Goodbye Paradise - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-14-2008, 08:18 AM   #15
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As a former reserve police officer here in Oregon, the thought of handing a police officer (or federale) a $20 bill and "bartering" my way "down from 80" (essentially a bribe), repulses me. Quite frankly, my outrage during a transaction like that would undoubtedly show and I'd be in an even more mess than the $20. Traveling north of the Oregon/Cali border sounds much better to me. No cops to take bribes here or in Canada.
I worked the border for a short time in San Ysidro (that's the San Diego border) in 1979 and got to know a few of the Tijuana policemen through the border fence. They work just as hard as any cops in the world. Back then, they received a salary of a whopping $30/month. Out of that $30 had to come their uniforms, weapons, ammunition, and leather gear. We would regularly give them our "old" personally owned equipment through the border fence when we could. They would pass it on to whichever officer needed it the most.

The practice of "shaking down" tourists is called "mordida" and it was a highly refined art form. It is also the primary way those poor guys get enough money to feed their families. While I don't condone it, I certainly understand why it happens. I don't know what's happened there in the past twenty-five years with salaries for the T.J. cops, but I suspect it's not much better now than it was then. I do know that violence against them has risen dramatically over that time.

I've found that speaking even a modicum of Spanish while being a "tourista" visiting in their world opens amazing doors as far as hospitality in Spanish-speaking countries, even those where English is as common as Spanish.


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Old 03-14-2008, 08:41 AM   #16
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My wife and I have travelled all over Mexico by boat, camper and bus. We've spent one of the last three years either in Baja or the yucatan. We have experienced no trouble other than what you would expect in any city anywhere. The major highways are as good as U.S. highways and the smaller roads vary. Gas stations are everywhere and clean. Grocery stores, Dr's offices, schools and government offices are no longer 3rd world. for sure you are in a foriegn country and must act accordingly. We spend no time in the border towns, which are desperate places, but the further inland you travel the nicer things become. To be scared off because of internet talk and newspaper stories is just wrong. This isn't the Mexico you knew as a kid, the cops no longer require the "tips" that used to be common. Get a good guide book, search for current information and be smart while you're there. Lee
Tell that to my freinds husband who just returned from Mexico and was kindly able to board his plane after immigration drove him to the cash machine (one mile away "cab ride") for $25 so he could get some more money for "neccesary paperwork" ..... danger lurks everywhere even in your own back yard.. you can find a tragic story for anywhere anyone has ever visited, now would I like to be in a foreign country when this happens...not really...I do agree witht this post however on get a good guide book and be smart with your choices .....Brandy

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Old 03-14-2008, 10:26 AM   #17
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Interesting thread as we were planning to go to Mexico this upcoming winter instead of doing the resort thing. My next door neighbor has done numerous trips to Mexico in his camper as have many of my old treeplanting pals in VW's.

Most of the concerns they have had were the drivers on the roads, not crime. On the Baja they recommended getting below the border towns as fast as possible as the border areas are the sketchy ones. The farther from the border the safer they felt.

Doing anything is more dangerous then sitting at home in front of the TV - Some of my best experiences in life were ones where I took a chance or a risk or did an unknown. Up here in Canada all we hear about is how much crime there is in the US but obviously all our southern neighbors feel safe enough to travel throughout their amazing country side =)
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:16 AM   #18
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Doing anything is more dangerous then sitting at home in front of the TV -

Wow... Booker... that's some statement. Have you actually WATCHED TV in the past couple of years? The shows on that thing are so bad, they'll kill ya!

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Old 03-14-2008, 11:27 AM   #19
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Doing anything is more dangerous then sitting at home in front of the TV
I wouldn't say that. It could be pretty dangerous sitting in front of the TV if my wife decided it was time to go shopping.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:08 PM   #20
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Well, to tell you the truth I haven't had a TV for 10 years - just bought one to watch the classics with my boys (Raiders of the Lost Ark) but we don't have cable out where we are. So my only dose of TV is when I head to the big smoke to visit relatives. Couple days of that and I am good for a year =). My partner here in the office was just telling me about America's Top Smartest Model ... I don't think I am missing much
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:21 PM   #21
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In 1973, we headed to the tip of Baja from Southern California with 3 other 4WD vehicles. We were driving a 4-wheel drive International Scout . We had our two children 3 and 5 with us. The others also had their children. (We would never do this again now).

We had the best trip ever... Beautiful beaches, warm water, wonderful scenery, and friendly people in the small towns. We hauled all our own food and water for a 3 week trip. Had tents with us. We sometimes had to clear the roads from cactus, and there were days we could travel all day over the rough roads and could only travel about 10 mph.

We only ran into one problem and it turned out to be simple - but a little scary. Our 4 vehicles were driving along a dirt road, almost dark... All of sudden there were Mexican police in the road - flashlights aimed at us and we didn't know what to think. One of them came to our vehilce and said they were selling tickets to the Policeman's Ball. We had no intentions of going to a Policeman's ball, however buying those tickets was not a problem. They thanked us and we went on our way. The rest of the trip was fantastic.

We haven't taken our vehicle back to Mexico, not because of that situation, but just because we've taken other trips. Now, I don't believe we would ever take a trip like that again.

We have, however, taken cruises into Mexico many times and we never go off the beaten track. Stay within a safe area, or take tours.

It's a shame that things have taken a bad turn, because Mexico has the most wonderful areas... and we have always found the people to be friendly and helpful.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:57 PM   #22
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I work for an international company, we received this message from the State Department just last week; it seemed prudent to share with members of this forum:

To: All Employees -

For your information, the following travel advisory alert has been issued by the US State Department regarding Mexico border crossings.

Con-way Internal Communications

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Travel Alert - Mexico

Bureau of Consular Affairs

April 23, 2008

Continuing Violence Along The U.S.-Mexico Border

Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attacks are aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials, and journalists. However, foreign visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region. In its effort to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed military troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens are urged to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican highways.

Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily-armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades. Confrontations have taken place in numerous towns and cities in northern Mexico, including Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California, and Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez in the state of Chihuahua. The situation in northern Mexico remains very fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements there cannot be predicted.

Armed robberies and carjacking, apparently unconnected to the narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in Tijuana in 2007. Public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours near shopping areas.

Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons. In some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles.

U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are urged to contact the consular section of the nearest U.S. consulate or Embassy for advice and assistance.

For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see the Mexico Country Specific Information at: For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution, American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration website at

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at: The Embassy's internet address is

Donna D.
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