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Pardon a rant (or why I vacation in Mexico)

mikenk

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I just returned from a business trip to Germany. Was pickpocketed of my wallet on a crowded Train station elevator; found out from police it was a common occurrence; also encountered a consistent rudeness atmosphere in public places; also got tired of the arrogance on everything. I mentioned at a restaurant that I really like Belgium beers; a few acted like I had burned the German flag.

A couple of weeks ago was in Puerto Vallarta; saw no evidence of petty crimes of opportunity; encountered genuine friendliness and helpfulness everywhere, and felt comfortable everywhere we went.

And the irony of course is we are warned incessantly by the U.S. Government and our sensationalist news media about the dangers in Mexico, where in reality, the chance of a violent crime against tourists is about zilch statistically; and yet, never a word about the much higher odds of targeted crimes of opportunity in tourist areas worldwide.

A related question, why don't German authorities warn people about the specific dangers they know about in these particular train stations? My guess: damaging to their image.

Sorry for rant, but feel a little better.
Mike

p.s. I still like Germany; beautiful country, great history, lots of great people to work with. My rant is really about the unfairness to Mexico and the assumption that everywhere else is perfectly safe.
 

Phydeaux

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Have you been to France? :doh:
 

glypnirsgirl

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I, too, love Mexico. We go to Cozumel several times per year.

On two occasions we have lost scuba equipment. Once, a dive knife was left on the dock. And the other time, I had a weight pouch drop and could not find it. Both times the equipment was turned into the dive center and returned to us.

We feel as safe or safer in Cozumel than we do at home.

elaine
 

siesta

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Reading this was like deja vu.

Many years ago while travelling in Germany, I had my passport and wallet stolen from my luggage on the last day of the trip. No clue how they got to it, im pretty aware .. But nonetheless didnt find out until I needed to present my passport at airport. Now here I am, little to no money, zero identification and no passport, and I just missed my flight. Had to utilize public transportation to get to the american embassy to get a temp., then had to stand by for another flight, of course which I wasnt able to get on until first thing in the morning. i still have the now expired passport and picture I had to take, it looks like a mug shot because I am so mad in the photo
 
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mikenk

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Reading this was like deja vu.

Many years ago while travelling in Germany, I had my passport and wallet stolen from my luggage on the last day of the trip. No clue how they got to it, im pretty aware .. But nonetheless didnt find out until I needed to present my passport at airport. Now here I am, little to no money, zero identification and no passport, and I just missed my flight. Had to utilize public transportation to get to the american embassy to get a temp., then had to stand by for another flight, of course which I wasnt able to get on until first thing in the morning. i still have the now expired passport and picture I had to take, it looks like a mug shot because I am so mad in the photo

My bet is that a large amount of that type of theft is seldom officially reported as it is clearly not in the best interest of the country's tourist trade.

At least I had my passport; losing that too would have been a disaster.
 

mikenk

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Have you been to France? :doh:

I know that France really gets a bad rap from an attitude perspective and I would guess petty theft is just as common. However, I really don't mind their attitude. In Paris, they walk too fast, drive like idiots, and are perturbed that their beloved language has been supplanted by English for business. However, they also relentlessly slow down for long lunches (with wine) and long evening meals. As long as I respect those attitudes, I have enjoyed my time there.

My travels outside of Paris have been very enjoyable. While they don't speak English as much, they seem to really appreciate when you try to adapt to their culture and language. They seem to enjoy listening to a Texan trying to speak French.

I head to Sweden next week; i find the Scandinavian countries are the most inviting in Europe and I feel very safe everywhere (really expensive though). One thing the Nordic people have in common with the Mexican people are great unassuming attitudes and great sense of humor.

