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Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 5:49 PM

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Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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Do not think that crime is relegated to border towns and Mexico City. This is a small town in Guanajuato relatively untouched by gringos. There are a few here and there because of the Mission Hills facility but none permanent. My step dad is from this town and that is how I came to be here 2 years ago. My mother lives between here and Arizona. Last November my parents hadn't finished building their home yet and were staying with friends. Wealthy friends. My parents are well off themselves. So, the 4 of them sleeping in one house proved too much temptation.

They were robbed in a VIOLENT home invasion. Beaten and tied up with duct tape. I am still surprised they are alive because God knows those people had every reason to kill them. This was a local job. Everyone knows who did it. NO ONE has been arrested or ever will be because of incompetent law enforcement. In these small towns where a gringo is something of a novelty these people labor under the delusion that all gringos are rich. That can get you in trouble. Big, serious dangerous trouble that a gringo from the land of law and order is ill equiped to deal with.

Living here sounds wonderful if you look at palm tree pictures and listen to the stories of how cheap everything is. All of that is true. There are palm trees and by gringo standards things are cheap. But there is a trade off for everything in this life. It is dirty here. Filthy, with garbage everywhere. Give a hoot don't pollute has not caught on here. You have to lock up everything tight or it WILL be stolen from you. Including the battery out of your car if you leave it on the street at night. Your gringo sensibilities about law and order and even cruelty to animals will be offended on a daily basis. It is chaotic and unorganized and there is no concept of time. Or at least not one that you might be accustomed to.

You have to have a strong stomach and constitution to live here. And, by Mexican standards this little town is a slice of heaven. Cleaner and a little more prosperous than most. Small town peple are not immediately accepting or trusting of outsiders. Especially foreigners and especially gringos. It is NOT the Utopia the travel guides will have you believe. The highways are deadly dangerous. Traffic laws are not enforced and you have to be a defensive driver here, watch the other guy or you can get killed easily. If you have an accident do not think that your American travelers insurance policy will help you because it won't. The ambulance may or may not come. It is cash on the barrel. It is not all bad. Life is slower and quieter. People do take time to talk in the street. Many cutsie charming things. BUT be prepared. This is NOT the States.

You have to watch out for yourself because your fellow man will not. They have a hard enough time keeping their own heads above water and can be ruthless. Do not come here looking for an easy cheap paradise because it does not exist. Be careful and be prepared financially. It can be fun, it can be a lot of good things. It really can. But watch yourself. And be very careful about who you let know what you have. You may trust your friends and immediate neighbors but you do not know what scumbag cousin is lurking in the shadows hearing just enough about your situation to make them want to pounce. Also, know that kidnapping for fun and profit is not relegated to Mexico City. It happens here.

They kidnap each other and some dumb gringo with money who is not paying attention could prove to be too much temptation. Know that they are generally mistrusting of each other, which makes you an even lower man on the totem pole. Stealing and lying are everywhere the the culture of "avoiding" and that no one is responsible for anything (or at least won't admit it if they are) EVER will wear you out.

I have family here because of my stepdad. I am by no means "alone" and I even get freaked out sometimes. If you want Mexico "Light" then go to San Miguel with all the other gringos. But be prepared to pay gringo prices. Life in real Mexico comes at a price. It is not easy. Earning a living is hard. That is why there are 30 million Mexicans in the States. It can be the experience of a lifetime and depending on how careful and prepared you are that can be a good thing or a bad thing.

I am certain that most people are inherently good. But desperate people will do desperate things. Mix poor with a general disdain for gringos and a good dose of dumb and you can have yourself a recipe for trouble. The kind of trouble you are likely not prepared to deal with. And do not think the central highlands of Mexico are a tropical paradise. It gets brutally cold here in GTO, also in QRO and Michoacan. IT SNOWS. You will freeze your ass off because there are no furnaces, NONE. There are palm trees but seeing them covered in snow while you are wearing an overcoat in bed is likely not what you signed up for. There was frost on the cars this morning and this is only October. Believe it. BE CAREFUL.



Reefhound


Oct 15, 2010, 7:23 PM

Post #2 of 12 (10759 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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What small town are you talking about?


Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 7:29 PM

Post #3 of 12 (10749 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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SJI


Reefhound


Oct 15, 2010, 8:16 PM

Post #4 of 12 (10738 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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Pass by it often going up and down 57, never stopped there. That looks pretty small on the map. Is that where your parents were robbed?


Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 15, 2010, 8:30 PM

Post #5 of 12 (10734 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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It is small if you live in Zona Centro. But starting to get kind of suburby in response to the factories which have not done this town much good. Only attracted "outsiders" looking for work and changed the dynamic of the place.
Yes, this is where my parents were robbed, where I was robbed twice and where my madrinas grandson was kidnapped for ransom.
All right here on the cute little streets of SJI. All within 2 blocks of the Presidencia. Cuidate Amigo, Mexico is changing.


tonyburton / Moderator


Oct 16, 2010, 8:26 AM

Post #6 of 12 (10690 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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For the benefit of ALL our readers, SJI = San José Iturbide, located about 50 km north of Querétaro/30 km east of San Miguel de Allende.


Hound Dog

Oct 16, 2010, 9:00 AM

Post #7 of 12 (10677 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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A bit overwrought are we?

We live in two distinct places in Mexico. The Lake Chapala community constituting of the municipality of Chapala and more specifically the delegation of Ajijic with its large foreign colony and the ancient city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas in the Chiapas highlands near Guatemala. While Ajijic has a large and thriving foreign colony, San Cristóbal is an almost purely Mexican city with a few foreigners, mainly Europeans. I tell you this for a reason. You infer in your comment that there is a difference in the civility of urban areas with no foreign residents to speak of and those isolated and with almost purely Mexican populations. Well, put this in your pipe and smoke it. We feel much more secure and serene in San Cristóbal where almost all of our neighbors are Mexican - either mestizo or indigenous - many quite poor financially, than we do in Ajijic with that large foreign colony. Not many of your readers live in two distinct communities as do we so may not be in a position to address your point. I. personally, think that the small town you live in or are visiting may have bad vibes. Do not mislead people thinking of living in Mexico with your unfounded and alarmist views.

