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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEditorials | Letters

You Talkin' to Me?
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We get a whole lot of letters about what we do at BanderasNews, and sometimes we even get some really cool ones that remind us why we do it! But, good, bad or ugly, we want to hear from you.

News of the passing of Don Keating (see: The South Side Will Miss "Candy Man"), dear friend and client, was sadly received here in Palm Springs, CA. Don is remembered as a lovable and warmly regarded member of the Palm Springs community before he moved to Puerto Vallarta. My frequent trips to PV always included considerable time spent with Don. Palm Springs joins Puerto Vallarta in mourning the loss of this fine man who enriched the lives of so many others.

- Richard Brakefield, J.D., PalmSprings, CA
I very much enjoy reading your peridical and the compilation of news stories about the US and Mexico.

When I travel to Tijuana, Cancun, Guanajuato, Morelia, PV or Cabo San Lucas, my Mexican friends make the same arguments as Lola (see: What if the Shoe Was on the Other Foot? Some Thoughts on Violent Crime and Tourism) regarding the number of serious crimes committed in the US versus Mexico and the exageration of the threat of violence in Mexico by the US media.

Even discounting the fact that the US population is several times larger than Mexico, I think you would have to admit that the severity of crime is of a different magnitude in Mexico - we don't have many beheadings, torturing of people or corpses hanging from bridges with narco mensajes.

The most important point that so many defenders of Mexico miss is that it's not just the number of crimes that is so threatening to Americans it's the lack of protection in Mexico. You can be anywhere in the US and if you are imminiently threatened you can call 911 and a police officer will immediately respond and protect you with his/her life. Can you honestly say that same level of protection and confidence in the police exists anywhere in Mexico? Would a police officer in Mexico stand in front of an extranjero in Mexico threatened by narcos?

If wealthy Mexican families are moving to the US because they are afraid of being kidnaped, extorted or killed and they have lost confidence in the ability of the Mexican police or military to protect them, how safe are American tourists?

While you are certainly correct about the ranking of the US in the number and severity of crimes, especially in comparison with other developed countries, again the difference with Mexico is that we also have the highest rate of arrests, conviction and incarceration of criminals.

While many Mexicans and American expats argue that the threat to tourists is minimal, based on statistical evidence, what would be the chances of survival if the tourist was targeted by a Zeta or narco? The statistics of violence to tourists are very low because the criminals have not targeted tourists, but is that really protection or just luck so far?

Hopefully the violence will subside with the election of a new presidante in 2012, but are you really confident the violence won't become worse next week, month, year?

Respectfully, R Fung
According to The Wall Street Journal, fraud involving debit cards and personal-identification numbers is on the rise as criminals go where the cash is — even targeting banks' own automated teller machines. Given scammers' growing sophistication, consumers are at a disadvantage. But there are some steps you can take — beyond becoming an expert in equipment design and appearance — to avoid the traps or lessen the impact if your information is stolen. Click HERE to learn more.
- LG
I am Canadian and have spent the last five winters in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco. I agree with David Yett's letter to the editor and all the other comments about living in Mexico. I too have experienced the incredible kindness, generosity and warmth of the Mexican people. (Click HERE for complete letter)
-M. Pettigrew
Dear Editor: I want to let you know my appreciation for Sean Maclean. When my inquiries, about lodging issues in Nuevo Vallarta, were sent to your newspaper, they were directed to Sean. Even though he did not have the answer, he offered his help in any way. Fortunately, the issues resolved themselves. When I could not find any information on shore fishing and finding private pangas on the Internet, I immediately turned to Sean. Without fail, he provided a plethora of options and details. He is a wonderful ambassador for your newspaper as well as Nuevo Vallarta (Banderas Bay area) tourism. Not only is he able to provide local information that is not available on the internet, he does it in such a diplomatic way that I didn't feel I was bothering him. I think it would be an invaluable service to potential foreign visitors if Sean writes a column on all the "off the beaten path" or interesting (not touristy) things to do in the area. Readers can also be provided a link to ask him questions. You have a gem on your staff.
- Hellen C. Fung, Ph.D.
The raging drug violence in Mexico - a letter of apology: If I knew Spanish - I would write in such. Our family lives in Seattle, WA and has been following the tragic and sad events taking place in Mexico. Each day now it seems that we hear headline news of 10s of people being slaughtered in the streets Mexico by ruthless drug and gangs. I know that the root cause of this is money that is paid by people in the US for drugs that are grown and transported through Mexico. If I could tell/shout at each of my neighbors / people in the street to stop using/buying knowing that it is hurting the people of Mexico - believe me - I would. I can't tell you how angry I am at those that have pulled the trigger to kill innocent mothers / fathers / brother and sisters - the people who buy the drugs in our nation are no less guilty than those that are using AK47s in Mexico. I know my apology may not comfort very much those who have lost family members to this horrible hour you all are going through - but please accept our humblest/deepest apology... From each of the members of our household and our county the United States.
- Mike and Margaret Dunne and family, Seattle, WA USA
Regarding "California to Ban Plastic Bags," it seems like anytime you leave it up to the politicians they screw it up. As I travel through the United States and Mexico what I see is plastic bottles everywhere and in one swift move the governments could, like we use to have in the old days, charge 5-10 cents per bottle extra when you buy them and when you or whom ever brought them back they would get the 5-10 cents back.

