Safety: A Non-Issue Now

My son just sent me a story about Oaxaca travel posted on CNN that they picked up from the Associated Press news syndicate.  It’s a good read, published February 5, 2008. 

The piece emphasized how safe it is to travel to  Oaxaca now, and how few tourists there are.  Even a year after the “troubles” have subsided, the images portrayed in the media have stayed in peoples’ minds and, consequently, they have stayed away.  The writer says, and I concur, Oaxaca is a great travel opportunity.  There are  no waits in restaurants, no crush of crowds along the promenades, there is ample opportunity to grab a curb-side table, sit and sip a hot chocolate, drink a beer or eat pollo con mole at any one of the outdoor cafes ringing the zocalo.  No one will shoo you off.   Oaxaca is safe.   It is tranquil and beautiful.  It’s robust splendor is everywhere:  the freshly painted majestic 16th century Spanish colonial houses that are converted to  shops, offices, hotels, and restaurants.  The ancient cobbled streets  have a story of their own. 

I liked this piece of journalism.  It  was well thought out because it didn’t whitewash what happened in 2006.  It addressed the economic losses suffered by the artisans, by the entire region, resulting from the  loss of tourism.  It also presented an honest explanation of the political and social  issues facing Oaxaca that have not been resolved:  the conflicts between the politically powerful and the working poor, the social unrest that remains  beneath the surface.   But for now, all sides welcome tourists and want to do their best to make their return possible and hospitable.  The pleasant tourist police stroll the central historic area offering directions and answering questions. The zocalo flower gardens are always freshly planted.  The balloon vendors have eager customers in young locals.  There is new directional signage throughout the city pointing tourists to important artistic, civic and religious sites.  New street signs on the corners, posted on the sides of buildings, and freshly painted facades in all shades of melon, pomegranate, mango, earth and lime, send a message that this is a city rebuilding and hopeful. 

For the CNN story, see:

http://www.cnn.com:80/2008/TRAVEL/getaways/02/04/mexico.oaxaca.ap/index.html 

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