10-10-2010, 11:21 PM,
One Journalist?s View
By Linda Ellerbee

Sometimes I?ve been called a maverick because I don?t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico.

You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it?s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico, causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed.

But that?s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.

I?m a journalist who lives in New York City, but has spent considerable time in Mexico, specifically Puerto Vallarta, for the last four years. I?m in Vallarta now. And despite what I?m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York, possibly safer. I walk the streets of my Vallarta neighborhood alone day or night. And I don?t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico. Among Mexicans. I go where I want ?which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products?, and take no more precautions than I would at home in New York ; which is to say I don?t wave money around, I don?t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I?m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.

I?ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?

No, it was a local police officer, the ?beat cop? for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.

Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans, and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich
Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood ? house prices start at about $4 million ?including the bars on the ground floor windows.

There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it?s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel.. Mexico is a beautiful country, a special place. The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna?s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Angelina Jolie.

And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but? in general ? Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot. I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth ? and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman ? with the same joy.

Too much of the noise you?re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that ? noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don?t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.

Another thing. The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, ?Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?? or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.

It would be nice if we could put what?s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn?t be going on if people in the United States didn?t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren?t selling Mexican drug lords the guns. Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America ? Mexico is also North America? , you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation ?or a life? here can be.

So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you?ll like it here. Especially the people.

(Linda Jane Smith). Born in Bryan, Texas, U.S.A., 15 August 1944. Educated at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, 1962-64. Married: 1) Mac Smith, 1964 (divorced, 1966); 2) Van Veselka, 1968 (divorced, 1971), children: Vanessa and Joshua; 3) Tom Ellerbee, 1973 (divorced, 1974). Disc jockey at WSOM Chicago, 1964-65; program director, KSJO San Francisco, 1967-68; reporter, KJNO Juneau, Alaska, 1969-72; news writer, Associated Press in Dallas, 1972; television reporter, KHOU in Houston, Texas, 1972-73; general assignment reporter, WCBS-TV in New York City, 1973-76; reporter, the Washington bureau of NBC News, 1976-78; co-anchor, network news magazine Weekend, 1978-79; correspondent, NBC Nightly News, 1979-82; co-anchor, NBC News Overnight, 1982-84; co-anchor, Summer Sunday, 1984; reporter, Today, 1984-86; reporter, Good Morning America, 1986; anchor, ABC show Our World, 1986-87; commentator, CNN, 1989; president, Lucky Duck Productions, since 1987; producer, writer, and host, Nick News since 1993; writer, host, On the Record, on-line production with Microsoft, since 1996. Recipient: Peabody Award, 1991. Address: Lucky Duck Productions, 96 Morton St., New York, New York 10014.
(Thanks Miriam Uriarte for passing this along. I met Linda Ellerbee at one of my fundraisers for MS in Washington D.C. She was a delight and liked Mexicans even then). ;-))
10-12-2010, 08:40 AM,
Boycott Mexico? No, boycott American stupidity

[Image: mex_0.jpg]

By Eric Lucas | Apr 19, 2009
The market vendor handed me the sack of fresh-made potato chips she?d just hauled out of the fryer, and motioned that I should add a bit of salt and lime juice. I told her thanks in my serviceable Spanish (mil gracias, senora) and did as instructed. Then I gently lifted one chip from the sack and took an experimental bite. I?d never tasted made-on-the-spot potato chips until my wife and I wandered by this food cart in the market in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.

It was the best potato chip ever.

Too bad that one potato chip had more mental acuity than some of our own countrymen. Don?t go to Mexico and spend your money, urge the Americans United to Halt Tourism in Mexico, on the novel theory that the way to discourage Mexican immigrants from coming here to earn money is for us to not go there and spend money.

?Do not give your tourist dollars to Mexico!? AUHTIM fliers growl.

