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Old 12-23-2008, 05:20 PM   #21
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Billy and Akaisha,

I appreciate both Billy's cavalier attitude in post #2, and Akaisha's well-reasoned and informative post preceding mine. I guess I encompass a bit of both perspectives myself. Good advise- discretion, confidence etc. One doesn't so much need to be big. Much more important to look big. Indeed, the thugs are looking for the easy mark. Tell them, through how you carry yourself, "I'm not that guy (or gal)."

Here's a technique I developed carousing some of the meaner streets in America. When passing one of the bad guys on the street, I neither avert my eyes from theirs, nor do I return their stare, which I don't see but can sure feel. Instead, I stare at their chest. As in drill a hole through it with my eyes. I learned this from once having it done to me by a passerby on the street. It left me with a sense of "what just happened?" I feel it sends a clear message that I see you, and I am not afraid of you. Even if perhaps I really am afraid! No one's the wiser, and I tend to pass unmolested.

I'm also the guy who religiously burns his 12-watt porch light all night long. I want the bad guy to take notice and ponder that I may be expecting him. It's just enough, I'm hoping, to make him wonder what may await him on the other side of that door if he should attempt entry.

This is a variation of how I psychologically coped with the September 11 attacks. They want me to be afraid; I refuse to give them what they want. I can't stand the idea of the bad guys winning.

Regarding safety when traveling: I confess to being a little wary of Mexico, although I often cross over by myself on foot, in border towns. (Who can resist walking to another country?) A big part of it is that I simply don't have enough exposure to, and thus comfort with, backroads Mexican travel. But I'll walked around in the middle of the night in Havana, Hanoi, Taipai or Bangkok with virtually no concern for my personal safety. I've traveled all over America, but the aforementioned are some of the safest places I've ever been.

When people tell me "Be safe", I'm thinking "Thanks, but I've made other plans." Okay, I'm probably more in the Billy camp!

Tom
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:30 AM   #22
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Most perps don't want trouble, they want an easy take.
Which brings to mind this (well worn) advice:

How to install a Redneck wireless security system:
  • Go to a second-hand store, buy a pair of men's used work boots ... a really big pair.
  • Put them outside your front door on top of a copy of Guns and Ammo magazine.
  • Put a dog dish beside it ... a really big dish.
  • Leave a note on your front door that says something like this:
"Bubba, Big Mike and I have gone to get more ammunition - back in 30 minutes. Don't disturb the pit bulls, they've just been wormed."

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Old 12-27-2008, 08:41 AM   #23
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Here is the state dept warning about the violence.

Not much to go on about the kidnappings.

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While the largest increase in violence has occurred near the U.S. border, U.S. citizens traveling elsewhere in Mexico should also exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Mexican and foreign bystanders have been injured or killed in some violent attacks, demonstrating the heightened risk in public places. In recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped across Mexico and many cases remain unresolved. U.S. citizens who believe they are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes should notify Mexican officials and the nearest American consulate or the Embassy as soon as possible. U.S. citizens should make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll (“cuota”) roads, which are generally more secure. U.S. citizens are encouraged to stay in well-known tourist destinations and tourist areas of the cities with more adequate security, and provide an itinerary to a friend or family member not traveling with them. U.S. citizens should avoid traveling alone, and should carry a GSM-enabled cell phone that functions internationally. Refrain from displaying expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items.
MIG: Mexico Travel Alert
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:40 PM   #24
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I have never been in dangerous situations while traveling, but I have experienced that "gift of fear" while hiking one time. My dog stopped and focused on a spot below the trail among some pine trees and growled low and threatening and the hair along his back stood up. I really felt a deep sense of fear in that moment. Couldn't see anything but we got the hell out of that spot pretty quickly. I'm pretty sure it was a mountain lion because I've never seen my dog behave that way before.

