I would like to say that our decision to go to South America was not made lightly, but that’s just not the case. It was a mom-appeasement decision.
We were initially planning a trip to Mexico, specifically, San Cristobal de las Casas. It’s in the Southern part of Mexico, near Pelenque and the border of Guatemala. They have good language schools there and we love Mexico. However, the parental units were freaking out about us going to the “most dangerous place on earth,” which, if you read the newspapers, is Mexico.
They asked around, spoke to a few Mexican people they knew and they all told them, “Oh, no. I wouldn’t go there and I surely wouldn’t go there with my woman.” One guy even said specifically that San Cristobal was dangerous. The units were saying things like “I know what’s going to happen if you go to Mexico. I’m going to get a call for ransom.” (We didn’t ask if they would actually pay the ransom. Given the units’ history of frugality, we suspect we don’t want to hear the answer.)
Now, we asked around about safety in Mexico ourselves, posted on forums, spoke to Mexicans and they were all saying, “It’s fine. Enjoy yourselves. Just don’t buy drugs or hang out in the North near the U.S. Mexican border. That’s where most of the drug crime is.” We pretty much knew Mexico would be perfectly safe for us, but as a way to calm the parental units, we decided on South America instead.
Of course, when we told them we were flying into Bogotá, Colombia, they were all “Oh no! NOT Colombia! That’s dangerous!”
This book started as a way to calm the parental units and to keep anybody who might’ve been worried about us in the loop. I figured that doing an occasional blast email to my “Blessed Recipients” list would be the best way to manage any apprehension anybody might have. I found, though, that once I started doing them, I didn’t want to stop. I was also very surprised that I really enjoyed writing about all the strange stuff I was seeing and experiencing. Additionally, I was delighted to discover that a lot of people were really enjoying reading them.
As I was writing the emails, I hadn’t really considered putting them into a book. But when I got back, I realized that a lot of people who weren’t on my list had heard about the emails and wanted to read them as well. So then I figured I’d just throw them all together into on PDF document and be done with it. Of course, my sense of design got the best of me and I started to lay the book out like it was, well, a book.
And there you have it. This book wasn’t planned or even very well thought out. It’s done like our trip was done; sort of as an afterthought and by the seat of my pants.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed living it and then retelling it.
Oh, and there’s one other good thing about the emails I hadn’t expected. Upon our return, we didn’t have to recount our stories from our trip ad naseum. Everybody knew everything already! THAT was a perk that really worked out for us!