Americans are infamous for witless ignorance (name another country that ever had a political party called the ?Know-Nothings?), but this is a particularly egregious example of mush-for-brains activity. Campaigning to collapse one of the healthiest parts of the Mexican economy might not be the best way to discourage its citizens from seeking work elsewhere. Mexico gets 22 million visitors from the United States every year. Tourism is 8 percent of the country?s GDP. It amounts to more than $10 billion a year.

The sponsors of this boycott would actually accomplish more if they stopped driving around--Mexico is the number 3 source of petroleum for the US, at 1.1 million barrels a day--but they?ll give up their Dodge Rams and Jeep Cherokees when someone wraps their cold, dead fingers from around the wheel. Oh, and how are they going to keep selling American machine guns to Mexican drug runners if we curb their foreign exchange revenues?

Aside from the breathtaking stupidity of the idea, boycotting Mexico is yet another example of American bigotry masquerading as righteous populism. Are these cave people proposing we boycott travel to Cuba, Russia, China, Vietnam?all countries that have sent huge numbers of immigrants, legal and not, to the United States? And I presume their own ancestors have been here since they were chasing down mastodons on the Great Plains? Oops?that?s the Oglalla Sioux.

Now, joining in the know-nothing chorus is the danger choir. Don?t go to Mexico?it isn?t safe. Drug violence, kidnappings, rape, assault and other excesses. Why, in Mexico vicious contest promoters force innocent young American women to drink huge quantities of beer and strip off their T-shirts, when these girls really intended to go to church youth group camps and study Bible verses.

Actually, it?s safer there than here. For example, the murder rate in Mexico is about 11 per 100,000 people a year. In New Orleans, it?s almost seven times worse, 71 per 100,000. Atlanta, Cleveland, St. Louis?all have higher murder rates than Mexico.

I?ve been to Mexico more than 25 times, starting with boyhood trips with my family to the Yucatan, up to last year?s marvelous romantic getaways with my wife to peaceful beach resorts. I?ve encountered thousands of lovely people who are happy to share their colorful country with visitors. I?ve sampled handmade tortillas, listened to spicy ranchera music, marveled at the remnants of huge civilizations built while Europeans were flinging sewage out their front doors into the street. I?d much rather go dozens of places in Mexico than dozens of places in the United States, though there are certainly wonderful destinations here, too.

It?s tempting to say we should boycott the hometowns of these nativist US bigots, but that would disfavor some worthwhile places, such as Orange County, California and southern Arizona. So the best idea I have is to urge everyone to go to Mexico. While you?re there, drop a postcard in the mail to the folks behind this stupidity, the California Coalition for Immigration ?Reform,? 5942 Edinger Avenue, Suite 113-117, Huntington Beach, CA 92649.

Dear Peabrains: Having a great time. Wish you were here!

Eric Lucas?s travel, business and natural history journalism concentrates on the meaning and purpose of travel and enterprise. His work appears in the Los Angeles Times,, Boston Globe, Westways Magazine, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Western Journey, Michelin Maps & Guides, among others. He lives in Seattle?s Ballard neighborhood, where he grows and sells organic garlic.. He is an expert gardener, wilderness fisherman and downhill skier. To learn more, visit his website at:
10-12-2010, 10:53 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-12-2010, 11:35 AM by mr bill.)
Paradise not as we see it but as seen in through the eyes of the only true expat in our midst.

Dear Gringolandians:

Before you get your undershorts all twisted in a knot and threaten to "drop a dime" to whomever, this blog is a translation of the Correo newspaper article. You can check the source here: LINK

and for the fine google translation on the blog go here
0 user comments / leave a comment
And its hard to see what Mr. Bower's bitch is - this IS paradise compared to his home turf:

[Image: KCcrime.jpg]

All types of crime were checked with the exceptions of:
Business Robbery
Identity Theft

as when attempted the entries were so numerous the system overloaded and would not respond.
You can test it yourself here:
08-10-2015, 06:53 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-26-2015, 10:20 PM by DonaldW.)
Deleted - Expired Post. The previous post was made in error due to a browser problem by the named user. The browser problem was such that the post appeared current when it was actually not. Therefore it is the desire of the owner of this post to delete the message. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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