Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pet to Mexico

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pets to Mexico

Traveling with your pet to Mexico requires advanced planning especially if you fly.  

All of the regulations apply to land and air entries but when you drive, often times there is no one around to check your pet’s papers. I’ll tell you why I comply anyway.

Pets, moscatos, for the purpose of this discussion includes cats and dogs.  You will have to research further for regulars on chickens, rodents, birds and etc. 

This is my beach dog, Biscuit.

We use the term beach dog loosely because he hates water, sand, sea creatures, especially crabs, birds, feathers, seashells, and getting his paws dirty. He refuses to kayak or paddle board. But you can see that he is a very enthusiastic packer.

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pet to Mexico /MyBajaKitchen.com

 

Biscuit rides down the Baja in an elevated and secure car seat. I wanted to comfortably protect him from injury in the event of sudden stops and potential rollovers while traveling. This seat helps prevent car sickness also because he can see out of the windows. I bought a soft harness and attached it to the lead that holds him in the seat. He weighs 25 pounds and this jumbo seat gives him just enough space to move around. A larger dog would not fit.
Here are affiliate links to Amazon. I can highly recommend this seat for long car trips.

 

Be prepared for traveling with your pet to Mexico

If you are not prepared, you could encounter delays at the border and even have to call a vet in Mexico to certify your pet’s health and the pet could be treated for external and internal parasites again if you can’t prove that your vet treated them. I have never had to show Biscuit’s papers at the Tecate crossing but one of my neighbors had to show his this year. Be prepared when taking your pet into Mexico, its your legal and moral obligation. In my opinion you should see your vet once a year anyway and make sure that your pet is safe to travel.

Here’s a link to Baja Bound Mexican Insurance which has done a good job of discussing traveling with your pet, under “before you go”. This is an affiliate link so feel free to look around and buy Mexican auto insurance for your road trip. I get a small commission if you buy insurance but it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

The benefit of complying with the regulations includes, avoiding delays and hassle but more importantly you have a chance to discuss your pet’s health with his personal vet, in English, before you leave the U.S.

Everyone has a story about how they never comply with the pet certificates when driving into Mexico but that doesn’t means it’s ethical or wise for your pet’s sack.

Comply with Mexican Law. You’re a visitor, as is your pet.

Important issues to discuss with your vet before traveling with your pet to Mexico

  1. Vaccinations for rabies and distemper must be up to date and be given at the latest 15 days before entering Mexico. There are special rules for puppies so read the guidelines. Consider waiting until your puppy can be vaccinated before they travel.
  2. Does your dog need to be tested for heart worm and started on heart worm prevention? Heart worm is carried by mosquitos and you may not need it in some northern locals in the U.S. and Canada but it is present in Mexico. You would treat your dog year round if you travel every year to endemic areas of heart worm.
  3. Ask about flea and tick protection. We give Biscuit prescription oral medication while we are in Mexico but there are topical preparations and collars that can be purchased over the counter. Ask you vet about the risks and benefits of treatment.
  4. Discuss your individual pet’s tolerance for travel and ask if there is anything you can do to help your pet travel stress free.
  5. Ask you vet to certify that your pet has been treated for external and internal parasites on official letter head with his name, signature, license number and details about vaccinations and parasite treatments. It should be specific and list the names of the drugs that were used to treat your pet. They must not use any abbreviations.
  6. The International Pet Passport or Health Certificate templates can be found online by you and/or your vet. Baja Bound has a link to the Health Certificate. Always verify resources for the most up to date information. This does not mean ask your friends or random strangers for legal advice on Facebook.

Translation directly from the Mexican government concerning transportation  of your pets to Mexico at  SAGARPA-SENASICA.

To import a pet you must have a certificate issued by an official veterinarian of the competent authority or if it is private, on letterhead, with the printed professional identification number or photocopy of it (or its equivalent). Name and address of the exporter (in the country of origin or origin) and the importer (address of destination in Mexico). Date of application of the vaccine against rabies and its validity (animals under 3 months of age are exempt). That in the pre-trip inspection, the animal or animals were clinically healthy. That the animal or animals have been internally and externally dewormed, within the previous six months
and are free of ectoparasites. If you do not comply with the above, you must contact a Veterinarian (of your choice and by your account
in Mexico), who will issue the health certificate and apply the corresponding treatment.

