5 nights were planned in our last destination in Mexico before our return to Europe. As usual we asked the views of people who had been and just used the guide books as a back up. Our first day was a Saturday and we decided to walk to the Metropolitan Cathedral. The route took us along a wide avenue called the Paseo de la Reforma, every few metres there was another statue or roundabout commemorating a person or event. The cathedral is set on the edge of a huge square which was packed with health screening vehicles. It looked as though the authorities were looking for health problems such as diabetes, as well as providing dental care.
Our wanderings continued all day around Zocalo, an historic area of the city and on the walk back to the hotel we stumbled across a dance competition taking place in a small square. It was a bit like an old fashioned tea dance and the participants were really getting on and enjoying themselves. This provided another example of why we found it so difficult to get our heads round why Mexico gets so much bad press. I know it sells newspapers and the violent, drug related crime make great headlines but we simply were not exposed to any of this in any of the places we visited. Mike and I are always very alert to opportunist thieves, it happens in the nicest of places. When we wandered into an area of Guadalajara where it was more expensive to park the car than hire a hotel room for a few hours, we realised perhaps this wasn't the sort of place we wanted to be in. We were shown clubs in Puerto Vallarta that are controlled by 'Mexican Mafia' but this didn't affect us, not only did we not go to the clubs, but even if we had these organisations aren't interested in us as Gringo Backpackers. Everywhere we visited people were kind, helpful and open. It was so difficult to see that we could ever have been in any danger. Perhaps you will think I'm naive when I say this, but all we kept seeing was a vibrant friendly country with people motivated by family values. There were a lot of armed guards, security and uniformed officers but again, they weren't interested in us. Dad took us camping in Sicily and Italy during the '70's when the Mafia were very prevalent, but we were never at risk from any kind of Mafia activity and he wasn't being negligent by taking us there. Why would they be bothered by us on a family holiday? The cities along the northern border with the USA are a different story and live up to their reputation. Unfortunately, the day before we left Mexico news of a gang rape in Acapulco involving tourists hit the headlines, so I suppose that blows all my credibility out of the window.
I love travel, any type. There is always a buzz in finding & exploring a place for the first time, meeting and making new friends and if you return things are never quite the same.
Going away? Travel essentials from across Amazon
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