It is the fission of fear, the feeling of being a part of something dangerous, but not actually in danger that stokes the internet wildfires. The desire to be a part of the news as it happens: I was there. But I’m safe. I was close but nothing happened. I have a friend who was there and he said …..
|TV Isla Mujeres photo, Cancun January 17th|
When the recent shootings happened in Cancun the internet blazed with news, comments and speculation. The official reports maintain that the attack was a response to the new governor's anti-crime initiatives. The police headquarters were stormed by cartel soldiers who were unhappy with the authorities. One police officer and three bad guys were killed, and another five were captured. The police and gang members took the fight into a high-speed movie-style chase through the streets of centro, scaring city residents and the customers at Plaza las Americas’ shopping center into thinking they were under attack.
|Local kids enjoying peaceful time on Isla|
It’s a heartbreaking news story that will affect many of our island neighbours who are trying to eke out a living, to live a happy life, to watch their children grow and have families of their own. This area relies heavily on tourism. Millions of visitors from many countries in the world as well as from other parts of Mexico visit the Cancun-Riviera Maya every year. The stories of fear and danger will dramatically slow or stop altogether the flow of tourists to this area.
|Lawrie & Lynda 1991, Switzerland with group of Brits & Europeans|
We have vivid memories of 1991, the year of the first Gulf War. Americans were advised by their State Department not to travel to Europe, it was too dangerous. We, as Canadians, were not affected by the travel ban. For six months we explored Scotland, Northern Ireland, Erie, Wales, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra, and Portugal with our pick of accommodations, even the ones that were typically booked two years in advance. In the six months of traveling we met dozens of Canadians, hundreds of Europeans and eight Americans.
|2001, empty Intercontinental Hotel in Bali|
In 2001 a few months after the bombing of a night club in Bali, we spent a delightful two weeks in a charmingly generous and gentle culture – when hotels were nearly empty, and restaurants closing due to lack of tourists. Every Balinese national that we met said, “Thank you for coming to Bali.” Their small country was nearly destitute from the drop in tourism.
This isn’t a Mexico problem, it is a world-wide problem. Whether it is some crazy person shooting up a school, or bombing a cultural ikon, or gangs involved in turf wars – it isn’t going to go away. Please don’t let this stupidity control your life.
And other happenings in paradise.
On Sunday night the underwater electrical feed, a cable that runs between the mainland and Isla Mujeres was damaged by a yacht anchoring near Playa Norte, leaving the entire island without power for fourteen hours as the electrical company scrambled to make repairs. Then again on Monday night right around supper time – the power was cut to make additional repairs. Okay, bad timing for the intentional power outage but when the crews are working non-stop they do what they have to do to fix the problem.
|Traffic jam on the water - Sunday Funday at North Beach|
We started to think about the funny and slightly annoying things that happen during a power outage. Money that can’t be dispensed by ATM’s. Gasoline that can’t be pumped into motos and vehicles for a community that habitually purchases small amounts of gas daily. Or the lack of cold beer.
|Providing lights for dinners - Ruth Lacey photo|
One very inventive owner of a local taco eatery brought an operating moto (motorcycle) inside the restaurant, using the headlight as illumination for his customers. It was a two-walled restaurant with lots of open space for air circulation - probably not the healthiest solution but certainly inventive.
And then there were the teenagers, deprived of the internet or phone texting, who were forced to communicate verbally with family and friends. OMG fourteen hours without updating their Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat accounts, it’s a teenager’s nightmare.
|Wind-proof lanterns came in handy during power outage|
During the power cuts we realized we were actually well organized. We had propane for cooking. Fifteen wind-proof candle-lanterns normally used for romantic evenings on our patio, plus a dozen spare candles. Six flashlights stashed in various locations around the house, and extra batteries. Bottled water. Food in the cupboard for us and Sparky our short-legged mutt. A hand-operated can opener. Wine to drink and books to read.
Avid readers we stopped purchasing paper books ten years ago due to the lack of new material available when living in a foreign country. E-readers are amazingly handy to have, as long as we remember to keep them charged and at least one or two un-read books downloaded and ready to go. Otherwise, they are just another useless electronic device when the power and the internet are out.
|Beginning of another warm and sunny day|
We certainly weren’t going to freeze to death in temperatures hovering around the mid-seventies F, or mid-twenties C. Life was good. We were all set for the current situation.
And one final thought regarding the recent incident in Cancun - an interesting quote from an experienced authority.
"Chicago has had close to a 1,000 shootings in the last year," said Walter McKay, a former Vancouver police detective who is an expert on security issues in Mexico. "I still don't see a travel advisory on any websites for Chicago."
"The drug cartels are business entities," McKay said. "They're there to make money. And if they start shooting up and doing this all the time and all the tourists flee, well, what's the point of having the Playa del Carmen area under your control?" Quote taken from Article by Nicole Ireland
Lynda & Lawrie Lock
|Adventure Novel $2.99 USD on Amazon|