Tell me about Juárez (personal safety issue)

For reasons that don’t matter here I will find my self in El Paso for a few days next month. I’ve been to Texas before, but not there.

My brother-in-law says that while we’re there maybe we can cross over the boarder.
He’s never been to Mexico. I have, but not to Juárez. I’ve heard it’s a terribly dangerous place. What about going over during the day?

I say no, but is what I’ve heard been exaggerated?

Can’t speak to Juarez, but having been to plenty of places with very bad reputations (Mexico City, Guatemala and South Africa), they generally turn out to be fine, if your careful and don’t take unnecessary risks (walking round alone at night, know where the dangerous areas are, etc.).

That said, border towns are usually seedy over-exploited, dumps without much to recommend them, in my experience.

It’s apparently off limits to military personnel because of a rash of drug-related crime: - This website is for sale! - fbmonitor Resources and Information.

I am currently on an all expenses paid government sponsored vacation to the West Texas desert. We have been briefed about an intense drug war going on in Juarez. Something like 400 people executed in the streets this year alone. (Thats nothing classified, its on the news). Military personnel are currently prohibitted from visiting Juarez because of the recent increased violence. I have heard talk about it from civilians around here. They are worried about the drug war spilling over into El Paso. Take that for what it is worth.

It’d be a good place to pick up 18-20 year old college kids at night.

I have plenty of friends that have gone there, probably 100 separate trips. Although I’ve never been there myself, I’ve only heard of one bad story. A really cute girl went up to my buddy holding a rose, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Her accomplice took a Polaroid, and then made him give them $20. He didn’t have any cash on him, so they forced him to an ATM. That’s where one of our other buddies ran into him, and a fight ensued. No harm, no foul, though, and it wasn’t any worse than any of the other monthly brawls the crowd I hung with at that time tended to get caught up in (or cause).

ETA: I sold my truck in the border town across from Columbus, New Mexico. Got a great price for it, and was paid in cash at the guys place of business without him having to go to a bank. 15 crisp $100 dollar bills. A few months later, I got word that the guy I sold my truck to had been abducted. We haven’t heard from him since.

I wouldn’t go now. I’ve been there plenty of times in the past, but no way would I go now. Hearing on the radio that 4 or 5 bodies overnight isn’t uncommon these days. Skip it.

Head up to White Sands, the Guadalupe mountains, or Carlsbad caverns if you need something to do.

I posted this in another thread, thought it would also be useful here… If you want to hear from people who have actually been to Juarez recently, I’d suggest the lonely planet Thorn Tree forum. They have one specifically for traveling to Mexico.

This is just the B-I-L wanting to be able to say he’s been to Mexico ( :rolleyes: )

The most I’d be willing to do is walk across the boarder, turn around, walk back.

If he wants to be in Mexico more, he can stay in there himself, or do what the rest of us do: take the wife to a resort in Cancun!

Long story why, but my sister was considering going there so I read up on it. And, I have a brother who had to go and just came back from there a couple weeks ago, though I haven’t talked to him much since his return.

Here’s some shorthand for you…like any country, the Mexican govt trains troops. Unlike here the army wouldn’t be called out to combat drug lords…maybe we’d use the National Guard or something else.

Anyway, in Mexico the drug lords bribed many of the troops “away.” I use quotation marks b/c I don’t assume all left the army, which is actually WORSE because then you have traitors within. Who, still wearing the uniform and appearing to be a loyal soldier, might be leaking info to the very people they’re trying to fight?

I think it’s pretty dangerous and I wouldn’t go.

Only get 'em from people you trust, because a lot of them contain viruses.

:confused: Huh?

There’ve also been many abducted and murdered prostitutes there, IIRC. There must be better places to go in Mexico, if your BIL is determined to say he’d been over the border.

I used to get dental work done in Caseta, a small town across from Tornillo. You’d need to drive about an hour east from downtown El Paso to get to it.

If you’re near the Santa Fe St. Bridge, especially on Ave. Juarez, 16 de Septiembre between the plaza and (gringo) mercado, and other streets in the vicinity, you should be fine. Even the side streets are fine. Don’t drive into the city; park in EP and walk over. Don’t do anything stupid, like jump in a cab at the promise of the best putas in town.

Kentucky Club on Ave. Juarez is my favorite watering hole on the planet, bar none. (Pun intended.) It’s a quiet and dignified Depression-era bar where one can have a civilized conversation with their drinking and travel partner.

I’ve gone deeper into Cd. Juarez with no problems – even the city dump – but I wouldn’t advise it for a newbie. The shantytowns you see from I-10 aren’t really the norm for Juarez; a typical resident of the city will live in a small, government-subsidized townhouse in the 'burbs.

When I lived in Las Cruces, my then-girlfriend and I would take occasional day trips to Juarez. She was blonde and athletic, and got a LOT of attention, whistles, hoots and whatnot from the locals.

I’ve got some photos of Juarez at .

A little bit of Spanish, even the bad first-person present-tense border survival Spanish like what I speak, will go a long way.

Neither one of us have any intention of getting a Mexican hooker.

I’ve been to Mexico, but always in the relative security of a resort area.

Whatever you do, don’t even think about taking a gun across the border. When I was living in El Paso, a gringo got caught with one. They threw him in a jail and last I knew, he was still rotting there.

ETA: IIRC he forgot he had it in his truck or something but maybe he had a concealed carry permit, whatever. At any rate, Mexican officials were NOT amused.

You’ve got the 300 or so women who’ve been raped, tortured, murdered and dumped in mass graves. You got the drug cartels battling each other and the federal police. There’s a lot of anger towards Calderon and US policies right now, including mass protests. You’ve got rampant kidnappings, many of which are occuring on the US side of the border by Mexican nationals. I wonder if people who don’t live along here have any idea of just how unprecedented this situation’s become.

If you’ve gotta go, please exercise extreme caution.

ETA: I grew up along the border and spent a lot of time in Reynosa and Matamoros. Have also frequented Juarez, Ojinaga and spent tons of time in Nuevo Laredo working South Texas wells. That’s all in the past. No way I’d cross now. Please, be careful.

El Paso is a strange place.

Hey, although they’re in the same state, it’s about 750 miles to drive from El Paso to Houston.

Seems like it should be part of NM, not TX. But then, for those who may have never seen this old map of Texas when it was a republic…talk about freaking huge!

I was ignorant of the demographics when I moved there. It’s Hispanic, not so much cowboy like East Texas with the Texas drawl. Its main reason for existence is that it was the place to cross the Rio Grande. It’s a lot of desert without much in the way of resources, IMO. A lot of poverty is conducive to crime; so is being a border town.

My experience was that it was the worst of both worlds. El Paso has big city drawbacks like traffic, crime, etc. without the benefits of a decent public transportation system or great attractions. Little town drawbacks like a “what’s so important about education?” mentality and lack of opportunity, without the perqs like a peaceful environment and lower cost of living.

elmwood, it looks like you have to register to use either of your links.

Not sure I can give a link that doesn’t need registration, but the story a last month was of a soldier from Fort Hood (going to Fresno) that made a wrong turn in El Paso and wound up in Juarez, accidentally bringing in an “AR-15 assault rifle, a .45-caliber handgun, 171 rounds of ammunition, several cartridges and three knives.” I think he spent most of May in jail before being released.