Por Favor: Introduce Yourself

Many people who read this blog and our People’s Guide website will email us with questions or comments. Unfortunately, relatively few of them take the time to say something about themselves or to describe their own experiences in Mexico.

Back in the good old days, before email, we really looked forward to receiving “real” letters from our readers at the post office, as these were rarely just brief notes or requests for information about Mexico. Today, some of the emails we receive put big smiles on our faces and remind us why we’re still doing this after so many years. I’ll post some of these emails here but I’m writing this now to invite all of you to introduce yourselves, and to say a bit more about who you are, where you’ve been — or anything else that can help all of us turn this blog into an interesting meeting place rather than just a reference source for Mexico information.

There is a tendency on the internet to hide behind anonymous screen names and goofy avatars — I don’t want to do that here, so please, feel free to introduce yourself, either by commenting on this post or by sending me an email. By the way: I would never pass private information, including names and emails to another person without your permission. In fact, unless you specifically give me permission to publish your name or email address, I’ll only use your first name and last initial, and if you include it, the city or state where you live as a signature.

18 Responses to “Por Favor: Introduce Yourself”

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  1. Hola Carl & Lorena
    I have been going to Mexico now for 20 years I still have the first peoples guide and everyone after that
    I have finally made the plunge and bought a little in condo Puerto Vallarta it’s small and  is very Mexican  we love our place and  are  in the process  of  figuring a way to take early retirement this year alone we have been down for 6 weeks and are planning another 2 in July . We love Mexico and can hardly wait to move there. Thanks for books they are invaluable

  2. In 1993, when my friends and I were visiting Batopilas, Chihuahua we were staying at the Hotel Mary and the only other guest in the hotel was an old hippie who didn’t introduce himself right away. We started a conversation with him and he was very friendly, of course. After a bit of conversation about traveling, we introduced ourselves and we found that the old hippies was none other than Carl Franz himself! What a surprise! Here, we had been reading “The People’s Guide to Mexico” for years and then we get to meet Carl in this fantastic place called Batopilas! That was in January of 1993 and it was a great pleasure to meet Carl, thanks for writing such a great book. I have poster that I painted for the trip if Carl would like a copy.

  3. Esmi Held says:

    Hello Carl and Lorena,Like untold others, your work was my introduction to beautiful Mexico some 20 years ago. As important as the practical advice in you books, is the vibe. More than any other gabachos, you have changed Mexico from a scary foreign place, to a friendly foreign place. You’re great.The reason for this letter is to ask your "take" on a book just published called "God’s Middle Finger." It is basically a narrative of Sierra Madre travels by a foreigner, who can’t see much more in the area than dope.Have you read the book? Do you want to borrow my copy so you can comment on it?Keep up the good works. My wife and I have enjoyed riding along with you for the past 20 years.Esmi

  4. Lynda Horne says:

    Hello:  I have done quite a bit of research on the internet, but have not found the answer I am looking for.  I was born in Mexico but am a naturalized citizen.  My father was American, my mother is Mexican.  So my question is, am I allowed to buy property in Mexico without the "trust".  One more question, can we take some of our household goods in our vehicle (truck) with us when we decide to move there?  Thank you for your help.  I can’t wait to leave this rat race.

  5. frank carter says:

    We have retired in Mexico and we have also built our home at the foot of the mountains. Its a different way of thinking and a good life in general, never be embarrassed to ask questions, it could safe you a lot of headaches later on. Officials out here are very patient, and if you ask in loud voice there will be a line of people in trying to help you.
    You know back home if you don’t have car  insurance you will get a ticket for around $300 bucks and if you are from out off town then it would be to the discretion of officer to take you in front of the justice of the peace, pay or get locked up.

    In Mexico we recommend like any other place have insurance, Mexico is not the wild west and they do have laws out here. In my own personal opinion Mexico is a safer place then the US. next time if you drive at night in Mexico which I don’t recommend, you will see women walking alone at night something you don’t see back home.
    If you drive in a toll rd in Mexico then drive at night, the admission to enter the toll rd also covers you with auto and hospitalization insurance and they will tow your vehicle in case of a brake down.
    There is alway police officer and ambulance service at every toll rd.
    If you get stop never offer a bribe, chance are good that he will let you go, all the time that we been here I have been stop several times for speeding and going the wrong way and never have I been issue a ticket, and I always get a ticket by the DPS when I cross the border into Texas Ha!

  6. frank carter says:

    Hello:  I have done quite a bit of research on the internet, but have not found the answer I am looking for.  I was born in Mexico but am a naturalized citizen.  My father was American, my mother is Mexican.  So my question is, am I allowed to buy property in Mexico

    The ans to your question, is yes! since you are born in Mexico then you should get you duel citizen ship papers…next time you wonder into Mexico take your Mexican birth certificate and obtain your Mexican passport and other papers you need, within  a month your a Mexican again!

