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  #1  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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How Bad Is Mexico Really?

Hi everyone,

I need help trying to keep my parents from worrying about me while I am traveling alone from Chicago to TDF. My parents are really worried about me going through Mexico. My Mom is in tears. I always assume the reports are exaggerated on the news. I don't watch the news so I don't really know what they are seeing. My Dad mentioned how a grave site with 72 people were found.

Is there any advice someone can give me to try and make my parents not go insane while I am away for 8 months?

I have already gotten a SPOT tracker with 10 minute updates so they know where I am.

Is there anything I can mention to them that will neutralize the paranoia?

Also, is it really getting out of hand in Mexico?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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I got this from my mom as well. No good way to help her the press makes money off fear and it sells well.

But you can look at all the death toll in such places as LA and well Phoenix, AZ. Many more US citizens are being killed in the your city than in all of Mexico. More theft, more kidnappings, rape and just about any thing else. Best not go to Disneyland there you be killed gust look at the crime around LA! Chicago, for get about it, killing is way of life there what with the mob there and all, stay out!
The killings in Mexico (well most) are at the border there from the drug trade one set of drug gangs killing off another to get turf to sell there drugs to Americans. Add to that Americans and the drug gangs selling guns to each other and cops trying to stop it all there you have it. Press tends not to talk about that part it. Press also will not bring up that many of American that are killed are in the drug trade and are selling guns there, Also there are gust more Americans in the border areas that down south.

Once past 50 miles from the border and you are free from most of this. Gust use the same care you use in the USA about staying clear of problem spots and you will be fine.

My mom went to Mexico this year for dental work, to a border town and did not see any crime or killings or any thing, same as last year and the year before that they stayed in Mexico for 6 months.
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  #3  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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My experience with Mexico is that they just kill each other.. It's gang/drug related.

Like anywhere, if a town feels bad, looks bad just don't stop ! Trust your gut feeling.

You will find the vast majority of Mexicans are friendly, warm and hospitable.
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  #4  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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Hi,
I would think that if you were to plan around not spending much time near the boarder and get some miles on by starting early that you will be out of the hot spots quickly. Follow the basics of travel, don't ride at night, don't be flashy with wealth ect.

Your parents are correct in that they are having a problem in Mexico but keep in mind that it is a very large country and that there is way way more wonderful people in Mexico then bad. If you look at most of the effected, it is within the drug culture. An unfair comment to the innocent victims but tourists are not that often effected or targeted.

Do your homework and look at where the disturbances have been and do your best to get through those areas with expediency and follow some common sense rules of travel.
That's my 2 cents worth :-)
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  #5  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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Same Boat Mate

Yup...I leave in 3 weeks (Sept 23), flying my bike and myself to Ciudad where I'll be heading back North via Baja to the US border then all the way South to Ushuaia.

Me mum and grandmum are freaking out...I haven't worried 'bout anything myself.

My stepmother is from Ciudad and has assured me it is a drug related issue and will have no effect on us. The border area is the problem but clear of that you are safe...safer than most US areas at the least.

The fact that migrants from Ecuador, Brasil... were mass murdered when refused to work is rather worrysome however again, over-exageration by the press is likely a large factor.

Ride Safe and See You Out There

Cheers mates
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  #6  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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i have asked the same question to my self last night and did a bit search. the best source was:

Mexico travel guide - Wikitravel

as mentioned above, they have nothing to do with tourists. as a tourist take care of you money and stay away from drugs/fights/unsafe area/ etc, etc.. usual things...
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  #7  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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I went a few years ago and found it wasn't as bad as people said.

The media has a lot to answer for.
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  #8  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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I have lived in Mexico and will be going back in 2011

Like some of the other posts have said, yes there is a problem in Mexico mainly in the north (Frontera) I have just returned to Canada having lived in Queretaro (Central Mexico) for 2 years and have only found Mexicans to be helpfull and kind, and yes there is the odd cabron that does not even like himself but you get that everywhere. The problem is mainly with the drug trade so if you stay away from that nonsense you should be fine. I shall be returning to Mexico in Jan 2011 for few years. The media makes it sound like it is like Irag and Afghanistan in Mexico but truth be told I feel much safer there than in certain places in the US. The biggest danger in Mexico are the old slow trucks and cars that pop out of no where on the highways and stray dogs. Go and enjoy Mexico it is a wonderfull country and you would be surprised how many Americans and Canadians live and retire down there.
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  #9  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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Keep it in perspective

If we made our travel decisions based on news reports pretty much EVERY area of the world would be off limits, including our own home towns.