Specifics for flying your pet into Mexico

Inspection and handling your pets at the airport seems to be fairly consistent where as when driving, you literally can’t find the inspection office at many small border crossings and the border agents usually ignore your pets. But be prepared anyway when traveling with your pet in Mexico.

Your pet must enter in container (kennel), clean, without bedding, without implements or accessories (toys, treats, prizes or other objects, made with ingredients of ruminant origin), otherwise, they will be removed for destruction. The conveyor or container will receive preventive treatment by spraying by the official personnel of SAGARPA-SENASICA; you can enter with your necklace, strap, etc. You can enter the ration of the day of balanced food in bulk. We remind you that in Mexico there is a type of food that has the Registration and Authorization of SAGARPA-SENASICA. My understanding is that you can’t bring raw meat or large quantities of pet food into Mexico.

Upon returning with your pet to the U.S., the regulations are simpler. Your pet must appear to be in good health and not carrying any disease. You need proof that the rabies vaccination is current.

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Advice for Mexican #Snowbirds and #Expats, Trvaeking with your pet to Mexico



Traveling Mailbox

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Advice for Mexican Snowbirds, Dealing With Mail

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds, Dealing with Mail /MyBajaKitchen.com

For Mexican Snowbirds, dealing with mail can be so frustrating,

but deal you must.

In the U.S. we take snail mail for granted. We walk out to our box or stop at the post office and there is mail. We don’t even have to think about how to get or send mail.

This post contains a helpful affiliate link to Traveling Mail, an attractive online mail solution for travelers. Go there first if you have already tried other mail solutions and want a full service solution.

When you fly south, the mail keeps coming, but you can’t rely on Mexican mail service and you can’t forward your mail directly to Mexico. Advance planning is essential.

Here are a few tips for Mexican Snowbirds, dealing with mail.

1) Reduce your snail mail immediately by requesting online statements for everything. Bank statements, utilities, physician bills, insurance bills. Every time a paper copy comes to your US mailbox change it to an online account or call the company and advice them to stop sending you paper catalogs or free magazines and etc. Stop all junk mail or anything that will fill your mail box unnecessarily while you are away unless someone is picking up you mail on a regular basis. Apparently you can’t stop the USPS from putting advertisements in your mailbox but we tape over our mail slot so junk can’t be placed there and stop or forward the important mail to a PO Box while we are away. This is a good idea for everyone to reduce the chance of someone stealing your mail from your mailbox. A locked mailbox is imperative if you can’t check your mail daily.

2) Decide on a plan to have access to your mail. Here are a few options. The plan you choose will depend on who you trust to pick up your mail, how much mail you receive and how urgently you need access to your mail.

  • Have a close neighbor or family member get your mail and email important documents to you. You need someone you trust. Remember that email is not secure so don’t forward account numbers, social security numbers, passwords and etc.
  • Have a neighbor box all of your mail, leave them prepaid shipping boxes and labels. When full the box of mail can be mailed to a reputable U.S. shipping company that then ships the box to Mexico. Send me an email if you want a company in San Diego for the Baja. This could delay your mail retrieval for 4-6 weeks.
  • Have your mail held at the post office for up to 30 days, which is a short term solution at best, if you don’t have important mail. Believe me, you will have something important come in the mail that you didn’t anticipate and you will regret not having someone check your mail.
  • Open a post office box and change all of mail to the PO Box and temporarily forward your mail to the PO Box for up to 6 months. If you are gone longer than 6 months then expect your mail to go to “never never land”. This happened to us and it took months to find all of the returned and lost in limbo mail.  Highly undesirable option unless you know that you will return within 6 months.
  • Open a PO Box and permanently receive all of your mail there. A good option if you travel throughout the year and plan to be out of the country for longer than 6 months. The USPS has an option to send a photo of all envelopes that come to a PO Box called Informed Delivery, which will give you an idea of what needs to be dealt with but not what’s inside the envelope. Expect some surprises that you didn’t anticipate and save the contact information for any company that might send you important mail so you can call and ask, “Hey, what did you send me?”
  • In my opinion the best option is to pay a mail service company to deal securely with your mail. Traveling Mail has a good reputation with expats and is inexpensive. They give you a physical address in the location of your choosing. I like this full service solution the best because you can see a scanned envelope and then decide if you want the contents security emailed to you or deposited if it’s a check or shredded. There’s no surprises and no need to burden a friend or family member with retrieving your mail. This is an affiliate link but doesn’t cost you any additional fees.

