EDITOR’S Opinion by Jackie Devereaux
Fox News has almost single-handedly created a fire storm of misperceptions about Mexico with their incessant portrayal of murderous drug cartels marauding along U.S. border towns, wrecking havoc and mayhem throughout the region.
Yes, Mexican drug cartels do exist, but not like Fox TV portrays. Instead, I’d like to give a personal reflection on what life is like in the state of Baja California where I lived for a year and visit frequently.
I lived in San Felipe, a small fishing village located approximately 240 miles south east of Palm Springs. My husband, Tom, and I have driven the four hour commute so many times we know it like the back of our hands. We have always felt safe on our route along I-10, then 86 south to Calexico/Mexicali border crossing and all the way down Route 5 to San Felipe. You don’t have to worry about breaking down because there are Green Angels who patrol the highways to help stranded motorists. How come we never hear about them?
We made San Felipe our home in 2010, while I was recuperating from leukemia and my husband worked golf course construction jobs in Southern California. He could just as easily drive to San Felipe as to drive to San Diego or Palm Springs, so we relocated to San Felipe because it was a quarter of the cost. We paid $500 a month rent for a house on the beach, which normally would cost $3,000 in San Diego or Los Angeles. We paid the same for gasoline and electricity, so there was no bargain there, but the rest of our expenses were a fraction of what we’d pay in the United States.
For instance, we see Dr. Felix Rodriquez for our dental work in San Felipe two times a year and save an average of $500 each on basic cleaning and whitening. We also take our 13-year-old Pug Dog, Ray Ray, to see Dr. Antonio Solis, a veterinarian for all his shots and checkups saving hundreds of dollars there. We like tattoos and see the same tattoo artist, Michael Jordan, of Baja Ink and have what many say are the most beautiful and remarkable tattoos ever. Baja Ink’s prices are also about a third of comparable U.S. prices. We also have our truck serviced in San Felipe by the same mechanic whose work is comparable but prices are slashed.
Also, their food tastes better. I wondered why and found out. The country is poor and their farmers generally cannot afford the expensive pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, so most don’t use them. Most of the produce coming out of the local farms in Baja is organic or at least mostly organic! I got better in San Felipe.
Their police officers are what I call “more malleable” and really easy to deal with for the most part. For instance: My husband got pulled over for a rolling through a stop sign without a seat belt in both Desert Hot Springs and San Felipe. He got a $500 fine, a point on his driver’s license and had to attend traffic school here in the states. In San Felipe, he paid a $30 fine on the spot…case closed.
I like Mexico a lot. People are friendly there and very family-oriented. When I grew up in the 1960s, neighbors watched your dog and took in your newspaper when you were on vacation. In Mexico, neighbors help with your dog, your property and your family issues a lot more. If your car has a flat, before too long a neighbor appears with a jack to help you out. You don’t have to call anyone. They just show up.
The biggest problem with Mexico is the inequality of labor. People make $10 an hour in the U.S. and $10 a day in Mexico for similar jobs. However, the cost of gasoline and electricity is the same in the two countries. No wonder we see eight people jammed into the back of a pickup truck going to work in Mexico…they cannot afford the gas prices.
If Fox News wants to report about life in Mexico they should at least get the real life facts right and quit highlighting the blood and guts because if we had the same perspective about the U.S., we’d hear nothing except the murder, death and mayhem on our streets.
Oops, that is what TV news highlights except we don’t have any decapitations, we just have mass murder and school shootings here. Which place is worse?