We are trained in our culture to think things through and be "rational' but I believe it's really important to pay attention to one's gut feelings.
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:10 AM   #25
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Ha:
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About the Cancun thing, I see your point. But I have associates who are working or missionaries in South America, and very unlikely targets from a wealth POV do get grabbed....So it may be hard to decide this one, as various factors point in different directions. One thing I do know, we aren't ever going to get relaible official information, any more than Florida beaches are going to publicise shark sightings.
I understand. OTOH, there are lots of deaths, shootings, gang activity, etc. in American cities like Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, Chicago and so on… and there are no travel advisories posted for those cities as far as I can tell. What I’m trying to say is that violence can happen anywhere, and when we read about it happening in other countries we tend to respond with fear and by saying “I’ll never go there, it’s too dangerous.” But our own cities (and I’m sure ones in Canada as well) have issues also.

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Regarding safety when traveling: I confess to being a little wary of Mexico, although I often cross over by myself on foot, in border towns. (Who can resist walking to another country?) A big part of it is that I simply don't have enough exposure to, and thus comfort with, backroads Mexican travel. But I'll walked around in the middle of the night in Havana, Hanoi, Taipai or Bangkok with virtually no concern for my personal safety. I've traveled all over America, but the aforementioned are some of the safest places I've ever been.
Thanks for your kind words, Tom.

Regarding the border towns between Mexico and the US - those are some of the dicey - est places I have ever been! I don’t know what happens to border towns. … but it is my opinion that you are far safer in central Mexico than you would be in say, Nogales at night… Just my experience…

RonBoyd
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How to install a Redneck wireless security system:

Love it! Pretty effective, I’d say… as well as the ‘drill a hole in the chest’ idea that TominTucson had above…!
Old Babe
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We are trained in our culture to think things through and be "rational' but I believe it's really important to pay attention to one's gut feelings.
I agree. We must use all of our abilities -- the rational, conscious mind as well as the subconscious mind which picks up hundreds of clues and processes information more quickly than the rational mind is able to do.

Every blessing in 2009,

Akaisha
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:36 AM   #26
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Ha:


I understand. OTOH, there are lots of deaths, shootings, gang activity, etc. in American cities like Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, Chicago and so on… and there are no travel advisories posted for those cities as far as I can tell. What I’m trying to say is that violence can happen anywhere, and when we read about it happening in other countries we tend to respond with fear and by saying “I’ll never go there, it’s too dangerous.” But our own cities (and I’m sure ones in Canada as well) have issues also.
I really don't want to argue with you. Of course there is crime in the USA. But most Americans wouldn't need travel advisories to stay out of South Central LA, or parts of the Bronx, etc.

In fact most upscale American suburbanites are going to be driving on "no-flat" tires if they even drive past these places on freeways.

In my opinion, which is not entirely uninformed, when the State Dept puts out a warning like the one cited in the OP, there is plenty reason for it. The foreign government has tried its best to hush the problem, there has been a lot of back and forth about how much this will damage the tourist economy in whatever place, maybe about how that place might be able to retaliate, etc. And the out of control crime has been going on for a while.

You can call it fear to stay away, but I guess that implies that the person has a great need for going there, such that rational actuarial reasons could not suffice to keep her away, only stark fear. I really can't imagine what those reasons might be, absent business or family business which could not be handled in any other way.

I find the use of the word "fear" in this context to be manipulative, and disrespectful of people who have different economic situations from you, and who might see things differently. I also think it is manipulative to put "I'll never go there" in some imaginary fearful tourists mouth. Who said anything about never? Perhaps this person has looked at the reports, made whatever allowances she wants to make about over or under-reporting, looked at her alternate foreign or domestic vacations, and thought- "maybe this year I will go elsewhere. I can check back on Mexico later."


Ha
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:57 AM   #27
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Just a random post...I'm considering a backwoods trekking trip in northern Pakistan. Seriously. With a trusted guide. My female friend, an overseas aid worker who's been in deep in places like Afghanistan under the Taliban, and Congo during the civil war, has trekked for a month or so on five occasions with this guide. She assures me that he will keep me safe. I trust her judgement. If my portfolio recovers somewhat in coming months, and the current dust-up with India subsides, I'm there. In the meantime, I'm thinking about a cheap Mexican cruise! (I'm a funny guy.)

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Old 01-01-2009, 10:02 AM   #28
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I really don't want to argue with you.


