Journalist positive about Mexico

03:19 PM

If you have not seen it you will find this article by a well known journalist interesting.

Linda Ellerbee (born August 15, 1944) is an American journalist who is most known for several jobs at NBC News, including Washington (DC) correspondent, host of the Nickelodeon network’s Nick News, and reporter and co-anchor of NBC News Overnight, which was recognized by the jurors of the duPont Columbia Awards as “possibly the best written and most intelligent news program ever.”[1]

One Journalist’s View
By Linda Ellerbee

Sometimes I’ve been called a maverick because I don’t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico .
You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it’s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico , causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed.

But that’s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.

I’m a journalist who lives in New York City , but has spent considerable time in Mexico , specifically Puerto Vallarta , for the last four years. I’m in Vallarta now. And despite what I’m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York , possibly safer. I walk the streets of my Vallarta neighborhood alone day or night. And I don’t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico .. Among Mexicans. I go where I want (which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products), and take no more precautions than I would at home in New York ; which is to say I don’t wave money around, I don’t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I’m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.

I’ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?

No, it was a local police officer, the “beat cop” for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.
Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans , and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood – house prices start at about $4 million (including the bars on the ground floor windows).

There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it’s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel.. Mexico is a beautiful country, a special place. The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna’s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Anglelina Jolie.

And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but- in general – Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot. I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth – and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman – with the same joy.

Too much of the noise you’re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that – noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don’t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.

Another thing. The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, “Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?” or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.

It would be nice if we could put what’s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn’t be going on if people in the United States didn’t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren’t selling Mexican drug lords the guns. Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America (Mexico is also America , you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation (or a life) here can be.
So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you’ll like it here. Especially the people.

More good news on Mexico

07:10 PM

From San Pancho – More news of the Vallarta area.
Jason Varney

With its profoundly rich Indian and Spanish culture, its spectacular beaches and charming colonial hill towns, its real estate bargains and its proximity to the United States, Mexico is the undisputed number one destination for American retirees. It boasts thriving expat communities in Lake Chapala, near Guadalajara; San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato; Baja California; and Cancún, in the Yucatan. They all have their attractions, including a low-cost, laid-back lifestyle, but our choice in Mexico is the Puerto Vallarta region, located on the Pacific Coast in the state of Nayarit. Its combination of first-class urban amenities and charming palm-fringed villages have made it an appealing retiree draw as well as a popular tourist destination, without the serious crime that blights some other parts of the country.

(A quick word about crime and safety in Mexico: Yes, it’s extremely dangerous in the cities bordering the United States and a few places elsewhere. Mexico, however, is also nearly three times the size of Texas, and most of the country is reasonably safe and secure, especially resort areas and tourist destinations.)

Puerto Vallarta’s handsome beachfront promenade can be overcrowded with tourists, but venture a few blocks back from the bars and curio shops, and the town’s Mexican charms are on display—whitewashed houses bedecked with flowers, and plazas where locals and expats alike greet, eat, and seat themselves on benches to watch the passing parade. In Nuevo Vallarta, the newer luxury area, you’ll find U.S.-style condo complexes and even a mall. You’d think you’re back in the States, but at a steep discount.

Forty minutes north of  PV, the seaside village of  Sayulita is a lively place, with a colorful mix of tourists, retirees, and surfer dudes that keeps things hopping. Rollie Dick, 70, and his wife, Jeanne, 65, both former teachers from California, own and operate the town’s most popular restaurant—Rollie’s—known for its delicious quesadillas and a chef who dances his guests around the tables. “We love the plaza life,” Dick says. “It reminds me of the States in the ’50s.”

The one thing expats most appreciate about life here: the traditional Mexican friendliness. Peter Glass, 65, a former Procter & Gamble executive, lives with his wife, Charlotte, in a charming small house in Sayulita. An African American from Washington, D.C., he says that “Mexico is the only country I’ve experienced where I haven’t felt that I was being judged one way or the other by the color of my skin. It is a breath of the proverbial fresh air.”

What to Expect in Puerto Vallarta


Winters—sunny, pleasantly warm; summers—rainy, humid, hot.

Expat Community

Estimated at 50,000, including a good number of Canadians.

Cost of Living

According to one recent survey, almost half of U.S. expats on the Pacific Coast report living “comfortably” on less than $1,000 a month. (In PV region, $2,000 a month is more like it.) Dinner out: $30 for two.

Housing Costs

Mid-price range for condos and houses: $200,000, but bargains can be found for as little as $90,000. Three-bedroom beachfront villas: $300,000 and up. Rentals: year-round rents start at $800 monthly.

Health Care

PV has good hospitals (you’ll find good-to-excellent hospitals in or near large cities throughout Mexico), and the hospitals in Guadalajara, three hours away, are highly regarded. Basic-care clinics abound.

Culture and Leisure

Fiestas, surfing, jungle tours. There’s also an impressive arts scene in Puerto Vallarta.

Access to the U.S.

Excellent, with nonstops from Puerto Vallarta to the U.S. East and West coasts.

(Deutsch) Alles Käse?

09:52 PM

Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

Hacienda Alemana Earns Fodor’s Choice 2010 Distinction

06:07 AM

Fodor's Choice 2010 Travel Reviews

Puerto Vallarta, Jal. – Hacienda Alemana has been recognized by Fodor’s Travel, the foremost name in travel publishing, as a 2010 Fodor’s Choice selection. This distinction represents a remarkable achievement and recognizes Hacienda Alemana as a leader in its field for service, quality, and value in the 2010 year.

