Mexican indigestion.

Author:Case, Brendan M.

THE SIESTA HAS LONG SINCE DISappeared amid the onslaught of modem life in Mexico. Now, the leisurely three-hour lunch is on the wax' out. too. Blame it on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

To be more efficient with its NAFTA neighbors to the north. most Mexican government agencies adopted a new work schedule in April. in which employees take only a one-hour lunch break. Of course, they can then go home around 6 p.m.. but it's a far cry from the traditional comida between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.. followed by several more hours of work into the night.

"Some people are having digestive problems after eating so fast. but everyone seems happy about it because they can do more each day than just work." says Salvador Musalem. a public affairs official at the Ministry of Commerce and Industrial Development. "I might take French classes or work out more at the gym."

Other government employees say they plan to take up a hobby or spend more time with their friends and families. Social commentators say the change could mean the children of bureaucrats see more of their parents before going to bed. And parsimonious officials at the Finance...

To continue reading