Kidnappings in Mexico

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Grad, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. rossphoto

    rossphoto GDTRFB

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    Recently finished a 7000 mile trip in Mex... Not a single issue... Stopped at many military checkpoints and barely searched one time... Never had to give any money to anyone... As Banannaman said I felt safer there on their roads than I do here on ours... Mexicans are much better drivers than people here in the USA, they are certainly MUCH more aware of motorcycles... I wouldnt hesitate to go back for one second...

    Go and have fun... :nod
    #61
  2. JimC

    JimC Long timer

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    Here is what I consider an honest discussion on the situation in Baja, taken from the March 26, 2008 issue of Cycle News. I posted this earlier in the Regional forum as well.

    The article makes several great points a few of which are.
    1) You are far more at risk from riding your motorcycle in Baja then from the banditos there
    2) The incidence of crime there is probably no higher than it ever has been
    3) The majority of serious crime is limited to a few specific areas in Baja.

    I love Mexico. The few trips I have taken there have all been positive experiences. The people were incredible and the country beautiful and wild. Any trip away from home carries risk. If you haven't been to Mexico you should try it, you would probably like it. It's an Adventure well worth undertaking.

    Jim in Sacramento

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    #62
  3. shadman

    shadman Been here awhile

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    Nice article. Thanks Jim C.

    I've heard from friend living in Houston who was raised by US parents in Monterrey that the cartels are now occasionally posing as police inside city limits and shaking down car traffic for rolex's, wallets, jewelry, etc... They have cop jackets, stolen cop cars, etc... But he admits it's very rare and the people who he knows down there always hype things up to make it more dramatic. It's still enough to make me pause. Then I just go on with life and let the crybabies cry some more.
    #63
  4. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Attention! Heed the advice of the article(s). DO NOT go to Mexico. It is indeed very dangerous. You should stay home and follow the advice of the Gringo authorities that are proclaiming that Mexico is a state near collapse. These are the people in the know. Trust your leaders!
    #64
  5. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    :rofl :rofl :rofl
    #65
  6. GhostriderADV

    GhostriderADV Adventurer

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    Seriously though, does anyone have a current state of affairs of the border towns and does anyone know of certain areas that should be avoided at all costs?

    I'm not paranoid or anything like that, I'm just trying to get some information out to people on the safety of traveling on motorcycle in/to Mexico. This is my next big scheduled trip and I am trying to educate myself through a community of people that have actually experienced something in Mexico, whether it is good or bad. I'm not so interested in freelance opinions as I am in actual experiences, although both are welcome.

    Feel free to let the sarcastic comments fly!
    #66
  7. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    I remember when the border cities were entertaining, safe, and fun. I must be too old.
    #67
  8. gasandasphalt

    gasandasphalt Been here awhile

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    Hey inmates, Check out post number 30,, Mr Pelon (long time inmate) traveled Mexico as much or more than anyone here,,, I have a question for you fellows,, Has anyone seen a post or know anything about why he suddenly stopped sharing his wit and wisdom with us??? Me being of a suspious nature,, can't help but wonder if something unpleasent may have happened to our good buddy... I have tried to email & PM him with no positive result....THANKS Any ideas Lobby??
    #68
  9. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Okay, for a more serious reply. If you read the two ride reports in my sigtag, you will see that I have had no problems. This is actual experience, as you requested, and I have the pictures to prove it. You will find most of the ride reports here at ADVrider about Mexico are positive. When I read negative comments here on ADVrider, they tend to be individual posts, not ride reports. This leads me to believe that these negative comments are contrived, or passed second or third hand.

    Keep in mind I am fluent in Spanish. Fluency in the language means one is comfortable in dealing with the people. Often the mistrust and fear that Gringo travelers have is simply because they can not communicate, so the mind starts going into a defensive mode into thinking the Mexican is engaging in chicanery and deceit. Such is not the case, these are imaginations of a fearful mind. Bottomline for you non-Spanish speakers is to learn some key phrases and wear a smile.