I was born and raised in the United States. My wife was born and raised in France. We both lived in places where there was substantial crime both in France and the United States. We are talking serious social instability at times from Paris during the Algerian War to Birmingham during the time of the civil rights struggles to San Francisco to crime.ridden Oakland when the Black Panthers were dominant to thuggish police violence in Los Angeles so don´t talk to us about dangerous places. I don´t know why you are doing a hit piece on Guanajuato State but you do the place a disservice and greatly exaggerate any of its climatological negatives. And I say that as one who dislikes Guanajuato State and would never live there in any of its municipalities. Try to maintain some balance when discussing places with which you obviously have only a superficial acquaintance. Somebody can stick a gun up your butt no matter where you are on the planet. Keep that in mind.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 16, 2010, 9:04 AM)


Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 16, 2010, 9:35 AM

Post #8 of 12 (10664 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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This is not a hit piece. How on earth do you exaggerate snow on palm trees and frost on cars? It either is or it isn't. It snowed here several times last year and if this fall is a harbinger of things to come it will again this year. AND, it will happen in a place where no one has a furnace in their home. That is reality. Get over yourself.
Yes, someone can stick a gun up your butt anywhere. It just so happens that it happened to me here, not in the States. I was born in the States to a German mother and an American father and lived about 1/4 my childhood in the Bahamas. I am well traveled, all over the world.
I believe I stated and reaffirmed many times in my original post that I do like it here and that there are many good things. Good people too. That said, the bad things I mentioned are a reality. It happened, all of it exactly as I stated and there is simply no way to sugar coat it. Though, after reading further in these forums I see the tendency to lambaste anyone who has anything negative to say. Be it opinion or statement of fact.
Whatever drives that mystifies me a bit, but also is not important. If one is not aware of crime tendencies, incompetent and corrupt police or even the weather before they come here they could be in for a shocking and disappointing surprise.
I have not said one negative thing that is not absolute fact. You may not like it or want to hear it and for that I am sorry. My intent is not to alarm or drive people away. Merely to inform.
In the States I was never robbed, never had anything stolen from me, could count on and trust neighbors and if I called the police or an ambulance they came.
None of the above is guaranteed anywhere on earth but based on experience seems to be far less of a guarantee here. The violent crime that has found its way to small towns, the filth and garbage and lack of competent and efficient government services are unfortunate. Poverty rarely if ever creates anything good.
All of this could come as a rude shock to anyone from the clean land of general law and order. I am entitled to publish my observations. Observation being the key word here, not opinion. I will not defend my retelling of fact. That is absurd. This should not be a forum for argument, rather a place to share experiences and learn from them. I am pretty sure that was the intent. You are 100% entitled to disagree with me or not like me or my message. Really, that is OK.....


Hound Dog

Oct 16, 2010, 1:42 PM

Post #9 of 12 (10622 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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I was born in the States to a German mother and an American father and lived about 1/4 my childhood in the Bahamas. I am well traveled, all over the world.

Do not play insolent games with me and never pretend to be well-traveled because you were born in the U.S. and spent time in the insular Bahamas. The Bahamas for God´s sake. I spent some of my ill conceived youth on Andros Island in the 1950s and learned nothing but that I knew nothing.

Your knowledge of Mexico is elementary at best and yet you preach as if you were a learned expert. You should be embarrassed by such frivolous discourse.

In 1969, I stood before a gunman in front of the palace of the fundamentalist communist dictator of Zanzibar Island and he inquired of me as to why I was staring at that luxurious palace in which that dictator was reposing. I informed that gunman that I was simply curious and he told me that if I wished to remain alive, I would exit that area forthwith with utmost expidition and that I did .

Don´t talk to me about where you have been and what you have done. I was out and about before the internet was even a concept.

Dawg


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 16, 2010, 1:57 PM)


arbon

Oct 16, 2010, 3:11 PM

Post #10 of 12 (10604 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringo] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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SJI has a higher elevation than San Cris', that should frost Bubba's socks.
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Guanajuato Gringa

Oct 16, 2010, 4:24 PM

Post #11 of 12 (10582 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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My goodness how rude. I feel silly even dignifying anything you said to me by commenting on it. I am not preaching, merely relating facts. And if living here over 2 years does not make me somewhat learned and therefore qualified to comment on WHERE I LIVE, what I see and what goes on around here then I don't know what does.
Go find some dumbass travel rag reader who will be interested to hear how important you are. I am not interested. And, Andros sucks by the way. It is a convenient place to clear customs and not much else. Exuma is much prettier.
And your constant referal to the Internet and being in places before it even existed is tedious and dumb. What the hell does the inception of the Internet have to do with being robbed at gunpoint in your God damn garage?
When your skinny little mother has been pistol whipped by the bastard that climbed over the front wall to rob her while she was sleeping we will have something to talk about. When you have to see the little prick, nearly everyday, driving his new to him used BMW that he bought with the money he robbed from your parents we will have something to talk about. When you have to fight the urge to slug him because he grins at you like the cat that ate the fucking canary THEN we will have something to talk about.
Get over yourself....


Rolly


Oct 16, 2010, 4:36 PM

Post #12 of 12 (10574 views)

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Re: [Guanajuato Gringa] Think Long and Hard Before You Move Down Here

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Enough already.

Rolly Pirate
 
 
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