July 22, 2011
I resided for a decade and a half in Mexico, and met and married my wife there. Recently I was offered a job in the U.S. and moved back. However, since my wife is from Mexico we have already made several visits to Mexico and plan to continue.
Of course we are aware of the ongoing drug violence in Mexico, Mexicans continue to be killed by this violence, which is a tragedy.
I personally don’t tell Americans they should or should not visit Mexico. That’s their personal decision. I would advise them to be informed and look at the big picture.
On the one hand, some talk as though the whole country of Mexico is an anarchic shooting gallery, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s certainly not correct.
However, there is danger in Mexico and a potential traveler should be aware of it.
Mexico is a big country, approximately the size of Western Europe. Homicide rates vary throughout Mexico. So does drug cartel violence.
Mexico’s northern states have a lot of drug violence precisely because they’re on Mexico’s northern border, where the drugs are moved into the United States. And that’s the same border we cross when we visit Mexico.
We do try to be careful. Whereas before we had no qualms about driving at night while traveling in Mexico, now we try to avoid it.
We traveled in our car, crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. After crossing, I applied for (and paid for) a tourist permit for myself and an auto permit for the car. After all, I should obey Mexican immigration law!
We arrived safely to the metropolitan area in which I once resided. The main goal of our visit, of course, was to visit my wife’s parents. (In Spanish they are my "suegros," the collective term for mother-in-law and father-in-law). We let the boys stay with their grandparents, which they enjoy. My wife and I stayed in our house, which we still have, and we visited my suegros each and every day.
We were also able to visit various relatives of my wife, friends from church, and neighbors.
The ongoing violence is a perennial topic of conversation, of course, and has encouraged people to change their schedules, not be out at night as much, etc. And yet, life goes on, and the economy seems to be doing well.
The violence in Mexico has also made it possible for con artists to take advantage of the situation. For example, the con artist, claiming to be part of a known criminal organization, will call a person and make a threat, apparently with the goal of extorting some money. This happened to my wife’s father while we were visiting. However, he didn’t seem too worried and nothing came of it.
While in Mexico, we took the boys to see the Pixar movie “Cars II” in a movie theater of the Cinepolis chain, which have some very nice facilities. In fact, the Cinepolis theaters are nicer than the local theaters where we reside in the United States. Not only that, but we viewed “Cars II” in the cinema’s “VIP” section, which is really nice.
Besides visiting in the metropolitan area in which we used to reside, we took a sightseeing trip to another part of Mexico, traveling there by bus. We did this for security reasons, and also because it is a good way to see the country. I wanted the boys to appreciate various landscapes in Mexico.
It was interesting to see the agriculture in the regions through which we passed.
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After arriving to the other city, we were able to spend a week and visit various tourist attractions including pre-Hispanic sites, Spanish colonial architecture, and other famous buildings. Mexico has so much to offer the tourist, and I would hate to see all the drug cartel violence ruin that.
On the last full day we spent in the country, my wife renewed her Mexican passport. It only took a few hours to get that done. In contrast, I recently had to get my U.S. passport renewed, and that took weeks.
On the day of our departure, we all got in the car – my wife, our boys and my suegros, who returned with us to visit us here in the United States. So that’s where we are now. It was a good visit to Mexico.
� 2011 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
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Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.