SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Parts of Mexico would appear to be imploding or exploding, depending on your perspective. Not a day seems to go by without a published and/or broadcast report that more bodies have been unearthed somewhere along the U.S.-Mexican border, or some travesty involving violence has happened somewhere to the south. The New York Times has been doing a credible job of reporting on all the nastiness. I'm trying to skip over some of the stories; they are too gruesome.
Even in our little corner of the Costa Alegre, south of Puerto Vallarta, a developer has grabbed arguably the most beautiful beach on the west coast of the Mexican mainland (Tenacatita) and now threatens to shoot anyone who tries to go to the beach, beaches which Mexican law proudly declares belong to the people.
People with guns, apparently.
Tenacatita Beach, May 2, 2009 - all empty now, except for guards with guns
Still, in a little over a month, Adm. Fox and I will head south (by plane, not driving across the border this year, thank you very much) and check out how things are in Arroyo Seco, our village where serenity has reigned for the few years we've lived there in the winter.
We hope it's still serene, but given that it is only a few miles from occupied Tenacatita Beach, we are braced for some tension there, too. And the village might have some new residents, some of the 800 or so Mexicans who were booted from their homes and businesses so unceremoniously (and viciously) August 4. Most of the refugees are clustered in and around the small village of Rebalsito, a tiny town on the highway into the beach, though some of those folks have family ties to Arroyo Seco.
Earlier this year, the evicted people blocked the major north-south highway as a protest - and in since August, have been trying every legal avenue possible to get their property (most of it federally titled) back.
Protesters on the highway in August
Still, I have started to pack my new camera gear, new hats (my dermatologist has insisted), and warm-weather clothing for the Mexican winter. And, of course, presents for granddaughter Sasha Fox in Puerto Vallarta have started stacking up likes planes over Denver, around our suitcases. My greatest dilemma is how to bring down my eight-string ukulele. My new camera gear has to be hand-carried on the plane. With my other carry-on - my backpack full of important Mexico papers - I am at capacity.
But sans the uke, there would be no participating in open mic nights at the newly renovated Palapa Joe's.
That's a sobering thought.
Mexico, prepare for incoming.