Monday, June 08, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears! OhMY!!

Clever Girl
Clever Girl
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Emails and the comment threads both here and on my Facebook account have recently been full of questions regarding the “bad news” flowing out of Mexico. I'd like to take this quick moment to respond to the questions, concerns, and wonderful warm messages of support and worry.

Are you worried about the flu? What are you doing about the flu?
We're paying attention to the flu news, but we've pretty much decided this is a tempest in a 24 hour news cycle tea pot. Basically, sane folk need to keep our eyes on what happens to the flu over the next six months as it heads into winter in the southern hemisphere. Flu doesn't really like warm weather, so it's not a reasonable thing to get bent right now if you're living in a 100 degree climate. We'll monitor whether the flu strengthens or mutates during the southern winter months and pay attention to where it goes and what it does in the fall.

Can you get across the border?
Who knows? Right now, we can travel without restriction. By the time DrC or the girls and I try to travel north, the flu issue could be completely gone or the federales on both sides could have their knickers in a twist. We'll go with whatever the fates hand us. At this point, we're just not going to worry about it.

What about the drug lords and murderers?
There is a drug war going on in Mexico right now, particularly up north near the border. I liken this to the mob wars that took place during Prohibition. There is a lot of money, a lot of corruption, and a lot of violence. However, the violence is largely confined to the community involved in the trade. Like mob families, these folks are killing each other and leaving the rest of the world to toodle along without interference. Occasionally, there are civilian collateral casualties, each of which is a tragedy. Again, this is not something that the crew of Don Quixote needs to worry about. We're nowhere near the areas of violence.

Now Toast.. we've heard about violence against tourists...
Heh. Maybe you have. We haven't. The cruiser community is the most gossipy group of biddies you'll find anyplace. We're like a small town smeared from Zihua to the Sea of Cortez and news travels very fast. It's reasonable to conclude that we know of every incident of theft, violence, or property damage that took place against cruisers this entire season. You can count the issues on one hand, and we haven't heard of any injuries this year. Gracias a Dios, as they say here.

Frankly, cruisers just aren't much of a target in Mexico. In fact, most coastal communities go out of their way to ensure the safety of their yachtistas who support local businesses, contribute to local charities, and encourage the positive interest of the Federales in the region in the form of Singlar and Fonatur developments. In one notable incident this season of cruisers getting stopped by a thief and taken for their pesos, the local policia had the guy arrested, tried, sentenced and incarcerated within 48 hours. Do not – I repeat DO NOT – get on the wrong side of Mexican law and community consensus on policia priorities.

But Toast...
I know it probably seems like we're being too casual, too unconcerned, oblivious, or naïve. Instead, I think what happens is that when you escape the clutch of mainstream media, you start developing a more practical understanding of the dangers which surround you. We can't read about a murder every day, so we start to worry less about getting murdered. We don't read about the swine flu every day, so when we do, a few thousand cases world-wide seems a considerably smaller danger than a coromuel with a bad anchor set. Drug lords don't hang out in marinas, cruisers are not getting attacked, boats this season have largely avoided even petty theft.

Does that mean bad shit can't happen to us? Of course it can. Jaime slipped on a wet floor a few weeks ago, and knocked herself out. We spent two days monitoring her mild concussion and worrying worrying worrying. To make it more entertaining, she slipped again in Escondido requiring a trip to the hospital to get a neck X-ray. So no, we don't think we're invulnerable.

Flying Leap
Flying Leap
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
But the things we worry about are the issues that face us every day: the safety of our children and ourselves in a dangerous and challenging physical environment, falling overboard on night passages, running into rocks, getting stung by rays, slipping on hikes, eating a fish tainted with ciguerra or getting ice with a nasty intestinal bacteria. We worry constantly about dehydration and sun burn, slipping on wet tiles in our Crocs, and Mommy's back going out... again.

The swing flu, drug lords, and muggers are far far away. Let's just keep them that way.


Relentless Toil said...

Hee. I was waiting for This Post to show up here.

Singing Land Cruiser said...

Go get them Toast, We love you. M&C

Anonymous said...

But... everything is so FOREIGN!

Thanks for this post, Toast. It's nice to hear a voice from the front countering the provincial notion that the rest of the world is so scary and dangerous.