The buzz words for this decade are “stay safe.” The ones I heard all the time in the last decade were “be aware.”
In Mexico I live alone, I take long walks alone and I often travel alone, very different from my life back in Washington. But in both places the above buzz words are always on my mind.
After having limited mobility prior to two knee replacement surgeries, I am extremely grateful to be able to take long walks every day. And I am very aware of my surroundings regardless of where I am. And I notice very different things.
Here in Aguascalientes, despite the fact that I live in a lower income neighborhood close to Centro (downtown), I am very comfortable walking the streets day and night. There are always people out walking. I’ve even grown accustomed to seeing young children out at night alone. Some of the shops have crazy hours too. There’s a dentist on my corner who is often there at ten at night. A hairdresser a block away is often cutting hair at midnight. Taco stands are open until the wee hours. And I think nothing of going out to the corner tienda at midnight if I crave a pinguino.
This past summer when I was in Winnipeg I stayed with a friend who lived downtown. Winnipeg can best be described as an urban reserve and is not a city I’d want to raise my kids in today. The downtown area is disgusting and filled with vacant office buildings. There is not a department store or a grocery store in sight. But the panhandlers are definitely out there in abundance. The streets are deserted at night except for the aboriginals who can be seen defecating or urinating on the sidewalks just as they do in the daytime.
When I walk in East Wenatchee I always see people out with their dogs. As I walk by the middle school I see kids out on the track. Further along by the high school I see the football team at practice. And of course there are always lovely gardens and trees as I stroll past the houses as I walk up and down the hills.
However in the blink of an eye things can change. I’ve had “interesting ” experiences in all three countries that I do not intend to ever write about. After all, we are never in control of everything.
Stay safe and be aware, wherever you are.