The People's Guide To Mexico
Carl's Mexico Notebook

Archive Issue for 10 July 2001

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Oaxaca Info & Images

by Stan Gotlieb and Diana Ricci
Warning: when you visit this webpage, don't be misled by the beautiful photos in Diana Ricci's online galleries or the innocent smile on Stan's face. Behind the "nice guy" who dispenses practical, hard-earned information in Oaxaca, Mexico: An Expatriate Life, there's an unrepentant liberal and do-it-yourself muckraker. I suggest that you read several selections from Stan's "Letters From Oaxaca", then try a sample issue from his crankier alter-ego, the long-running, harder-hitting Oaxaca/Mexico Newsletter. For a very reasonable thirty bucks U.S., Stan's loyal subscribers enjoy regular doses of his wry, insider observations on Mexican politics, justice, social issues and economic shennanigans.

Real Oaxaca

Puerto Penasco & Rocky Point

An email to us from: chollabonita

Seems like you may have missed one of the closest Mexico Beaches. Travel and Buying Information for Arizona's closest beaches. Maps, Road conditions, Local Information Cholla Bonita

Carl's comment: As I mention below, we've noticed that real estate companies and independent realtors are putting up websites that offer information about Mexico. Nothing wrong in that... but why, I wonder, don't they come out and admit that these are really storefronts? I hate to be cynical (because, yes, some of our best friends sell real estate) but we have to wonder: Are the wolves trying out a new line in sheep's clothing?

Here's my reply to the unknown "chollabonita":

Yes... seems we did miss that one, but it is a big country and we are just two people here, doing our best to keep up.

I've just visited your websites, and note that in addition to being in the business of selling real estate, you are also rather anonymous. As it turns out, I've had a number of anonymous "tips" about Mexico-related websites lately. Curiously, when I do a little background research, all of these turn out to be from realtors.

To be blunt, this doesn't inspire confidence. I see nothing inherently wrong in offering honest services in combination with honest information about Mexico. For example, I don't care if Telmex is a huge company -- their website offers some very useful information for telephone users, and I recommend it.

In visiting your site I did note that unlike most of the websites I call real estate "fronts", one of yours does openly include real estate listings, along with some basic practical Mexico info. For this reason, I will mention it in Carl's Mexico Notebook.

Sorry to rant, but there's a trend here that makes us (and many of our readers) uneasy.

Monday, July 09, 2001

Diarrhea Scholarships

Vaccine Study at Language Study Sites in Mexico & Guatemala by Gene Groves

Glad to see your notebook articles back up. I found this really good deal through Johns Hopkins Medical School that pays people to participate in their new vaccine study, testing a vaccine to prevent E. coli that causes diarrhea. So you can get like $650.00 for the two week study and the study is at language schools in Mexico and Guatemala. In other words, you can take a language course and get paid to do the vaccine study also.

Check the Diarrhea Vaccine Study web site or email them
the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for more information, or call toll-free 877-205-1941.

Sunday, July 08, 2001

Burritos for dinner... again?

An after-dinner story by Roy Matlen

In San Felipe, Baja, a small Mexican family and I "mutually adopted" one another. Over the years I have eaten and stayed at their humble home several times. Once, when the family had planned a great dinner for us, I and a gringo friend, Mike, had taken the little children into town to go window shopping ("Manos in los boches!!!" I think that was "Hands in your pockets!").
When we arrived back at their home, I saw a large piece of red meat hanging by the front door. As they are very poor I assumed, with great pain, that they had gone out and bought this meat in our honor. As the meal was being prepared they kept asking me if I liked "Birria". Of course, I said I liked goat very much. But they kept telling me, "No, no, NOT birria - birria."

Needless to say I was quite confused.

Finally, my Mexican friend, Juan, said, "Not birria, it's donkey, burro!"

Then I looked around. There was blood everywhere. A very large tub of guts and four bloody hooves lay there in the dirt. Evidently they had stabbed this poor beast to death in their front yard. They finally brought out the poor animal's bloody head to show us. My gringo friend almost took off right then. They cooked the burro on their stove (an upside-down 55 gallon steel drum) with garlic powder and lime juice.

The burro was a bit tough, but tasty.

Mike had miraculously just become a vegetarian, so they made him some fresh nopales (cactus) on the spot.

Another time the family brought out live chickens and proceeded to cut their heads off with dull knife. The mother made a mole sauce and stewed the meat till the next afternoon. Man, that was awesome. Americans think that mole sauce should taste like chocolate. They don't have a clue!

Adventure Sola, A Pacific Mexico Trip Report

by Patt Riese

Carl's Note: Can a single woman travel safely in Mexico... alone? Over the years, we've heard from many women who have taken "the plunge" and proven that it can be done, safely, sanely, and with great satisfaction. By the way, when Pat refers to a "flaky investment" in her opening paragraph, she's talking about our announcement last year that we've suspended publication of the print version of The People's Guide To Mexico Travel Letter. As a paid subscriber, she'll get a copy of our next book.>

Dear Lorena & Carl: I do/did have a subscription to the People's Guide newsletter. Most assuredly, I do not consider it a "flaky investment". And I certainly don't want any money returned to me. I'm hoping that what ever funds might be "due" me, will go into keeping this website alive.

However, if you really do want to send me a copy of your next book, I wouldn't put up a fight.

I spent 3 months (March 99-June 99) traveling around Mexico alone (or "!?!sola!?!" as mexicano/as were fond of exclaiming), in my Toyota one ton pickup equipped with a locking tool chest.

I went down the Pacific coast of Mexico, then inland to Guadalajara and Uruapan (to avoid Easter crowds at the beach), then farther south to the remarkable & relaxing beaches of Michoacan & Colima. Nexpa particularily took hold of me. Then back up the coast; Barra de Navidad, San Blas and the whole Bahia Matanchen south of San Blas, which I visited three times on my trip! I also made a cursory visit to Creel via the Copper Canyon train, with a promise to be back, especially to see Batopilas.

I ended my trip by exploring the northernmost coastal desert including Puerto Libertad (complete with a gruelling 6 hour, dirt road drive to Caborca) and Golfo Santa Clara just in time for Marine Day.

I had a blast. Some times I felt very alone and enjoyed it, other times I was able to hook up with Mexicanos and/or other travellers from everywhere! I can't wait to go back. In fact my next plan is to train to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) so that I can, hopefully, have some income while I see Mexico.

I have also discovered the Aconchi Hot Springs, recently improved and maintained beautifully by the state of Sonora. An extremely pleasant surprise just 5 hours south of my home in Tucson.

I want to thank you for giving me the information I needed to be able to have this great adventure. I had a wonderful friend introduce me to Mexico 10 years ago. He got me started and I got "bit" by the "bug" that is Mexico. Wayne died a few years later but stumbling across your book 7 years ago was the next best thing. It was exactly what I needed to feel confident and relaxed and to know how to have an overall enjoyable trip.

I even pulled the book out after my minor fender-bender in Uruapan and opened it to the section on Traveling Alone: Travelers Meditation. I followed your advice step by step and prevented myself from incurring further disasters via my poor attitude. That alone was worth the price of the book, but then you went on to teach me how to hang a hammock so that I looked like I was a pro when I got to Nexpa!

Mil Gracias X Mil Gracias, I wish you all the best and hope to run into you some day on the road in Mexico.


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