We told you a couple weeks ago about the Crime of the Centuries!!! here, in which the town's 300-year-old aqueduct got graffitied by a couple of dumbasses. We marveled above all else at the projected 100,000-peso ($8,000) "restoration" cost, since we're basically talking about scrubbing some spray paint off of what is essentially - historic/architectural significance aside - a stone wall. Apparently, forgetting we were in Mexico, we gaped too soon.
The "restoration" costs have thus far topped 180,000 pesos, and are expected to come in finally at around 200,000 - roughly $15,400 dollars. We are so in the wrong line of work.
As you can see, it's a painstaking and labor-intensive task, requiring at least seven supervisors to watch over the two actual workers, and it utilizes only the most up-to-date trashbag/chainlink fence/turpentine-soaked rag technology. But still.
The expense, according to the Public Works Secretary, is due to the fact that "we cant just scrape it off. We're removing it with solvents that won't damage the monument." Which, hey, sure, whatever, but we're still talking about some turpentine-soaked rags here. We suppose it's possible that the aqueduct is so ancient and fragile that it can only be cleaned with a special, laboratory-tested substance that costs $50 an ounce, but if that's the case, perhaps someone should have thought of that before they built a six-lane highway running along both sides of it, in a city that only recently stopped selling leaded gasoline.
Also, too: the eight-lane highway that bisects the six-lane highway by passing through the arches is being widened to include an additional three lanes. Seriously, how delicate can this thing be?
In other graffiti news, despite the "restoration" pricetag, it looks like the only legal punishment for the dickheads who did this is community service, which is fine with us - we've got some graffiti on the outside of our office that could do with a scrubbing. Also, according to some guy who heard it from a kid (thus making two sources, so Plaza de Armas could run with it), there are 15,000 "grafiteros" in Querétaro - nearly 2 percent of the popluation, which seems to us a tad high. And in an effort to prevent another costly monument-tagging, a local legislator has proposed creating a registry of people who purchase spray paint. The registry would then be used "to make home visits to verify that these products are in face being used for work and not for defacing buildings." This strikes us as an eminently reasonable and obviously workable solution, and certainly at least as cost-effective as letting the Public Works Secretariat scrub the whole town with turpentine-soaked rags.
Finally, because Burro Hall is all about education, we present as a public service Tony Silver's 1983 documentary Style Wars, subtitled in Spanish, so our 15,000 tag-crazy vecinos can learn the difference between dope and whack.