  7. Sunny Vogler says:

    Your book and websites have been invaluable in my planning and general knowledge of Mexico.  We are making plans to retire to possibly the Lake Chapala area.  We have two RVs.  The 38′ Class A is our home and the 21′ Class C is our travel vehicle.  We will be bringing both into Mexico.   Can we each bring in one RV, set up the large coach permanently in a park and then both of us come and go to the U.S. together in the smaller RV?  The new 10 year vehicle permits enable this, but are we expected to take both units out at the same time?  Also, I have heard that one person can now bring in more than one vehicle such as ATVs and motorcycles.  The cargo trailer we tow has a Harley motorcycle inside.  That means two people are trying to bring in three vehicles.  Do you know if this is fact or rumor?  Gracias amigo.  Que le vaya bien.  Sunny Vogler 7-9-08 Orlando, FL

  8. Dawn Michele says:

    Hola – I’m a New Yorker who occasionally travelled but only as far as Canada.  I have a passport and dreamed about traveling the world for a long time.  I had a dream to go to Mexico for some time.  In 2006 I made that dream come true and went on my first trip — landed in D.F.  I was there for about five days, went by myself and it was magical.  I went on information simply gleaned from some comments online about where to stay, checked out maps regarding proximity to things to look at and such, and your book, which I picked up on a whim at a bookstore.  Your book is a wonder.  I enjoyed my trip so much, seeing the Metropolitan church, the Templo Mayor, checking out the bazaar over the weekend nearby the zocalo, and taking the tourist bus to see the Temple of the Moon, Sun and King, I was just in awe and enjoyed every minute of it, squeezing as much as I could into the trip.  The US dollar goes so far which made it even more of a delight.  I came back during 2007 for the Day of the Dead festivities, visiting markets, getting altars decorated, traveling from cemetary to cemetary and listening to the mariarchis performing over gravesites, visiting villages in the mountains and drinking moonshine…it was all colorful and gorgeous and life affirming.  I want to go back for 2008, have yet to do so, but am determined to find a way.  How do I do it with a less than perfect bank account?  Ah, the challenge to think outside the box!

    All I can say is thank you for your most magical book and look forward to continued wonderful treks to a land that has become like a second home to me.  I miss my Mexico and want to go back.  Please continue your wonderful work, it’s much appreciated!  Does anyone have any ideas for a non-degreed person to find some ways to get back to Mexico with little money???

  9. kelley says:

    Hi – I’m Kelley from Austin Texas. I was first given your book 20 years ago when I had started up an import business bringing rugs from Oaxaca. I’m back traveling again – just sent the 18 year old off to college. I bought a new copy (who knows who I gave the old one to they need to). Here’s my question, since the old days when I drove a vw bus, I now own a Mercedes. I want to drive it to Puerto Vallarta from Austin. I’ve driven it to San Miguel and I really didn’t stand out. Do you think driving it farther into the interior makes me too conspicious. We’ll probably stay on main roads, but not in fancy hotels. kelley

  10. Mauro Calvo says:

    Hello,I just found out about your Guide Site. It’s nice. I’ve travelled to Panuco VeraCruz in the old days but haven’t been there in years. My name is Mauro and i’m from San Antonio, Texas. I’m going to start looking at your site. It looks interesting to say the least. May I ask a favor of you please? I’m looking for a family friend of mine. I think he may be living in San Miguel. His Name is Jack Klee. Will you please ask him if he can contact me.Thank You and keep up the good work on your Website.Mauro.  

  11. Hi Carl, I’ve known your book for years.  I’m Peter Olwyler’s daughter, and we met at my house in San Miguel . . . MANY years ago!  I grew up there, then Pete moved me to the U.S. so I wouldn’t marry my local boyfriend at 16.  Good move, Dad!  Now, 40years later, I live in Asheville, NC.  Got a nasty environmental reaction to petroleum products of all sorts, so San Miguel and my house there are not looking promising.  Thus my letter to you.  I am seeking places in Mexico that are relatively car free.  I’ve been to yelapa numerous times which fits the bill well, but am not aware of any other relatively auto-free towns in mexico.  Islas Mujeres is a ossibility, but it reading about it (haven’t been there since the 50’s & early 60’s) it appears there are enogh cars there now to be a problem.  Does any place come to mind that you can recommend I check out?  I haven’t been back to Mejico in over two years, the longest absence for me (I was a 3 to 4 times a year junkie).  Home is calling . . . 
    Have a good year, Carl, and maybe we’ll run into each other south of the border . . .

  12. I am looking for a buddy of mine Jack Klee. He is a Yankee from Connecticut, not that Yankee, but he could be. The guy is a genius and a great procrastinator, kind of like me. Anyway he moved to Mexico a decade or so ago and I have lost track of him but he was going to set up a digital photography studio in one of the tourist retirement towns. San Luis Potosi or someplace like that. If he isn’t dead yet tell him his old partner in skipping hub caps on the side of the turnpike is looking for him.

