For many Americans, Mexico is either a beach resort destination or a country run by drug lords 'Narcos' style. But most of these ideas are wrong. So, collaborator Dennise Jimenez made a list of five basic things you need to stop believing about the border.
Most Americans know nothing about the border that divides Mexico and the United States. Unfortunately, their opinion is swayed by what they hear and read in the media, not to mention the stereotypical portrayals in movies and TV shows (again, Narcos, anyone?) that continue to pop up. I go to Mexico twice a month from the Inland Empire (Southern California), and it’s about an hour and a half drive to the border. I even have a small travel trailer parked at an RV resort between Rosarito and Ensenada. Here are some things you need to stop believing about the Mexican-American border.
1. The border is out of control
Many people, including ‘friends’ ask me things like, “You’re going to Mexico again, isn’t the border quite dangerous?” This is due to the colorful language that is constantly used in the media. A perfect example was when Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during a visit to El Paso, declared the border “ground zero,” and a “beachhead against the cartels.” However, every time we pass through Tijuana, on our way to Rosarito, we stop to have a bite to eat, and watch a movie at the IMAX theater in the CECUT (Tijuana Cultural Center).
2. Americans are in danger when they go to Mexico
It’s quite the opposite. There are laws that protect American citizens, even in Mexico! Did you know that when you pay a toll you are automatically covered by the insurance provided by Caminos y Puentes Federales? On the back of the receipt, it reads, "El seguro cubre responsabilidad civil, gastos medicos y últimos gastos." English translation: "Insurance covers civil liability, medical expenses and funeral expenses." You are actually covered for damage caused to the road and other vehicles (including medical payments for occupants and pedestrians). This includes funeral expenses for occupants of your vehicle (Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes).”
3. Water in Mexico makes you sick
Hello? Go and buy bottled water. That’s an obvious one, right? I hope no one is still drinking tap in their homes. Anyone heard of Flint, Michigan? Don’t judge other countries. Also, there are Smart and Finals, Costco’s and Starbuck’s – so you can feel right at home! There’s also Casino Caliente in Ensenada for those of you who like to throw away some hard-earned cash.
4. Nobody speaks English down there
The fantastic thing about border towns is that there are always English-speaking Mexicans because tourism is very important to Mexico. Therefore, speaking English to attract those ‘green-goes’ is vital. Also, there are many American-owned restaurants in Rosarito, Baja California, like ‘Gary’s La Fonda;’ the owner will greet you personally if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday morning. Don’t forget to visit the wineries near Ensenada: the cuisine is exquisite.
5. The border is a terrorist hub
This one we owe to none other than the American president himself. But, according to the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2016: “No known international terrorist organization had an operational presence in Mexico, and no terrorist group targeted US citizens in or from Mexican territory.”
So, if you’re trying to get away from Southern California for a quaint weekend – try our beloved Mexico and ask advice from Americans that actually travel, and follow the laws in other countries, while enjoying the beautiful scenery and wonderful food.
Cover photo: @borderartists
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