So let's put it all in perspective. The overwhelming majority of murders in Mexico have to do with the drug trade and tourists are generally not involved. Yes, the fact that migrants, rival drug families, law enforcement officials, mayors and their families are being massacred is atrocious, to say the least. But what you need to look at and explain to your parents is that it does not affect your own safety to any large degree.

If the logic behind avoiding Mexico is to not be caught in the crossfire then we must also apply that same logic to other places.

British Columbia, Canada:

Vancouver: 28 drug shoutouts (give or take) in a 6 month span

Vancouver: My next door neighbour disappeared. It turns out her new husband killed her and her daughter, along with a business partner of his.

Vancouver: Innocent individual is visiting in an apartment. It turns out the renters were involved in the drug trade. Rival gang members burst in and start shooting and killing people, including the innocent visitor.

Vancouver: Over 50 women disappeared from the downtown eastide streets over several years. A serial killing pig farmer is arrested and convicted.

Victoria: 2 incidents of young women being sexually assaulted in the span of 1 week.

Victoria: Charred remains of young girl found within 2km's of my home. Two youths arrested and charged.

Interior of BC: Family of 6 kidnapped and murdered while vacationing in BC

Interior of BC: Elderly couple goes missing and their RV is ablaze. Presumed abducted and/or killed.

The list goes on and on. The point is that there is crime everywhere. Ask your parents to tell you about specific crimes committed against tourists. Then have them put those in perspective. Have them compare it to peaceful beautiful British Columbia above. It may also help to have them keep it in perspective with the crimes happening in good old Phoenix as well.

Can there be a guarantee that nothing will happen to you? of course not. But I can guarantee you that you will be putting yourself in danger by letting fear getting the best of you. It's a slow death on the inside ...I do realize that it's your parents that need convincing, not you.

In the end, it's not really any more dangerous than large US cities IMHO, as long as you use some common sense and don't become involved with drugs (they're just as illegal down there than anywhere else), idiotic foreigners who think it's OK to break the law in another country, and stay away from places and areas that give off bad vibes you'll be OK.

Tell them that this is coming from a single female who rode her bike from Victoria, BC to Yaviza Panama and back in early 2010. I experienced exactly zero dangers with people and I visited every single country down there.


...Michelle
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  #10  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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Michelle has said it very well. Apart from the scary stats from our own cities/neighbourhoods, if I learnt one thing while travelling, it's that most countries just don't trust their neighbour. You can say this about a lot of countries for a variety of reasons but I specifically remember being asked an awful lot in the US "weren't ya scared in Mexico?" while talking about having just ridden up from Argentina.

To be honest, I never really had a clue what they were on about and used to reply "oh no, Mexico's great, lovely food/people/scenery"etc but as I never really watched much TV while travelling, all I can assume is that people are fed a 24/7 torrent of fear stories on the US news about their 'dangerous' neighbour. The scariest thing I saw in Mexico was probably the naked pensioners on the beach at Zipolite.
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  #11  
Old 31 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
/snip

To be honest, I never really had a clue what they were on about and used to reply "oh no, Mexico's great, lovely food/people/scenery"etc but as I never really watched much TV while travelling, all I can assume is that people are fed a 24/7 torrent of fear stories on the US news about their 'dangerous' neighbour. The scariest thing I saw in Mexico was probably the naked pensioners on the beach at Zipolite.
+1 what Mike said.

Hello from SW Mexico, this is my 2nd post on the boards but listed on the H.U. communities for this area for a decade.

Feel free to send a shout. If you come down my garage is your garage just bring me stickers or flags so I can stick them on my bike.
Cheers!
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  #12  
Old 1 Sep 2010
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Besides, The Economist says it is safer than Canada.

You wanted an unbiased account:

Mexico: Mexico: safer than Canada | The Economist
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  #13  
Old 2 Sep 2010
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Thanks for everyone's input. It did help put my Dad's fears at bay a little. My Mom...well she's going to be a mom and worry every day I'm sure.
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Old 3 Sep 2010
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Back to the basic question of how to convince mom you are not totally insane with a death wish. I think your best bet is to maintain a blog (HU travel stories) with lots of pictures. take a laptop computer and you can call home on Skipe for almost nothing. When they start seeing what you see and hearing about the really great people you meet along the way it will help melt the fears some.

RJT
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Old 3 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Hog View Post
Back to the basic question of how to convince mom you are not totally insane with a death wish. I think your best bet is to maintain a blog (HU travel stories) with lots of pictures. take a laptop computer and you can call home on Skipe for almost nothing. When they start seeing what you see and hearing about the really great people you meet along the way it will help melt the fears some.

RJT
Thanks exactly what I plan on doing. I just bought them a webcam so we can video chat, and I am bringing a little netbook with me. I will be updating my blog at AtlasRider.com too.
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