15 February 2011

The Illusion of Danger

Having returned from a 9-day sojourn in Mexico, I can now reflect with pleasure on the experiences, the people we met and rejuvenating our mental health.

If I had listened to a couple of friends, I would have never gone. Because to them Mexico is a dangerous place-rife with people who will harm, kidnap or rob me. These warnings are juxtaposed with my experiences and give me a platform to contemplate the idea of what is danger. I don't want to belittle the fact that there are portions of Mexico that are not safe. But that is true for every country.

If I told my parents half of the things we did, they would fear for my life. What they fear, I find fascinating. It may be callous to find their ill-placed fear comical, but I do. Is it because I "know" better? Or is it because my idea of what is dangerous is calibrated based on the belief that all people are good and kind? Of course, this is tempered by a knowledge that it's best to not flaunt wealth or act loudly or obnoxiously...but that advice can be applied when travelling anywhere in the world. So I only wear my wedding ring and a modest watch, and I use a bookbag because it indicates a student who doesn't have much money.

So what sort of wild, dangerous things did I do?

Right off of the plane, our first meal was at a hole-in-the-wall taco shop near the bus station. It is not dangerous to eat food from a street vendor. It may be inadvisable for those with less sturdy intestines. But not dangerous. In fact, I only got stomach problems once we got to the resort-a so-called "safe" zone.

We spend an afternoon with a lovely Mexican family who are managers at a tourist attraction. Was it dangerous to get into a car with a father, mother and daughter? I don't think it is dangerous to talk to strangers, or accept help from them.

We swam in the ocean with no lifeguard around, and we left our meager belongings unattended at the beach. We walked down a poorly lit street. We climbed the 43 meter Nohoch Mul pyramid without a guardrail.

We roamed around the Yucatan with abandon and joy for 4 days. All around, we found warmth and kindness from locals and tourists. Now why would that be dangerous?

:) LJS

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