A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Sept. 14, 2007 — Our town of San Juan Cosala has been digging out from the mud and rocks that came down from the mountains on Wednesday, September 12, before dawn. San Juan Cosala is a town of maybe 5000 people, on the north shore of Lake Chapala, between the larger towns of Ajijic and Jocotepec. This whole region is developing as a Mecca for foreigners, with one development after another going in, both on the lake side and above the sole highway (carretera) which runs along the north shore.

We live in San Juan Cosala itself, above the carretera. Fortunately, our house is located between two watersheds that come down from the mountains above, so when arroyos filled with rocks, large and small parts of trees, mud and other debris, it happened near us but did not affect our home. We’ve spent a good bit of our time since then taking photos, uploading them here and at flickr, and answering some email queries from Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians eager for news of what’s really happening here and whether their homes are okay. We’ve also gotten to know more of our neighbors, from being out and about so much.

We have known what we’ve seen: there’s been a huge muddy mess in places while most homes have been completely unaffected. The highway has been closed to buses and private cars, though people are now getting through to a degree. Generally it has not seemed as agonizingly tragic as the rumors and news reports might make you believe. Yes, the grandparents of our friend Gerardo have lost their home as have many others, yes, there have been quite a few people hurt, yes, hardships will continue after the outside world stops paying any attention (and I’m not sure how much attention it did pay!)

We have been keenly aware that we did not have the whole picture by any means. But man oh man the rumors I’ve heard or read online. Right off the bat, we heard 40 people had been killed. Well, I have been asking and asking and so far nobody I’ve spoken with, Mexican or American, has personally known anyone who has been killed because of this. There may be some, but when that rumor was going around — I saw it several places online — I doubt anything had been verified. Injuries, yes, people have been hurt. If nobody died, it could count as a miracle considering the awesome forces of nature in play here.

That first morning, when we were out on the muddy highway, we ran across some other foreigners who had driven as close as they could get to San Juan Cosala, trying to go see the Raquet Club which they had heard was “80% destroyed.” Not so. I don’t know what the final percentage will be over there, but Kelly spent hours there yesterday and he felt that nothing like 80% of the houses were badly damaged.

Another persistent rumor has been that the residents of the Raquet Club had been ordered to evacuate. Well, it may be true that some were, as I did see firemen and other workers going around our neighbor, checking on the homes. But this was being done on a house-by-house basis where we are. I have seen nothing online to verify this rumor about the Raquet Club and I have personally spoken with several residents there whose homes are fine and who have had no such order.

Okay, there will always be rumors, but let me beg you to think for at least ONE FULL MINUTE before posting something online, or forwarding it, if you doubt its truth to any degree. Please remember that people far away will be following the online forums and blogs especially, perhaps desperately trying to find out if their families or homes are okay. Rumors of deaths are particularly pernicious.

By the same token, DON’T BELIEVE everything you read… including my stuff!

I understand that people’s imaginations run away with them, and also that there is something in people that can make us scatterbrained in a disaster. But still, it’s my blog so I can rant!

By the way, a good source for blog reading is Google’s blogsearch. But again.. I just went there to get the url and so I searched San Juan Cosala. I read in one blog that everyone who lives in this area lives on a hill (not true) and that this storm was hurricane-related, also not the case to the best of my knowledge, and I had been to http://www.weatherunderground.com/tropical/ the night before.

Still and all, I love the blogosphere and love the ability we now have to be in touch with each other so quickly and easily. Let’s use it with as much wisdom as we can muster!

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