Gosh, Ha, I wasn’t arguing. I don’t even know you. I thought this was a discussion board, with people posting their opinions. Everyone is entitled to them. We certainly all have them. And I am not the big cheese here, I’m just a poster trying to get information out to anyone who is interested in my take on things. No one has to do as I suggest. :confused:

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In my opinion, which is not entirely uninformed, when the State Dept puts out a warning like the one cited in the OP, there is plenty reason for it.


Well, Ha, I would not ever think that you are uninformed. From what I have read from your posts you are a conscientious person and you take yourself seriously. You have lived your life, gathered information from life experience, you read information and based on your perspectives, life experience and ability to analyze, you then make a decision. That is every bit as valid as anyone else’s. I am not challenging you here on that point.

With all due respect, Billy and I have been in places (specifically Thailand and Mexico) when The State Department has had warnings out. We were simply living life as usual and didn’t know there were warnings.

-- For instance the most recent warnings about Thailand’s current political problems with the coup. ‘Normally’ we would be living there, but we are currently living here in Mexico instead. After hearing about the warnings, I have to say I got a bit concerned myself and wrote to several friends living in Thailand during this political unrest to ask how it was -- is it bad? Are you safe? What’s going on!! There are warnings not to go there!?

They all wrote back to me saying that things are the way they have always been, calm and peaceful. Most of the angst was in Bangkok and if you didn’t need to fly into BKK, then you would not be delayed. Chiang Mai wasn’t affected at all, business as usual, etc... So there you go… I got caught up in the warning also, and my friends were telling me to relax...

Quote:
I find the use of the word "fear" in this context to be manipulative, and disrespectful of people who have different economic situations from you, and who might see things differently.


Ha, I apologize if I offended you in any way. It was certainly not intentional.

Since I had brought up the book Gift of Fear earlier, I guess I just used that word more casually than you would have. However, I did look up the word ‘fear’ in the dictionary, and it’s not that huge of a deal. Other dictionaries might elaborate more on it, but this is what mine said:
An emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger; An anxious feeling.

I mean, there was no mention of profuse sweating, passing out, vomiting, trembling or what have you. I mean I guess there is fear and then there is FEAR.

Just for the record, I meant no disrespect, and I was not intentionally trying to manipulate. As far as my ‘economic situation’ goes, I view myself as just a ’regular person’ who chose a different lifestyle and am making it work for me.

Most of my wealth is invested in memory making - places I’ve visited, people I have met, foods I have tasted, songs, dances, laugher and so on. It’s no better or worse, just what I have chosen for me.

Believe me, we get challenged all the time for the lifestyle we have chosen. People tell us often how they would rather have a big home with beautiful things in it and drive a nice car than to go to some weird place like Thailand, Mexico or Vietnam… What are you crazy?? What do I wanna do THAT for? Uh-uh, not me!

So Ha, just ‘cause you see things differently than I do doesn’t make you wrong. It doesn’t make me right or wrong either. My perspectives make me - - me.

Quote:
I also think it is manipulative to put "I'll never go there" in some imaginary fearful tourists mouth. Who said anything about never? Perhaps this person has looked at the reports, made whatever allowances she wants to make about over or under-reporting, looked at her alternate foreign or domestic vacations, and thought- "maybe this year I will go elsewhere. I can check back on Mexico later."


1.) Didn’t mean to appear manipulative.
2.) People say ‘never’ all the time, and as you know, they should never do that.
3.) I think you are absolutely right. This imaginary tourist probably did look at all the information she had at hand and decided differently. I wouldn’t fault her.
4.) I’m simply relating my experience to anyone who gives a rodent’s behind.
5.) Anyone can do whatever they want to do with their time and their money.
6.) I respect you for having the courage of your convictions and challenging me. Good on you!


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Pakistan, Afghanistan, Congo, India…

YIKES!!! I don’t know that I would ever (wouldn’t want to say ‘never’) GO THERE!!

Every blessing for 2009,
Akaisha
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:16 AM   #29
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I agree that official information form Mexico is likely to be sparse. They would be afraid of drying up the revenue from tourist.

