Photo Caption: Taken moments after some bandidos crashed their stolen taxi through our gate.....
I’ve got to start this one with a bit of a disclaimer. This isn’t intended to be a legal statement or even entirely accurate statement of what went down these last few days so take it as is. This is told from the point of view of Lily despite the fact that I didn’t actually witness much of the action, John did. Another note is that this bad series of events is not something unique to Acapulco but to the world in general today especially in highly populated areas that have a decent poor population...which includes most cities.
It all started a few days ago, in the morning when John noticed a taxi pull up to our gate, something not common at all even for our house guests. They then backed it into an alleyway that’s used for foot traffic, seemingly trying to stay out of view from the rest of the barrio. It seemed weird from the beginning and never stopped being weird.
Out of it came two skinny young Mexicans and with them came these yellow bottles with red writing we’ve been seeing all over the city most recently in our neighborhood. The label says that it’s a pvc pipe cleaning product but it also says not to sell to minors. Our theory was that it’s being consumed as a drug among the low class and the last few days seems to confirm that.
At first we thought they were making meth the shake and bake method but it seems they were just high on the drug itself, however they consume something like that anyway likely huffing or ingestion.
Photo Caption: The gate after the incident before it was fixed.
Throughout that first day they moved the car repeatedly on our street keeping it out of sight of the main road and during that time they painted the blue parts of it that distinguish it as a taxi white. Before this we’d theorized the taxi was stolen, now it seemed nearly confirmed. They’d also removed the plates, adding more evidence that it wasn’t theirs. We hoped it was the end of it, dumped when they were finished hopefully just disguised to keep the heat off of them.
We were wrong, the next morning the car was gone and when I went to run an errand in the neighborhood I heard them long before I saw them, speeding and braking clumsily through my neighborhood stalling every so often. I could tell the difference in driving because even the fastest collectivo drivers don’t drive like that, and they had a habit of stalling in the same place over and over.
We asked our neighbors about them who responded telling us to stay inside, and that they were scared. This is how good neighborhoods become bad ones, one day some asshole decides to start acting a fool and the good people are too afraid for their lives to stand up against them.
I let John know what was up and he went to see himself, much of this story he witnessed as he was the one out there standing up to them. They passed by him with menacing looks and at one point nearly hit him with the car while he was walking on foot. By that point he’d had enough so he went with the truck, which is an old steel tank of sorts, and set up his own checkpoint.
** Photo Caption: This was the welding crew that fixed the gate, his job seemed to be that he was fat. He spent a lot of time jumping on it to pop it into place.**
He asked them what they were doing, and why they were here. He also wanted to know where they lived as our neighbors didn’t recognize them as neighbors. He kept asking questions and they became increasingly aggressive eventually threatening to him ending that interaction by telling him that our barrio was now their territory. This is commonly said by the narcos and cartel members in bad areas, but whether or not they actually hold control is to be debated and that’s often where the violence springs up.
Acapulco is in a situation where it’s very fragmented as far as that stuff is concerned so there are a lot of low income guys and groups of guys trying to make a run at the life of crime here, most of them not having the muscle to actually back things up when push comes to shove. The trouble is Acapulco is full of good people and not all of them are interested in pushing back especially when it means risking their life. These people usually only gain control when they can make everyone afraid, which they seemed to be doing in our hood.
John let them know they weren’t wanted here and neither were their problems and from there things went downhill. At a certain point after that they hit John’s truck with their car and not long after that John took an opportunity to repeatedly ram into their car with the front of the truck, nearly fatally breaking the car. It was one of those things where driving it down the mountain would have been seriously risky, it was a death trap.
Photo Caption: You can see up close the smears of white and blue from the stolen taxi.
They seemingly figured that out and were so angry they ran down half our giant metal gate, shown in this post. We also theorize that stealing our motorcycles was part of the plan but John chased them down the road on foot foiling it if it was even an option to begin with. We heard them coming, I’d just finished eating the leftover steak soup I just posted about and was working on my crochet project when we heard the abused stolen taxi rev up. It soared down our street, up the driveway and into the gate with a loud bang, sending John to chase them on foot down the street out of pure instinct.
While talking to an neighbor, John heard the sound of the car and it’s now dragging bumper in the distance. Within seconds, they rounded the corner and literally headed straight for John. At this point the neighbor booked it and left John alone, who dealt with two guys crashing into the house he was standing in front of.