  13. Duane Galbraith says:

    hello carl and lorena I have ben an avid reader of your peoples guide to mexico since 1974 back in my high school days when my friend and I would steel A copy back and forth from each other all the time. I am now on my sixth edition of the thirteenth you have written. this book has been so useful and fun in my travels to baja for so long that I feel that I know you guys and have for years. It has been A pretty tough three and A half years as I got real sick an intestinal disorder called ulcerative colities. A pre canceres disease were they wound up removing my intiire cholane. OUCH! well im geting through the other side of that now and though the Docs say I will never be able to work again. as I worked as A carpenter my whole life. So early retirment here I am, and good old mexico here I come. I live in the San Francisco bay area and it is way to expensive to live here on the meesily pinchen that I recieve. I remember all the great trips to baja and the towns and beaches up and down the penensila that I made until I got all caught up in the rat race of life.I am going to try the main land this time I am moveing to the town of san blas at A surf camp is where I will land until I find A house or apartment. I figure three hundred A month is my top limit for that as my needs are simple I can use A camp stove and soalar shower if nesasery but A bath and full kitchen would be nice as I love to cook. What are my chances of finding A place down there in that price range for A guy that would prefer to totaly submurse my self into the mexican culture? My plane lands in puerto vallarta and Im bringing my surf boards one is a ten footer and another huge bag of my personel belongins. where and how can I hire A cheap ride into san blas from the airport? I hope you can help me with these little problemos. your fellow mexico lover Duane Galbraith

  14. Carl Franz says:

    Duane, if you want to be notified of replies to your comment I think the best way to fix that would be to add another comment here, then check the “subscribe” option. I don’t seem to be able to do this for you.

    A cheap ride from Puerto Vallarta to San Blas? That’s not a short distance so you’d better plan on taking the bus. If you have a ton of luggage they’ll probably ask you to pay double or add on a freight charge. That would still be a lot cheaper than a taxi.

    $300 a month is definitely cutting it close to the bone. Then again, I would never say that it isn’t possible, especially if you are willing to rough it a bit. Hang out with the locals and chances are good that you’ll find someone, sooner or later, who would be willing to rent a room, a hut, or a cheap unused house. That’s the great thing about Mexico — everything is possible, especially if you are flexible.

    Finally… Lorena and I really appreciate your support for our book. It is people like you who have kept the People’s Guide alive for so many years. Muchisimas gracias!!

  15. Doowad Jones says:

    I can’t believe I just found this blog after being a fan of yours for over 20 years. I actually found it trying to remember Antonio Bribiesca’s name because my computer didn’t save the artist names from the CD I have it on. In any case, I have been fascinated with Mexico since I went to Mexico City at 16 (or maybe because I was born in Panama), but in any case, when I got out of the van in Chilangolandia all those years ago, it felt like home. I then did a semester abroad (conveniently for me during the first gulf war). We had a 2 week Semana Santa-Semana Pascuá and I took your book to the end of México, i.e. Palenque, Chiapas. I was planning to go further, Merida or Guatemala, but as this old wood hippie from BC told me, Palenque is like an asylum, some come for a few days, some like him, stay for several months. Anyway, those were like the “green scene” in the hero movie of my life, hanging out at Maya Bell inside the Palenque National Park, fooling around in the waterfalls, getting kicked out of the park for sneaking up there at night. In any case, after heading back to school in Guadalajara, right at the end of my semester there, I met my future wife in a movie theater in Guadalajara. (when a pretty Mexican girl asks you in English from her car, do you want a ride? What, pray tell, do you do). 21 years later, I am still on that ride. Once I finished my degree (in Latin American Studies, natch), I graduated, moved countries, got married and got a full-time job the summer I was 21. But, well, I was born older, ya see. So we lived in Guadalajara a good 7 years, till my wife was ready for a less-intense job and my time at the University was done (I did get a Master’s Degree in Translation out of the deal). So here we are in St. Louis, making our own little Mexican way in Gringolandia. But, as I said earlier, I definitely feel like an expatriate temporarily living in the country I grew up in. Ni modo…but thanks to finding this blog, it will just add one more layer of mexicanidad to my time here. ¡Ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores!

    • Carl Franz says:

      I’m pleased that you finally found us and hope you continue to add your “two pesos” to the ongoing conversation here on our favorite topic: Mexico. We are also Maya Bell veterans from way back — and had the pleasure of actually camping within the Palenque ruins, though that was obviously long ago, before Mexico realized their value and turned them into tourist attractions.

      • churpa says:

        One of the most gratifying thing about writing for this site is having such interesting readers! Great to hear from you. I too remember the Maya Bell in its heyday. I wonder what it’s like now? I need to make it back to Palenque one of these days. I was just in Mexico City–I love it more every year.