Since 1988, Fodor’s Travel has been awarding the Fodor’s Choice distinction to only the very best hotels, restaurants and attractions around the world. Every year, Fodor’s writers experience, examine and evaluate  thousands of hotels, restaurants and attractions in their travels across the globe. While every business included in a Fodor’s guide is deemed worth a traveler’s time, only fifteen percent of those selections are awarded the very highest, Fodor’s Choice designation by Fodor’s editors.

“From hidden-away restaurants to can’t-miss museums, Fodor’s Choice selections recognize the top sights, properties, and experiences our editors and updaters have found in their travels,” says Fodor’s publisher Tim Jarrell. “These places are the best of the best, providing a remarkable experience in their price range or category.”

As a 2010 Fodor’s Choice recipient Hacienda Alemana receives special recognition in the current Fodor’s guidebook to Puerto Vallarta and on

Daniel’s Reviews – Hacienda Alemana

05:40 PM

In reminiscing about our honeymoon, Corinne and I wanted to share a restaurant we found. We were in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and we had taken a taxi from our cruise ship way out of the normal tourist areas to the back roads of Puerto Vallarta in order to take a dune buggy tour through the jungle. While we were waiting for the tour to start we took a walk. Just a block down the road we came across a restaurant called Hacienda Alemana. I did a double take – a German restaurant in Mexico? Of course we went right in and had a beer.

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Romantic but Foreign Dining

09:46 PM

Hacienda Alemana

by Andariega on May 4,2008

In Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone, The Hacienda Alemana is on Restaurant Row but a block or two further inland than most establishments. Not many visitors just wander by but it is well worth the extra two minute walk. All you see from the outside is bugambilia peeking out from behind a large wall and double doors. When you walk through those doors you feel you are on an hacienda (minus the livestock). There is a huge patio complete with a vine covered well and a tinkling fountain. There is a massive pink bugambilia, some beautiful purple flowering plant climbing all over the place, a shade giving mango tree, orchids and so much more. Of course, this being a restaurant, there are also plenty of tables and umbrellas.

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Hacienda Alemana in the Festival Cultural de Mayo

09:09 PM

Saturday 17

Degustación de Cerveza Alemana

Lugar: Patio de Los Naranjos del Instituto Cultural Cabañas
Hora: 18:00 Hrs. a 20:00 Hrs.

Saturday 24

Menu: “La Campiña Alemana”

Master Chef: Michael Pohl

Comida con la colaboración de TLACUALLI/Asociación Gastronómica Mexicana y el Ayuntamiento de Tequila

Tlacualli: Anuar Omar Mena Castillo/ Lorenzo García/ Elías Sapién Montoya/ Héctor Enrique Zavala/ Graciela Ontiveros Gallo/ Ma. Teresa Leal de Sapién/ Abel Hernández / Margarita Dumois

Lugar: Museo Nacional del Tequila
Hora: 14:30 hrs.



$415 pesos por persona

Wednesday 28

Cena: “ Cenando con Gonn Mosny”

Master Chef: Michael Pohl

Con la colaboración de TLACUALLI/Asociación Gastronómica Mexicana y el Ayuntamiento de Zapopan

Tlacualli: Anuar Omar Mena Castillo/ Lorenzo García/ Elías Sapién Montoya/ Héctor Enrique Zavala/ Graciela Ontiveros Gallo/ Ma. Teresa Leal de Sapién/ Abel Hernández / Margarita Dumois

Lugar: Museo de Arte de Zapopan
Hora: 20:30 hrs.

Menú en cuatro tiempos:


$450 pesos por persona

(Español) Cultura y gastronomía alemanas

09:01 PM

Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.

How Safe is Mexico?

07:58 AM

by Anne Johnson

Drug-related violence in cities south of the United States-Mexico border has caused the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning for Mexico — but did you know most of Mexico is as safe as ever? Our government is actually advising against visiting very specific places where drug cartels are warring over the billions of dollars made yearly trading illegal substances into the United States, and the efforts by the Mexican government to put an end to the drug traffic. Unfortunately, after hearing “warning” and “Mexico,” many Americans perceive the advisory for the country as a whole, which it definitely is not.

There are, of course, caveats about travel in Mexico, just as there are for visits to any foreign city or resort area, but many of these fall under the realm of common sense: Don’t stray from the well-known tourist areas, stay alert and don’t drink too much, avoid walking alone at night, only take public transportation or drive on the highways during daylight, don’t deck yourself out in expensive jewelry and avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Before traveling to Mexico, make sure your cell phone works on GSM or 3G international networks, and memorize the Mexican version of our 911, which is 066. Read the rest of this entry »

The New Global Economic Reality

10:14 AM

This insightful article was written by Charles Simpson and is reprinted here with his permission. He can be reached at

First: A reality check on Mexico

Mexico is in a unique position to reap many of the benefits of the decline of the US economy. In order to not violate NAFTA and other agreements the U.S.A. cannot use direct protectionism, so it is content to allow the media to play this protectionist role.   The U.S. media – over the last year – has portrayed Mexico as being on the brink of economic collapse and civil war. The Mexican people are either beheaded, kidnapped, poor, corrupt, or narco-traffickers.  The American news media was particularly aggressive in the weeks leading up to spring break. The main reason for this is money. During that two-week period, over 120,000 young American citizens poured into Mexico and left behind hundreds of millions of dollars.

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