Traveling Mailbox

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When One Door Closes ….. IFBC in New Orleans 2018

I would love to report on the Sacramento IFBC but alas, I can not. I suffered a concussion last week and my pesky doctors would not let me drive or fly or think for a few weeks. Let me just say that being on the receiving end of healthcare is not to my liking. Protect your brain, it’s the only one you get in this life time and not being able to think is very scary. I’m better this week but if you see typos just ignore them. MmmK?

I was really excited to talk to other food bloggers and maybe to a few sponsors. I was going to sell my freelance writing skills and make some new friends. I even designed cute new business cards with all of my contact information. Seriously cute cards.

The good news, I’m going to be ok and there’s another IFBC around the corner in New Orleans August 24-26, 2018. There is a special discount available so go sign up now.  I hope to see you there. New Orleans is one of the most unique places in the United States; great for foodies, jazz lovers and history buffs.

American Snowbird Stops at IFBC on the Flight South

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Photo credit @Michael Ford
I’m attending the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, California. This will be my first food blogging conference. I attended Blogher and learned a lot about blogging in general and had a great time meeting other bloggers. I have started packing for my move back to Baja, Mexico so this will be a nice diversion to the city before I have to adapt to rural life again. Great food and shopping will be on my to do list. And of course learning and networking. Duh!

Here’s a link for things to do in Sacramento. Visit Sacramento and a visitors guide.

Interested in craft beer? Here’s a guide.

Wine train? Mediavine is sponsoring a trip on the wine train Thursday night. Here’s more about the wine train.

Vegetarian food? Check out Veg Midtown on J Street.

Here’s a link to the IFBC and a story about the great places to eat in Sacramento.

Sac is just over a two hour drive over the Sierra Nevada Mountains from me. If you are spending a few extra days around the conference consider a 1 1/2 hour drive on Interestate 80, through the Sierras and visit Truckee, California. It’s a great small mountain town that is just hip enough. Here’s their official town website.

If gambling is your thing, drive a bit farther into South Lake Tahoe or Reno for adult gaming. Actually if you haven’t seen Lake Tahoe then that alone is worth a drive through the mountains via Interstate 50.

I’m looking forward to exploring and eating my way through Sacramento. If you are attending, let’s meet up for a chat or a margarita. Send me an email with your contact information.

No Cook Meals for Burning Man, Healthy Recipes

Easy Mexican Corn, Chic Pea Salad

Don’t show up in the Black Rock desert empty handed, impress your friends with these no cook meals for Burning Man. No need for fire or refrigeration.

Pack your tu tu, feather boa, a festive burner bike, lots of H2O, adult beverages, everything on this list and something to barter with.

This post contains affiliate links (and fun photos) from Amazon. You click and I get a few cents. 



Yes, I need all of these things for Burning Man. Bahaha

Burn baby, burn.  You can’t live on love alone so pack three days of healthy meals until you can barter for  fancy meals at another camp.

Find your tribe.

Enough about my costume, let’s make some healthy food.

No Cook Meals for Burning Man, Healthy and No Refrigeration is Needed

These meals were inspired by Mexican dry camping trips and I originally wrote this post for a surfer girl who plans surf and yoga retreats in Baja Sur, Mexico so you might have already seen these recipes. Check out her Women’s Surf Yoga Retreat in Baja Sur. I want to go!

They are easily made vegan, just use legumes instead of canned meats and fish. Of course if you stock up in Reno on your way to Burning Man then you have a zillion expensive packaged food options, think Trader Joes or REI but let’s assume that you’re a Burner on a budget. These meals are inexpensive and healthy, which leaves more money for your costumes!!!

This article is about inexpensive healthy no cook meals for Burning Man but the same strategy will work if you a kitchen or a campfire.