Mike
 
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Phydeaux

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...In Paris, they walk too fast, drive like idiots, and are perturbed that their beloved language has been supplanted by English for business. However, they also relentlessly slow down for long lunches (with wine) and long evening meals. As long as I respect those attitudes, I have enjoyed my time there....
Mike

Each and every one of them should be eternally grateful to us their language isn't German. ;)
 

glypnirsgirl

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I know that France really gets a bad rap from an attitude perspective and I would guess petty theft is just as common. However, I really don't mind their attitude. In Paris, they walk too fast, drive like idiots, and are perturbed that their beloved language has been supplanted by English for business. However, they also relentlessly slow down for long lunches (with wine) and long evening meals. As long as I respect those attitudes, I have enjoyed my time there.

My travels outside of Paris have been very enjoyable. While they don't speak English as much, they seem to really appreciate when you try to adapt to their culture and language. They seem to enjoy listening to a Texan trying to speak French.

Mike

This reminded me of my first trip to France when I was 18. My mom took me as a graduation present. My mom was a cajun and "French" was her primary language as a child. I had been promised this trip if I would learn to speak French. (Very debatable as to whether or not I succeeded).

She insisted on speaking French the whole time that we were in France.

While in Paris, people would almost always tell her, "madam, please speak English."

When we were outside of Paris, no one even commented on her accent. While riding on the train, I remember people being delighted to come and talk with us. Their willingness to talk to my mother made the trip for us.

elaine
 

rpennisi

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I just returned from a business trip to Germany. Was pickpocketed of my wallet on a crowded Train station elevator; found out from police it was a common occurrence.....

It happened to us in Rome Italy, our passports were pickpocketed on a crowded train, also, I assume, a common occurrence there. We had to do the whole embassy deal to get replacements.
We've been to Mexico 16 times in the last 10 years, no problems at all.
 

Margariet

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Oh dear, oh dear! Being an European I have to react!

Yes, we do have lots of pickpockets everywhere around in the big cities. Germany is not the worst of countries when it comes to pickpocketing. Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam are just as bad or worse. We do have it everywhere. But for me it is not different from any other big city in the USA. Just store your belongings in a safe place under your clothes, attached to your belt, etc. Never walk close to the walls in the metro, always walk in the middle of the trottoirs, don't go at night to quiet places, etc. I have always lived in big cities and I am prepared.

Yes, we are arrogant snobs in Europe, not only in Paris. We are the old world! We can be rude in comparison to Americans but we can also be honest and straight. We do have wonderful historical sights and great food.

We have been to Mexico quite a few times, even traveled to the whole of Baja but indeed we never experienced any crime or unsafety. But I guess the warnings for Mexico are to be alert for risks of kidnapping and drug related crimes.
 

PStreet1

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Kidnapping is not a problem for "average" people in Mexico. For the very wealthy, yes. The kidnappers are looking for the possibility of big returns; that doesn't mean the average tourist on the streets. Frankly, you'd have to be a great deal wealthier than you probably are to be of interest, and they would have vetted you to make sure the possibility of a payoff was actually there.

As to drug crimes, again, not relevant to the average person. The crimes committed are "drug on drug" and really have nothing to do with the tourist. Those who have absolutely nothing to do with the drug trade are not of any concern to them. It is true that a person could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but frankly, that is far less likely to happen in Mexico than it is in the U.S.

A recent article might be of interest (not written by me):

Words from a happy American living in Baja:


¡¤


¡¤ I have lived Rosarito 30 minutes south of San Diego for over 20 years, very nice little beach town. My young children have grown up here and are very happy, healthy and well adjusted not to mention perfectly bilingual. We surf in the afternoons, sometimes with just the 3 of us. We can afford the luxury of having a nanny cook for our family, take care of the house keeping, do the grocery shopping. Living on the beach with very very low property taxes amd cost of living. Groceries are at least 30% less the US prices. Not to mention our gas is 2.90 gal. We own a vacation home in San Diego so I have a clear picture of cost differential. It is truly an amazing, affordable lifestyle based on family and quality of life

The media has done a very poor job of generalizing and sensationalizing drug related problems. Take Tijuana as example . Its homicide rate is 20 per 100K. New Orleans (recently being promoted as a family tourist attraction) has a rate of 49 per 100K.
There are many many US cities with higher crime rates.

