Category Archives: April 2013

April 2013

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Editor’s Letter

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

– Miriam Beard

Some of my greatest holidays have been road trips through Mexico. Of course there have been countless drives to Oaxaca City; sometimes via Pochutla spending a cool evening with a fireplace in San Jose del Pacifico other times via Salina Cruz with stops in Matatlan to check out the mescal production. One of the most memorable road trips was with my daughter and husband in a 1972 VW bug which we christened ‘Gorgeous’. We drove to up the coast to Acapulco and then veered inland across a place called Infernillo which like its name denotes is an incredibly hot stretch. Continue reading Editor’s Letter

The Slippery Slope of Fuel

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.15.35 PMBy Julie Etra

Pemex, short for Petroleos Mexicanos, is the state run supplier of petroleum products and by definition a monopoly. It is responsible for exploration, production, refinement and distribution.

Pemex has its origins in the United Kingdom when in 1919, Shell (Royal Dutch Shell, with headquarters at The Hague, Netherlands but registered in London with 60% Dutch ownership and 40% British) took control of the Mexican Eagle Petroleum Company and formed Shell-Mex Limited. As of 1935, oil companies were still under control of foreign owned companies who tried to prevent the formation of unions. Continue reading The Slippery Slope of Fuel

To Drive or Not To Drive? Traffic and Transportation in Mexico City

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Most Chilangos arrive at a destination with two words on their lips, followed by a moan: “the traffic!” Although they complain, people who drive continue to do so and rarely consider taking a bus or the metro. And thus the debate between driving and public transport continues. Economics figures into it. Certainly a great portion of the population can’t afford a car, so it’s a moot point for them. But for those with a choice, there are two distinct camps. Here are the pros and cons of both options, keeping in mind that this writer is an unreserved proponent of public transportation in DF. Continue reading To Drive or Not To Drive? Traffic and Transportation in Mexico City

Under The Volcano: The Best Little Bookstore in Mexico City

By Carole Reedy

For extranjeros visiting and living in Mexico, it’s a challenge to find fine literature in English at a good price. Indeed, the shelves of the used bookstores on Calle Donceles in Centro Historico are laden with books in Spanish, with some in English but at inflated prices and in rather poor condition. New books in English are available in Gandhi bookstores and the American Bookstore, but can prove expensive for we who read several books a month. Continue reading Under The Volcano: The Best Little Bookstore in Mexico City

Mexican Car Insurance: A Personal Essay

By Larry Turk

On the evening of January 22nd, 2012, I was sitting at Señor Puck’s, a cold Pacifico con limon in hand, intently watching my San Francisco 49ers as they prepared to kick off to the NY Giants to begin the over time quarter, tied at 17. It just doesn’t get better than this.

A tap on my shoulder, and a friend informed me my vehicle, parked on the curb, had just been rear-ended by another vehicle. Continue reading Mexican Car Insurance: A Personal Essay

Mexican Auto Industry Surprising the World

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Mexico is number 8 in world auto production as of 2012, and is poised to displace number 7 Brazil in the near future. Some of the newest, most modern and efficient auto assembly plants in the world are located in Aguascalientes, Toluca, Hermosillo, and Guanajuato. The auto industry of Mexico provides 56,000 jobs, 21.9% of the country’s exports, represents 18% of its manufacturing GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and is growing at a steady rate. Continue reading Mexican Auto Industry Surprising the World

On the Road…

by Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

Long distance road trips in Mexico are always an adventure. Unlike traveling the trans-Canadian highway or interstate highways in the U.S., where hundreds of kilometers roll by while the driver can relax and listen to music or an audiobook, the highways and byways in Mexico demand constant concentration and quick responses. Travelers who arrive at their destinations in cars almost always need a cold drink, at least a few hours to recuperate, and an audience to listen their unanticipated experiences. Continue reading On the Road…

Motorcycle Safety


By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

It’ll only take one fatality or maiming injury on a road in Huatulco or Puerto Escondido to get gringos to smarten up. It makes no difference whether you’re an expat resident of Oaxaca, a snowbird, or a one-week tourist. And it definitively shouldn’t provide you with any solace calling it a scooter rather than what it is, a motorized vehicle affording its driver no protection at all, travelling alongside cars and trucks whizzing by. Continue reading Motorcycle Safety

Classical Thinkers and Auto Mechanics

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.16.41 PMBy Brooke Gazer

A lifetime ago, one of my University professors assigned us to read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. This was a Philosophical book using a motorcycle trip across America as a literary vehicle. The premise was that there were two kinds of people in the world: those who understood how things worked and could fix them and those who were clueless. The author was of the former group which he labeled as “classical thinkers” and his companions were a well meaning but inept couple of “romantic thinkers”. You didn’t need to be Einstein to figure out who was not going to reach California. Continue reading Classical Thinkers and Auto Mechanics