Be flexible and shop wisely

Most of the ingredients for these healthy no cook meals are available at the local grocery store. You don’t need to spend a fortune at specialty stores.

No cook meals for Burning Man, #Burning Man, #healthy camping meals

 

Start with tortillas, flour tortillas seem to be the most versatile without needing to be cooked.  Look for shelf stable protein sources for example: canned tuna, chicken, shrimp and beans. Nuts are usually available, especially peanuts. Peanut butter should be on your list for quick breakfasts and lunches. Honey or jams can be used to sweeten any meal and you won’t need to refrigerate them.

Buy easy to prepare fruits and veggies that you can quickly wash or peel, and can be eaten raw, for example: carrots, cucumber, onions, zucchini, peppers, jicama, avocados, limes, cherry tomatoes, mangos, melons, bananas, oranges. Buy the freshest fruits and vegetables that you can find because they are the nutritional stars in these no cook meals. Canned fruits and veggies can be used in a pinch but avoid the high salt and sugar versions.

 

Skip the lettuces, chard and other dirty vegetables that take lost of time and water to clean. You should conserve water in the desert and besides you have Burning Man things to see and do. Pre-washed lettuces are an option for the first night but they’ll need refrigeration.

 

3 Day Sample Menu

No Cook Healthy Meals

Easy Breakfasts

  • Peanut butter and banana tortilla wraps or sandwiches
  • Almond milk overnight oats with nuts and fruit:  Combine quick cooking oats, non-dairy milk, a drizzle of honey or jam in a ziplock and let sit overnight. Add fruit and nuts in the morning and breakfast is ready.
  • Breakfast burritos: Spread pinto bean frijoles in a tortilla with salsa and red pepper strips.

Healthy Lunches

Easy Mexican Corn and Chic Pea Salad

  • Tuna fish wraps: Buy oil packed tuna, drain and flake, combine with thin slices of cucumber, carrot and red pepper and wrap in a tortilla or eat as a salad. Add a squeeze of lime. A few jalapeño slices would give you a spicy tuna wrap.
  • “Waldorf” fruit salad: Combine rough chopped walnuts, celery, and apples. Make a dressing with olive oil, orange juice, honey and lime juice. Serve with a hummus wrap and remaining vegetables.
  • Hummus wraps: Smash cooked garbanzo beans with a fork, add a tablespoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lime, and thinly sliced onion and zucchini. Use in a wrap or as a dip for other vegetables or tortilla chips.

 

Satisfying Dinners

Vegan Chorizo Burrito Bowl, Make it Mexican

  • Canned chicken, honey lime chipotle salad: Combine 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeño or to taste, a teaspoon of honey, squeeze of lime and whip with a fork. Combine canned chicken, 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced mango and serve in halved red pepper cups for a gourmet touch.
  • Baja shrimp wraps: Rinse canned shrimp. Mix with garbanzo beans, olives, diced celery and tomatoes, olive oil, lime, and any combination of peppers. Wrap in a tortilla.
  • Burritos bowls: Combine drained and rinsed black or pinto beans, canned corn, diced red or green pepper, olives sliced, sliced avocado and chunky red salsa.

 

Healthy No Cook Meals Shopping List:

[lt_recipe name=”PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST, HEALTHY NO COOK MEALS ” print=”yes” ingredients=”flour tortillas;peanuts;walnuts;peanut butter;honey or jam;quick oats;non-dairy milk or shelf stable cow’s milk;;canned tuna;canned chicken;canned shrimp;canned or bags of vegetarian pinto, black and garbanzo beans;oregano or cumin;canned salsas;olive oil;;limes;oranges;mango;melon;carrots;celery;zucchini;cucumber;red bell peppers;onion;;crispy tostados or tortilla chips;dark chocolate for a healthy treat;;tequila for obvious reasons” ]Minimal gear packing list, sharp knife, can opener, cutting board, safe drinking and food prep water, ziplock bags, silverware, plates, bowls, wash basin and dish soap [/lt_recipe]

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Easy Healthy No Cook Meals For Camping or Travel in Mexico

Hiking Loreto, Baja Sur/MyBajaKitchen.com

A shopping list and menu for 3 days of healthy no cook meals.  Perfect for an end of Summer, Labor Day camping trip, or exploring and surfing trips all year-long in Baja Mexico.

