Who’s afraid of Mexico?

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.


Sex and the City: Original Motion Picture Soun...

Sex and the City: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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?


6 thoughts on “Who’s afraid of Mexico?

  1. Ha! I just sat through a conversation here in America where everyone scorned the idea of even stepping foot in Mexico because of the drug wars. Guess they forgot about the terrible shootings in Seattle just last month…

    • That doesn’t surprise me. I felt the same about Mexico. When you read the papers or watch the news, you get the impression that they are waiting to ambush you everywhere.
      Of course, we live in a fenced in community, but I believe that’s a bit of eyewash to keep the prices high…
      Btw, one of my Mexican students recently told me he would never travel to the US – way too dangerous since everybody owned a gun there. I couldn’t help but laugh.
      Those cliches are funny!

  2. I laughed when I saw the title of your post today. I drafted my “travel safety” post earlier this week (finally posted today) and saw that you and expatlingo also posted about safety recently. I guess we all had the same things on our minds this week!

    I agree with your assessment in Mexico. Guanajuato and Morelia, for example, felt (are) MUCH safer than Ciudad Juarez or the capital. It just depends on where you are. And like you said, it can be the same case in the U.S. I love your list- sun + tequila = problems… 🙂

    • I am eager to check out your post. Did people warn you about crazy Germans? 😉 Seems it is international expat safety week!
      Yes, this subject has been on my mind ever since moving here and finding out how stupid I had been to let the press shape my picture of this country. But I guess we all do this mistake once in a while…?!

    • You are right. That’s what we tend to forget and that’s why sometimes we make those foolish judgements from afar. Thanks for finding it interesting! 🙂

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