It is interesting to me to hear the reasons people have for visiting, or not visiting, our fair city. Having spent a month or so enjoying the cool mountain air of central Arizona during the August and September heat, I had the opportunity to hear from, and be questioned by, quite a few folks about Mexico in general, and Puerto Peñasco in particular.

Almost without exception, once anyone found out that I live in Peñasco, I was peppered with questions or ‘told’ about visiting our town. While many people were genuinely interested in learning about Rocky Point, as well as entering and traveling in Mexico, there were quite a few others who had formed opinions about it that were, basically, ridiculous (the cleanest word I could think of). These opinions were based on nothing more than hearsay, bits and pieces of articles that they had read or horror stories from people who claimed to have experienced, or shared experiences they had been told about, second hand.

The upshot of most of these stories was, Mexico and Peñasco were terribly dangerous places to travel in and to visit; with banditos around every corner, corrupt, aggressive policemen who were just looking to nab a gringo, and thieves prepared to take your shoes if you left them outside overnight! I swear I am not exaggerating!!

Pinching the bridge of my nose and shaking my head, I tried to give accurate and honest answers to some of the questions, but must admit to simply laughing in some peoples’ face and walking away when their “I swear this is a true story!” reached mythical proportions.

Let me say that I am not being a Pollyanna about Mexico and Rocky Point. There are issues and incidents that crop up from time to time that do not show our town in the best light. Having said that, all one needs to do is to check the news feeds from Phoenix, Los Angeles, Dallas, Portland, San Francisco, and other U.S. metropolitan areas to be able to put the few problems we have in perspective. Then look for the speed traps in towns like Ajo and Gila Bend…there is simply no comparison.

I recognize people come to our town for a relaxing vacation, and when things don’t go exactly as planned, people tend to feel it more acutely than if it were a simple theft from the back of their pickup truck while it is parked in their driveway back in Mesa, or porch pirates snagging an Amazon box off the front stoop. Instead of understanding and knowing that petty crime is everywhere, an incident while in Rocky Point takes on an outrageous patina.

Acting like a jerk while in a foreign country is another angle that most of these story tellers seem to leave out of their narratives. Anyone who has been around Peñasco for any length of time knows what I’ talking about. Yeah, I’m speaking to the young people who like to ignore all forms of social courtesy and treat our streets, and our people, like servants, serfs or worse. They are the best (worst) source of the “I’m never going to Rocky Point again because…” stories.

Ignoring local laws is the fastest way to have an up close and personal encounter with our local police. Disrespecting the local police, once stopped, never ends well either.  You never seem to hear about the reason these folks have a bad time of it though. They all claim to be as pure as driven snow…every single one is SOCMOB (Standing On the Corner Minding their Own Business) when out of nowhere, and for no reason, the cops just come and hassle them, give them a ticket or lock them up! Really???

We are entering our busy holiday time. Many people will be spending their money here in our city. Our merchants, restaurants, bars, hotels, and cafes will be looking forward to a prosperous season. With the world economy going to hell in a hand basket, and inflation in the ‘states doing its part to make everyone super cautious about where their money is going…and how quickly it goes, I urge you all but especially our visitors, enjoy your stay in Puerto Peñasco. Shop, eat, drink, spend your money…buy that piece of Talavera you wanted but thought was too spendy (it ain’t going to get any cheaper!!). Get those little trinkets, hats, and tee shirts for the grand kids. Have a good time. 

Keep in mind that Peñasco, like, Santa Fe, Taos, Sedona, and other resort towns thrives on your tourist dollars. Remember too, to act respectfully and responsibly when you are in another country. I can almost guarantee that if you do that, you won’t have the slightest problem. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!