One of the best reasons to travel is to explore the local cuisine but eating out for every meal can be expensive and unhealthy. There are limited dining choices in many places in Baja. By all means try the local taquerias, the expat hot spots and the occasional fine dining restaurants but plan for a few “go to” healthy, no cook meals that you can put together with store-bought shelf stable foods.

Eating out when you travel is not your healthiest or cheapest option. Your pesos will go farther at a grocery store or an outdoor market and you can control the calories and the nutritional value of your meal.

If you have access to a barbecue and refrigeration then your options are almost like home and I hope you will try to buy all fresh real food but if not, you can still make healthy meals with minimal fuss and maximum Mexican flavor on a budget using shelf stable mostly nutritious foods. In general canned foods are high in salt and may have some scary ingredients but simple canned meats and beans can be found. Just say no to Spaghetti O’s, I’ve actually seen them in Mexico. Yikes.

Planning is especially important for vegetarians, vegans and anyone with food restrictions while traveling in rural Mexico. You will have to ask a lot of questions and your choices may be limited. Don’t be surprised that the sauces, frijoles and tortillas may not be vegetarian.  If you can buy foods with labels and you know a few key Spanish words, then you can be in control of your diet.  Lard is manteca (de cerdo). Learn the name and every variation of your food allergens in Spanish. I found several places on the internet that give away or sell “Allergy Translation Cards”. They look like this.


This article is about healthy no cook meals but the same strategy will work if you have any dietary restrictions and you have a kitchen or a campfire. 

Be flexible and shop wisely:

Most of the ingredients for these healthy no cook meals are available at the local grocery store.

Start with tortillas, flour tortillas seem to be the most versatile without needing to be cooked.  Look for shelf stable protein sources for example: canned tuna, chicken, shrimp and beans. Nuts are usually available, especially peanuts. Peanut butter should be on your list for quick breakfasts and lunches. Honey or jams can be used to sweeten any meal and you won’t need to refrigerate them.

Market Fresh Mexican Produce

Buy easy to prepare fruits and veggies that you can quickly wash or peel, and can be eaten raw, for example: carrots, cucumber, onions, zucchini, peppers, jicama, avocados, limes, cherry tomatoes, mangos, melons, bananas, oranges. Buy the freshest fruits and vegetables that you can find because they are the nutritional stars in these no cook meals. Canned fruits and veggies can be used in a pinch but avoid the high salt and sugar versions, which is what I see in my local grocery store.

Skip the lettuces, chard and other dirty vegetables that take lost of time and water to clean. It is rare to find pre-washed and packaged salad mixes as you leave the bigger cities. If you find them then I would re-wash them before eating.

Food safety and safe drinking water should always be a concern and a priority wherever your travels may take you. The water you wash produce with should be safe drinking water. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a food born illness.

Be Prepared:

You’ll need a knife, cutting board, a can opener and ziplock bags for leftovers or to pack your lunch.

 

3 Day Sample Menu

No Cook, Healthy Meals

Easy Breakfasts

  • Peanut butter and banana tortilla wraps or sandwiches
  • Almond milk overnight oats with nuts and fruit:  Combine quick cooking oats, non-dairy milk, a drizzle of honey or jam in a ziplock and let sit overnight. Add fruit and nuts in the morning and breakfast is ready.
  • Breakfast burritos: Spread pinto bean frijoles in a tortilla with salsa and red pepper strips.

Healthy Lunches

Easy Mexican Corn and Chic Pea Salad

  • Tuna fish wraps: Buy oil packed tuna, drain and flake, combine with thin slices of cucumber, carrot and red pepper and wrap in a tortilla or eat as a salad. Add a squeeze of lime. A few jalapeño slices would give you a spicy tuna wrap.
  • “Waldorf” fruit salad: Combine rough chopped walnuts, celery, and apples. Make a dressing with olive oil, orange juice, honey and lime juice. Serve with a hummus wrap and remaining vegetables.
  • Hummus wraps: Smash cooked garbanzo beans with a fork, add a tablespoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lime, and thinly sliced onion and zucchini. Use in a wrap or as a dip for other vegetables or tortilla chips.