So why can't they do that for the plastic bags too? With the amount of plastic that is floating around out there, people could supplement their income by just picking up plastic bags and turning them in for the refund. No more bags floating around and no more plastic bottles.

Gee whiz, what a concept! The people who don't want to return the items don't have to because there will be somebody else who can use the money and they will turn them in. Just look at how much aluminum is out there. That's because of the recycling and the money the people who recycle get.
- renthusband(at)
Will you PLEASE help us bring to light and expose this unjust and unfair treatment of U.S. Military Veterans. We are Nationals of The United States as per The U.S. Military Oath of Enlistment and section 1101(a)(22) of The Immigration and Nationality Act. We are also Nationals because of the Status of Forces Agreement (S.O.F.A.) The National Lawyers Guild and the Military Law Task Force have both passed Resolutions for us, but we are still being detained and deported. If we are good enough to die for our country, then we should be good enough to live there. Visit to learn more.
- Hector Lopez, US Army veteran
Since most people send letters to complain about their treatment in (Puerto Vallarta) Mexico, we felt compelled to relate our experience. When my husband and I had a car accident on April 17th, plenty of good Samaritans stopped to help and the police and emergency workers did an excellent job. (Click here to read more »»»)
I understand the confusion because as a society our definitions of race in America are messed up (see: "Are Latinos White? US Census Confusion Sparks Debate Over Racial Identity,"), but the census categories themselves seem pretty good to me, because: Latino is seperated as a cultural/linguistic group, not a race, and because you are supposed to CHECK ALL BOXES THAT APPLY. So, a mestizo is Hispanic, and White and American Indian. Check out the definition that says AmerIndian includes of decent from North, South, and Central America. The confusing part I think is that they ask for which tribe you belong to, which of course very few Latinos would know. If they removed that line though I think it would be close to perfect. Mestizo is not a distinct race, but a mix of races, and so should not be a seperate category. America is much more mixed than it feels, and in addition to it being historically accurate, I think it would be beneficial for us all to realized how mixed together we all are.
- Benjamin Griffith
Regarding "Are Latinos White? US Census Confusion Sparks Debate Over Racial Identity," this is the way I see it: Not all African Americans are pure African. Most of them have European ancestry, but they will mark in the Census as being African American. For Latinos, it should be as follows: If you are brown skin, dark hair, round face with somewhat Asian eyes, than you are a descendent of Native Indians. So we can mark ourselves if we want to as Native Americans for living in the Western Hemisphere. If you are very light skin, almost Spaniard like, than I guess you can put down as being White. If you are Afro Latino like Sammy Sosa or Manny Ramirez, than you can put down as being black. If you consider yourself a combination of everything, than you can put that on the census as being mixed. But in reality everyone in America is already racially mixed.
- Carlos Ocon Jr.
As some Vallarta residents may know there are many restaurants and bars that do not value the local residents return visits. In fact many tourists and residents have experienced "unpublished policies" as well as blatant overcharges in bars and restaurants. This compounded by that fact that some restaurants expect that local residents will tip the same as tourists, even when greeted with lousy service and pricing that differs from that published on the menu.
- Mark de Leon   (Click here to read more »»»)
Dear Editor: With beautiful Mexico turning the page on it's feudal past and it's class system that caused a society scale gendered population, Which brought with it division and prejudice - even strife. Many in Mexico turned to the dark arts, Voodoo, witchcraft, black magic, even the occult, as they felt themselves prejudiced against by their fellow Mexicans. Joining the democratic process, which has given peace to the populations of the Countries now living in true democracies, through good and fair Governance and better living conditions, living in safety and good health with the ability to vote without fear, raise a family without their homes being broken into, without their wives, their children and themselves being attacked. The Hereditary Colonial Process that created Democracy and helped people to be part of the process, has made this all possible. Improvement comes with Democracy with all the people taking part without fear. Congratulations to Mexico on becoming a Democratic Country.
In reading Jim Sherrer’s great article on BanderasNews today entitled 'Dangerous Living in Mexico?' I agreed with almost everything he said. However, I have to correct a few misconceptions about Vallartenses or Mexicans from any part of this beautiful county...
- Polly G. Vicars    Click here to read more »»»
Why the heck do people post classified ads on BanderasNews wanting to rent an apartment in Puerto Vallarta, wanting to be near the beach or have a pool and air conditioning for $300 USD or less per month? It amazes me to see so many people wanting a nice, furnished place, for less per month than they would have to pay in their hometown for a 3 day stay. As far as I can remember, any rental asks for first month, last month and damage deposit also. I have noticed a lot of people searching for rentals and not wanting to pay, or not being able to afford, the rent asked. Come on people, Puerto Vallarta is one of the top tourist destinations of the world! This is not Nigeria!
- Manuel
OXXO Helping to Make Dreams Come True? I hate to burst your bubble on your perceived perception of OXXO’s corporate consciousness or any Mexican Company that uses the round up charity model to build good will in their communities and to support local charities. It is another one of Mexico’s brilliant, but very deceitful ways of Cheating the people of Mexico, by making them think that you are helping charities, when in reality you are really being screwed by OXXO. You ask how can such a simple thing like giving a few pennies to OXXO to donate to a charity be a scam. If you notice you are ask to round up at a lot of businesses including every time I take out money of the ATM, I am ask to donate to some charity. You think, what a great idea!

