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Could Have Been Worse

August 28, 1988

In reading your "Letters from Readers to the Travel Section" (Aug. 14), I have to comment on one of the letters that infuriated me.

"Expensive Lesson" was a letter from a traveler to Mexico who thought he was treated unfairly because he was stopped and had his car impounded for having an open container of beer in his car.

I travel to Asia and Europe two or three times a year. Besides having a factory in Westlake Village I have another factory in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which I visit quite often.

What upsets me is that people who act like arrogant ugly Americans make life more difficult for us travelers who travel often, and do it for a living.

Does he think that Mexico has no laws? Regardless of whether or not he feels he was treated unfairly, when you are a visitor in someone else's country, you play by their rules or get the hell out. How dare he think that because he is an American he doesn't have to obey their laws!

He was lucky it happened in Mexico where it was an "inexpensive lesson." Try it in Sweden. He'd still be in jail. The second offense is five years. The third is life in jail! He was lucky that all it took was a $40 bribe to buy his freedom.

The United States has some of the weakest alcohol laws in the world, yet I guarantee if he did it here, it would cost him more than $40. Plus it would go on his record and raise his insurance premiums.

His comment at the end of the letter, however, made me feel better. He said, "We dare not go to Mexico anymore."

You have nothing to worry about when you travel if you respect the laws of the country you are visiting, just as visitors to our country are required to obey our laws. I'm glad he dare not return to Mexico. For him to continue to travel would only make things worse. Better yet, he should go to Sweden--I'll even buy him the beer.


Westlake Village

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