I was confused as Matthew and I were being directed by a truck full of police to come with them. We had been walking back to my Airbnb after taking in the light show at El Parque de la Bandera last night. I have been trying to dispel the idea that Mexico is a very scary place, with bandits lying in wait for unsuspecting tourists, and where the police are corrupt. I believe this is a myth created by the media.
So what was happening here? Granted, I was getting a little bit of a bad vibe from the street we were walking along, but I just figured we would keep on moving and would pass that particular neighbourhood. As we approached an intersection, where a lady of the night was chatting up a prospective customer, out of nowhere there appeared this truck full of men, who, at first, I didn’t recognize as the police. (My son, Matthew, is visiting for a few weeks, so I was out after dark, but only because he was with me.)
One officer had jumped out of the truck. “¿Hablas español?”, he was saying, “Drugs, alcohol, weapons?” “No”, we both replied to both questions. “Let’s go, let’s go,” he said, with his hand directing us forward. I looked at Matthew, who was telling me to come on, while asking the officer, “Where to?” I just kept looking at Matthew as we both just shrugged and complied with instructions to put our hands on the hood of the truck where we were both searched. I sure as heck never expected to be bodily searched by police at this point in my life. (There was a female officer who conducted my search.) They were puzzled as to why we were out and about in Ensenada, and told us that we were in a very dangerous area, where there is a lot of crime. We both had cash on us and were remembering all the stories we had heard about crooked cops in Mexico. Well, guess what? They were just rolling their eyes at our stupidity, at wandering into a dangerous part of Ensenada with cash, looking like tourists. (I had all my camera equipment with me.)
Once they had established that we were just bumbling fools everything was fine. We were given instructions about where to walk and were sent on our way. All I can say is that my faith in the Mexican people has been affirmed. We weren’t robbed by the police, we weren’t mugged by any of the shifty looking people on the street we were on, (which is Miramar heading away from the tourist zone for about two or three blocks) and we were treated with respect by the officers. I definitely won’t go out at night by myself, but it is encouraging to know that there are police on the streets monitoring crime ridden areas.
Matthew wasn’t happy when he was asked if I was his sister! He said either he was really old looking or they were paying me a complement. I tend to think it was the latter.
It was an exciting end to a nice day spent on the beach in Estero and the tourist strip in Ensenada, where we visited Bazar Casa Ramirez, a store that contains only Mexican art and crafts for sale, and lunched at a local restaurant, where the mariachi band was so loud, we had to yell to have a conversation.
This little darling was winding her way around the tables at the restaurant, selling toys. Heartbreaking! I paid her for her photo.