Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Am I Going to Be a Victim of Violence in Mexico?

I don't think I've ever "re-blogged" anything, but I just can't resist with this one. With so many questions about safety in Cancun and Mexico in general, this quiz written by the blogger "Midwesterner in Mexico" answers a whole lot of questions and gives some great advice. The more I read it, the more I like it. So, with the blogger's permission, I give you.....

The Official MidwesternerInMexico.com Quiz for Determining your Risk of Violence in Mexico

(please answer yes or no to the following questions)

  1. I am the head of a powerful drug cartel.
  2. I am employed by a recent drug cartel start-up, and my title is “Business Development Manager, Mexico”.
  3. I cannot leave the house without my 3 diamond rings, diamond stud earrnings, and emerald necklace.
  4. I only travel by limo.
  5. I insist on wearing shorts, sandals with socks pulled up to mid-calf, a Hawaiian shirt, and a floppy hat at all times, while using my obnoxious American “outside voice”.
  6. I have a tendency to flash wads of cash while trying to pay for a $10 peso bottle of water with a $1000 peso bill.
  7. I travel strictly using libre taxis hailed off the street in Mexico City, like the green VW bugs, because I don’t want to pay the extra $30 (+/-) pesos for a safer sitio taxi.
  8. I am a high-level Mexican law enforcement official actively engaged in the fight against drugs and am not on the narco payroll.
  9. I prefer to drive long trips between cities in Mexico only at night, and I am too cheap to pay the tolls to drive on the safe, well-maintained cuota highways.
  10. I insist on going out drinking by myself, getting loaded, then stumbling around the back alleys of Mexico City singing “You are my sunshine” at the top of my lungs.
  11. I sell drugs to a circle of depressed, soccer-moms in a US suburb, and I am traveling to Mexico to take advantage of the crazy dollar/peso exchange rate to find a new dealer for my drug supply.
  12. I am visiting Mexico to conduct a major business transaction for which I intend to convert $20,000 USD into $306,000 pesos in public at the airport currency exchange desk.
  13. I ask taxi drivers to take me on tours past the homes of local drug lords, where I get out of the taxi and take photos from the middle of the street during broad daylight.
  14. I insist on traveling to parts of Mexico City not mentioned in guide books or specifically mentioned as areas full of criminals, like Tepito, a.k.a. the “Thieves’ Market”.

OK, end of quiz! Time to review your score.

If you answered yes to #1, #2, or #8: I strongly recommend you avoid travel into Mexico, leave Mexico if you are already here, or seriously consider a new line of work.

If you answered yes to #3, #4, or #6: perhaps you have forgotten that you are visiting a country where the daily minimum wage for 2009 is $54.80 pesos. That is $3.58 USD PER DAY at the current exchange rate. Please bear this in mind and stop flaunting your money like a fool.

If you answered yes to #7 or #9: have you checked the exchange rate lately?? During the 8 months we have been here, it has gone from 10 pesos / 1 dollar to 15.3 pesos / 1 dollar. Stop being a cheap ass and spend the extra pesos to pick the safe option.

And finally, if you answered yes to #5, #10, #11, #12, #13 or #14: you are simply not very smart and probably shouldn’t be allowed to travel, period.

I hope this insightful quiz has eased your fears about travel to Mexico, as long as you are not an idiot or a criminal.

And there you have it folks, a fantastic piece from a great gringa blogger in Mexico City. I thank her for letting me share! Check out her blog for the whole piece and to see another perspective on being an ex-pat in Mexico.


Kelly said...

Oh my goodness that is hilarious! Totally worth re-blogging!

Poofbegone said...

That's classic! I'd like to make one for Quito too!

Unknown said...

I must be very boring because I had to answer no to all of them. Though I wish I could have answered yes to #12, because that would mean that I had 20K in usd....

K.W. Michigan said...

Great post .. I do hope it is widely spread. Love #5 .. My hubby and his brother will be in Cancun on the 23rd (yep leaving me home to work) I am so jealous!

Steve Cotton said...

This is a great post. I am a bit concerned about that emerald necklace question, though. Can I just leave it with my staff of family retainers? They are just like family, you know.

Somebody said...

LOL that's pretty funny. People often forget their common sense luggage at home while vacationing.

You've really been on the move lately. Nice video of the snorkeling trip ... wish I was there!

