We have been so conditioned in the USA, my home country, to think negatively about Mexico and Mexicans, that even for me, a world traveler, the wonderful reality of Mexico has been a bit of a shock. A vibrant economy, lovely and welcoming people, beautiful colonial and modern cities and Mexico City, the capital and crown jewel of the country. Cuisine of all kinds, from all over Mexico and all over the world, a flourishing art and music scene, beautiful beaches, stunning mountains and a general joy for life is what Mexico and Mexicans are all about. Did you know that Mexico City does not even appear on the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world and that Baltimore, St. Louis and New Orleans do appear on that list?? Mexico City’s population of 20 million makes it one of the largest population centers in the world and the variety that the city has to offer is rather amazing. I am in Mexico City to attend a conference put on by International Living, an organization to which I belong, to provide information to people who might be interested in living either temporarily or permanently in Mexico. The meeting venue is the Hilton Hotel Reforma on Avenue Juarez right across from the beautiful Park Almeida. We had a few earthquake tremors here yesterday related to a quake which had it’s epicenter southwest of Mexico City near the coast of the state of Oaxaca. It did create some excitement but no damage was reported, although we did have to evacuate the hotel for a short time, until it was certain that it was safe to return. There are so many interesting and wonderful things to see within walking distance of the hotel that it is unfortunate that I am experiencing a minor medical problem, which began while I was still at home and I thought would have been resolved by the time I got here but has lingered on and limited my walking capacity. As a result, my ability to take beautiful photographs to share with you has been curtailed. That problem has been a major factor in my decision to shorten my planned trip to Mexico and to not visit the town of Ajijic, which I had looked forward to.
I am sure that you have heard the names of Mexican cities like Cobo Sam Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and even Playa del Carmen or Zihuatanejo BUT do cities with names like Merida, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Queretaro, or Huatulco sound familiar to you or have you even heard of them before? Those are some, but not all, of the places that the presenters at this conference are describing to us as engaging locations for expats or visitors to explore. In addition, topics like healthcare, renting or buying a home, learning Spanish, taxes, investing in Mexico, insurance issues, how to earn a free lance income while living in Mexico are some of the many facets of Mexico discussed at the conference. Perhaps most of all, the presentations have emphasized how open and welcoming Mexicans are to expats and how their strong dedication to family and community is the bedrock upon which the Mexican society stands. There are over 1 million Americans and 800,000 Canadiens living all over this wonderful country of Mexico. So when our elected officials tell you how dangerous Mexico is and what terrible people Mexicans are please do not accept that information as factual but take a trip to Mexico yourself and for that matter, the rest of the world and make up you own mind.