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Revolutions & Guerrillas

Part 7

We’ve experienced a variety of coups, uprisings and crises during our travels in Mexico and Latin America. In general, travelers are more likely to be inconvenienced than actually at risk: banks and businesses might be shuttered for a few days, strategic highways will be temporarily closed and public transportation curtailed. It can be difficult to cash traveler’s checks or make phone calls, and fresh yogurt could be scarce at your favorite café.

My advice when traveling into unsettled areas is simple: first of all, take US State Department Travel Advisories with a large grain of salt—they are extremely conservative. Carry your passport and tourist card at all times, as well as extra cash in local currency and US dollars, in a money belt hidden beneath your clothing. Keep a flashlight close at hand. No matter how tempting the action is, don’t photograph armed people unless invited to.

To be extra safe in troubled areas, stay in after 8 p.m. Avoid parades, political rallies, demonstrations and protest marches. Take a room in the back of the hotel. Keep snacks, drinks and a fat novel handy: when in doubt—don’t go out.

Fireworks are part of virtually every fiesta, but if you’re nervous you’ll probably mistake them for gunfire. To avoid the potential embarrassment of diving under a table, quickly tie your shoes or examine your toes.

Continued....with part 8

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