We walked at night arm-in-arm through the streets of Oaxaca and Puebla, two women, sisters of middle age (though, of course not looking it), linked together now though one from the east coast, the other from the west, coming to a common meeting place to travel together.
Mexico is a place for strolling and we walked together from dusk into the evening to darkness, some nights until eleven or twelve with no fear, no worries. We traveled round trip by bus from Oaxaca to Puebla, negotiating taxis and bus stations, two among a handful of gringos without getting sick or encountering aggression.
In some of the higher end hotels and restaurants, chefs and wait staff still wear face masks, more of a precaution than a necessity I think, or perhaps a PR message to tourists that they are paying attention to public health safety.
Mexico’s economy depends on three things, a three-legged stool of financial security: remittances, crude oil sales, and tourism. In 2006, federal income from remittances (the dollars Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. send to their families in Mexico) equaled what was earned from oil exports.
The perception of safety is linked to fear. Perhapss it is fear of the other, of the H1N1 influenza, of drug wars. Yes, these are real dangers but the prevalence is imagined.