It looks like it is probably still relatively safe in well-trodden tourist destinations (according to the state dept)... but it is still a little unsettling to see American's being targeted for kidnapping and ransom by organized criminals.

If kidnapping continues and is an easy way to extort money... it will not be long till the criminals will set their sites on the tourist destinations for an easy buck.

Large amounts of crime and violence are a sure way to kill the tourist industry.

Quote:
One recently captured gang allegedly hired a French employee of an expensive Mexico City hotel to help them scope out potential victims "to get bigger ransoms," Ortega said.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10546934/

Here is one couple's nightmare in Baja.

http://www.abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/Tra...6539006&page=1
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:10 PM   #30
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I

Here is one couple's nightmare in Baja.

ABC News: Kidnappers Target Americans in Baja

If you read the comments section, you will learn that the story is from 2006. *sigh* I wish that our media would be more responsible. Some of the commenters asked that abc interview some of the many happy American residents of Rosarito beach but I doubt that will ever happen.

I have some fond memories of motorcycle trips to Baja with my boyfriend, circa 1973. We camped on Rosarito beach at a time when it was undeveloped, Baja was very safe then. I really miss those times.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:31 PM   #31
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Every blessing for 2009,
Akaisha
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Akaisha, only thing I will say- you are one clever woman! From now on I will just write-"What she said!"

Ha
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:53 PM   #32
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If you read the comments section, you will learn that the story is from 2006. *sigh* I wish that our media would be more responsible. Some of the commenters asked that abc interview some of the many happy American residents of Rosarito beach but I doubt that will ever happen.

I have some fond memories of motorcycle trips to Baja with my boyfriend, circa 1973. We camped on Rosarito beach at a time when it was undeveloped, Baja was very safe then. I really miss those times.
The story was dated as Dec 28 2008. The incident with the couple in the RV in Oct 2007. I watched the video.. on the page that interviewed the RV couple... they said they will not go back.

The kidnapped pharmacist that never returned happened in 2006.

Another quote in the story.
Quote:
According to the FBI, nearly 50 Americans have been kidnapped along the border in the last two years.
Another quote about the couple that went south to Baja in their RV.

Greetings from Tijuana

Quote:
October 23, 2007 — A woman from Encinitas reports that gunmen dressed as police raped her in front of her boyfriend. They're in Mexico after evacuating their home during the San Diego wildfires. The Associated Press covers the story, stating, "Lori Hoffman and her boyfriend, surf school owner Pat Weber, were robbed at a beach south of Ensenada.… [They] were in a recreational vehicle when they were attacked by two men wearing masks and combat boots. The attackers shot up the RV when Weber initially refused to open the door and then terrorized the couple. Hoffman said she was sexually assaulted in front of her boyfriend before the men fled with $8,000 worth of laptop computers, jewelry, tools, and Weber's guitar."
It is too bad. I like Mexico and have been there many times. I will be watching the story unfold. It appears that most of the violence and kidnappings are in certain areas. Hopefully the Mexican Government can get it under control.


This guy has been reporting on the violence in Mexico. http://www.borderfirereport.net/mich...ar-surges.html

Quote:
Carey Marcella McClintock was brutally murdered on August 31, 2008 in Juarez, Mexico. She was found in an abandoned house in the desert minutes outside of Juarez. She had been beaten and stabbed multiple times. Her family feels that her murder may never be solved by authorities....

Carey was alone in a well known downtown Juarez tourist hotel. Two men where seen according to the bell boy forcing Carey from her room and it is believed she was taken to an unknown site where she was brutally beaten and then stabbed 37 times. Her bloody butchered lifeless body was found by police in an abandoned house on the out-shirts of town. Carey’s handbag, possible cell phone and all her personal possessions were found in her room at the hotel and Carey’s family wants to know what other things where found of Carey’s and what happen to them after the Juarez police took them into custody? We have asked the Juarez authorities for an accounting of them and to turn them over to us but so far no luck, according to Carey’s Father Stan McClintock.
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:37 PM   #33
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I always enjoy our winter trips to Mexico. Usually feel quite OK.

There are places in the US and even small Cdn communities where I don't.

