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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Out of the Country...the Rules Change

If any of you have travelled outside of your own know the feeling that you have of....uncertainty? At least, that's the feeling I have had. A number of times...specifically, when my husband and I were approached by a man looking for money while walking on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. I felt very uneasy while riding in a taxicab along the streets of Cozumel in Mexico. Uncomfortable would be a word I would use to describe how I felt while dining on goat in a Mexican restaurant in Matamoros, Mexico and while shopping in the market there. Stepping back into my own country, I felt a sense of security. For my Canadian readers....I have always felt the same way while travelling in Canada...which I often do. For my UK / Australian readers....I have never been there and don't think I ever will be (especially because I can't get there via RV...LOL)

Anyway, I watched ABC TV's 20/20 News Show tonight. What I saw disturbed me. Alot. An American college student involved in a murder that occurred in Italy. As a mother, I feel very, very bad for her parents. I also feel terrible for the British girl's family...the one who was murdered. Hopefully, justice will prevail and Amanda will get out of jail and be returned to her parents. I hope that the real truth comes out and that the real murderer is apprehended. It is just awful that a young girl is in jail in a foreign country where she doesn't even really speak the language. Her interrogation was held without an attorney present. The laws are different in Italy. I am not saying what is right or wrong. My point is...when you are visiting outside of your own cognizant of the rules and regulations of THAT country and follow them religiously. You can read more about this story here:
ABC News: Exclusive: Evidence Moved in Knox Case?


Rose Daughter said...

I watched that too, felt very sad for her parents and the girl. I hope the legal system doesn't turn too slowly for her.

And I've never been outside the US. Canada yes, but really don't count that as being on foreign soil. It was kind of the "next state over" (I grew up in michigan).

But hopefully this summer I'll be able to travel to Germany and visit Dragonfly. Here's to hoping.

Sandy said...

Very salient point! We take our liberties so for granted here.

Good post.

Kellan said...

That is an awful case about that poor girl. I agree with you - I am often uncomfortable when traveling in Mexico and in other countries - always a little bit on guard. Hope you have a great weekend - see you soon. Kellan

Pam Aries said...

I saw that too....and I thought the very same thing. Other countries are very different with their laws and it is scary indeed.

Amanda said...

You know as soon as I started reading this post I thought of Dateline's show the other night which was a little different. A man was held accountable for a young woman's murder. He was american she was from the country he was in. Even though all the evidence pointed to someone else and they had NOTHING on him, because of the protests in the street he was jailed.

Not until his mother and father fought to get him back did they finally rule a year later that he was innocent.

He said he still wants to visit the country. It made me scared to go anywhere.

Hayden said...

I was interested to read this, because here in the US if you can not instantly prove your citizenship, and you speak with a first generation accent, you too can be thrown in jail and held without an attorney. We have thousands of people held by immigration for many, many years. Some are here illegally, but not all. There is no requirement that if you are being held that the authorities must allow you to make a telephone call, get you an attorney or contact anyone. You simply disapear until immigration makes it's ruling. It's very difficult to defend yourself in these conditions.

I've traveled quite a lot, to many countries, and have always felt welcomed and pretty comfortable. It is important to let the consul know you are there, and to respect local laws.

Anonymous said...

That is very sad. I feel for her and her family. There was the incident in Mexico with the couple killed where they accused the two Canadian mom's there on vacation. It definitely makes one feel secure when entering one's own country.

Anonymous said...

Good advice. The rules do change when you change countries and it is your responsibility to know some of them and be cognizant of certain situations. I hope the truth comes out and the correct justice is given its due.

There is even a difference between the US and Canada too when it comes to laws. There are also cultural differences too. Like when I was in Atlanta for a conference in 1994. We were told to go nowhere outside of the hotel unless there were at least 6 people in the group. We just kind of looked at each other with quizzical looks on our faces. But, sure enough, there were two girls who did venture out and they did get robbed. If we weren't warned, we would have probably done the same thing as we aren't used to that. Since then, I have been more aware of my surroundings when entering the US. But for the most part I feel pretty safe when I have been down there visiting. I would imagine it depends on the location of your travels too.

bermudabluez said...

Thanks for all your comments!! I did not mean to offend anyone by this post. And I hope that I didn't!!

Sirdar - You mentioned the problem you had in Atlanta...I've run in to the exact same situation when I was in Los Angeles, CA. I know that they've both had some problems with gangs...maybe that's why??

Anonymous said...

"...problems with gangs...maybe that's why??"

That might have something to do with it. We have a few gangs in our bigger city but they seem intent on hurting people in other gangs and generally leave the common fold alone. Hope it stays that way. I have been places in the US where I felt just as safe as I do here so the location that you are in makes a difference.

Jen said...

I have had to stop watching shows like that because they are just too disturbing. What a sad situation for all the families involved. I hope they are able to reach some resolution.

~ Ms. Cute Pants ~ said...

Yes it's so true you do have you be aware once you're out of your comfort zone you call home. I prefer to travel to a place where I know at least or friends that can house & drive you around? (well that's just icing on the cake)!