Book Review: Narcocorrido by Elijah Wald

note: Click on links for music. Would you rather listen to gangster rap, country music, or polka?  If you cringed in horror at any of the three options, well, brace yourself. If you answered, “All three!” then you probably already know your Tigres from your Tucanes. Whatever your musical tastes, the blood-splattered accordion-happy world of the Mexican narcocorrido is a fascinating place to visit. In Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerillas, folklorist and musician Elijah Wald explains […]

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From the Archives: On the Road at Nine and Ten, 1988-89

drawing of van in Mexico

  As I was working on my book about my nomadic hippie childhood, I unearthed a travel journal that covered two trips to Mexico in the late 80s. The odysseys included research for “The People’s Guide to RV Camping in Mexico,” extended stays at Tenacatita, and my first visit to Guatemala. We also drove some Huichol friends on a pilgrimage to their sacred lands in Central Mexico. I’ve chosen a few excerpts for your amusement. You can read the first installment here.  Dec 26, 1988 […]

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From the Archives: An Eight-Year-Old’s Travel Journal, 1987

Map of baja drawing

Churpa writes: While researching for a memoir of my childhood on the road, I’ve been digging through old family photographs and journals, and I found this very detailed illustrated travel journal that I started when I was eight, in 1987. The journal is canvas-bound with a sweet splatter paint design on the cover, and spans from November 1987 to the spring of ’89. It covers two long trips, from Oregon to Baja to Guatemala and back again. At the time, […]

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Historical Image of the Week: John and Eve Muir

John Muir of Idiot's Guide fame with his wife Eve Muir, black and white photo

John and Eve Muir, original publishers of The People’s Guide to Mexico. John wrote, with Tosh Gregg, the cult classic How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive, a Manual of Step-by-Step procedures for the Compleat Idiot. John and Eve were at the center of a creative group of friends who met each year for wild “beach parties” in Mexico. We remain an extended family. John died just before I was born, but Eve was an important person in my life. Fabulous, […]

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Carl Franz and Lorena Havens Talk PG History

A great interview with Carl and Lorena, originally published at Moon Travel. Read the original here, or scroll below. 1. This is the 14th edition of The People’s Guide to Mexico and marks its 40th anniversary. Please tell us the story of how your book came to be. The People’s Guide to Mexico began on a Mexican beach in 1970 as a series of detailed letters to friends in Alaska who were eager to join up with Lorena, Steve and […]

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Dancing with the Devil: Climbing Baja’s High Point

Picacho del Diablo

The attempt of Picacho Del Diablo is not a summit to be undertaken lightly. The map shows a 13 km trail, so you practically have to figure thirteen hours of route finding. But first, after just thirty minutes or so of hiking from the east side trailhead, you come to the most ingenious cow-excluding device known to geologic engineering. There is a little two foot waterfall into a turquoise blue pool about three feet deep. Yes, it’s only five feet, […]

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Armchair Travel: Best of the Visual Internets

    Games up. It’s official. I’ve surveyed my budget, checked it twice, counted my pennies, and gnashed my teeth. No Mexico for me this year. This will be the sixth winter in my life that I have been reduced to languishing in the Pacific Northwest. I know I shouldn’t complain. But writing and editing for a Mexico travel site is a particularly tortuous way to spend the winter when one is addicted to real travel. Since I’m not allowed […]

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No More Pemex?

Mexican gas station

Starting in 2017, foreign gas companies will be allowed to sell their gas in Mexico, which will break Pemex’s decades-long government monopoly on gas. (Mexico kicked out foreign oil companies in 1938.) Naturally, The Wall Street Journal puts a positive spin on this development and argues that it will be good for Pemex and good for Mexico. Meanwhile, in an opinion piece for Aljazeera, John Ackerman alleges that the change in policy is a Faustian bargain with the Obama administration. […]

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