Saturday, February 22, 2014

Two more Canadians killed in Mexico. It is so sad.

This is my third winter in Mexico writing books, and I must say I love it here.  Not only the weather is beautiful, I absolutely love the people and the food.  But living here can be very dangerous, particularly if you display any kind of wealth.  This applies to both Canadians and Mexicans.

My landlord here lives in a nice neighborhood in Cuernavaca, he has a good income, but is very careful to not display or announce in public his station in life.  He even goes as far as driving an old 1996 Dodge Neon (in great mechanical shape) so that he does not attract attention.  The house we live in has 15 foot walls all around it with wire on top and an electric metal car gate in front.  It is on a completely secure cul-de-sac with a 15 foot gate at the entrance and 24 hour guards.  All along the street outside, there is a guard all night on each street corner.  The entire neighborhood has guards at each entrance point.

Even with all of this security, we still have to be extremely careful, especially when we go shopping or downtown.  I never wear jewelry or expensive watches or clothes, and I am always careful to watch my money and not flash it around.  Usually I leave all my credit cards and ID at home and use photocopies of my passport when I'm outside the neighborhood or community.  Because I am Canadian, I am automatically a target because everyone down here thinks all Canadians are rich.  There are many poor people in this country, and sunfortunately ome of them are looking for an easy way to make money.

Canadians are usually robbed, whereas Mexicans with money are usually kidnapped.  My advice to any Canadians living in Mexico:  If you are not going to stay at a resort, find a SAFE neighborhood and make some Mexican friends.  Make sure your house is completely secure and if possible with 24 hour guards.  Don't flash money or credit cards around in public and dress down all the time.  If you happen to surprise someone robbing your house or apartment - get out as fast as you can and call the police from a neighbors (or better yet, get a cheap cell phone and dial 066).

I still may not be completely safe down here, but it sure is better than snow.  Now back to writing.