He told them to leave the barrio and noticed there was an extra, bigger guy they’d seemingly rounded up for more force. He seemed more rational than they were and seemed more interested in getting away, while they seemed focusing on getting more of those yellow bottles left in the now crashed stolen taxi before making off in another taxi.
We’ve thought about it a lot and it seems to make the most sense that the taxi driver was at least low key in on the crime or too scared to tell them to get the fuck out, because he let them in as John yelled at him that they were bandidos, a general word for a bad guy here. We are not sure what would have happened without that taxi as they seemingly had originally planned on getting away in that car before John foiled their plans.
Photo Caption: It used to be a nice gate.
It seemed like they were on a terror spree, running around like crazy people in the car and crashing into things. By the end of it the car was covered in dents like it’d been at a derby or something. It seems to be a common tactic to take over neighborhoods, generally ending in extortion rackets and drug crime if no one stands up to them. At the very least they seemed to be practicing for a larger crime that involved a getaway and they didn’t seem to know how to correctly drive the car they’d managed to steal.
Our neighbors left home immediately and advised us to do the same, but we weren’t necessarily scared and we weren’t interested in leaving our home unprotected. The worst case scenario was that they would come for us in the night but that’d require getting a firearm to handle the job, something not so easy for the very poor here. Our hope is that they got somewhere safe, sobered up and went “Fuck, that place wasn’t worth it”.
I’ve said this so many times I’ve considered getting it tattooed:
“I didn’t come all this way to be told what to do”
Previously this has applied mostly to police and government but this also applies to private individuals and always has. We’ve decided life is too fucking short to take shit from people. John and I have both feel we love this barrio (neighborhood) too goddamn much to let some idiot bandidos scare our neighbors indoors.
People are still scared indoors but things here have been quiet and the neighbors we have seen seem appreciative that someone stood up, even if it was the crazy gringos.
This is a shitty situation as these people could still come back and hurt us but I think it was handled the right way. Had we cowered in fear these boys would be running the neighborhood and it’d never be what it was, which is fairly safe and quiet. There’s also the chance that we at least stalled off a bigger crime by stopping their antics, something worth noting.
The majority of people here are old people or young families. Even the drunks are chill, the one stumbles up and down the mountain every day sometimes dancing and laughing, never being a nuisance. This hood has a bad reputation from it’s recent history much like Acapulco in general, but the people that live here are good and we aren’t interested in seeing them oppressed (or ourselves) so long as we are here.
There’s still the chance they could come back, but there’s also the chance that it only took that much to show them that this barrio isn’t interested in being taken over by anyone. All of our neighbors seemingly think we’re loco (crazy) but they also seem happy to have us around and at the end of the day, that’s what we love about this place.
I’m not sure I’ve liked living anywhere else as much as here. Our landlord asked directly if we wanted to move out and were floored when we told them no, actually, we weren’t interested in that. We understand safety is an illusion of sorts, the second you kid yourself into feeling safe is the second you get it taken away from you and shattered, at least in my experience.
At this point in my life it is not safety that I crave but the ability to be aware of everything, good and bad. To be ready for stressful situations like this and good ones. I understand the world we live in is a fucking mess and that doesn’t stop in Mexico, in some ways it gets worse and it just takes being aware of that and acting accordingly. I think my slightly paranoid way of looking at things is a big part of the reason I’ve managed to live here and other places considered “dangerous” with no problems so far.
So despite not having a real need to be armed when wandering my barrio, for the next while I’ll carry a weapon just in case something else happens but I’ll enjoy the peace while it’s hear because it’s likely going to last awhile, especially in this barrio despite it’s bad reputation. For every crazy thing that happens in this hood at least lately, we seem to get a long while of peace.
So far it’s been a few days since we’ve had the gate fixed and you can definitely tell something happened up close, but at this point we consider it a bit of flair that shows we take no shit and things in the barrio are calm and quiet as it seems the bandidos have given up on this hood thanks to mainly John’s intervention.
And for a hilarious end to a hilarious story, a day later before the gate was fixed we got a visit as is really common from a church group trying to do outreach, but John witnessed them just standing there looking at the gate. He said something to me when it happened that they were at the gate, but it didn’t click until a little bit later that our gate was half destroyed and they probably were confused as to why. I spent a good several minutes laughing pretty loudly over the mental image of their faces as they stare at the gate, only I was envisioning the usually persistent Jehovah’s Witness group which wasn’t the one he saw.
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