Apr 13, 2012, 12:08 AM
Post #2 of 12
Here is a review sent to El Paso Times:
A review by Everett Campbell Words: 554
Bus Journey Across Mexico
By Dick Davis
Bus Journey Across Mexico chronicles a day-by-day odyssey by bus from Tijuana to Guatemala. This book differs from most travelogues in that each leg of the trip is an independent adventure, not simply a stop on the way to a final destination. Every day a new town is chosen in a somewhat arbitrary manner. It will depend on what insights someone has given him about a new place to visit and what bus schedule is convenient. There is no grand design, rather it is all about proving that you can go absolutely anywhere in Mexico by bus. A corollary might be that almost anywhere you go will be worth the trip.
Dick starts in Tijuana, gets a ticket for bus to Mexicali and is on the road. He tells us all about the bus, food, people he meets and the sights along the way. There are photos galore, lots of photos, which are a major source of enjoyment in reading this book. Lots of homely info such as what they mean by “refrigeration,” when he asks if the hotel has air conditioning. Every chapter begins with title “Day 1”, “Day 2” etc. and ends with an accounting of expenses for hotel, meals, tours.
Every town has new things to see and do and he makes friends with all sorts of folks along the way. Judging by these encounters it seems that getting to know all these people is half of the pleasure in each town. There was Mary Carmen, the tourist director in Zacatlan, who invited him to the Apple Fair and to write an article about it. There was Daniel Cid the archeologist in Yanga who showed him the museum and invited him to his home. There were many chance encounters that may have lasted less than an hour each but altogether make a real impression of being engaged with the local people.
All of these jaunts, hither and yon, finally take him down to Cancun where he abandons the bus and flies back to San Francisco. Thirty-eight days all told. From start to finish it is a good description of how to have a great tour of Mexico. Afterwards you may find yourself going back and dipping in at random to enjoy photos and descriptions of Zacatecas, Tlaxcala, polychromed missions, surrealistic art in a jungle setting, archeological sites, or most any other stop on the trip.
At the end of the book are several appendices detailing bibliography of history and literature, information about holidays, music and culture and a frankly tongue in cheek way to learn Spanish: namely by knowing a few words and phrases combined with facial expressions and hand gestures.
All in all, a great read. The only thing missing in this peripatetic adventure is a trusty sidekick. Think about other travel sagas: Don Quixote had Sancho Panza, Huck Finn had Jim, the Lone Ranger had Tonto, Jack Kerouac had Dean Moriarity--------------so where is the Dick Davis sidekick? Answer: it is you! Yes, you the reader whom he takes along sharing every confidence, giving you his own unvarnished thoughts and opinions about lots of people and places you will probably never know; but you could. You could easily make the same journey yourself. This unique travel-photo book sets itself apart from most any other travel book you have read.