Ask a Mexican on Avoiding Cartel Violence While Traveling in Mexico and Partying in the Front Yard

I am a butt-white Irish guy, happily and stoked to be married to a beautiful Chicana.Her familia is from a gorgeous rancho deep in the corazón of Zacatecas, and I've been wanting to experience all the ranchero lifestyle I keep hearing about from my acquired familia mexicanos (and from those songs at all the truly awesome parties we attend just about every weekend). However, our State Department has warned Americans to not travel into Mexico due to the violence by the drug cartels. Tales of decapitated bodies strewn across highways throughout Mexico has aired on just about all the Spanish-speaking noticias I tune in to (so I can practice my español, and drool over the female newscasters — ¡que caliente!). Additionally, I've gotten such a mixed response from my compas of Mexican origin that now I'm as confused as my Irish grandpa was during Prohibition! Some of the family and my pocho partners have said that all is great, and stop being a pinche güero panocha, and just go! However, los otros amigos have told me that I'd be loco to travel into the moreno motherland because my 6-foot-2 blond blue-eyed ass would stick out more than a pimple on a prom queen as I made my way into the ranch, and I would surely lose my oversized Ted Kennedy-looking head! Ayuda me — I'm so confused! Do I stay or do I go?

Scared White Boy (with His Cabeza Intact)

I recently talked to a pal who just came back from Zacatecas, and you know what he said? He dijo that his hometown is safe now "because los del Chapo killed all the Zetas and now rule everything." Oy vey! While bigger cities like Tijuana and Mexico City (and even Juárez, to a lesser extent) are generally safe now after the narcoviolence of the Calderón administration, I'd still stay away from the rural regions of Mexico, which are experiencing full-fledged rebellion between warring cartels, corrupt cops, the Mexican military and autodefensas (local vigilante groups) who are saying a la chingada with everyone and defending their ranchos on their own terms. Then again, you're gabacho, and as I've said before, ustedes can walk around Mexico with all the impunity of Winfield Scott because the cartels know better than to mess with one. They know that if they do, the Obama administration will stop its eternal waltz with various cartels and rain down the drone desmadre.

Why is it that Mexicans prefer to party, barbecue, dance, and drink in their front yards? Friday and Saturday nights, their low-riding buddies machine-pistol them without having to slow down their Honda. Tight-assed pink peeps party, too, but in the safety of the backyard.

Cabana Man

Why do Mexicans do everything in the front yard? From cooking on the grill to celebrating birthday parties with inflatable playgrounds (like at Burger King) to hanging their wet clothes over the railings on their front porch? A friend of mine told me the backyard was where Mexicans keep all their chickens, roosters, and autos up on blocks, but it isn't true. At least not here in Texas. Is this just genetic?

Tony Romo Is Lame, but Jerry Jones Is Lamer

The sooner gabachos realize that front yards are just a pathetic remnant of Gilded Age nitwits pretending to live like British lords and start using yardas like Mexicans, the better off this country will be. Since houses in Mexico historically had no lawns or ornamental plants (that's what the fields were for), Mexicans view front yards as virgin land ripe for the taking. We grow fruit trees and sugarcane; we park cars on it. And, : We'll happily put a Dora the Explorer bounce house in the front. Why? Because the backyard already is too packed with partying Mexicans.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano

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