I'm not going to try to offer any real analysis of the Mexican economy or standard of living. But here's a few things I found interesting:
At one point, I was in a very historic city center, with beautiful buildings and museums all around. I figured it would also be a shopping center for tourists. If they have Starbucks in the airports, surely they'd have one in a central downtown area, as well as some gifty shops and things, right? Well, no. On the blocks all around these beautiful plazas, there were stores selling hardware, kitchen appliances, and for some reason, a lot of places that dealt strictly in various colors and textures of rolled plastic tarpaulins.
I also thought it was odd that my hotel, a 4-star business hotel a few blocks from a convention center, would not exchange money and did not have an ATM machine. The nearest ATM was about a 15 minute walk away in a shopping plaza. Now I am not one of these New Yorkers who expects there to be a 24-hour deli and cash machine on every corner everywhere in the world, but I did find that annoying.
1 liter bottle of water in hotel room: about US$1.75
1 hour of internet usage: about US$5.00
Upscale restaurant lunch for 3 people, including tip: about US$40.00
30-40 minute taxi ride to airport, including generous tip: about US$20.00