Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
~John A. Shedd
I had a conversation on twitter the other day about the saftey in Mexico and at work today the topic came up again, a colleague not traveling that much told me she started to be afraid of traveling by everything she read in the newspaper. So I think that will be the topic of the day.
I am not going to talk about what to do with passport, money or credit cards, that should be common knowledge when going on trips. I have seen that is not always the case, but if you don’t know you better stay at home.
Safety and how you feel about it is much about how you travel. If you are a family traveling together with young children you probably are instinctively more careful, a couple maybe think about it and a group of friends maybe not that much. If it is a group with mixed sex or a group of men the risk to get in trouble are smaller, but it is still there depending on how you behave or where you go. A group of women may have somewhat higher risk, but better than to travel alone.
Myself I often travel alone visiting friends all over the world and do take some unnecessary risk. I have been in some trouble which I won’t go into, I don’t want to scare you away from traveling and… Well, I am alive to write this but I have the scarves to prove my experiences. It’s all part of the adventure.
Of course you can have bad luck. But where I am going with this is no matter how you travel there is one basic thing to think about;
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Meaning where do the locals go and what do they avoid? Walking down a dark alley on the way back to the hotel maybe not is the best idea. Taking a trip to the poorer neighborhoods in the evening I don’t think a local would do, so why should you?
How do you dress?
Walking around in shorts and sandals or flip-flops is tempting in the heat, but in most countries it will scream tourist. If the locals leaves their jewelery and expensive watches at home so should you.
Playing children on the streets may be cute, they may also be well trained pickpockers, think of where you keep your things. Camera is a problem, after all you are on vacation, but maybe you can keep your good photographing to daytime and just bring a smaller pocket-size camera with you to dinner or what you like to do in the evening.
Taking a taxi back to the hotel at night is a good idea, just make sure it is marked. Most countries have regulations requiring taxis to be mark with taxi-registration number. Find it and remember the number if the driver see you reading it all the better. If possible avoid go alone.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do… Not only will you be safer, you will get much more out of your well earned vacation. Meet a new culture, see new people and if your lucky taste some new meals you just need to get the recipe for.
Personally I don’t follow my own advice, but I am smooth talker and run really fast
Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.”
This is a trip to Greece I went on a few years ago.
It was planned for two weeks, but I cut it one week short. Coming home it felt like a terrible vacation, but after a few days with some perspective I had some mixed emotions. It was an adventure, as most of my trips turns out to be.
It was summer, I had some vacation days to take but no plans. Than I read that Greece opened the water for diving, it has earlier been prohibited due to archaeological heritage and fear of treasure hunters. I booked a last minute ticket to anywhere in the Greek archipelago, ended up at Thassos, The green island of Greece, covered with pine trees.
The dive center was located on the other side of the island from my hotel, my first day I spent trying to find someone talking any language but Greek and help how to get around the island.
Next morning I took a bus to Pefkari beach and met the owner and dive guide. A crazy Greek. First he snort at my PADI-certificate, then he gave me way to much weights and a BCD (dive west) about two sizes to large. I went up and down like a yo-yo in the water trying to handle my west and avoiding to get the tank in my neck. Afterwards the crazy Greek whines I had problem keeping the depth… Yes, I wonder why….
In the evening I had some drinks, Ouzo and Retzina, drinking with the locals I had a little bit more than expected, so now diving the day after. I went around in the village tasting the domestic food. Unfortunately it’s garbage day, not a good day to smell Greece.
New morning and time to dive. On place at the crazy Greek in good time. Having breakfast and laying on the beach a couple of hours. About half an hour before we had planned to go out, he says there will be no diving today. Why? He’s a crazy Greek, he doesn’t need a reason. It’s about now I decide to go home early and save my free days for another time.
Next day I learned my lesson, I call before I leave. No diving today either. Why? Who knows, crazy Greek. He did promise it will be two tours tomorrow, Monday. 10 am and 4 pm.
Spending the rest of the day as a tourist, the beach a couple of hours, looking at ancient monuments, having some more of the Greek cuisine. They do know how to cook.
