The latter category contains almost everything that comes out of the American Consulate in Guadalajara. I have learned to ignore most of the Chicken-Little-hair-on-fire-drama-queen announcements that erupt periodically from the office.
Take this little gem. It was purportedly issued by the consulate last Friday, following the ambush deaths of several policemen in the large state of Jalisco:
Due to reported criminal activity in Jalisco, the U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara recommends that all Americans stay in their homes until 10:00 am, Saturday, April, 11. Maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of your surroundings and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.That quotation appeared on our local message board -- a petri dish of unsubstantiated rumors and even more questionable information. I suspect the original poster was the victim of a rather tasteless prank.
But, like all good parody (and what could be better than warning people to stay inside until a time certain? Perhaps, to run from their homes cackling as chickens), it had the ring of veracity. Good spoofs can only exist when the original material is one step from farce.
However, there are helpful travel announcements. I just received one of those in my email.
I will be off to Red China in a matter of days. I have my passport and visa. And I thought that would be sufficient to visit the home of the ever-sleeping Mao. It turns out I was wrong.
I will also need --. Why don't I just let you see the relevant part of the message?
Now, that is something new. I would never have thought that the crack troops of the Chinese immigration office would require something as mundane as copies of my passport. It sounds almost -- Mexican.
Please kindly note that all guests need to present one copy of their passport picture page for check-in. All copies must be on either 8 ½ x 11 or A4 paper with one copy of the document required for each page, per guest.
But copy it I will. Along with a copy of my visa -- good for 10 years I might add.
It was also a good reminder that I need to resurrect another of my traveling rituals. For years, I would carry a copy of my passport along with copies of the front and back of each of the financial cards in my wallet.
So far, I have not found it necessary to call my banks about lost documents -- or to contact the State Department. Well, as long as we don't count living in Mexico.
But I am going to be prepared this time. Just in case. After all, losing documents in the wilds of Red China or Putin Russia is a bit more daunting than calling from Puerto Vallarta.
Having taken care of financial matters, I will now turn my attention to thinking about packing. But I have plenty of time. I do not depart until Tuesday morning.