Today I learned that Corona, Mexico’s biggest beer company, was taken over by the Belgian beer brewer Anheuser Busch. Naturally, the Mexicans are very upset, after all, they are very proud of Mexican products. That is why you can read “Mexican product” on many packages.
When we first got here, I was very surprised to see how proud the Mexicans are indeed of their country. When reading the US newspapers, all you get is drug war and crime rate. And you get the impression that all that Mexicans want is get out and live in the States. Which is why when my husband told me we were about to move to Mexico, I was in shock. And a lot of people show the same reaction, everybody keeps asking me whether I feel safe here. However, I haven’t yet met a Mexican who really wants to leave the country. It can’t be all too bad then, can it?
On of my favourite bloggers Expat Lingo talked in her latest post about the potential dangers of living in China and how she actually has never felt unsafe. She also admits that there is another side to life in China. Same goes for Mexico. And I believe, same goes for everywhere in the world.
First of all, Mexico is a huge country. There are safer parts and parts that are less safe. The Riviera Maya definitely belongs to the very safe areas. Touch wood, I have never been robbed, nor have I felt unsafe at any time. I even leave our door open when I go out. And believe me, Mrs P. is not a guard dog! I also left our car unlocked (by mistake), and it is still there. I even left our keys lying on our porch (Mrs P. distracted me, she gets to take the blame.), and nothing happened. Yes, my daily confusion might be cause for concern, but that is not the point.
Sure. You wouldn’t want to drive around in your Porsche near the border. (Or in case of my husband: on your Harley. But that’s a different story.) And you probably shouldn’t wear all your jewellery on a night out in Acapulco. But go to the wrong part of San Francisco, you would be in trouble there, too.
remember that in Seattle I overheard people talking about how dangerous Europe would be and that you should never carry a bag because of all the pickpockets. Funny thing. When Europeans talk about flying to NY, they are equally afraid of being robbed. But when you look around: Everywhere in the world (mainly female, thank goodness) locals carry handbags or purses or whatever you want to call it. After all, can you imagine the “Sex & the City” girls walking around with fanny packs???
So should tourists worry when they plan a holiday at the Riviera Maya? Yes, they should. But not because of the crime. Riviera Maya holds other dangers:
1. Mosquitoes. No worries, the malaria and dengue region starts much farther south (think Belize), nevertheless, they are a big nuisance and your tan looks so much less appealing with all the red dots!
2. Tequila. A lot of tourists fall prey to this vicious drink. Afterwards, they might not remember. If you plan to indulge, make sure there is no camera nearby.
3. The sun. Judging from the lobster coloured (mainly British) tourists, this is a danger you should be aware of. And don’t give me the SPF 15 excuse. It doesn’t help. Go for 50 or higher, even if you stay in the shade.
4. Bugs. Many people worry about quality of food, but it is actually very, very good. No nasty stories here. Only if you eat somewhere on the street, maybe it is not so wise to choose seafood. If you happen to feel a little nauseous for days, you should go and get a pill against bugs. It is said, by the way, that eating the crazy hotsalsa habanerahelps desinfecting and therefore protects against all kinds of stomach diseases.
5. Tacos, fajitas & co. Obesity is a big problem in Mexico. Guess why.
So you see, you don’t have to be Lara Croft or James Bond to travel to Mexico. Just practice the same caution that you do everywhere (that includes not leaving your keys outside the house e.g.), and you will be fine. Isn’t that even a tad disappointing?