Think again, here is how the scam works. It’s simple, you are paying the businesses taxes of the business that is supporting the charity. You say how? It’s simple, the business takes all the donated proceeds and donates them to charity and the government give them that same amount of money in tax write-offs. So for instance OXXO gets a win win, with no cost situation. They get the goodwill and publicity of donating to a charity and they don’t have to pay income taxes, they get to write the total amount off on their taxes even though it wasn’t their money, because they donate the money in the name of OXXO.

This is why this country has the social and infrastructure problems that it does. No one pays taxes, and the people with the most ability to pay, use an ingenious scam like this to continue to avoid paying taxes. If this county wants to compete in the 21 century, people and companies must pay taxes. No one likes to pay taxes, but that is the only way a society can improve for the better.

So my suggestion to your readers is quit paying OXXO’s income taxes and take that money and donate it directly to the charity of your choice and tell OXXO to quit fooling everyone and give some of their Monopolized Industry Money to charity instead of accepting charity from the good people of Mexico.
- David Olvera
I read the Art of Creative Parking article by Liana Turner and thought that it was right on the mark. I would like to add CREATIVE DRIVING to the list. We have been living and visiting Mexico for more than twenty years and we always drive here. Truthfully we have never encountered the style of driving that is here in Puerto Vallarta. Here are some examples we have seen: right turns from far left lanes, left turns from far right turn lanes, driving in the oncoming lanes so they can get to the left turn signal before it changes, running red lights and stop signs, going the wrong way on a one way street, racing to the topa and slamming on the brakes, no courtesy to other drivers, etc... Another thing Liana Turner forgot to mention, when you live here it is hard enough to find a place to park, so answer me this: why do the shop owners block off parking in front of their shops? If I was going to shop there it would be nice to park there. I understand the tour bus thing, but there are many of these small stores that we don't end up shopping at because of the blocked off parking.
- Brian Schmidt
The world wide credit crunch which has destroyed the lives of many provides suitable evidence that the governments of the world should revoke the licences of commercial banks and raze them to the ground. In all well developed countries and economies, money should simply be a means of exchange for goods and services with national banks in place run by the governments of the world acting purely for national interest and not for profit ensuring greater market efficiency. A more fair and just society would also result.
- Ryan Kelly, Armagh City, Northern Ireland
Americans on both sides of the boarder who deplore the drug violence need to wake up to the fact that if it were not for the huge appetite for illegal drugs north of the boarder there would be no struggle in Mexico for all the money that is generated by the same said appetite. As usual with us Americans we are looking to put the blame on others for our societies problems.
- Russell, in Banderas Bay
A Note from the Editor: We have received an unprecedented amount of concern from our readers regarding the authorship of a recently published article that was originally seen by many in a bulk email that inadvertently left out the author's name. The article, The New Global Economic Reality, was written by Charles Simpson, an eight year resident of Puerto Vallarta, who researches investment opportunities in Mexico and uses that information to assist his investor clients and write articles for various real estate magazines and online publications. We will be publishing some of Mr. Simpson's research in the months ahead. Contact Charles mexinvestnow(at), or visit his website
Thank you for that positive and refreshing article. (One Journalist's View) I have always admired Linda Ellerbee and her style of journalism. My husband and I have been coming to Puerto Vallarta for the past ten years and never as now have seen in the U.S. news so much negative publicity about Mexico. I guess bad news sell more newspapers. I want to hear more about the good in people and that good people do. It's time to emphasize all the good there is in this "Paradise." Thanks Linda.
- Carmen Pugliese

