Is Mendoza dangerous? The answer is yes, no, maybe and I hope to never find out. If you listen to everyone around us, you would think this is the most dangerous city we’ve ever been to. The warnings come at us from everywhere, landlords, doormen, expats, travelers, tourist offices, locals, Jeff’s cycling friends, everyone has warned us about the dangers of Mendoza.
After many questions and inquiries I think these are the dangers. They seem similar to all big cities.
1. Bad areas – we’ve been warned against certain streets, neighborhoods, towns and country roads. We’re not supposed to ever enter some ares, some only in the day, and no park at night. Jeff is not supposed to ride his bike in certain areas at all, and some never alone.
2. Muggings – we’ve never seen any, but it sounds like if you’re careful with #1 you should be OK. I hate this one, not because it’s so scary, but because I find myself looking over my shoulder now all the time. But, better safe than sorry.
3. Pickpokets – we shouldn’t leave anything in our pockets or unattended. This one is obvious everwhere, but never a bad reminder.
3. Home invasions – this one is the scariest to us. We are in a giant apartment building with a 24 hour doorman, so we feel secure. We’ve heard some horror stories that makes us understand why houses have so much security.
Is the danger real? Overblown? Is everyone paranoid or just overly careful? It doesn’t really matter. It’s hopefully something we’ll never be able to answer since the only way to know for sure is to be a victim.
I hope that with caution, luck, and common sense we’ll avoid the above dangers. Not to make light of this, but I have come up with my own dangers and fears that I think could cause me more harm on a daily basis.
1. Fear of tripping
This fear I have all over the world. I have been known to trip on my own two feet, air, dust, and carpet. Here in Mendoza the tripping hazards are real. The sidewalk often goes up, down, slants, or disappears altogether.
2. Fear of Jeff tripping
I’ve gotten really good at looking down while I walk, but Jeff isn’t so used to falling onto the ground for no reason. He doesn’t study the ground, so I do it for him. I’ve come to add warnings into my normal conversation. For example, “So for dinner why don’t we fry STEP UP chicken and add some veggies to it and HOLE then make some brown STEP DOWN rice and open that bottle of BROKEN TILE malbec.
3. Fear of falling into a hole
All the many trees in town are watered by the irrigation ditches that run along the side of every street. Love seeing the trees, live in fear of falling into the ditch. One too many glasses of malbec and I think I’d be spending the night in one of these things.
4. Fear of seeing a rat
These ditches look really cool when the water rushes through them. But, if you look closely you might see a rat, like I did one night. Now, I’m doubly afraid of falling in.
5. Fear of empanadas
I absolutely love empanadas. But, after many many tries, I find that when I eat them, the next day…let’s just say I have stomach distress. I find I can’t stop eating them, but I do have a healthy dose of trepidation before scarfing them down.
6. Fear of taxi doors
The taxi drivers in town all seem pretty nice unless you slam their taxi doors. Then they freak out. The taxi doors even say “close with love” or something like that in Spanish. The cars all look sturdy, so I don’t understand why you can’t slam the doors. You can’t even close them forcefully. You’re supposed to lightly close them. How poorly are these cars made that slamming the doors will break the car? I try and try to remember, but I’ve been slamming car doors for over 30 years now it’s a hard habit to break.
As much as I fear the above six things, I will happily eat an empanada while a taxi driver yells at me, as I trip and fall into a hole with a rat in it over ever getting mugged.