    I usually cross the border in towns that are less busy, like Cd. Acuna and Piedras Negras. However, I would have no problems crossing at larger border towns. I don’t loiter in the border towns, but quite frankly I would have no problem doing such. My interests in Mexico are to be found in the interior of the country. I go to Mexico for the cultural aspects of the country, I don’t go looking for pussy or for a drinking binge, hence I am not in an element where I would get robbed, beaten, etc. If you are concerned about getting caught in narco crossfire, then stay out of the larger border towns. These towns are identified in the news, so search the web for the latest on that.

    Riding. I feel much safer on the roads in Mexico than in the US. The cagers there are not trying to kill me, and there is no road rage. On the contrary, when I cross back into the US the road rage appears immediately after I cross the river. Gringos are rude and obnoxious cagers by nature, and quite frankly, so am I once I get back into my cage in Houston. Riding the cities in Mexico is a challenge because of cager proximity, close passing, nosing out into intersections, etc. However, in these instances I have found that the cagers see you. They know you are there. In the US, I find this not to be the case because the cager is on her cell phone, or on her Blackberry. Hair appointments have to be met, children have to be delivered, etc.

    Authorities. I have had zero problems with police, local or federal. I have had no problems with immigration or customs officials. However, again keep in mind I am fluent in the language. When I meet these people I engage them. That means I am usually the first one to speak when a dialogue commences. I have no problem walking into a police station and asking for directions. In fact when I go into a small town I will often stop at the police station and ask who the station chief is so that I can meet him and let him know I will be in town for a few days. I’ve done this with priests at the main church in town also. In fact these guys can tell you where all the good stuff is to see in town and sometimes you even get a dinner invitation, or a “meet me at this bar/restaurant later on and I’ll bring some friends”. This is a good way to meet people. On my last trip, the immigration official at Cd. Acuna had a lengthy conversation with me about Saltillo. He listed a bunch of places for me to see, even drew me some maps, plus he gave me a booklet that had all the listings of the Banjercito branches in Mexico, and all the customs/immigration points, plus all the contact data for the same.

    The people. They are easy to engage, friendly and polite. I have not met a rude person yet. They are overwhelmingly tolerant of foreigners. They do many favors for free. Gringo recipients of these favors often think there is a scam behind these favors, or that the friendliness is a prelude to a mugging, a kidnapping, a murder, etc. This is tragic while at the same time being comical.

    Don’t let your own karma fuck up your trip. If you think negative, the negative will happen. Also don’t go in there as an overly friendly patronizing Gringo patting the little 3rd Worlder on the head. Just relax, be real, and enjoy the ride.

    Cheers,

    Mike
    #69
  10. dtop1

    dtop1 Long timer

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    I enthusiastically second what Pedro Navaja says above. I'm in Durango, MX right now at the start of a 1-month ride and am staying with friends. I've had more invitations to lunch or dinner than I've had time for. Last night I went to dinner at the home of a couple who I only know casually. When it came time to leave, Juan gave me an abrazo (bearhug) and had tears in his eyes. I'm trying to leave Durango on Sat. but am finding it hard to resist the pressure to stay longer. I'm going to a dinner this evening where about 20 people have been invited to meet me. I too am fluent in Spanish and am very comfortable in the Latin culture but neither is a prerequisite for friendship and warmth.
    Yes, there's danger here. My Mexican rider friends feel it and tell me about it. But the chances of having an assault directed against you as a rider are infinitesimally small. Petty theft is a problem because of increased drug use among Mexicans. So I'm more careful now about my helmet, gloves, tankbag, etc. Other than that, I'm having a hell of a good time. Dan
    #70
  11. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Now I am envious. I love parties in Latin America. There is always at least one person there with a guitar. Singing, dancing, food, wine. Life is good :thumb
    #71
  12. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

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    Went to Galeana, Rayones, and Cola de Caballo and rode the KiLleR for 5 glorious days about 6 weeks ago. Crossed at Reynosa. Next time Copper Canyon. WooHoo!! No glitches, no worries. (Still hate the bureacratic maze of crossings.) See you in Mexico. Thanks to all our Mexican friends for posting here. Your information and friendship means the world to those of us un-willing to live life on the couch.
    #72
  13. 2slow

    2slow Road toad

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    +1 on the Mexican people being generally more friendly than Gringos.