In regards to this article (Mexico Will Decriminalize Some Drug Use) I'm living in Germany close to the Dutch border, or better, not far away from Amsterdam, but I do not see any problems coming out of the "legalized drug scene" in Amsterdam to their neighbouring countries.

It seems to me that the Dutch policy on this point is more effective than the American's policy to criminalize the small users, so if President Calderon is now trying a proven better way, why don't you give him a chance? I think he is doing a great job in his fight right now, and you better keep your arms against the big enemy prepared, as fighting against the peanuts.

Last but not least, your information is wonderful, and is my daily highlight here in Germany. Why does nobody make any propaganda for Puerto Vallarta here in Europe? Sometimes I think I'm the only one, there is a lot of room still here for showing how good PV is.
- Frank Schiller

The War On Drugs: A War On Personal Privacy?
A Letter to the Editor from David Christie

I'd like to see the business community, particularly in the tourism sector, organize to confront the Mexican Government and demand the end of its feckless cooperation with the United States in the ill conceived and counter-productive trampling of freedom and privacy called The War On Drugs. (Click HERE for complete letter)

We are Loving Puerto Vallarta, and wanted to let everyone know about the great time we are having. I have been here for 4 weeks so far and another 2 more weeks to go. It is too bad about the flu thing, it has really hurt tourism. I, for one, have been here through it all and let me tell you this, I am having a wonderful time and the US media has blown it up so badly... come back to PV Mexico and see for yourself. All things are open and trips are running. We have been swimming everyday, enjoying all the fine restaurants, and just look at this happy child playing in the sand.
- Elijah Waggoner

Reading this article, (One Journalist's View) reminds me of why I have been a fan of Linda's journalism over the years. She always speaks the truth with a wonderful sense of wit. I saw her at Costco one day and wanted to tell her just how important her programs and writings had been to me. I realized at that moment that she was one of the first journalists to open up my mind to diversity and critical thinking. Having grown up in a restrictive, religious environment, my mind truly needed to be opened. It's great to have such a talented and insightful journalist in our community here.
- Sincerely, Deborah, Bucerias

We are just back from 8 glorious days in Puerto Vallarta. We were a little worried about going at first but Pamela Thompson reassured us with her (Swine Flu) articles. We had some great food during Restaurant Week at Tikul, La Leche, and Marazul. Everyone was very helpful and kind to us. We were glad to have a convention of 700 people check into our hotel, good for business. Unfortunately our last 2 days soured our trip. We were scammed on a fishing excursion, by none less than an American. He's a retired cop from Fresno, Ca. and works out of a popular restaurant on the Malecon. Such a shame to an otherwise fabulous week.
- Nancy, Santa Maria, Ca.
Dear Linda: Many times, I wish I was a writer and could express myself better. In your (One Journalist's View) article you have eloquently put into words all of my feelings and emotions concerning our beloved Puerto Vallarta.

I have been to this lovely town 21 times and have experienced wonderful hospitality and a sense of belonging. Local residents are smiling and friendly and always helpful. Safety has never been a concern for my wife or myself. We walk all over town and never feel unsafe. Of course, we use common sense and do not wear flashy jewelry or carry large sums of cash.

I feel safer in Vallarta than I do walking in downtown Chicago. After traveling over a large portion of the USA and Europe, I can tell you that Puerto Vallarta is my choice as the friendliest city in North America and my own paradise on earth.
- Ed Bushman, Dixon, IL
Thank you for your continued updates on Puerto Vallarta - and all of Mexico - about the flu. In my opinion, the US government completely exaggerated the outbreak and pandemic. I am coming back to PV on June 20 and am bringing 5 other people with me. We are thrilled to be coming down and can't wait to get there.

