The Myth Buster Smashes 2 Mexico Myths

January 2, 2010

Now I know that Chapala Club’s regular readers are a smart and well-traveled bunch of folks.

No doubt you’re well aware of the two more recent Mexico myths.

No, it’s not the old myth that you can’t own property here: That myth went away about 12 years ago but still persists somewhat

But, since Chapala Club is a syndicated on line magazine some folks out there in cyber landia  may be falling for the current myths which could deny them the opportunity of a life time… to live a dream retirement right here at Lake Chapala Ajijic Mexico.

I’m well aware of these myths because I get e mails fairly often asking about each of them.

Thankfully they’re giving me the opportunity to put their fears at rest by asking me of the validity of these pervasive myths and giving me the opportunity to play Myths Buster.

But, between the myths and the economy up North I’ve noticed a significant drop in our visitors here at Lake Chapala Ajijic.

So, if you’ve been a Chapala Club member for a while, you may want to skip the rest of this article, but, if you’re new to or just surfing the web and stumbled upon us then you should definitely keep reading in your own best interests.

Chapapa Area Nov 07 021

I live under 5 minutes from the center of the Colonial city of Chapala, located on the banks of the largest natural Lake in all of Mexico, Lake Chapala.

Part of my almost daily routine here at Lake Chapala is to take a pleasant walk around mid morning to the central plaza in the town center.


I chat with friends I see, with the shop keepers and the small Mom and Pop restaurant owners in the area as I go about my morning rounds  perhaps stopping for a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or a healthful glass of  fresh carrot or celery juice (about 75 cents) or to get a shoe shine (about a $1.00) or extract some pesos from my banks ATM machine across the street from the Central People’s Market

I used to pass a lot more visitors from North America along the way, but I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer of them lately.

Now my friends talk more about how tourism is down, and with it their sales as well.

One reason visitors  to Mexico have decreased dramatically is of course related to the world wide recession.

But I think a lot of it is due to the especially bad press that Mexico in general has received about fears of swine flu and of drug violence.

Too bad really, because it’s not accurate for the vast majority of the country and totally undeserved except in isolated pockets here and there.
The double tragedy is that the negative hype causes a lot of North Americans to  miss out on some really good bargains here.

If you’ve not been to Lake Chapala Ajijic lately you’ll find it even more beautiful, peaceful and modern than even just a few years ago.

Quite frankly there are some here who would like you to believe the myths. Why ?

I think they’re afraid that too many of you will come here, and they think you’ll drive up the prices and spoil their little piece of paradise cake.

They prefer to keep our area their little secret. The myths help them do that.

Fortunately there are not many people like that here… but as often is the case the loud squeaky wheel gets all the attention.

You’re most likely to find these folks in Chat rooms and on Forums about Mexico. They will usually be the posters who have been on the forum for a very long time.. and remember the “good old days” before internet.

The US News media seems to just love it when they can report about another drug related shooting in one of the pockets of violence that admittedly exit here and there…but which are a long way from Lake Chapala Ajijic.

New visitors quickly discover the big gap between what they hear on the nightly news or posts by old curmudgeons and the reality they find here at Lake Chapala.

They find an area full of happy, hard working, God fearing, honest Mexican and Ex-Patriots from all over the world living in peaceful harmony where the ladies feel safe walking alone in our towns and villages … even at night.

So, for you folks who haven’t been fortunate  enough to visit us here at Lake Chapala Ajijic (Ah He HICK) and see the truth first-hand, permit me to play Myth Buster.

Myth #1: Mexico is Violent

Many people already see through the media hype and take what they read and hear with a grain of salt.

They realize that violence in border towns and drug areas doesn’t affect safety in places that are hundreds of miles away.

That’s like blaming folks in small town rural Ohio for the horrible violence in Washington D.C.

The truth is of course that just like in the USA and Canada only parts of Mexico are violent.

Border Patrol

More specifically: The border areas, Mexico City, and a few other drug-related areas that have always been prone to violence.

This is not the Mexico I know and love.

I’m from Dallas, and as you know, if you’ve read my story, I’m also a 35 year veteran of the Dallas Police Department.

So, I’ve spent the better part of my life in law enforcement and to their credit, in the last few years the Dallas Police force has significantly reduced crime there…but I feel as safe or safer here at Lake Chapala than when I visit my friends in Dallas.

Conclusion: The vast majority of Mexico is still safe and likely to remain so as the country modernizes its police forces under the leadership of our “Law and Order” current president, Felipe Calderon.

The places I’m familiar with all along the North Shore of Lake Chapala like Chapala, San Antonio Tlayacapan, Ajijic, and on West all the way to Jocotepec and beyond may well be safer than where you live now.

I’ve walked around cities all over Mexico by day and by night, and I’ve always felt safe. I take normal, sensible precautions, but otherwise I don’t worry.

My North American friends and Mexican family here all feel the same way.

Random violence of the kind we know from the U.S.—muggings, mass murders and non drug related gang violence for instance—is extremely rare here, outside the areas already mentioned.

For the people who actually live here it’s just not something we worry about.

What about the drug war? Unless you’re involved directly in it on the law enforcement side or on the bad guys side you’re safe.

Yes, I know sometimes innocent people are caught in the crossfire sometimes…fortunately this rarely happens, but rest assured that when it does you’ll hear about it in North America.

Did you know that all the terrible violence in the USA which is ever increasingly commonplace is regularly on the Mexican Nightly News

My Mexican mother in law insists that before my wife and I can leave for visits to the USA that we stop and tell her goodbye and she lays hands on us and prays a hedge of protection around us.

Why does she do this ? Well she’s a good Christian lady, she loves us… and she watches the nightly news here.

