Wednesday, January 22, 2014

i'll have a coke, a torta -- and all the pesos in your till

Mexico exports a lot of things north.  And a lot of exchanges come south.  Some of them cultural.

I have been waiting for one north-of-the-Rio-Bravo trend to arrive in our little fishing village.  And it finally arrived. 

Armed robbery of convenience stores.  And its cousin -- the gas station holdup.

You know the drill.  You need just a bit of money to pay for that next hit of meth or to make the monthly payment to your local loan shark on that fancy new F-150 you just bought.

So, what do you do?  You grab your handgun and head down to the 7-11 to make a withdrawal.  At least, that is what you do if you live in Chicago or Toronto.

I do not know about the rest of Mexico.  But here in Melaque, convenience stores seemed as safe as nuns.

No more.  According to our local news blog (Canal 235), six masked and armed men held up an Oxxo (our local version of a 7-11) and the associated gas station at 2 AM on 2 January. 

The haul?  About 75,000 pesos (about $5,600 US) from the store -- and "other objects" from store patrons.

Then, on 4 January at 4:30 AM, two men dressed in blacked (I would be looking for a local Bob Fosse concert) carrying handguns robbed an Oxxo in the center of Melaque.  Off they went with 20,000 pesos (about $1,500 US) from the store, and the cell phones and wallets of customers who happened to be in the store during the early morning hours of a Saturday.  (Well, we are a beach town.)

The second robbery had an interesting twist.  The robbers escaped in a boat across Navidad Bay.  The news tells us the police arrested an accomplice in the neighboring village of Barra de Navidad.  But there was no news on what happened to the two robbers.

Interestingly, neither of these robberies showed on our local expatriate-tourist message board.  I found that a bit odd.  If a northerner's laptop goes missing, the board usually lights up with suggestions ranging from electrifying door knobs to installing trap guns.

Maybe we are so accustomed to hearing about convenience store robberies up north, they simply do not register on the fear meter.

That may be just as well.  It is the mature way to react to the situation.  As far as I know, I have never been afraid of visiting Vancouver merely because their convenience stores are convenient sites for robberies.  On the other hand, I would not hang out in one after midnight, either.

Given the choice, though, I would have preferred skipping this little piece of cultural exchange.  And, if I had a vote in the matter, I would just as soon that ATM express kidnappings stay out of our little beach community.

We may not have to worry about that,though.  Our ATMs are so temperamental, it would not be a very profitable venture for The Bad Guys.

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