We pulled up to one of the 50 or so existing homes, which resemble a New Urbanist version of a Mexican colonial-style house, complete with ornamental cupola and brightly painted in traditional Mexican colors. Wealthier buyers can add extras, such as a spare bedroom, a separate mother-in-law unit or a rooftop deck. The men offered to show me one of the larger models, belonging to an American couple who weren't at home. Just as he was about to unlock the front door, Rubio paused. "It's a funny thing about this couple," he said. "He's a Minuteman, but he's retired in Mexico. It's a very nice couple, everything that is the opposite of what the group represents. Very adaptive to the community."
Gazing past the home's swimming pool, toward the distant mountains that rise over the bay of La Paz, I pondered the idea that a member of the armed U.S. citizens group that patrols the border to prevent desperate Mexican illegals from crossing into the U.S. has opted to spend his golden years in the very same country those immigrants are trying to escape.
Rubio told me that the Minuteman and his wife speak a little Spanish and want to learn more. He said that they and other Americans are constantly asking for his perspective on the immigration debate that's raging across the border. "That's their mentality," he said. "Adapt to the culture as opposed to having the culture adapt to them. And that's the kind of thinking you find throughout with the Americans retiring in Mexico."
Perhaps. But as Jack Smith suggested all those years ago, once the dam busts, cultural sensitivity gets swept up with everything else in the surging financial flood. That may not seem like a problem for the millions of Americans looking forward to spending the third stage of life whacking golf balls and sighing over romantic Cabo San Lucas sunsets. But even with the badly needed cash flowing from the north, it might be understandable if the Mexicans of Baja California Sur occasionally fantasize about building a wall of their own. *