Wow, how things have changed. Gone are the days of getting friends or family to take off for the weekend and head to Rosarito, San Felipe or farther south. As much as I hate to write about, the fear of crimes on tourists has made everyone think twice about visiting Baja.
The unfortunate events of Fall 2007 and the continuing drug-related violence has every TV or radio news stations reporting almost weekly on how unsafe it is to travel to Baja and Mexico. Kidnappings, assaults, robberies, etc. are headline news. It's enough to even make a seasoned veteran of 24 years of Baja travel question my travels there.
I know that the local governments and the even the federal government are doing everything they can to make for a safe trip. New tourist police, the army is back, federal police patrol the toll roads, and more. All of this makes me feel better, but does little for my family and friends. There are a few diehards in my group who will cross the border, but not many.
I miss the old Baja. The Baja where getting away from San Diego and crossing that border gave you a special feeling. You felt like life eased up and you could relax. I couldn't wait to pop that first Pacifico or pick up some tacos and see what Baja had in store for you. Unfortunately, now you might not want to know what it has in store for you.
I'll keep going there, it's in my blood. I'm infected. I also know the great majority of people are good, family-oriented. I know many would take me in during a time of need and give me everything they have. I know this as I've experienced it. I know the landscape is stunning. The air is different.
But I can't wait until things settle down and they get things in order. Restore confidence in the safety of tourists and those who live in Baja. Make people feel safe. Feel like they can walk the streets with family. Camp on the coast or in the mountains. Drive Highway 1. Enjoy Baja! Then my friends and family will come with me to this wonderful place, but only then.