Letter from a UK Reader–Giving Blood for The People's Guide

A reader writes:

Just found my very battered copy and a quick google led me here – just wanted to say thanks for The People’s Guide. In 1979 I sold blood in San Francisco to help pay for a copy of your book, but unfortunately I fainted half way through (at the sight of my blood running out of me – in the UK they use opaque tubes!). The good people at the clinic decided I needed the blood more than they did but still gave me the money ($9.00?). So, book in my back-pack and despite the advice of most of the people who gave me lifts down to Mexicali, I crossed into Mexico and hitched by myself down to the back-end of Guatemala somewhere where the road eventually gave out. I returned, still hitching, via the east coast of Mexico to Toronto (in December and still camping) where my Aunt had an air-ticket waiting for me. I had many adventures including being robbed of my passport and money on Isla Mujeres (which appears to be rather different now to how I saw it), and I read every single word of your book on the way. I also learnt enough Spanish to get by in the way that you have to when no-one speaks English. My budget was 33p (English pence!) a day, which meant sleeping out everywhere including Mexico City and a diet of bread, avocados and bananas. I don’t think I ate another banana for about 10 years afterwards.

I am now 53 with a wife, three sons and all the attendant responsibilities, but I will always remember that trip from which I gained a lot of confidence. Your splendid book was an integral part of the journey. Must say though that a VW would have come in useful on a number of occasions……..

Kind Regards,

Howard Rogers


Carl’s reply:

Hola Howard,

We’ve had some amazing letters from our readers over the years but yours is in a category of its own!  For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, trading blood for a People’s Guide reminds me of one of my favorite mexicanismos:  “Como mexico no hay dos”.

Well, I just want to say that the long-term survival of our book (and our humor) are largely due to people like you.  As a bonus, you’ve given us a very good laugh — mil gracias!

Carl & Lorena