Another View of Mexico

Mexico can be safe. We just returned from a long weekend trip to Guanajuato, a once flourishing colonial mining town that’s now a flourishing university and tourist town. It’s in the center of Mexico, about two hundred miles away from Mexico City. My girlfriend’s aunt and uncle are in Guanajuato for a month because her aunt is taking international law classes at the law school there.

We all had a great time. Guanajuato is like a town in Southern Europe; it has small and large plazas sprinkled across the town. Even on weekday nights, the plazas we walked through were full of people visiting with each other, dining, and enjoying music. We walked all over the city during the day and night and felt very safe. It’s a very tranquil place.

Everything we enjoyed was in stark contrast to what’s in the collective American imagination when thinking of Mexico. The US media has hammered home the horrific violence of the drug cartels that’s mostly between cartels or some government employees. To be sure it’s a problem; but it certainly isn’t in most places an American visitor might go in Mexico.

To illustrate the effect the media has in the States, look at the Canadians. In my experience lately, Canadian visitors to Mexico far outnumber the US visitors. Maybe the Canadian economy is a bit better but I suspect it’s the impact of the media in each country. The US population is over 300 million while Canada’s is about 35 million so you might think there’d be more American than Canadian visitors to a country to the South with easy access. I’ve asked a few Canadians about the number disparity I’ve noticed and they agree that what’s presented on the news in Canada is less alarmist than what they happen to see in US media.

Anyway, don’t be overly concerned about traveling to Mexico. If you want to get away from your countrymen for a bit, there’re good places to visit in Mexico with not a lot of gringos.