After watching the events of “Black Friday”, (who came up with that awful name and concept???) I have decided it is necessary to once again publish my own travel warning to all my Mexican friends about travel to the US during the holidays, so I am re-posting this blog from last year:
The US, like Mexico, has places that those of us who are not looking for trouble, stay away from, and therefore, seldom find that trouble. As someone who grew up in the US, and know generally where one can and can’t safely travel about there, I feel compelled to share my knowledge with my Mexican friends in a manner the Mexican government can’t. Having said that, I want to place my own travel warning to the United States for all Mexicans living in, or planning on traveling to the US for Christmas, and to warn them to do so with extreme caution. The holiday season in the US, for those who have not experienced it, can be dangerous and even deadly.
I need to first explain that Mexicans have no idea about the commercial Christmas season (CCS) in the US and the “radical extremist lunatic shoppers” (RELS) it produces. They still naively cling to the old notion that Christmas is a time of happiness and joy, and a somewhat at least, religious holiday. The commercial Christmas here is not a big event, usually limited to the week prior, at the very longest. It is kinda hard to have a six-week commercial holiday in a country of poor people! So when they go to the US, they are totally unprepared and therefore, defenseless against the RELS they are walking into.
Travel within the US is generally safe and I have no evidence that toy and electronic crazed RELS are targeting Mexican Nationals specifically, however, I do ask that all Mexicans be on alert when traveling around or near any retail areas. This is especially true inside, around or within several blocks of Wal-Mart stores. These are especially dangerous areas and I would caution all Mexican nationals to stay together and to be diligent and on alert at all times. Never travel into the toy or electronics section alone. Stay away from unknown children playing with the toys or gadgets as they might be children of a RELS, who can easily become violent during the CCS period.
Because the US is full of weapons, I encourage all Mexicans to apply US logic on this matter when in the US, and arm themselves appropriately. Chemical sprays seem to be the weapon of choice among the RELS, so everyone should buy at least one can and keep it with themselves at all times, when in or around retail areas. Again, apply the US logic regarding personal safety, and buy several cans and keep them everywhere. Just in case!!
Always avoid retail entry areas at the opening hours. Many shoppers are stampeded by RELS wanting to assure they get their treasured items and will stop at nothing to get them. Taking the last gadget from a shelf is strongly discouraged and is just asking for at the very least, a RELS ass kicking, or possibly worse. Should you decide the risk is worth the reward, keep one hand on your chemical spray and again, do so only when traveling in large groups. Avoid the retail parking lots as well during these same opening hours. Late arrivers, insane with desperation, can run you over or even worse, shoot you over a parking space if you get between them and their desired treasured! Wait at least 2 hours after opening before going into any retail shopping area.
Avoid placing small children in the laps of otherwise unemployed, seasonally hired, red-eyed Santa Clauses with alcohol on their breath. A cheap over the counter breath analyzer, found everywhere in the land of plenty, can be used to test any Santa before allowing them to hold your child. It is not overly cautious either to just have them do an equally easy to find, over the counter drug test before as well. The details of some of the Santa behavior in US malls is simply not appropriate for this blog, but trust me, you can’t be too careful who’s lap you place your kid in during the holiday season in the US!
Finally, I would like to stress that the US, like Mexico, and every other country in the world, has places you should avoid. Because there are drug cartels like the ones in Mexico along the US border, I suggest you stay away from those areas when in Mexico if you don’t want to be a victim. Enjoy the rest of the country where the people are friendly, actually enjoying the Christian holiday and all is safe. Same for the US too, where almost everyone is not a RELS and are in reality, just the same friendly people, celebrating the same religious holiday. So, if you don’t want to be a victim on violent RELS in the US this holiday season … just shop on-line. It’s that simple.