As a teacher in Texas, I sat back and watched as one school district after another closed their doors to education, just waiting for everyone to fall ill. Once again, the U.S. CDC was completely out of line and made HUGE errors.

It is my sincere hope that PV - along with the rest of the country - can financially recover from this last blow. One thing is for sure - I'm going to do my best to stir the economy while I'm there! See you soon...
- Juli Llewellyn
Our family just returned from a wonderful vacation in PV. We stayed at the Samba in Nuevo Vallarta. I have just read your last two weeks of updates and I commend you on bringing the TRUTH to everyone... There is no sign of any infection or flu in any of the areas we visited - and we visited many areas.

We took buses, ate from local restaurants, bought from carts and the only devastation that this so called dangerous infection is causing is to the people of Mexico. As we walked the empty streets and passed the empty tables and chairs, we saw how this has affected, and will continue to affect, the lovely people in Mexico.

People being laid off from their jobs at the hotel, no tips that they truly rely on to feed their families, no tourists to buy their wares... I am truly saddened by this and am worried for their families. The best we can do is tell everyone we come across that the whole thing is ridiculous and they must, no, need, to go to Mexico.
- The West Family, Mission, British Columbia, Canada
I would like to say thanks to Pamela Thompson for her reports on the flu (or lack of) in the Puerto Vallarta area. The reports were informative and interesting. Since I am planning a trip to the Bucerias area next month, I am following the conditions carefully and the reports have been very helpful. I'm looking forward to an enjoyable trip. Thanks again and I sincerely hope PV recovers quickly from the economic impact.
- Roberta, Phoenix, AZ
What a joy to read this article (Linda Ellerbee's One Journalist's View) that describes real life in the "real" Mexico. I am also an American woman living in Mexico... not in a gringo, gated community, but in a tiny village in Veracruz. I am the only gringa in my village and have never been as safe, or as befriended as I am here. In our little community, we take care of each other; we are all responsible for each other. Even when I am in the nearby big city of Xalapa, I am amazed at the kindness of the people of all stations of life that I meet. We need more journalists to present this picture of real life in Mexico to the world.
Charlotte Swindull, el Grande, Coatepec, Veracruz.
Thank you for all your coverage of the "swine" flu. Myself and six friends WILL be flying to PV on May 28th! We based our decision to continue our trip from your website. Thank you for all the information you provide. We look forward to our time in PV.
- Michael Skrobarcek
Sometimes Doing the Right Thing Can Hurt
A Letter to the Editor from Mary Strafuss

I had planned a trip to Puerto Vallarta many months ago for my son’s high school graduation gift. We were scheduled to be there May 28-June 1. Then the (Swine Flu) outbreak, then the stories, then the deaths – I have to admit I wanted to go anywhere but Mexico... (Click HERE for complete letter)

Enjoy Your Travel, But Do Not Sell the USA Short
A Letter to the Editor from John Patterson

Glad to see yet another USA citizen has discovered the peace and tranquility of Banderas Bay, much less someone with celebrity from the USA media, Ms. Ellerbee. What upsets me about her article is her insinuation that the USA's appetite for drugs and appetite to sell arms is the root cause for the border violence. (Click HERE for complete letter)

Many thanks for this article. (Mexico: One Journalist’s View) I have also retired to Mexico, but unlike the other people who responded to this article, I do not live in a gringo enclave like San Miguel or Lake Chapala (or even Puerto Vallarta.) I live in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, in a completely Mexican neighborhood... I can second Ellerbee's comments entirely, with one small exception... (Click HERE for complete letter)
- David Yett
My husband and I are planning a trip to Nuevo Vallarta the end of May for my sister's wedding. I stumbled across your website and swine flu updates the end of April. Thank you for your excellent coverage of the issue. I have told everyone about your website. I have enjoyed reading the news and finding great places to have fun when we arrive. We are definitely coming and look forward to discovering Puerto Vallarta.
- Sherrie Feist, Meridian, ID
Hi, BanderasNews! I have been reading your Swine Flu reports for over 14 days now. We booked (6 months ago!) a trip to Puerto Vallarta. And after a lot of airplane troubles (AA cancelled our flight!) we managed to come to P.V. anyway (now with a 1 night stopover in Dallas.) It is not easy to reach P.V. coming from Europe and avoiding Mexico City...

We: that is me, Dirk, and my wife, Nadia, both from Belgium, and Daniel and Joelle from France, will be leaving for P.V. this Saturday, May 16 to arrive on Sunday at noon for a 16-day stay in the PV area. Your reports have certainly helped us in making this decision!

