As you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be seen.
      Mexican Proverb


México is the most populous Spanish-
speaking country in the world. According to the latest statistics, México's total population is over 99 million. Mestizos, of Indian and Spanish blood), make up 60% of the population, followed by indigenous peoples  (30%), whites (9%), and other ethnic minorities  (1%).

Carnaval in Mazatlan

Visitors and locals scream, sing, shout and dance amid confetti and ribbons. Bands of all kinds play the infectious rhythms of the State of Sinaloa. And the food–oh, the food–camarones (shrimp) prepared in every way possible, washed down with ice cold Pacifico beer, for it’s Carnaval Time, Mazatlán’s biggest pachanga (fiesta). 
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March 12, 2006


by David Lida
William Morrow, New York - ISBN 0-06-095933-9

For many, Mexico is a land of sunshine, bright white beaches, bikini-clad tourists, and gold-toothed souvenir vendors. To David Lida, it symbolizes a bleak, forbidding land, filled with sorcery, squalor and seduction.

Travel Advisory, Lida’s recent collection of short stories deals with Mexico in a light far removed from the cushy tourist meccas and beach hotels. It offers a powerful portrayal of tawdry characters living out their lives in familiar and sometimes unfamiliar settings. Inspired by his experiences while living and traveling in Mexico, this collection shows the stark contrasts within Mexico, from the dirt streets of rural villages to the ostentatious homes of the wealthy in the Polanco district of Mexico City.

The ten unmistakenly Mexican stories in this collection show tourists and Mexicans interacting–and sometimes clashing–in situations overflowing with sex and violence. At times, Mexicans interact with their fellow countrymen and women. That cruelty can exist in paradise seems ironic as Lida pulls his readers deeper into the soul of Mexico.

One of the most intriguing stories is "Bewitched," the tale of a travel writer from Philadelphia, who acts as a pompous prima dona, and though traveling on a budget, expects quality service in the tiny town of Quetzalmaco. Here she intends to discover the story behind the witches of Quetzalmaco only to be drawn into a sordid scene with a male witch, leaving her to wonder just what magical powers these infamous witches possess. The Mexicans are by their indigenous heritage a superstitious people, and Lida explores this to the fullest in this story.

Another portrays a tourist couple–the husband a realist and the wife full of naivete about Mexico–who’ve come to the beach seeking sun and relaxation, only to be taken in by a drunk who engages them in conversation.

"Taxi," another of stories in the collection, shows how Maria Concepcion, the maid to a wealthy Mexico City family, gets caught up in the lustful desires of their son, only to find herself pregnant. Not in a financial position to care for the child, she ends up signing him away to a couple from the States, only to go seeking him there.

Travel Advisory is a collection of tales that turns the image of paradise–and Mexico–upside down. Lida has succeeded in unraveling some of the contemporary misconceptions about Mexico where others have only brushed the surface. A must read for a behind-the-scenes look at Mexico today.


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