Safe Travel & Security

img_1230Every time Cathryn and I tell someone we’re leaving the safety of our nest and venturing off to a foreign country they ask us if it’s safe. “Isn’t it dangerous there?” They ask. And this is from people who live in Windsor with us…how many murders have we had so far this year?

Exactly how safe are we anywhere? Certainly those concert goers in Vegas last year never expected to get mowed down in the middle of sin city. Honestly, when’s the last time you heard of a mass shooting in Mexico (that wasn’t cartel related) or even Egypt, the country we just departed from?

The United States could learn from the Egyptian the security forces we encountered. We were checked no less than three times at airports…once at the front doors with our bags, again to get to our gate, and lastly at the gate before boarding the plane. Metal detectors and pat-downs are the norm there.

img_1141In Cairo they take security one step further – metal detectors and bag searches at the entrances to all museums and historical sites, including the pyramids at Giza. Automatic barricades and armed guards greeted us at the entrance to our five star hotel. And while they questioned our driver one of them walked a sniffer dog around the car. Metal detectors and bag searches at the front doors there too.

Is all this extra security scary or does it make you feel safe? I don’t know about you but I’d feel better going through a metal detector the next time I go to a major sporting event in Detroit, where tens of thousands of fans can easily become potential targets. But no, they think it’s more important to limit the size of women’s purses so they can’t sneak in an octopus.

Security appears more lax here in Capetown and South Africa from what we have seen so far. They have uniformed public security personnel on street corners in the high tourist areas, and even beggars on on the street have some how come to wear florescent traffic vests – either to stand out and be avoided by tourists or not to get run over when they’re trying to sell stuff in moving traffic.

So the next time you ask Cathryn or I if it’s safe there our answer will be yes. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t have traveled there in the first place. There are definitely countries that we have no interest in seeing, some specifically for safety reasons. Come to think of it we’ve always felt safe and secure in our little spot in Mexico, until we got shook out of bed one morning by two earthquakes.

The bottom line is that shit can happen anywhere, even at home. Look what happened to my best friend’s grandson near his high school. Part of the trick is not to look like a victim in the first place – that means no flashy jewelry or strolling through seedy neighborhoods late at night. You have to be aware of your surroundings, not like the zombie-walkers we see in every country wearing headsets and with their eyes glued to the mobile devices.

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