I made it out alive! I escaped! Free at last! Free at last!
BY DEAN MEYER
Last week I was unable to do write an article. I had been kidnapped and held prisoner in Mexico. I was held on the southern tip of the Baja. Which, to my cowboy friends, is that peninsula that heads south from that bar in Tijuana.
It is 999 miles from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. At least that’s what a guy in a bar called “Almost Free” told me. Because of the distance, escape overland across a mountainous desert looked impossible to me.
The Sea of Cortez borders it on the east. And on the west is the Pacific Ocean. To a fat guy that couldn’t swim across a hotel pool to save his life, both looked too dang big to attempt to swim to freedom.
I did scout out the possibility of escaping by boat. I did sneak out of my cell and go on a Mexican dinner cruise one night. I had serious thoughts of hijacking the boat and sailing across the Sea of Cortez. Then Shirley, who actually had kidnapped me, pointed out that if I cross that sea, I am still in Mexico. That didn’t seem like it would help much.
The escape route around the point and into the Pacific was guarded by a bunch of sea lions. I don’t know a lot about sea lions. But anything with “lion” in its name is nothing to be trifled with. So that was out.
There were several thousand Canadians being held at Las Cabos also. Some of them said they had been there for years! Actually, it looked like their treatment had been pretty good. For Canadians in late February, they were pretty fit and pretty tan. Some of them said they occasionally broke out of the resort that was acting as a prison, and made their way to a bar called “Just One More”. Shirley forbid me to go there. I don’t know why.
For exercise, we were allowed to go out on the beach and watch the waves crash into the shore. We were warned not to go into the water because of the undertow from the waves. I saw and heard those huge waves crashing into the beach and they didn’t need to warn me twice. I won’t even get in a full bathtub.
In the afternoons, we were allowed to exercise in the prison pool. We could play volleyball. Or wade, some would swim, up to a bar in the pool to receive nutritional fluids to prevent dehydration. Also there was generally a volleyball game.
I tell you what, I may not be a real gifted athlete, but you line me up across from a 75 year old woman that stands about 5 foot tall and wears sun glasses in the pool, I can score “kills” like an Olympic champion. That lady was closing her eyes and ducking when she saw this “whale” come out of the water. They banned me from the pool. I may be the only guy that was banned from the rec league in basketball in Dickinson before I ever got in a game, and the pool in that Mexican prison. Actually, those Mexican prisons aren’t as bad as I’ve always heard.
On the fifth day, I figured out that the only way out of there was by air. I overpowered Shirley, took her hostage, and was back in the States before they had a chance to build that “beautiful” wall!
Dean Meyer is a former legislator and ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a columnist around the state for years.