I just knew that Patty and Gary would ask me about the security at the beach on the weekend! I've been wanting to say this, but wasn't sure how to bring up the subject and knew I could count on their help.
By the way, Patty and I have been friends since high school in Zweibrucken (3 Wing), Germany. Our Dad's were both in the Canadian Air Force and we were lucky enough to be stationed there for 4 years during the 60's. Okay, that would be a good math question - just how old is she anyway? Patty will remember that I had a very healthy respect for the very (very very) large German Shepherds used by the Military Police on the base. Their kennels were right beside the track where we went once a week or so for Phys Ed and I was terrified of them! The dogs, not the Police!! I think it had something to do with the teeth, and the snarls. I've never been a great runner, but I did pick up speed on the section of the track that bordered the kennels.
Patty and I were actually VBF's; that's "Very Best Friends" and what people were before someone invented BFF's! We both eventually moved back to Canada, Patty to Ontario, my family to a base in Nova Scotia. It was harder to stay in touch those days - no email, no facebook, very expensive long distance telephone, just good old writing paper and stamps. We were a bit lazy but did manage, through the end of high school and 'higher' education for both of us but we eventually lost each other when we were in our early 20's, both living in Toronto! It was many years later (more than 25) when, unbeknownst to me, my mother mentioned an article she had read in the Ottawa newspaper to my husband. Through that article Mike was able to 'find' Patty for me. He gave her to me for my birthday that year. More math.
We have only seen each other twice since we reunited as Patty lives in Southern Ontario with her family and Mike and I are in Manitoba, but we talk regularly on the phone and Patty and her wonderful husband Gary comment on almost every posting on mexicoatlast.
So, this is for Patty and Gary!
Yes, the local constabulary are a bit intimidating - you should see them roaring down the streets, standing in the back of their trucks, weapons at the ready! There are usually several of them on 'active' duty when the ATM's are being loaded with cash, and they also travel with the Pacifico and Tecate beer trucks when they make their deliveries. Question - are they guarding the money in this case, or the beer?
The police, and army, are a much more visible presence now, ever since the drug cartels have been attempting to move into Mazatlan and other areas in the State of Sinaloa. There have been dreadful incidents in recent months, and members of the security forces have been injured and some have lost their lives. We hear about the corruption within the police force and then we look at these poor men on the streets, defending us. Yes, there could be corruption, there could be payoffs. And yes, the men standing on the beach on Sunday, in full uniform on a day when the temperature was 30C, deserve our respect and admiration.
There are many people who are having doubts about the safety of living in Mazatlan and who are questioning their plans to return. There are those who are choosing not to come at all. On the other hand, there are also those who bemoan the presence of the military in town, and the increase in the visibility of the police. I guess you can look at the men in uniform as a threat to our peace of mind if you wanted to, but I do feel more secure having them around. We have police at home, they are just not quite as visible!
We have been blessed and have not been a witness to any of the incidents we have read about. My heart goes out to those who have been hurt, and also to those who have been traumatized by anything they have been misfortunate enough to have seen.
We do not feel that visitors to Mexico are being targeted. So, we are planning to continue doing what we have always done. We will pay attention to our surroundings, and avoid situations that could become tense. We keep our doors locked at the Casita and take only as much money as we need when we leave the house. Just like at home. We also wave at the boys in blue when they drive past us, and say hello to those we pass on the street. They need all the support they can get.
And, we will be back next year.