One For The Book

Dear Carl & Lorena,

I’ve wanted to write you for several years, but, I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything i could say that hadn’t already been said by those more authoratative than I.

I could only echo their praise.after several trips to mexico travelling pg style,  I feel I’ve at least earned the privelege of writing to express my thanks.  after all, the people’s guide was written for me and my husband, curly.  we don’t have much money, we avoid border towns, cities, and tourist areas, and we love the mexican people.

My first three trips to mexico,  I got moctezuma’s revenge twice!  since reading pg,  I’ve been south of the border eight times with no health problems!

And, more importantly, our health at home improved.  When we first discovered pg, we were just beginning to “dabble” in medicinal herbs & home remedies. (this mostly out of necessity– self-employed and can’t afford health insurance).  You introduced us to golden seal, lime & cayenne; we knew some about garlic, but you taught us more & better ways to use it.

i just can’t thank you enough for this knowledge.  We’ve since purchased several books on herbs and have expanded our herbal repetoire, but i still consider “the big four” (golden seal, garlic, lime, & cayenne) as the first and best defense in treating and preventing illness.  To say that you’ve saved our lives might be a slight exaggeration, but only very slight and maybe not at all.  Quien sabe?

Before travelling in mexico, of course, I had heard the horror stories.  But, it didn’t take long to realize that it isn’t any more dangerous than any other place…  If you just use common sense.  I still had concerns, but pg helped ease those fears, by educating me on how to deal with those situations, that, because of ignorance and lack of understanding, can be a bit scary.  Losing those fears has allowed us to truly experience mexico and enjoy every minute.

PG has given us so many “oh, now  I get it” moments, they are too numerous to mention.  and, thanks for the slang!  Mexicans really love it when they find we know their slang, though I think they love it more when we don’t.

I just finished my third cover-to-cover re-read of pg and I’ve read the stories dozens of times and I refer to it all the time, not just in mexico, but at home, also.  We got our first copy in 1988.  We gave that copy to curly’s son after we took him on his first trip down south.  he fell in love with mexico and pg.  He just gave that copy to his cousin, Denny, whom we are taking on his first trip to the copper canyon.

That brings me to another testament on the readability of pg…Denny, by his own admission, is not a big reader and was a bit skeptical when my step-son handed him that big, thick book, but he promised to give it a try.  So, he put it by the toilet (the only place & time he reads) and the next sit-down visit he made, he picked it up and didn’t stop until an hour and a half later and only quit because his legs were getting numb.  Now, he’s even reading it in other rooms of the house!!

If I haven’t already been deleted and sent to the recycle bin for being too long-winded, i have to rave about the website.  we are fairly new to the computer world; curly likes to say that we only just learned to spell “PC”.  All I can say is, “wow!!”  I can’t believe all the good stuff you have crammed in there.

I am so thrilled to have new Carl Franz stories!!  What a treat!!  Your story on Dona Mica truly did touch my heart.  We loved that woman.  She was still alive our first three trips to Batopilas.  we ate almost every meal with her, as much for the ambiance as the food.  We were so sad to hear of her passing.  I’d love to have her old monarch wood stove; the top was seasoned as well as my granny’s favorite cast iron frying pan.

Our upcoming trip will be our sixth visit to Batopilas and the Copper Canyon.  it’s been eleven years since we were there and I’m a bit worried that it will be just lousy with tourists.  We knew it would happen eventually, just hoped it wouldn’t be in our lifetime.  I sure hope they never pave that road all the way.

I have so many stories I want to tell you, but I’ll save them for another email as I’m trying to honor your request to keep it short. (This is my second draft & it is half as long as the first)  I especially want to relate some of our experiences with mexican police.  So many travelers worry about them, but we’ve had only positive experiences.  Next email, I’ll tell a couple of tales that will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling for mexican traffic cops.

As one email on the website stated, your writing style is so intimate, that those of us who are loyal fans come to think of you as old friends. and, that brings me to Steve.  I just read of his passing and would like to extend my condolences.  I know it has been several years, but a friendship that deep leaves a deep wound.  Though time does ease the pain, it never totally goes away.  I just hope you’ve reached the stage of grieving where the laughter outweighs the tears.

until next time,

your friend and fan forever,


p.s. I don’t expect a response, but just in case you’d like to, i’ll give our addresses:  (I’m sure I don’t need to say this, but, please don’t publish these addresses on the website.)

Carl replies:

b.j., after reading your email I hardly know what to say, other than, “please! do write more about your own experiences in Mexico! I repeat: Please!”

Your message goes to the very heart of why we originally wrote the “PG” and why we continue to keep plugging away at both the book and the website.  There is so much more to Mexico than just “tourism” — and your words confirm our hope that there is more to the People’s Guide than just travel advice.  Thank you so much!