I'm catching up reading the last few months of everyone's life. I'll catch up soon :)

I missed ya!


CancunCanuck said...

Kelly- I thought so, I love her sense of humour on a serious topic.

Kumichan- Oh please do, that would be great!

Theresa- I'm with you, big fat "no" all around. I wish I had 2000 pesos, never mind 20k USD! :)

K.W.- How can they leave you behind??? That's just not fair! Does that mean you get a free trip without them when you have vacay time?

Steve- Well darling, don't you know that you just can't trust the help?

Lisa- Oh yeah, they pack 14 pairs of shoes but leave logic in their closet, sigh....Nice to have you back in the blogosphere!

Anonymous said...

#12 reminds me of the question on the Customs questionnaire that asks if you are carrying more than $10,000 USD into the country. Not that it is illegal but it is illegal not to declare. I want to be sitting next to the person who answers yes so I can ask for a loan.

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

What a funny post. I love it!!!

omni said...

I have been traveling to Cancun for over 20 years and usually spend 4 to 8 weeks a year there. Unfortunately, the reality is not so hilarious. Cancun's Police Chief, Velasco and the Head of Jail's Boris Alonso have recently been arrested and alleged to be complicit in the murder of an Anti-Drug Chief's murder.

Both of these individuals are believed to be tied into the Gulf Drug Cartel, whose presence has escalated tremendously in Cancun over the last 2 years. Moreover, a Zetas cell has a presence in Cancun. If you do not know who they are it is not so hilarious. They are a group of military dissidents who were hired by the Drug Cartel has an assassination team.

Citizens of Cancun are increasingly subject to threats and extortion relating to the assets that they have, ie, cars, houses. Gangs roam the streets of Cancun and threaten citizens with violence if money is not exchanged.

This was not Cancun up until 2 years ago. The reality is Mexico is under siege and may implode as the Drug Cartels wedge themselves in between a Government, who has historically been corrupt. The standard of living is conducive to the perpetuation of bribery, corruption and disorder that the Drug Cartels want. This is reality.

If you go to Cancun stay in the Hotel Zone, whose Tourist police have also been involved with rape and corruption. If you venture into the wrong area you could be mugged, robbed or even worse.

This is present day Mexico, which appears headed to a Narco state. Not so hilarious.

CancunCanuck said...

Omni- No one is disputing the fact that there is a problem in Mexico, but currently it does not affect tourists. Zero tourists have been victims of the violence in Cancun, there are no gun battles being waged in the streets nor tourists being kidnapped. The piece was a rebuttal to the American press which seems to be equating Juarez with Cancun, two totally different stories. If you follow the TV news, they have footage of people frolicking on the beach in Cancun intercut with the scenes of violence in the border cities. It's irresponsible for them to suggest that Cancun is in any way seeing the problems that the border towns are. Tourists are still safe in Cancun. Of course there are issues of robbery etc, but that is no different than any tourist town in the USA.

omni said...

You provide a useful service. Sadly so many Americans and people in general have negative stereotypes regarding Mexico and Mexicans. Moreover, there is no question that if people deploy common sense their chances of encountering problems are remote. Furthermore, the media always exaggerates and perpetuates.

The real problem lies in the Cancun that the tourists do not see, which ultimately may encroach on the other Cancun. As a New Yorker, to me Cancun was always the best place in the world. But, sadly it has lost its innocence and tranquility. I frequently visited friends in different barrios by myself at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 in the morning and never had a problem, nor did I ever believe I would ever encounter a problem. This is dating back to 1990. Crime was virtually non existent. Concerns with the police amounted to paying sobornos (bribes) for traffic violations.

Sadly, this has changed. I have many, many, many friends who work in the Hotel Industry and there is a palpable fear about the overriding problems in Mexico and their ultimate impact on Cancun and the State.

I have friends who have disconnected their phone lines because they were receiving threats over the assets that they possess. Crime is prevalent in areas where it never before existed. This in fact is all systemic with the distrust the people have had with their government since 1521 and is playing into the hands of the Drug Cartels. This acts as a stimulate for chaos and disorder, which has just started to seep into Cancun's culture, which I never could have envisioned 15 years ago.

Let's all hope this works itself out.

zannie said...

The Chronicle had a good article on this subject this morning:


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