There have been some recent posts about the police bribes here in La Paz that have garnered some attention and, as a resident, I would like to offer a few things:. Bribes mordidas happen. This is seemingly unsettling for visitors.
It's part of the culture and has been for decades. If you know how to deal with the situation, it's no big deal. Although I have a strong opinion on how tourists react to this, I don't aim to be inflammatory so let me just say this. Please understand that when you travel to a different country, you will be subjected to a different culture.
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Sometimes that means your comfort zone may be stretched a bit. Please keep an open mind and don't bash an entire city because you may have an uncomfortable encounter with a widely-accepted practice in a culture that is not your own.
I would like to make myself available to anyone who might have questions about anything here in La Paz should you be planning a visit. I don't disagree. I am by no means defending the act itself; I am merely escort out that it is part of the culture, and, like it or not, widely accepted.
Getting your pocket picked in Istanbul or Mumbai or falling for an paz theft scheme in Bangkok which normally includes police officers isn't pleasant either, but these things are so deep-seated in the culture that it's just, well, part of it. Point is, culture is culture; covers a lot of ground.
You have to take the good with the bad. Perhaps one day the mordidas will not be part of our culture; for now it is. So again, I beseech you: be aware of this; use your head; stand your ground; and most importantly, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater by bashing our beautiful city because of a cultural wrinkle.
There's an interesting site called fulano forum. It has info from all over mexico under baja and mexico news they have a lot of news from la paz its worth a look if considering traveling their or anywhere in mexico. Interesting is indeed the perfect word to describe that forum. There are many Americans and Canadians alike that get their daily fix of negativity from that forum whilst trying and re-create their own cultures down here as opposed to finding out about ours.
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Is it safe for a solo cruise ship lady to visit for a day? Just planning on walking the malecon and visiting the mercado.
OP: Just because a practice is widely accepted does in no way make it right. This is like saying child prostitution is "part of the culture" so its OK to do it while in Bangkok? Giving a bribe to someone is escort and unethical. All you're paz is setting up the next tourist. Can you imagine if everyone stopped giving in and stood up for their rights? What a better world it would be. We could have a new "culture" of Mexico being known for their wonderfully honest police. Or you think the country is better off keeping things the way they are, to "protect their culture"?
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I suspect paz of others have already been deterred. They won't come here to say it though. They'll just scratch it off the list and move on. Perhaps its not your intention to discourage the tourist business in La Paz, but as you can imagine,the escort that people want to spend their rare and limited time being harassed by police, drug dealers or anyone is well, there isn't really a polite way to say it, baby and bathwater considered.
In your post, I sense a a bit of pride at being a wise, hardened local, immune to it all, but you haven't really done anything more than apologize for and defend an institutional criminal enterprise.
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Rather than surrender to a criminal culture, no matter how quaint it seems, perhaps you could work with local police by explaining to them how the economics might work more to their benefit and everyone else's if they didn't shake down the unfamiliar gringo tourists or otherwise treat them like crap. When a tourist gets harassed And they tell their friends and families about it, etc. The State Dept.
Reading posts like this is depressing in a way because it just drives home the fact that there is so little hope for rural Mexico in the long run. Outside the walled gardens of the resorts, the perception that Mexico remains off limits and dangerous is proving to be impossible to shake, mostly because of the situation you describe. I know I'm being a bit harsh, but that's just the way I see it from the broader point of view.
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There are more direct ways to say "if you don't know how to handle being harassed and intimidated by police, please don't come to LaPaz". If the authorities do nothing about it I am afraid the cruise ships will just drop these ports from there schedule, we have the whole world to choose from and will vote with our feet.
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