I don't want to be too negative or too much of a mom about our trip, but being robbed in Mexico this past week made me think a lot about preventative measures for safety and also what to do in a (very unlikely) emergency.
To begin with, I'm fine. I was camping on the beach with some friends and in the night a bunch of our stuff was stolen, including my wallet, phone and camera. It was scary, but everything worked out alright and we'll have money for the trip.
Also, on the trip, we have all our hostels and hosts arranged ahead of time, and we'll never be sleeping in a unsecured environment. Most of the hostels even have a safe where we can store our passports and money. During the day, we'll be carrying these things in money belts under our clothes to prevent pickpocketing. No one was robbed on the last delegation, unless you count the rat that munched most of Danielle's granola on Ometepe.
Safety also has a lot to do with how you look and behave. No flashy clothes or jewelry. No talking loudly in English on the bus or wandering around wide-eyed with big ol' digital cameras around our necks. Basically, we will try our best to never send the message that we are a bunch of naive, privileged Americans. We will look like we know where we're going, stick together and keep a low profile. And, especially as women, we will not dress inappropriately or accept drinks (although we will surely be offered some by some locals who think we're the bee's knees).
We will not be carrying an international phone, but we will all buy international calling cards that we can use from any house phone or payphone. That way we can always call if anything goes wrong, both to our main contact Ligia in Nicaragua and to our dears back home. Also, we will post here and e-mail home as often as possible. There are Internet cafés almost everywhere except out in the villages where we will spend a week. There's even one on the island although the Internet is DMV-slow.
Also, I thought we could put everyone's parents' numbers on this blog, so we can access it at any time for communication. My emergency contact is:
Meredith Louria: 310-339-1415 (cell) and 310-581-9033 (home)
Post yours in the comments section!
Alright, that's all for now. Please let me know if anyone has any question. The next time I post we'll be SAFE and sound in Managua!