 

Satisfying Dinners

Vegan Chorizo Burrito Bowl, Make it Mexican

  • Canned chicken, honey lime chipotle salad: Combine 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of minced jalapeño or to taste, a teaspoon of honey, squeeze of lime and whip with a fork. Combine canned chicken, 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, diced mango and serve in halved red pepper cups for a gourmet touch.
  • Baja shrimp wraps: Rinse canned shrimp. Mix with garbanzo beans, olives, diced celery and tomatoes, olive oil, lime, and any combination of peppers. Wrap in a tortilla.
  • Burritos bowls: Combine drained and rinsed black or pinto beans, canned corn, diced red or green pepper, olives sliced, sliced avocado and chunky red salsa.

 

Healthy No Cook Meals Shopping List:

[lt_recipe name=”PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST, HEALTHY NO COOK MEALS ” print=”yes” ingredients=”flour tortillas;peanuts;walnuts;peanut butter;honey or jam;quick oats;non-dairy milk or shelf stable cow’s milk;;canned tuna;canned chicken;canned shrimp;canned or bags of vegetarian pinto, black and garbanzo beans;oregano or cumin;canned salsas;olive oil;;limes;oranges;mango;melon;carrots;celery;zucchini;cucumber;red bell peppers;onion;;crispy tostados or tortilla chips;dark chocolate for a healthy treat;;tequila for obvious reasons” ]Minimal gear packing list, sharp knife, can opener, cutting board, safe drinking and food prep water, ziplock bags, silverware, plates, bowls, wash basin and dish soap [/lt_recipe]

 

Do you need Baja camping advice? Check out these books for sale at Amazon.

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Easy Healthy No Cook Meals For Camping or Travel in Mexico/MyBajaKitchen.com

Baja Sur, Mexico Travel Advisory Issued, Why This Expat Cares

Mexico travel advisory Baja Sur/MyBajaKitchen.com

 

The U.S. Department of State issued a Mexico Travel Advisory for Baja California Sur, Mexico and Why This Expat Cares.

If you stopped to read this post because you want to reinforce your fears of travel in Baja Mexico then stop reading and stay home. I won’t try to change your mind.

The U. S. Department of State issued a strong Mexico travel advisory this week for the entire state of Baja Sur after three more people were killed in a popular tourist area, Palmillo Beach, between San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas in broad daylight. You can read all of the Mexican travel advisories here.

These sensational killings fuel the fear in the fearful and play into the newly popular anti-Mexican sentiments.  If you want to be afraid then I can’t help you. Fear is fear.

My family is afraid. I can’t remember a family or neighborhood gathering where I didn’t get warned about the dangers of living in Baja.

“Have you seen the Mexico travel advisory?” My prepared answer is, “I’m more afraid when I lay over in Southern California on the drive down to Baja than I am in Mexico.”

I ask them, “Have you seen the number of killings in So. Cal.? Reno?”
There have been over 600 homicides in LA County this year. There were 3 homicides within 5 days in Reno, Nevada where I live part-time, this June.

The U. S. allows anyone and everyone to carry a gun these days and mass shootings of innocent people are all too common, even in small safe towns, my small hometown of Carson City, Nevada had a random mass shooting at a Denny’s. I once felt safe there. I am honestly more afraid of dying from gun fire in the U. S. than I am in Baja, Mexico.

The Facts

The homicides per capita are high in Baja and the number of homicides in Baja Sur has quadrupled this year compared to last year. The LA Times reported that there have been 232 homicides in Baja Sur this year. These are facts, that I can’t argue against.

I’ve seen the increase in killings and watched the impact on my community. I’m a Mexican resident for several months every year in Loreto, BCS. While I was living in Loreto last fall and winter there were at least six people murdered in my town. I was two streets away from a double murder while shopping on a Sunday morning at the outdoor market. A swarm of policia and solders descended on the market and the surrounding neighborhood as I chatted in Spanglish with my favorite vegetable vendor. A silence fell over the market din and her usual smile sank in realization, reflecting all the collective strain felt by her community. The impact of these killings extends far beyond making tourists uncomfortable. Marisol raises her children in this small town of 15,000, knows everyone, and her livelihood depends on tourism. This is where the real impact of narco-killings is felt. We were escorted to our car by an armed soldier wearing full riot gear. I remember feeling more sadness than fear.

