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Old 02-16-2008   #11
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 71
Originally Posted by deepsouthpaddler View Post
Hmmm, no coherent point made by your post.

There is no irony in whitewater boaters traveling the world looking for whitewater. Just because a country has problems doesn't mean that the incredibly small community of boaters caused them, wants them to happen or has any part in the political process.

If anything boaters provide a source of income to impoverished locals who benefit from the cash just as the boaters benefit from the services.

Your brother could have had a bad experience in the wrong part of new york, la, or new orleans, it doesn't mean people shouldn't boat in the US. One negative experience does not mean that boating in mexico is bad.

If you are feeling terribly guilty about the worlds problems, why not go try to solve them instead of bashing whitewater explorers who travel the world in a generally positive manner.

deepsouth----ive read the postings of many folks on the buzz over the years,on their international trips,enjoyed hearing about it,let my imagination fly along with their narrative,and am happy they had such great times;however,ours was nearly fatal,for two US citizens.if i get hassled/disappeared in ny,la,or the big easy,theres at least a chance to get a honest cop/FBI who'll help me.what are the chances of that internationally?its the glossing over,of the reality,of the hazards of international travel,by some of the buzz posters,that triggered me.......its not like boating in utah.i want to believe,in my heart of hearts,that your money is not propping up bad things and going to the locals,but.......

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Old 02-16-2008   #12
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 749
I spent over a month in mexico and four months in central america driving through every country except belieze last year and I don't really see your point. The allure of traveling to these countries is not just the kayaking, but experiencing these other unique countries. These countries have problems that are too numerous to list here, but in the end these are just people. Some are good, and some are bad. If you are afraid of the potential consequences don't go. Otherwise I will take my chances because those experiences are the greatest of my life.

As far as Mexican police go in my experience it really depends on where you are. The states in Mexico act much more independent than ours, and some states are trying to stomp out mordida and others turn a blind eye towards the bribes and harrasment. We had five run ins with police in Mexico , and some ended in bribes, and at least on one occasion the police stepped in on our side in a weird situation with a mexican local. The most important advice is to know where you are and be careful. In poorer states the possibility of harrasment is higher. In boarder towns it is unreasonable. Spend less time in these areas, and use common sense. It goes a long way.

With respect to war torn countries and traveling to places that have sweat shops. Your time there is a benefit to the local economy. Even traveling cheaply you bring in much more money to these places than if you hadn't come. Go to mom and pop restaurants and stores, and you contribute to making things better, if only marginaly. Furthermore the more people we have traveling to these countries the better discussion we can have in this country about the problems of the third world. The United States is on a whole ignorant about the rest of the world, and yet we act as if we know what is best for everyone else. I don't pretend to know anything about Africa, because I haven't been there. I guess I just think sweeping generalizations based on a handful of isolated situations furthers stereotypes and ignorance that I know for a fact aren't true.

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Old 02-16-2008   #13
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Old 02-16-2008   #14
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 71
Originally Posted by cayo 2 View Post
I'm not exactly sure what your beef or point is, yes it can be dangerous to travel abroad,yes you are sometimes indirectly putting money into corrupt hands.You boat in the U S don't you,we have our fair share of social injustice ,environmental degradation,money funneled to the rich,and there aren't many regimes in the world today more corrupt than Bush/Cheney/corporate America, just on a different scale.
I have been attacked by drunks in Tapachula,harrassed by gangs of street urchins in Mexico City and San Pedro Sula,had to rough up a deported gang banger and bribe our way out of traffic violations in Belize,and survived innumerable moochers and devious women,etc.I have also seen fantastic natural wonders,ruins ,architecture and museums,done 1 st descents,world class body surfing ,snorkeling ,and mountain biking,while experiencing exotic cultures and meeting awesome humble, friendly,generous ,helpful people.You get the full range of reality.

If you want to help the people and help the environment,buy MOM AND POP,like Takeme said.The people there have been promised ECO -TOURISM will benefit them if they preserve the environment.There are faux enviro touristic enterprises,that use environmentalism as a sales pitch,be wise.

There is no desert within 1000 miles of Belize. wtf?

