Book Report

Mexico..ancient Sites, Fiestas, Rain Forests, Churches, Pyramids, Crafts, Murals.

Mexico..ancient Sites, Fiestas, Rain Forests, Churches, Pyramids, Crafts, Murals. Bu Dorling Kindersley Publishing Co. N. Y. Also published in London, Melbourne, Munich, and Delhi. 383 pp. $25.00.

Delta Airlines Sky Magazine claims these eyewitness travel guides, published periodically, are the best travel guides ever, and who am I to argue? With more than 1000 colored photos and maps, aerial views, and floor plans of most popular sights in each, these guides are classics. Because they do not focus mainly on oft-changing places to stay and eat, they are also practically timeless; useful when traveling, and a great read! And the photos are beautiful. Buy one new, or find an older used copy for much less dinero. Ruins, history, and nature, do not drastically change. I’m not sure how often the Traveler’s Guide is updated, but old or new, you will find it an invaluable resource.

My last book report was on a blood and thunder book especially for adventurous men, and so, this book is aimed at travelers and adventurers who are heading anywhere in Mexico, and it is one the best and most comprehensive travel guides I’ve seen.

Color coded maps and with pages of information and even a forward on how best to use the guide, we can find information on all of Mexico, including our Baja. At first I couldn’t locate Baja, but, of course, it is to be found in the section on Northern Mexico, which also includes all of the areas that border the U.S. The section on Baja is much smaller than the section on Mexico City, but I decide that is because we are still so sparsely populated and also considered by many in Mexico to be the frontier. The wild and wolly west.  The guide does tell of all villages and cities along Highway I, with many maps and photographs in color, and it ends with color photos of Los Cabos and that whachamacallit  rock formation at the end of the peninsula.

The picture page in this section shows off our beautiful desert cactus, and I even see a photo of our Baja Cirio, (the boojum tree), which is found no place other than Baja. It made me proud to say I live here.The beginning of this section of the guide says it best; “...the North is the Mexico of popular imagination.” And it describes our part of Northern Mexico that “ ...stretches from the magical beaches of Baja... To the marshes and islands of the Gulf of Mexico.”

I love history, and so of course, that is one of my favorite parts in each section. Beginning with what we know about prehistory, the book describes the history of each part of Mexico with supplements of color photos, and aerial maps, floor plans of ruins, then going forward with stories of the historical characters we are all familiar with, and ending with current Mexican news.

In the first section, A Portrait of Mexico, there are sections on Indigenous people, Mexican muralists, landscapes and wildlife, music and dance, Mexican architecture, and architecture of the churches. There is also an ongoing timeline including Mayan numerals and a sampling of glyphs, and codices that is of interest.

Mexico Through the Year has a calendar of special days and celebrations, with a special section on Day of the Dead.

Another section is, of course, on Mexico City, ( it’s a very large section), and it gives an aerial “glance” map of sights of interest and then street by street showing locations of temples, museums, colleges, and the main square. In further pages, photos and descriptions give each place of interest a closer look. I could hardly believe the number and variety of museums. I read someplace that Mexico City has more museums in one area, than any other place in the world.

There is another section on the area around Mexico City. Always included are pages on Mexico’s colorful and often violent history, odd facts, maps, and many colored photos of buildings, points of interest, and flora/ fauna. And Frida, Diego, and Trotsky are covered as well.

The Colonial heartland, with street maps of my favorite city, Guanajuato, as well as Morelia, Guadalajara, San Miguel Allende, Tlaquepaque, and others are covered, (all color coded). And then we travel on to Southern Mexico, and the Gulf Coast, and finally venture down into the Yucatan (my next hoped for destination). I knew, but never fully realized how diverse the climates, landmarks, histories, geography, and customs of this nation are.

There are also sections in the back about local cuisine, and restaurant and lodging guides. Of course, in older copies, there probably will be many annual changes in these areas,

At the end of this book there is a survival guide, with tips on transportation, (including a metro map of Mexico City), banks and currency, staying healthy, foods and wines, communication, spectator sports, and personal safety. I could not think there is a possible question I might ask that was not covered somewhere in this book, and so I do recommend it to anyone traveling in Mexico.

You can find copies of Mexico, Eyewitness Travel Guide, at my book store, El Caballo Blanco in downtown Loreto. Jeannine Perez