From my perspective there has been politics at work in the background. Stay in the US, spend your dollars in the US. Creating fear by playing and replaying sometimes the same story for 4 years or more. I have personally seem one story repeated every year around Christmas and I have to ask myself why? Does a carjacking in the US get replayed over and over and over, or is it yesterdays news one day later?
Tourists are coming back to Mexico now more than ever. This article just confirms what I have I been seeing for several years now. BTW there are over 14,000 expats living in Rosarito.

Luis Rivera

President

Global Caribbean, Inc.

Tel: +1 954 894 4500 ¦¢Fax: +1 954-894-9190


luis@globalcaribbean.com ¦¢www.globalcaribbean.com
 

K&PFitz

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When we were riding the commuter train in Rome, we started talking to an Italian man. He works for the Vatican, and spends a lot of time in the US, so he was interested to know where we were from. He advised me to put my wallet in my front pocket and hold it any time we were on the train. He said the thieves were everywhere.
 

rpennisi

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When we were riding the commuter train in Rome, we started talking to an Italian man. He works for the Vatican, and spends a lot of time in the US, so he was interested to know where we were from. He advised me to put my wallet in my front pocket and hold it any time we were on the train. He said the thieves were everywhere.

So true!! I had my wallet in my front pocket, and my suitcase in front of me, but I kept my backpack on my back, and our passports were in a pocket on the backpack. When we got to our hotel and I went for the passport case, it was gone, the zipper was open on the backpack. Thief probably thought it was a wallet. Afterwards, I noticed more than a few people wearing their backpacks on their chests when in the subways. Live and learn.
 

Former Cruiser

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We had money stolen from our backpack in the Puerto Vallarta airport. They distracted us using their toddler, dancing. So it can happen even in Puerto Vallarta.
 

BC Bum

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Express kidnappings of ordinary people are becoming more and more frequent in Mexico. They often will settle for a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars- or whatever they can force you to take out of an ATM.
 

PigsDad

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Express kidnappings of ordinary people are becoming more and more frequent in Mexico. They often will settle for a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars- or whatever they can force you to take out of an ATM.
Would you please care to back up that statement with links to some hard factual data?

What? You can't? I'm shocked! :rolleyes:
 

Phydeaux

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Express kidnappings of ordinary people are becoming more and more frequent in Mexico. They often will settle for a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars- or whatever they can force you to take out of an ATM.

What are "ordinary people"? :confused:

Oh, and I'd love to see a reference also. I follow the news fairly closely for the tourist areas, and have never heard of a single such incident. Do tell.
 

easyrider

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Express kidnappings of ordinary people are becoming more and more frequent in Mexico. They often will settle for a few thousand or even a few hundred dollars- or whatever they can force you to take out of an ATM.

I disagree. Crime against tourists in Mexico is very very low.

"Mexico registered “nearly 190 million tourists,” of whom 22.67 million were foreigners, in 2011, eclipsing the record 185.7 million tourists registered in 2008, the Tourism Secretariat said."

http://www.hispanicallyspeakingnews...umber-of-tourists-visit-mexico-in-2011/13943/
 

BC Bum

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http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2012/01/49-kidnappings-per-day-occurred-in.html

http://insightcrime.org/insight-latest-news/item/1560-tracking-the-evolution-of-kidnapping-in-mexico

http://www.solutionsabroad.com/en/security/security-category/kidnapping-in-mexico.html

http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...ping+mexico+tourists&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Kidnapping

Incidents of “express kidnapping”, where individuals are forced to withdraw funds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) to secure their release, particularly in urban areas is increasing. The use of ATMs located inside shopping malls during daylight hours may reduce the risk.

Kidnapping for financial gain also occurs in Mexico and there have been allegations of complicity by police officers. We recommend discretion when discussing your financial or business affairs so as not to present yourself as a prospective target.

Virtual kidnapping by phone is a common scam in Mexico. If you receive a call from someone demanding payment for the release of an arrested or kidnapped family member you should not divulge any personal information but take the phone number of the person calling and report the call to the nearest police station.