So Myth # 1 is Busted.

Now for …

Myth #2: You’ll Catch the Swine Flu in Mexico

Actually, you can catch the swine flu anyplace, because it’s spread all over the world.

Last June, the World Health Organization declared the swine flu—virus H1N1—a pandemic.

That means it’s pretty much everywhere.

Actually there have been more reported cases in the USA than in Mexico.

I can’t prove it but I think you may have a better chance of getting the H1N1 in the USA than in the almost always moderate temperatures we have in our area of Mexico.

H1N1 may not even have begun in Mexico, but Mexico got the blame since Mexican health officials first identified it and Mexican authorities did the right thing and reported it.

No doubt they knew it would most assuredly hurt the tourist industry on which a large part of their economy depends.. and it did, costing Mexico billions in lost revenue.

I’d like to think that the USA government would have done the same if the situation were reversed.

So what’s up now with H1N1 in Mexico?

Here’s the situation now:  The World Health Organization I think still considers H1NI widespread.

Now however, most countries that restricted or at least warned against travel to Mexico have for the most part lifted their restrictions for travel to Mexico.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have now removed their travel warning for Mexico.

Airlines that had canceled some flights to Mexico when the flu scare first appeared are now running regular schedules as far as I can determine in and out of Guadalajara, the International airport  which is just a half hour drive from Lake Chapala.

They now have daily or almost daily flights to and from the popular gateway cities in the USA like Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Denver.

The fall flu season is upon us and as you might expect, there are new cases of H1N1 showing up in both countries.

The good news is that by the time you read this article vaccines should be available in the both the USA and Mexico.

Mexico’s public health department is not waiting until Manana however to take preventive measures.

Mexico is educating the public on how to cut down the spread of infection, like washing your hands often or staying home if you’re sick, etc.

Simple but very effect steps to prevent the possible spread of H1N1.

I’ve noticed in businesses like restaurants the use of hand out antiseptic hand gel to customers or a pump bottle of gel with a stack of paper towels nearby to make sure people follow proper hygiene procedures.

So far it appears that, from what we’ve seen so far, H1N1 is not any more dangerous than the normal flu.

So, chances are, in my opinion, no greater that you’ll get the flu if you come to Mexico, than if you stayed put right where you are.

But, Sid, What if I do get sick?

Not to worry. Mexico’s hospitals and doctors are first-rate, and they’ve all studied up on this strain of flu.
NOW: Here Sid’s Diagnosis:

Chapala 745 Jan 6 3 Kings Day 001

Lake Chapala AJijic, Mexico is as great a  place to visit, to live and if you qualify like I have, to work as it has ever been and it gets better each year.

Now, here’s the even better part…the other side of the myth coin.

The stories of inexpensive luxury living are in fact true if your pension is based on the US Dollar, the Canadian Dollar or Euro or other hard currency.

That Mexico has always been here waiting for us at least since 1960 when I first drove my 1949 Cadillac to Mexico city with some high school buddies and fell in love with Mexico.

That Mexico hasn’t changed. It’s still here, still beautiful, exotic, and welcoming…

and offering a high quality of life at a fraction of what you’d pay north of the border.

And traveling to Mexico now is a better bargain than ever, thanks to all the special travel deals available.

So do a little myth busting of your own, prove to yourself, see for yourself, and go home (if you must) with a whole new perspective on what your life would be like living here either full or part time.

Living your dream is easier than you may think. You can do it. I can help. E Mail me today

Let me end our discussion with a phrase that I think sums up Mexico in 4 powerful words

I’ve shamelessly going to borrow these 4 words from a big box store (yes we have a Wal-Mart here) which I think is the perfect 4 words to describe Lake Chapala Ajijic, Mexico.

Save Money  Live Better

  • http://none Billy D. Bateman

    I thank you for telling it as it is.
    Some day Gaby and I will come for a visit. Keep up the good work.
    Billy and Gaby Bateman
    Blue Berry Farm
    2089 ACR 320
    Frankston, Texas, 75763

  • Ginger Blymyer

    Hi Sid, a very interesting informative article. Thanks a lot. I will be down to visit in March. I lived there in Ajijic for fifteen months and know all you wrote is true. Thanks Ginger

  • Janis Lee

    Aloha Sid, I wish you guys would add on a forward space down here at the bottom, so many of my negative friends, that do not want any more E-Mail, won’t sign up , but like this letter I would like to forward to them, Please Oh Please. Great Letter, leaving Hawaii in 3 months cannot wait.Hope to see you sometime in 2010. Mahalo & Aloha Janis Lee

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Janis, Thanks for your comment. Yes, I look forward to seeing your smiling Aloha face here at Lake Chapala.

    The temperatures here at Lake Chapala are much the same I think as Hawaii, but without the sea level humidity you have there. The beautiful flowers and flowering trees here and our gorgeous sunsets and sundowns are every bot as good as Hawaii.
    The Aloha spirit we call Amable is warm and welcoming as well.

    The BIG difference is that you don’t have to be rich to live La Dulce Vida here.

    Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Betty

    Yes I have been reading your newsletter for a number of months now but still like to read articles about the safe feeling of the people down there. I have read many other articles about the same thing. Every one of them has said the same thing. I still like to read about it anyway. Thank you Sid for another great article.
    Siempre tu amigo Betty

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ginger, Thanks so much for your comment about my articles. Look me up when you visit us in March. I’ll be out of pocket the first couple of weeks in March but will be publishing new articles throughout the month. Thanks again, Sid

  • Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Billy and Gaby, Thanks for taking time to write such a nice comment. I sincerely appreciate it.

    Look forward to showing you guys around down here when ever you can make it down our way.

    Simepre tu amigo, Sid

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