Recent columnist articles

Mexico changes, Mexico remains the same Marvin West

The more Mexico changes, the more it remains the same. Despite delusions of assorted miracles, it is still largely a country where the past remains vividly present. We have been hearing about reforms since Enrique Peña Nieto launched his presidential campaign in November 2011. Together we will build a new and better Mexico, he said. As so eloquently added by a TV comedian, exaggerated promises come with “buckets of saliva.” Foreign investors took the bait. Mexico is a potential manufacturing powerhouse. Alas, the proverbial man on the street has been looking everywhere, trying to identify improvements in ordinary living. What he sees is fuzzy. read more

Travelers ignore warnings, Mexico wins Marvin West

It works! Advertising actually works. Mexico’s tourism board kept pouring millions of pesos into splashy ad campaigns featuring white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, Maya ruins, fresh fruit and genuine hospitality. Americans, Canadians, Europeans and several from the Orient ignored dire warnings, bought the sales talk and came to see for themselves. read more

Ask an old gringo about knife sharpening, a new college, Trump and things to like about Mexico Marvin West

afilador de cuchillo
There is a better way to sharpen your knife. Education can be expensive - for investors. The USA Presidential nomination process crosses the border - Not. How to gain wealth without working too hard. 'Tis the season to be juicy - Mangos and all the local drippings about a new hospital. read more

One more win Marvin West

Victor Espinoza, 43, calls himself the luckiest Mexican alive. He was the jockey aboard American Pharoah, winner of the U.S. triple crown of horse racing – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. His name will be forever etched in sporting history. Fame and fortune are likely partners for the rest of his life. Only 11 riders have accomplished this rare feat. The last time it happened was 1978. read more

Jocotepec blessed with one sharp historian Marvin West

Marsha kept her own horse, Marie-Elena, in the village. On this overcast day in summer 1966, she rode for miles along the shore. She bred Marie-Elena with a stallion from Jocotepec.
Photo in family collection of Marsha Sorensen; all rights reserved.
Aida exudes authenticity. She actually lives in Jocotepec. She was born there, last in a sizable flock of 13 children. Her father's family goes back to before the Spanish came calling. Her grandfather was shot during the Revolution. That is historic! read more

Mexico good news, Gloria Trevi, protests, soup in a gourd Marvin West

A fountain on a Mexican street honors Our Lady of Dolores on the Friday preceding Palm Sunday
© Edythe Anstey Hanen, 2014

Mexconnect readers, a priceless lot, ask occasional questions via e-mail. They receive sincere efforts at answers.

Some exchanges have the potential to interest others. You'll know shortly whether they interest you...

read more

Living at Lake Chapala Reviewed by James Tipton

Judy King's Living at Lake Chapala is a must have book for any expatriate living at Lake Chapala, and it is a very useful book for any expatriate anywhere in Mexico.

It is a book to keep beside the bed, or on the coffee table, or even on the car seat.

Arranged in six parts, the 76 chapters tell you just about everything you could want to know about living the Mexico adventure.

At the very beginning of Living at Lake Chapala, Judy tells us "This is the book I needed when I arrived in Mexico." It might be the book you need as well.... read more

Mexico success story: San Quintin Escuela Marvin West

Tennessee teachers at San Quintin primary school
© Marvin West, 2014
How this very rural elementary school has risen from nothing to something special is a stunning success story. The small Nayarit village in the foothills of the Sierra de Vallejo mountains, just 40 kilometers from downtown Puerto Vallarta, is a different world.

It is not distinctive and has been that way for generations.

Until Edd Bissell, by the grace of God or a quirk of fate, discovered the school and adopted it, nobody — nobody — had ever been beyond sixth grade. Today, a young woman is in her senior year of college architecture and several youth are in high school.,,. read more

Ask an old gringo about Frida Kahlo, Mexico contradictions, colorful protests Marvin West

Land's End at Cabo San Lucas
© Joe Cummings, 1998
I repeat: Contrary to rumor, many years and extensive travels in Mexico do not qualify me as a know-it-all, A-1 infallible expert. I apologize if I have faked you out.

I do try to answer all questions or redirect them to more knowledgeable sources. I thoroughly enjoy most exchanges with readers. I offer a few from time to time in a basic conversion to pesos (not many).

Question: How bad are things in Cabo? Answer: Cabo San Lucas, at the south end of Baja California Sur, took a hard hit from Hurricane Odile. The storm knocked out electricity which knocked out other services.

Some tourists got wet and inconvenienced. Vacations were spoiled but no lives were lost. Resort owners will likely recover. Little people are hurting. Tourism is the primary industry. No tourists, no jobs, no pesos...

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Ask an old gringo about Octavio Paz, Mexico reforms, giant fish tank, price break Marvin West

Spanish edition of The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz was a thinker, poet, writer and diplomat. Mexico's Congress has declared this "The Year of Octavio Paz" a century after his birth and 16 years after his death.

He was good enough to get the Nobel Prize for literature in 1990. In his most famous essay, "The Labyrinth of Solitude," Paz addressed the complexity of the Mexican mind. read more
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