Soon we will make the streets a bit more crowded... So tomorrow, tell the toothless lady to watch for us... my wife actually needs a purse! Thanks for the reports, and all the best to you.
- Dirk, Brugge, Belgium
Believe it or not, Canada's biggest export to Mexico continues to be it's drunks and drug abusers. When they get in to trouble and end up dead our media in Canada decries the dangers of travelling to Mexico. In Vancouver B.C. right now there are more cases of swine flu than in all of Nayarit and Jalisco combined yet the planes land, tourists come and go from restaurants and bars and nobody is quarantined in their hotel. Yet once again the dangers of travelling to Mexico permeate our news on a daily basis. Oh how we love to impose restrictions on our neighbours!

If Mexico is going to recover from this disaster it is going to need Linda Ellerbee's message and many others like it to circulate in the great white and ignorant north. Is this not a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black

The Mexico I know is as safe as anywhere I have been. However, if not washing your hands, buying drugs, fighting in bars and using prostitutes is safe where you come from then you should probably not come to Mexico.
- Ken Stobbs, Puerto Vallarta and Vancouver, B.C.
Thank you for all your great reporting. Question: A few people get the flu and everyone wears a mask - millions of people have died from AIDS and people still don't wear condoms... why is that?
- Joann Lester
Dear Staff at BanderasNews: I own two condos at Playa Royale and your articles have made me so sad for the people there. I live in Chicago and we are no longer closing schools in our area due to confirmed cases of H1N1. We are simply sending the child home. I want to get to Vallarta but it is almost impossible to find a way there due to the limited airline schedules. I have reserved a flight for June.

(In response to Pamela Thompson's article, Making a Little go a Long Way) I have always collected hotel toiletries and would love to bring them down... soaps, lotions, and shampoos. Do you have a need and if so, where could I bring them? I could fill at least a suitcase with 50 pounds of them.

My husband is an eye doctor and we have tried to find out how to do a volunteer trip there with eye doctors and diabetes doctors. It has not been easy to work on this since it seems we need some sort of non profit to sponsor us. We would be bringing in eye equipment, eyeglasses, diabetes drugs, etc.

Can you at least point us in the right direction? We have contacted Winnie Gilbert at the Families at the Dump. She told us we need to be sponsored, but she would love for us to come. She said there is definitely a need. We were hoping to come next February and the traveling doctors and students could stay in our condos.

Thank you. Keep spreading the word on Vallarta. The people, the beauty, the spirit – there is no place on earth that compares!
- Sue Ireland, Ph.D., Crestwood, Il
I appreciated this article (Should You Be Afraid to Travel to Mexico?) and the WHO response. I think Patrick Harrison has directed the question to the wrong entity. The CDC in Atlanta is the entity that is recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico and the time period is open-ended and country-wide (not just where the outbreaks are) (See latest CDC update HERE). Why the CDC is recommending against travel to Mexico and not within the U.S. is the real mystery.
- James Tritchler,
Puerto Vallarta wants you back! In the midst of this flu hysteria I think that it is important to put things into perspective a little bit. Swine flu is real and somewhat new. But this N1H1 virus is not any more life threatening than the common Flu. The efforts to contain and control the spread of this virus are remarkable. Have we gone to far to be on the safe side? Hm, Maybe.

Let me quote someone here: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said swine flu is no more dangerous than the regular flu virus.

The truth is that Puerto Vallarta's streets are empty and I see more and more desperate faces. Restaurants, taxis, shops, hotels, we are all feeling the squeeze. As this tourist season is coming to a close I think that many here in P.V. are wondering how they are going to make it to November. I own two shops in town and I do not want to close my doors. Four families depend on these businesses.

I think we need to send a message out. We want you back in Puerto Vallarta. I propose we start a campaign that says so very loud and clear. I for one want to thank you all for visiting my hometown over the years. I welcome you back to P.V. were you will always find smiling faces.
- Mariano Montes de Oca
I object to the recent article regarding the Canadian Brenda Martin (Year of Ups and Downs for Brenda Martin), this woman is a convicted criminal for money laundering and fraud. I object to the Canadian government flying her back in a private jet.

I am a Canadian expat living in Mexico, and I strongly object to the way she's demonizing this wonderful country, and of course, the Canadian government frees this woman when she should be doing her "time" in a Canadian jail. Trailer trash? Absolutely!
- Ian Symonds
Dear Linda Ellerbee & Polly Vicars: I have long been a longtime fan of Linda Ellerbee's but never more so than when I read THIS article! Ms. Ellerbee has covered it all - as only she can do it.