    It may be paranoia but the drug violence has me concerned. There is a real drug war going on in some of the border areas. Juarez has become the murder capitol of the western hemisphere. Even in Chihuahua, CH, 250 miles from the border, we saw that the police and military presence has been substantially increased.

    On the other hand, our only personal encounter with the police was when an officer in Chihuahua invited me to try his Segway. Try to imagine a US policemen letting you do the same.
    #73
  14. Durden

    Durden Freak!

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    I went down Baja last year and had nothing but great experiences. All police, military and citizens were friendly and helpful. One of my favorite places for sure.

    That being said, I did feel uneasy riding through TJ on the way back, common sense says cross the border during the day and once you get 100Km south of the border you should be fine.
    #74
  15. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    don't go.
    we need more scared people to stay in the US, while other of us are living our lives.
    #75
  16. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    +1 :thumb Crossing at TJ has always given me the willies. Somewhat justified I think. I dont like it. After I get out of town I can take my mind from orange back to yellow. It never has been very safe anyway.

    Tecate OTOH gives me none of the bad vibe that TJ does, Hence I use Tecate exclusively now, its just more relaxed.
    #76
  17. GhostriderADV

    GhostriderADV Adventurer

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    Do you guys think the risk factor would increase if you rode your 2009 BMW 1200GSA versus your 1994 KLR? I guess it would be the same as if a person were to drive a shiny new Mercedes instead of a used Toyota.
    #77
  18. tbarstow

    tbarstow Two-wheelin' Fool Super Supporter

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    During the trip to Baja in February 2009, we didn't run into any issues with what bikes we had. I was on my XChallenge, but still had it covered in dust, dirt, mud, and a few new scrapes. After the first 10 minutes of riding I added a large hole to the side of my bag, everyone left us alone. Even the bit of solo riding I did around El Rosario, the only additional scrutiny was at a military checkpoint on the way to the ocean, but I still didn't get searched or shaken down.

    Now, if you're going to stick to the roads around big cities, yes, take the KLR over the GSA so you don't stick out while in TJ, plus you would enjoy the off road riding much more. If you had to take the GSA, go get it dirty and scratch a few things, roll around in the dirt a bit yourself, and go about your merry way.

    Over on BMWLT, a guy was complaining about getting shaken down every 20 miles while riding his shiny new LT trike with side car in mainland Mexico. He just didn't get "You're in the 3rd world now, don't look like you're made of money." A little common sense and awareness of your surroundings goes a long way.
    #78
  19. dtop1

    dtop1 Long timer

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    I'm now in San Luis Potosi on my 07 12GS. I spent 4 days in Durango, DGO with members of the Durango BMW club almost all of whom ride GSA's. In many 10's of thousands of miles in Mexico and Central America on BMW's I've never paid a bribe and have only ever been stopped once - with reason. I passed a cop car in a small town in a no-passing zone at more than twice the posted limit. He radiod ahead and 3 patrol cars stopped me. They made me promise to be a good boy in their town in the future. No money changed hands. Dan
    #79
  20. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thats been my experience as well. When I got pulled over last month, I deserved it. hell, in the states i would have thrown in jail. I dont do mordidas, I just go the police station a pay the real ticket. It doenst take long, maybe a hour or so. Municipal cops may try to shake you down, but when they start talking about what a problem and how much time it will take to go the police station, hold your ground and insist to go the police station to pay the ticket. Act like you have all the time in the world to take care of it. If its a trumped up charge, they will usually let you go if you hold your ground and act like its just not a problem to take care of it the proper way.
    #80