Express Kidnappings

While kidnap for ransoms have become a special concern in Mexico, the rate of express kidnappings is also increasing at alarming speed. Express kidnappings are short-term abductions wherein a victim is apprehended and usually taken to multiple ATMs and forced to make withdrawals. In some cases, the victim is held until midnight, when the ATMs reset themselves, in order to withdraw more money. In rare cases, this process is repeated for several days until the entire account has been emptied. The typical express kidnapping lasts for a matter of hours and is settled for a few thousand dollars. Carjacking can evolve into these kidnappings. Targets are often chosen by the way they are dressed, the vehicle they drive, or by the facilities they frequent, such as expensive restaurants.
Virtual Kidnappings
Virtual kidnapping has become another alarming trend in Mexico. Criminals who commit these kidnappings do not actually kidnap anyone; instead, they merely convince their target’s loved ones that the individual is in their custody. Virtual kidnappings rely on the element of surprise and demands for a ransom within the hour, giving no time for families to consider their options or contact authorities. Ransom demands can range anywhere from $50 to tens of thousands of dollars; as no one is actually kidnapped, ransoms are generally significantly lower than real kidnappings for criminals to target a wide range of victims, including middle class citizens and ensure immediate payment.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11459463
 

easyrider

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@ BC Bum, While there isn't much crime against American Tourists in Mexico there is some. I haven't read anything about American tourists in regular tourist areas being kid napped. Also, I have only read about a few American Tourists being murdered. If your concern is for our safety, thanks, but don't worry. The odds are very slim to none that anyone will be victimized on vacation in Mexico.
 

Phydeaux

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http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2012/01/49-kidnappings-per-day-occurred-in.html

http://insightcrime.org/insight-latest-news/item/1560-tracking-the-evolution-of-kidnapping-in-mexico

http://www.solutionsabroad.com/en/security/security-category/kidnapping-in-mexico.html

http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...ping+mexico+tourists&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Kidnapping


Incidents of “express kidnapping”, where individuals are forced to withdraw funds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) to secure their release, particularly in urban areas is increasing. The use of ATMs located inside shopping malls during daylight hours may reduce the risk.

Kidnapping for financial gain also occurs in Mexico and there have been allegations of complicity by police officers. We recommend discretion when discussing your financial or business affairs so as not to present yourself as a prospective target.

Virtual kidnapping by phone is a common scam in Mexico. If you receive a call from someone demanding payment for the release of an arrested or kidnapped family member you should not divulge any personal information but take the phone number of the person calling and report the call to the nearest police station.

Express Kidnappings

While kidnap for ransoms have become a special concern in Mexico, the rate of express kidnappings is also increasing at alarming speed. Express kidnappings are short-term abductions wherein a victim is apprehended and usually taken to multiple ATMs and forced to make withdrawals. In some cases, the victim is held until midnight, when the ATMs reset themselves, in order to withdraw more money. In rare cases, this process is repeated for several days until the entire account has been emptied. The typical express kidnapping lasts for a matter of hours and is settled for a few thousand dollars. Carjacking can evolve into these kidnappings. Targets are often chosen by the way they are dressed, the vehicle they drive, or by the facilities they frequent, such as expensive restaurants.
Virtual Kidnappings
Virtual kidnapping has become another alarming trend in Mexico. Criminals who commit these kidnappings do not actually kidnap anyone; instead, they merely convince their target’s loved ones that the individual is in their custody. Virtual kidnappings rely on the element of surprise and demands for a ransom within the hour, giving no time for families to consider their options or contact authorities. Ransom demands can range anywhere from $50 to tens of thousands of dollars; as no one is actually kidnapped, ransoms are generally significantly lower than real kidnappings for criminals to target a wide range of victims, including middle class citizens and ensure immediate payment.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11459463

These are empty links. They are sensationalized stories about no one. What is your objective? Do you know anyone personally that was a victim of violent crime in Mexico? Now, ask me the same question, and interchange USA with Mexico!

And, what the hell are "ordinary people"??
 
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rifleman69

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Many, many, many, many rubber bands around your wallet and in your front pocket at all times (and not in a loose outside pocket either).

Be smart.
 
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