Certainly an interesting thread - complete with a posting
warning which I didn't see even on the 'piracy' thread - wow.
I think that many third world cruising locations tend to suffer degraded reputations based on old or isolated incidents. Having the intention to cruise
in the Philippines
, I am constantly warned about 'Muslim pirates' - but trying to get factual information is like trying to grab smoke (I have been in-country for five years now). Yes, there are real incidents from time to time - but the same incident seems to be repeated and elaborated for years after the fact.
My house is in Rosemead, CA - one of about eight Asian majority small cities to the east of Los Angeles. Less than a mile further east is a majority Mexican city called El Monte - the people are nice and the predominant language is Spanish. One need not actually go to Mexico if one lives in California
(or likely several other southwestern states). While I have no problem going to or shopping
in El Monte, I am somewhat more reluctant to go a bit further west into East Los Angeles as there is more drug and gang activity there. So even in the USA there is a wide variation in safety
over a relatively small distance - how much more when discussing a nation like Mexico with four long coast lines (or the Philippines
with 7,107 islands).
I suspect that no matter where one goes, if one has a good attitude and is respectful and alert, then one will find helpful friendly people to be in the majority. Local people tend to be very interested in others from far away - places they will likely never get to go and whose opinions have been informed by media - often the depiction in movies or on TV. We often think in terms of us being in a foreign exotic location - but forget that to the locals, what we see is normal and ordinary. To them, we are the exotic foreigners - people who sail the open ocean in a small boat relying on the wind
. This is completely outside the experience of most locals as they go about their daily grind - no one wants to shoot you, you are the entertainment. The best information is obtained from people who have been there recently and are willing to share their experience - I, for one, really appreciate this.