Turkey's comment in yesterday's post reminded me of something I keep meaning to mention: it's common here to see policemen armed with machine guns. My first several months in Mexico they made me very nervous. I was sure I'd get accidentally shot and heaven forbid I actually pass one on the sidewalk; I didn't know which way to divert my eyes.
Now I'm used to it. I know their very visible presence keeps crime away from my doorstep, and I pay them little attention when I'm in town. Here is Zihua we have local police, state police, federal police (those infamous federalies), and a special group called the tourist police. Tourism is big business here and the city wants to make sure nothing jeopardizes that income.
In the past couple weeks I've noticed a marked increase in the number of federalies patrolling the streets. They drive around in their gray or black trucks, the backs filled with helmeted men carrying automatic weapons. I was on the phone with a girlfriend a few days ago and while we talked she said a truck rolled by her house. She lives in a nice area so the fact that they're even patrolling in her neighborhood made me think something's up.
I haven't heard anything particular about an increase in crime, but we are part of Mexico's drug corridor so there could be something going on that we don't know about. I plan to stick to the touristy areas as much as possible to avoid any wrong place at the wrong time scenarios.
Today that means the beach!