was common knowledge that we should all drink eight glasses of water a day. Turns out this, like the previous examples, is totally bogus. Yet in each of these cases misinformation was repeated often enough that falsehoods, for a time. became truth.
So what's this got to do with a blog about Cuenca, Ecuador? Well-------------.
Too many times this week I read from various sources that "it is estimated that 20,000 people are going to move here in the next 5 years." Folks, for every year that my age has increased my TFB (Tolerance for Bullshit) has decreased. So I have two questions for any and everybody who is recklessly throwing this statistic around like it's been inscribed on Moses' stone tablets by the hand of God.
#1 Sez who? No one names a source for this remarkable number. And even if the source is somehow reputable, on what could such a prediction possibly be based? News networks can reliably predict winners in political races after 2% of the vote is counted, but I somehow doubt that proportional resources and research have been devoted to little Cuenca to be able to prognosticate our gringo population growth with similar precision.
So since we're all pulling numbers out of our yin-yang I will go on record as predicting that our gringo population will actually decrease in the next 5 years as more and more arriving expats are discouraged by the fact that Spanish continues to be the language of choice and there are still no plans for a WalMart. And I bolster my soothsayer status by predicting a win by Pittsburgh in this year's Super bowl.
#2 Why? Correct or not, what is to be gleaned from this statistic? 20,000 people are moving here. Is that good news? Is it bad news? Should I move to Cuenca? Should I move from Cuenca? Just like the $1 cab ride (a driver tried to charge me $3 today, btw---not!!) and the $600/month groovy lifestyle, I always read into such suspicious statistics this question: What are you selling?
God, I hate to seem like such a curmudgeon--I really do. We had a cool afternoon with friends at a new Mexican restaurant and stopped by an outdoor concert in the park. I even took photos! I could and maybe will write a feel-good blog about all that soon, but in the meantime I feel an obligation to point out BS when I see it. I sincerely invite any and everyone to bust me when I'm guilty of similar infractions.
And it's not just this lazy Cuenca statistic that's riling me up. I get so many emails from "fringe people" (you know who you are) claiming such-and-such happened and so-and-so said this-that-and-the-other. One Google click confirms the story to be a total fabrication. Yet many people don't make that click, preferring instead to irrationally click the "forward" button and pass poison along to everyone in their contact list.
Are 20,000 gringos going to move here in the next 5 years? Who knows--including whoever said it to begin with? If that prediction somehow turns out to be true, is it a good thing or a bad thing? Again, who knows? There are maybe 1000 of us here now. 19,000 more might produce a WalMart.
No question---that would be a bad thing.