There were three more executions this winter, one of the deceased was a high ranking cartel boss, which left a power void and appears to be playing a role in the recent surge of killings. Another murdered man was tossed from a moving vehicle on the highway near my home at mid-day. The struggle is real and I’m not sugar-coating it for you. An interesting thing occurs when we have a killing in town. The news and details are slow in coming to English language sites and the expats with business interests try to squelch any discussion on social media. We usually get our news from the Mexican fisherman and security guards. They are matter of fact in the telling and unfortunately have learned to take these killings in stride.

Am I afraid?

Absolutely not. I don’t think about these drug related turf battles on a daily basis any more than I think about the homicides in my American community. What I do worry about is the impact the Mexico travel advisory and the sensationalism of the homicides will have on tourism in the region. We have friends who rely on tourism to survive: boat captains, restaurant owners, produce vendors and hoteliers. I worry about friends who have children that might get sucked into the drug trade; a drug trade fueled by America’s endless need for drugs. That should be in the news along side the sensational stories about Mexican violence, but it isn’t really news any more. I worry that Mexicans are dying. I worry that the Mexican government can’t seem to stop the killings.

I worry that journalists are dying and can’t be protected when they report on the cartels and/or the corruption they see in some of their police and military protectors. We shouldn’t forget that there are good people doing great things in Mexico to combat the killings. There are grass roots efforts to improve economic growth hoping to protect their communities from the realities of narco traffic.

Believe me, Mexicans do care.

I don’t worry about tourists and expats getting caught in the cross fire, an event which is extremely rare. I worry that your fear will keep you from exploring all that is Mexico, her lovely people, beautiful landscape, history and unique culture.

I use caution and so should you.

Driving tips:

  • Never travel at night, mostly because of road hazards and large animals on the road, but you don’t want to be a victim of a crime of opportunity.
  • Travel in small caravans and look out for each other.
  • Consider renting or buying a satellite phone for use in remote areas, including most of Highway 1.
  • Cooperate at all military check points. Smile and let them search your car. I applaud their efforts.
  • Be cautious about stopping at distractions along the highway. False road blocks, fake accidents, bumping your car at high speed. Try to keep driving.

 

Personal safety: These apply worldwide including in the United States.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Travel with friends, especially at night.
  • Don’t flash money or expensive jewelry.
  • Protect your wallet or purse.
  • If you feel uncomfortable then leave immediately. Trust your gut.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all in crowded areas and resorts.
  • If you hear gun fire, duck and take cover. They probably aren’t shooting at you.
  • Avoid obviously dangerous areas. Ask the hotel desk where it’s safe to wander or take a run.
  • Ask for help. The Mexicans are lovely, family oriented people who are always willing to help.

 

Learn key phase in spanish.
I need help –  Necessito ayuda
I need a doctor –  Necessito un medico.
I need the police –  Necessito a la policia.
HELP!  –  AYUDA!

Share this because there is way too much misinformation out there. I love Mexico and I hope you take the time to learn more and visit this great country.  

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Mexico travel advisory Baja Sue/MyBajaKitchen.com

 

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International Food Blogger Conference, La Gringa Takes a Trip

La Gringa’s Big Day Out

I’m attending the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, California on Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2017. This will be my first food blogging conference. I attended Blogher and learned a lot about blogging in general and had a great time meeting other bloggers.

I’m determined to get my cookbook and my new site off the ground. This feels like a new fresh chapter in my life, out of medicine, so wish me luck and leave me a comment. (It’s lonely over here without you.) How else are you going to learn from my mistakes and mishaps?

Here’s a link to the IFBC and a story about the great places to eat in Sacramento. Sac is just over a two hour drive over the Sierras from me so I’m looking forward to exploring and eating my way through Sacramento. If you are attending, let’s meet up for a chat or a margarita. Send me an email with your contact information.

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