Monday is the day my trip turned from a bad vacation to an adventure. Being in Greece of course it starts a bit chaotic. It’s my last chance to dive, so I am up early. At 8:30am I start look for a rental service to get a car. I found two, none of them had any cars though. At 9 I start panicking and called a taxi. Asking the driver if he could be at Pefkari beach in an hour, it’s just 50 km, but with the narrow roads it’s about an hours drive.
“No problems,” I think he says, he only speaks Greek. And he drove… After running two stop signs, driving on both sides of the streets and speeding 120-130 km/h on roads with a speed limit of 50km I stop looking, I just lean back and holding on for the ride.
All of a sudden he turns inland… great I’m going to be robbed and raped, guess that’s what’s missing… It was actually a shortcut, I arrived after 25 minutes, with shaking legs and happy to be alive I tip the driver well and say a prayer I never have to be driven by him again.
It was well worth it, we got out at 10:30 and this time I got to choose suit, west and weight myself. It was a terrific dive. Warm clear water 20 meters visibility. Colorful fishes, squids and an enormous moray.
After the dive a dutch invited me to lunch in the village but I was sure to be back at the crazy Greek by 4pm for the last dive. When I got there he said he changed is mind, there will be no more tours today. I had to remind him he promised me one more tour, my last dive.
He offered me to go solo out on the reef. Dive alone in unknown water? Not to recommend but I do it.
I hovered between 8 and 5 meters when the moment appears, that moment you wish you bought a UW-camera. A shoal of about 500 little blue aquarium fishes shows up, totally fearless. I meet them nose to nose and for a few seconds the whole world is blue.
Back at the hotel I was satisfied with the day. My hotel neighbors was going home next day and that was my my last day so no more diving. We all go out and party as only Swedes on vacation do…. Not a pretty sight
/Damianos ~The Greek name I was given
Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com
“Remember what Bilbo used to say: ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.’”
As all good stories it starts with, There was this woman…
I’ve been traveling all over the world, friends say I’m looking for… Something. Some says I’m an adrenaline junkie, chasing the kicks. Other says I’m looking for love. Me, I don’t know, I think I’m just a restless soul.
How ever, I’ve had fun, full of experience and have some great stories to tell, and other stories I can never tell.
Which bring us to Mexico and this woman.
I got in contact with this woman in Mexico, she seemed nice and I hadn’t been on a long trip for a couple of years so I booked a flight to Mazatlan. We had a fun weekend and we became, and still remain, very close friends.
What I didn’t expected on this trip was to fall in love in a people, a country, a culture. I feel more home in Mexico than I do in Sweden and I have gone back many times.
Mexico, as all countries, has its problems. Many of my friends ask about the violence. Well, I live in a city where we we have a reported shooting every 5th day or so and when I am writing this there is a manhunt for someone shooting immigrants. So I ask them what they think about the violence around us. Yes, I’m Swedish but who knows, a stray bullet or collateral damage and twice people actually have come up to me on the street and asked me for direction in Arabic by some reason.
What happens to you all depends on the areas you are in and how you act. Mexico just feels worse because its a foreign country, I guess we all are home blind and don’t see, or choose not to see, the problems around us.
In this blog I will write about current events, culture and people in Sweden, Mexico with the Caribbean area, travel in general and maybe photography.
It is also a request for help and tips to achieve my goal to move to Mexico.
Of course I could do it easy, just take a trip and don’t go back, leave everything behind, debts, mortgage, all the problems for another day. Like Ralph Ronzio, walk away and let the bank take over but I have this, in this day and age, crazy idea to do right for myself.
Inspired by Brian Herzlinger, My date with Drew, and Jim Killeen, Google me, whom went to internet for help to achieve their goals, I give it a shot.
One way could be working with time share, but I can’t stand the time share people howling you in walking down the street, so how could I work with that myself?
A few options, start my own business. I launched a webservice, postacall.com, as soon as it gets going I will hopefully have time to go ahead with my others ideas. While I’m waiting for postacall to take off and figured out how to make money out of it another option is to get hired by a multinational company or a Mexican company in need for an english speaking techgeek.
There is also the option that every visitor to this site donate a dollar each and sooner or later I would have enough money for my move, but I don’t really see that happening…
What ever happens, the journey have began, come back and see if I make some progress
Safe travel and don’t forget your towel