As part of a very large contingent of retired seniors living full time in the Lake Chapala, we enjoy every day. We drive over to Vallarta frequently to enjoy the sea breezes and in both places we are treated royally by local residents and business people. Friends all over the world keep asking if we are OK - the answer is: "We are not 'OK' - we are living in Paradise and loving it!"

Thank you for publishing this article - I will be forwarding copies to friends and family all over the world.
- Nora D.
I just took a vacation to PV, and loved it as usual. I received a lot of flack about putting my fellow workers at risk. Your comments were used and appreciated as informative and balanced.
- Ernie Arbizo, Law Offices of Ernest Arbizo LLC, Stamford CT
I would like to thank BanderasNews for their perspective on the recent flu scare. With a vacation to PV scheduled for May 11, I checked in daily for updated information. Upon the first report from the U.S. media I sent an email to BanderasNews that evening and there was a reply the next morning. I very much appreciated their rapid response to my concerns. Due in part to the common sense reporting, we decided we would not be intimidated by the dire predictions of U.S. media and plan to proceed with our much needed/anticipated/deserved vacation. We are looking forward to our arrival there on May 11! Thanks BanderasNews.
- Steve and Kellie, Ohio
I have a trip planned to PV May 22-29th. I thought about cancelling, then I read your report. This is what I felt inside, "that maybe this was blown a bit out of proportion?" We're coming. Thanks so much, I know you get a ton of emails.
- Nancy
Thank you so much for your daily swine flu updates. Our family has plans to come to Puerto Vallarta in early June and your reports have certainly helped to relieve our fears about coming... We will be there and look very forward to it... We LOVE Puerto Vallarta... Thank You.
- Marilyn, San Francisco CA.
Hello: I wanted to answer Pamela’s question at the end of her posting on Sunday morning. (What Will Become of Us?) My group of 4 people are coming to Puerto Vallarta for our vacation on Friday. Because of your website and Pamela’s regular reports, we feel confident that we can take our vacation as planned and are looking forward to our week in PV. In fact, we might even be safer from the flu in Puerto Vallarta than in the US. Thanks again for your wonderful website. My husband and I love the articles and features. Keep up the good work!
- Mary and Mark Bushman, Santa Cruz California
Hello Pamela: I just wanted to write and say thank you for all the (Swine Flu) updates that you’ve been giving for Puerto Vallarta in regards to the World Health situation we are all dealing with. My friends are getting married this coming Saturday at Las Caletas. Not once have we even considered cancelling our trip.

I’ve read your updates daily and found the personal description of your morning (What Will Become of Us?) very visual. It really made me want to leave immediately but I have to keep my excitement down and wait till Wednesday. I sure hope these next two days go by fast. I think anyone who cancels their trip to Mexico just doesn’t understand that the responsibility is upon ourselves to stay healthy and to stay up on our personal hygiene. Seriously, how hard is that?