To quote Stu Hamm,bassist extrordinaire'if you're scared stay home'

cayo2---again,its the glossing over,i see in the buzz on international trips,of the off the river hazards,that triggered me.sounds like you've got many more bad encounters,and great escapes,than i can relate to,and i'd appreciate someone of your caliber on any of my trips;however,that doesnt change the reality of this trip,nor the locals who stood by,watching,conversing,drinking whatever, and did nothing to stop this.where was the GOOD mayor/priest/fire chief,etc.,waving their arms,shouting protests, to offer them sanctuary/comfort,and guide them safely to their destination(the second robbery occured within 20 miles in the next town---same day)?lets turn this around,and make it a national,held at gunpoint, robbed,and threatened with immediate execution by ANY COP in the US,as a crowd of people gawked around.wouldnt you be screaming out about the inhumanity,racism,demanding investigations, heads to roll,and having the media all over it?but if its OVER THERE,its just a part of the quaint culture,that we dont understand,right?and how do you access the beauty/rivers/backcountry of these countries w/o going thru these towns/villages----not all of us have a Cessna or a helicopter waiting on standby.its too easy to disappear,internationally,and if and when the GOOD (mexican,chilean,kenyan,etc.) people can get a grip on their country,instead of just running from it,i would be proud to stand next to them,and assist any way i can,in any village,town,or city.as far as my desert quote,yes,i dont have my land masses down pat,but when someone you care about possibly disappears,between the texas border and the belize border,it sure looks like a "soulless desert" to an horrified outsider....and no,im not quivering,scared at home,but will adminster "justice" to any terrorist,of any nationality,legal or illegally here on the lower 48,allowing you to continue on your worldly exploits,as a goodwill ambassador.your back is covered
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Old 02-16-2008   #15
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239

There is some legitimacy to you pointing out double standards.They have good reason to resent us but that doesn't justify what happened to you.I think your experience was atypical,sucks.The number OF INCIDENTS i've had is a function of the odds,and by most tourists way of thinking i go lookin' for trouble,I call it curiosity and adventure and I WANT TO SEE THE REAL WORLD NOT THE PACKAGED FOR TOURISTS VERSION.I don't know where you got the idea I use copters and cessnas,I USUALLY GO BY CHICKEN BUS.How did terrorism come up?
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Old 02-16-2008   #16
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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as far as glossing over,obviously somethings you read set you off, an ad is not likely to alert you to negatives about the country.EVERYONE TRAVELING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE CULTURE AND DANGERS AHEAD OF TIME AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY.

what really sucks in your story is the part about people standing idly by and watching,did they condone it or were they scared of the criminals?Where exactly was it ,so others can avoid that place?
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Old 02-16-2008   #17
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 65
Reality check

btt....sorry to here your brother had a bad experience, gotta agree with cayo 2 comments though..you bash "3rd" world countries like Mexico, and Chile here are some facts to consider from SOURCE: Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 - 2000 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention) yes the data is old but i think it still holds true
Mexico....Total crimes (per capita) 12.8406 per 1,000 people[39th of 60

Chile....Total crimes (per capita) 88.226 per 1,000 people[5th of 60]

USA....Total crimes (per capita) 80.0645 per 1,000 people[8th of 60

Total crimes considered...assaults,car thefts,drug offenses,murders,murders with firearms,rapes
And when one looks at total crime (not as a per capita)
Rank Countries Amount (top to bottom) #1 United States:23,677,800
the next closest country is germany

#2 Germany: 6,264,720

btt, get out explore the world and quit viewing these countries thru "American eyes" you may be refreshingly suprised.....

link for reference NationMaster - Crime Statistics
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Old 02-18-2008   #18
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 71

folks---all your advice and viewpoints are on target,and you all have way more international street cred,than i do,and make better ambassadors,as well,but when your family member is one of those U.N. statistics,kelly,it tends to hit home harder and twist your perspective.still i cant/wont take my story,and place it in another part of the world,just to be PC.cayo2---id like to believe the locals who stood around,knew how bad these cops/criminals were and were afraid,and didnt condone it,as a local cottage industry,but also knew of their harsh reality if they intervened---im trying to put the best spin on that,i hope you see.and sorry,i cant pin it down better(i didnt take notes the first time he told us,and its not exactly the best topic around family dinners) than to say it was in the southern third of mexico,just off the main,modern coastal hiway.we'd get a phone call every nite,from them,til that approx 2/3 way point;then they dropped off the radar screen.as a point man,in colorado,we then tried to track them down----general dred/helplessness ensued,until they called from belize,much later,and way off schedule,stripped of money and possesions.only upon the return to US soil did they speak of what happened during the time ,when they fell off the radar screen.again,theres 100,000 happy eco-tourist stories,and then theres mine.believe me,its a real buzz kill around the campfire,on the river,when people speak of their happy international trips,just like i knew it would be here,but that doesnt/wont change the reality of it......

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