Dear RV Shrink:
My wife wants to go to Mexico with our new motorhome this winter. I am just not comfortable with that idea, plus there is a travel warning issued by the State Department. Is it safe? Should I just put my foot down and tell her we are not going? —Nervous in Nevada
You don’t say what part of Mexico you are thinking about visiting. There are always travel advisories. They actually have different levels on a scale of 1 to 4. Last year Mexico had the highest number of homicides in the country’s history. This year is on track to break that record. Drug cartels and criminal organizations are running rampant throughout the country. You would almost have to surmise that the bad guys control the government in Mexico.
With all that said, millions of Americans go to Mexico every year. If you do the math, the number of incidents is very small. Even with the recent high-profile ambush-style murders of women and children, more than 44 million visitors are expected to visit Mexico this year. That is almost a 6% increase from 2018.
Again, I don’t know where you are headed, but much of the crime is geographically limited. Border towns have some of the highest crime rates, yet millions visit these towns every day.
We just spent a couple weeks at Poncho Villa State Park in New Mexico. Like other years we crossed the border to the town of Palomas. It is like walking into a Third World country, but the food and atmosphere at The Pink Store is the best in Mexico.
We also take care of our eye and dental needs while in town. It is a quarter of the price for the same services in the U.S., plus it’s fast, efficient and very professional. We get our eye exam, pick out frames, go to The Pink Store for lunch, come back and pick up our glasses. It’s that fast and easy.
Last year while I was looking at frames, the girl said, “What are you looking for?” I said, “I just want a pair of glasses that make me look like Brad Pitt.” Without a second’s hesitation she said, “I’m sorry, Sir. We do not sell miracles, only glasses.” Then she felt so bad, she gave me a 20% discount.
Would I drive my motorhome down and stay over night? Not a chance. When you walk through the border crossing you see military and police presence on both sides, but many more weapons on the Mexican side.
The language barrier is another issue. On our return trip this year we were jaywalking across the street to the gate leading back into the U.S. A guy with an automatic weapon kept yelling something to us and pointing to the wall. He wasn’t threatening, but we could not figure out what he wanted us to do. Finally, it dawned on me that he wanted us to go around the long way and stay on the sidewalk. I can say that a long rifle with a large magazine always gets my immediate attention.
My advice would be to travel in a group, but many RVers travel all over Mexico alone. It comes down to your comfort level.
If you are thinking about heading for any number of popular RV destinations, you most likely will have no problems. Just don’t jaywalk! —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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