Nothing punctures misperception like actual travel. We saw it in the '90s for Vietnam, when Americans (in particular) worried they'd get detained or deported, then discovered a budding new ally of Southeast Asia; we see it when Middle Eastern nations shame us with their warmth and kindness. And there's ones closer at hand, like Mexico.
Despite a rise in drug violence, the news stories only tell part of the picture. And I wrote a piece for CNN.com on 'Why you should go to Mexico.' Fascinating seeing how ugly some of the reader's comments have gotten so quickly.
I also put together eight places to visit in Mexico now (safely) for Lonely Planet, all picked from the 17 of Mexico's 31 states that are excluded from any name-dropping in the US State Department's travel warning for Mexico.
Mexico, see you later this year.