Saturday, December 5, 2009

Safety Issues

I was just getting ready to post another message, and stopped to read a few comments on previous postings. I realized that there was one that I really wanted to discuss in more detail rather than just a responding to as a comment.

One of the things that we love about Mazatlan is the wonderful feeling of safety that we have here. We try to walk everywhere we can, partly for the exercise, but also because it is a whole lot easier than attempting to manouver through the maze of narrow, one way streets in Centro! It's also a great deal more interesting when your feet are one on one (or is it two on one?) with the pavement. We've found the greatest little shop selling pinatas, several marvelous bakeries, a shop that sells nothing but beads. We know the people in our neighbourhood, the teenagers who cluster in a group on the stairs at the top of the street, the eldery gentleman who runs the arcade tucked into a room in the ruined building at the corner, the ladies who nod to us and smile at Abi every day on her walk.
The owners of evening taco stands wave to us now as we stroll by on our way up the hill after a night out. We have even met one young man of about 10 years who surprised us one day by calling out to us in flawless English (turns out his family lived in the States for 8 years and have just moved home). We have also met a little while poodle, named Chicita. Chicata has hot pink toenails, and seems to wear a different sweater every day. It also seems like every where we turn in Centro we run into someone else we know. There are many times that we do not know their names, but they don't know ours either. However, we all nod out heads and say hello, knowing that we could perhaps be neighbours, or could all be at the same party one day, at which time we will be 'formally' introduced. Many times we will stop to chat, one thing leads to another, and voila, we have new friends!

We have spent countless hours walking around, just admiring the elegant old ruins and the amazing resoratation work.

Even the sidewalks themselves are unusual and something you definitely must pay attention to.

Some are flat but some tilt every which way, the curbs can vary from inches to 24", sometimes there are steps to the street, sometimes there are ramps.

Some of the walks are still suffering from damage caused by the last big storms that passed through the city.

I have finally developed a sense of direction and quite often head out on my own. I volunteer at the library one day a week so that walk I do alone. I also go to the market, the Plaza, the fabric store .... just like at home. Every day that we are on the streets somewhere we discover something new and wonderfully interesting.

However, all is not always perfect, and we do use a great deal of common sense. We have heard comments about the number of police officers seen in town, or the number of army patrols who rumble through the streets. They are here for a purpose, keeping the streets safe in town and the roads in the countryside safe as well and we welcome their presence, just as we would at home.

To be honest, there are parts of Winnipeg that we avoid at night. I think every city has areas like that. Mazatlan does too. We just don't go there.

Perhaps because we avoid trouble spots we are living with a false sense of security, but I really don't think so. So far, the biggest hazards to our health seems to be the streets themselves. We have all learned to walk with one eye to the ground to avoid tripping on the cobblestones, and one eye upward to watch for the air conditioners, many of which seem to be mounted at forehead level. This is very difficult to do while gawking at the buildings, flowers, people, etc. which is why we keep a supply of bandages on hand, for scraped knees and stubbed toes!

Sometimes comments made on this blog make me stop and think about things and one made recently reminded me how lucky we are to be living in this marvelous area of Mazatlan. So, I would just like to say, "Thank You!"

1 comment:

  1. Your pictures of the streets and ruins are most interesting!I'm glad you feel safe but also I'm glad to hear your using common sense too.I am not very trusting of strangers and tend not to interact with people on the street is this a problem with me maybe.I notice people out west tend to be more friendly in cities than Ontario cities.This maybe a hold over from living in Toronto and to some extent St. Thomas were the rat race continues and especially now trying to get ready for Christmas.Enjoy your new friends and their open approach to you I think it is very refreshing!