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Apr. 8, 1997



By Peggy McCracken

Travel tips warn

to research country

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My friend Brenda came to town Saturday for the health fair, and we
enjoyed a long "just us girls" talk, as we always do. I could hardly
wait for her visit, because she made a trip to Mexico recently, and I
wanted to get all the details. She goes to Copper Canyon and Chihuahua
City every once in awhile with a geology group from Odessa, and she
loves it.

We've decided we're going to move to Mexico when we retire. The only
problem is that our husbands won't go with us. Maybe we can take an
extended vacation and let them keep the home fires burning while we
explore together.

Someone who is anxiously awaiting my retirement day left a brochure of
"99 Travel Tips for Mature Travelers" on my computer desk. Do you think
that was a hint?

Hint or not, the slim volume covers everything from getting your travel
documents and money together, packing (take old clothes and leave them),
health precautions and tour research long before you buy the ticket.

Brenda's group learned in Ojinaga that they needed proof of
registration for their trailers - something they hadn't encountered
before. They spent the night there in a cheap motel, awaiting those
documents that were faxed by a friend back home.

When I went to Sahuayo last September, I was advised to leave my credit
cards at home, but thank God, I did take my Mastercard. And I needed it
for the hotel. The brochure says to take at least one major credit card,
which will get you a good exchange rate, protection of the card's
charge-back provisions and often an extra guarantee on your purchase.
And you won't have to carry around a lot of money.

Then for the trip itself, the brochure tells you when to arrive at the
airport (two hours early), what to do upon arrival in a foreign county,
how to communicate, figuring weights and measures, driving abroad,
telephones, shopping, sightseeing, tipping and photography. One thing
Brenda told me - after I had taken seven rolls of color film in Mexico -
is that camera lenses have to be re-calibrated for the high altitudes in
the mountains of Mexico. She is a "real" photographer, and she knows
about those things. Her color photos showed spectacular scenery and
colorful Indian costumes, but she under-developed the black-and-whites,
and they are muddy.

One photo is of a little girl herding goats. She was afraid of the
gringos, and got her herd out of their reach in a hurry.

Here's a tip I like: learn the customs of the country. "Many tropical
and Latin countries close everything in the middle of the day for a long
siesta." We were told that everyone in Mexico takes a
siesta, and we should not expect to do any door-to-door visiting around
noon. In fact, we didn't find anybody taking a siesta. And
we didn't get much of one, either, although lunch lasted about two hours.

Getting in good shape before you go is a good idea, especially if you
plan to do a lot of sightseeing. If you already exercise at home, keep
it up while you travel. That paid off for me.

Don't skip meals. Fruit is plentiful over there, and I advise eating
lots of it. Don't overeat (hard to do in Mexico), drink plenty of fluids
(bottled water).

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord
is kept safe." Proverbs 29:25, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.


Legal aliens suffer welfare reform hit

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Legal immigrants, many of them elderly and disabled, are bearing nearly
half of the $53.4 billion in cuts Congress whacked from the federal
budget by passing the welfare reform bill last August. These are people
who have paid their taxes and dues to Uncle Sam and now need help at the
most vulnerable stage of their lives.

Until Congress and the president correct the inequities in the welfare
bill, the message to the mentally ill, the terminally ill, the infirm,
and the illiterate who have come to this country will be that they are
expendable in the land of plenty. ...

-- Boston Sunday Globe

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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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