FWIW, DD is a probation officer in northern Canada. Yes, nothing but pastoral bliss with people living in harmony with nature. When she visits certain communities, she is require to: notify RCMP on arrival, call RCMP every 30 minutes, notify RCMP when she leaves and again when 30 minutes out. When she visits certain other communities she requires RCMP escort at all times.

But just to fan the Mexican flames check this.
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:14 AM   #34
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I always enjoy our winter trips to Mexico. Usually feel quite OK.

There are places in the US and even small Cdn communities where I don't.

FWIW, DD is a probation officer in northern Canada. Yes, nothing but pastoral bliss with people living in harmony with nature. When she visits certain communities, she is require to: notify RCMP on arrival, call RCMP every 30 minutes, notify RCMP when she leaves and again when 30 minutes out. When she visits certain other communities she requires RCMP escort at all times.

But just to fan the Mexican flames check this.
I like to visit Mx also. Usually feel fairly safe.. but we stick to well trodden tourist destinations. Cabo is one of the places we have visited. We were considering a visit late next year... I saw something on the news one night then looked at the State Dept site for a warning. Then began to look closer.

Mexico is a place of corruption and lawlessness. Apparently many Mexicans believe the local law enforcement are either paid off or incompetent.

It appears that Mexico has passed Columbia for the number 1 spot in kidnap and ransom.

FOXNews.com - Taken and Tortured - FOX Fan


For those that visit Mx... you can purchase Kidnap and Ransom Insurance to compensate you if did happen. It might be worth it if you travel in risky regions. Apparently Mexico City is a risky area. Of course it is a large city with large city crime problems anyway.

You have to hand it to the Mx President for doing something about the drug cartels. If they are persistent... things will probably get better. But like Columbia... the violence will escalate futher as the drug cartels get more desparate. They will try to go after the soft under belly of the Mx gov.... revenue. Anything to disrupt the money... slow down tourism.

The government is labeling it as Narcoterrorism.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:32 AM   #35
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These places are not likely to be pacified by their governments in our lifetimes.

Maybe eventually Las Vegas will have Medellin Village, or Michoacan Hideout to give gringos a more nearby and perhaps safer Latin Experience just as they have the New York and Paris Casinos for those who don't like pushy New Yorkers or stuck-up froggies.

Where there's a demand...

Ha
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:46 PM   #36
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I don't have statistics, but I'll bet you are more likely to die in an auto accident enroute to the airport to fly to Mexico, than you are to be kidnapped in Mexico. Also, I read (back in November probably) that some FIELD LABORERS in Mexico had been kidnapped, the speculation was to be forced labor in a drug farm. Certainly not because they were high income Mexicans.
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:57 PM   #37
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Yep - we heard the stories too but went anyway.

Sunday before Christmas - Nogales - it was a toss up between the Americans shopping on the Mexican side and the Mexicans shopping on the American side. Traffic was also chaotic but polite.

And it was warmer than Kansas City. Soapbox is closed so no New York City/Texas jokes.

heh heh heh - Everybody knew they were in tourist land - and they all had that hard to define Christmas shopping look.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:59 AM   #38
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Mexico is a place of corruption and lawlessness. Apparently many Mexicans believe the local law enforcement are either paid off or incompetent.


I don’t know about the incompetent part, but it is a common custom to give ‘mordita’ (little bite - meaning a bribe) to the police here in Mexico.

I have held off on posting this link to our recent Mexican Adventure, but since there have been so many links in this post that are on the negative side, why not see something more positive?

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Old 01-03-2009, 04:39 PM   #39
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Chinaco


I don’t know about the incompetent part, but it is a common custom to give ‘mordita’ (little bite - meaning a bribe) to the police here in Mexico.

I have held off on posting this link to our recent Mexican Adventure, but since there have been so many links in this post that are on the negative side, why not see something more positive?

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement

Sooooo - ya think some might feel this beats summer in Tonganoxie, Kansas and wintering over in balmy Amarillo, Texas eh?



heh heh heh - great pictures. Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:16 PM   #40
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Akaisha, I loved the pictures of your travels in Mexico. Thanks very much for sharing the link.
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