...I can’t wait to be in your city and experience the beautiful morning you had. All except for the part about your office being a disaster. I’m leaving mine behind. Thank you, Pamela. Puerto Vallarta, we'll be seeing you soon.
- Chuck F. Hood, Seattle Washington, USA
Dear Pamela: Thank you for your writings over these past few weeks. I’ve been passing them onto my relatives in hopes to quell their concerns over the flu. My nephew is getting married on the 15th and we are due to come the 13th – 17th. To date the only people who decided not to come was my niece who has a 3-month old baby. Your writing today (What Will Become of Us?) was especially poignant, thank you and we’ll see you soon. We look forward to seeing the beauty you describe.
- Marge Bladet
Dear Editor: We are from San Diego and are scheduled to travel to Puerto Vallarta on May 9th for a week with our family of 5. Obviously, with the flu scandal, we've been rethinking. But we found your newspaper online and have been reading it, especially Pamela's articles, everyday. Thank you for the recent article "What Will Become of Us?" It was beautiful. Upon hours of research, we have determined that we are definitely coming to your beautiful city as scheduled! We are so excited! So we just wanted thank you for your honest information about your city so that we could make an educated decision about our trip. See you soon!
- The Blount Family
I just wanted to say thanks for your daily updates. I live in Philadelphia and my husband and I are planning to come to Puerto Vallarta on Sunday to stay for 6 days. We're still planning to come there, especially since there are no reported cases of flu in Puerto Vallarta. Your daily updates really helped a lot with this decision. Keep up the good work!
- Tiffany Muller
We would like to thank BanderasNews for the great job that they have been doing, overall and specifically in calming down the current fears. Our special thanks to nurse Pamela Thompson, her article today (What Will Become of Us?) was very moving. My wife and I will be arriving tomorrow in Puerto Vallarta to enjoy two weeks in Heaven. We have been going to PVR since 1988 and will plan this year to help the economy as in the past. Thank you again and keep up the excellent work!
- Paul and Betty Fernandez
Dear Pamela: First, let me say how wonderful it is to have someone who knows what is going on (regarding the Swine Flu) in Puerto Vallarta. We are still planning on coming to our home away from home on May 15, unless things change. I am so tired of hearing people say "you're still going?" I then explain that we are probably safer there than we are here. Thank you.
- Kathy Hall
Thank you for these very informative updates on the swine flu situation! It’s the best and most complete news I’ve found yet. We are planning a trip to PV and are staying in Nuevo May 8-15. Your information will help us determine if we need to change our plans. So far, we are still hoping to have this much needed and planned vacation with my best friend from Wisconsin. Thanks so much!
- Mary Bushman, Santa Cruz California
Pamela et al - We just wanted to say a great big thank you for your daily updated (Swine Flu) information in PV. We have taken your levelheaded information and have chosen to continue with our plans to come to PV and stay at the Samba! We can't wait and thanks so much again.
- The West Family from Vancouver
Hola Pamela - Thanks so much for the work you’re doing on the BanderasNews site. It has been really helpful and reassuring. My amiga and I are traveling to Vallarta on Friday and are really looking forward to it. Your information has been instrumental in helping us to decide to follow through with our plans. And, it’s helpful to know that there is a good infectious disease specialist in Vallarta if we should run into any problems. As a former journalist I’m impressed with the job you’re doing... keeping it factual, simple and understandable for all. Bueno!! Best to you.
- Kim Daum, Vancouver Canada
Hello, we're currently in the process of buying a home in PV and, as we're in Canada now and not in town, I am checking your site often for updates, news and the fun articles as well. I can not tell you how much we appreciate the balanced view point and information put forward on your site. Buying a home is a stressful time no matter where your doing it, but doing it in a new country adds an extra demension to it and we can say thanks enough for the information and work you provide, it is helping us to know the community better and keep our connection to PV alive as we wait to close on our new home. Keep up the great work!
- James
I can't begin to tell you how impressed I am with the thoughtfulness of personnel at BanderasNews for their rapid response to my inquiry about the swine flu issue. I would not have been surprised to receive no response at all to one American citizen concerned about an upcoming vacation, but the email came in the next morning after I expressed my worries. Our concerns have been put to rest and, unless the borders are closed to tourists, we will be delighted to vacation in Puerto Vallarta in 2 weeks and one day (but who's counting?) Thanks so much for making two middle-aged vacationers aware that our concerns matter. See you on May 11th!
- Steve & Kellie Metzger, Ohio
Dear Editor - I am sending this letter in hopes it reaches the right people and also hoping that it will let people know that Mexico is a safe and wonderful place to visit.

My family and I were staying in the Sheraton Buganvillas Resort (RCI) on our Spring Break, as we have stayed there for several years. On our last day in Puerto Vallarta we were supposed to be picked up by a Grey Line representative at 10:30 am for our return trip to the airport, but they were late.

The Buganvillas Resort bellman, Marco, was in front of the hotel and we talked with him for about an hour while waiting for Grey Line to finally show. Marco is a very nice and friendly gentleman, who went out of his way to help us to get them there.

Once we arrived at the airport and went inside, my husband realised he had left his small carry-on in the taxi. This bag had his cell phone, PSP, and quite a bit of money in it. You can imagine how sick we were over this. One of the employees at the airport told us that we might be able to contact the hotel and speak with the bellman that he may be able to help us. My husband, after several calls, (we do not speak good Spanish) got in touch with Marco, who was able to contact the Taxi driver and have him meet my husband at the airport with our bag.

This was an amazing thing to say the least. The help we received from Marco and the Taxi driver turned an experience that was threatening to ruin our vacation into a renewal in the belief of good human nature. Marco and the Taxi driver both are above-average people for their good deeds. We are so thankful to them both and hope that this letter will be put in a spot were everyone can see it and commend them as well.
- Shannon Lucas

These letters are vital to us, as they keep us apprised of what our readers are thinking, and place us in a much better position to direct our future efforts accordingly. Please keep them coming to! -thx

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