Whilst we happily wax lyrical about all things Mexican, (see previous post) we’re aware that our views are not shared by everyone.


When mentioning that his future granddaughter would be born in Mexico, James’s father was met with reactions of horror as well as enthusiasm. Likewise we know several cruisers who adore it here but cannot convince their families back home that their presence in Mexico is happy and enjoyable and doesn’t involve living in constant fear of drug crime or violence.


The picture painted of a nation by certain news media is subject to speculation. However, our first direct experience with what could be considered bias against the Mexican occurred when organizing our trip to Canada.


As British citizens we don’t require a visa to travel to Canada although we do need one for the USA. Plus, the cost of a visa for a Mexican to even transit through the states was prohibitively high for us. So, because of this, our plan was to fly direct, with our daughter using her Mexican passport. We imagined we’d need a visa anyway for her to be allowed entry to Canada but we had no idea just what this would involve.


Unforeseen hurdle number one: the Canadian visa folks are staging an industrial action so visa applications will take a minimum of 5-6 weeks. This somewhat scuppered our plans from the get-go. However, we reasoned we had maybe just enough time to squeeze through the process.


But, unforeseen hurdle number two: the application itself and the documents required. These included a detailed travel itinerary, proof of language skills, proof of intention to return to Mexico, photocopies of bank documents and proof of employment or economical support.


‘Um… what?’ was my response to both the voice at the other end of the visa helpline and in person to the good folks at the visa application centre. ‘She’s only 4 weeks old, she doesn’t even know where her nose is!’ I quantified, insisting that our daughter had no intention of starting up a business, taking Canadian jobs or causing any mischief while we were there.


Then we were told that as she counts as a dependent then we could prove how we support her economically. We’d have to pay for the application, send it in, hope that there was enough time in spite of the strike and keep our fingers crossed that they’d approve all our supporting documents. ‘Fine’, I say, ‘except will it be acceptable that, although financially viable, neither of us is in full-time employment as we are living on a boat and sailing round the world?’


Silence and blank stares.


Ok, we finally realise the power of a British passport as a visa application for us is normally a box-ticking affair, pay your money and go deal. This was clearly a trickier business and despite our requests for a bit of humanity to cut through the bureaucracy for such a young minor we were stuck.


One panicked phone call to the British Embassy, an impromptu flight to Mexico City and the issuing of an emergency travel document (a one-off passport for a single trip) ended up being the solution and all three of us flew as British citizens. Funny what a stark contrast there is in the attitudes towards the two nationalities.