Sunday, October 29, 2006


Si-Mexico is basically a web-based travel agency. If you don't know much more about Mexico than that you want to go there, this website is a good place to start. You can pick any of the popular cities that you might want to visit and find a healthy list of hotels where you can stay. You can compare airfare rates from a number of different services and airlines, book your hotel and even book excursions... all in Mexico and all from this website.

In addition, it has some useful reference information. My two favorites are a page on all the airport codes for the different cities in Mexico and the listing of events and festivities throughout the country during the different months of the year. These are both helpful tidbits of information when you are planning a Mexican trip.

While the ability to search for airfare from competing services all in one place is impressive, the hotel search and booking facility is less impressive. While it is a good place to get a listing of the largest hotels in a given Mexican city, I found that the hotels listed in my hometown are the "safe" hotels, and probably the ones that subscribe to a central booking service. Some of my favorite hotels are too small to subscribe, and so they aren't included in this website. Also, there was one hotel on the list for my city that I am very familiar with. The fares represented on the website are NOT cheaper than the fares published on the hotel's own website. In fact, they are a lot more expensive.

Now in Si-Mexico's defense, they do give a guarantee that they will refund the difference if you find a lower price. At least there is that, but you'll have to catch the discrepancy of course, and apply for the refund. Why not just get the price right?

The website also seems to promise the ability to book excursions out of the major destinations, such as Swimming With the Dolphins in Cancun or Sunset Sailing in Puerto Vallarta. But when the link was clicked on, neither Firefox nor Safari (yes, I'm using a Mac laptop) was able to serve up the desired page of information and booking form. All I got was a blank page with the Si-Mexico logo.

So, while the site has some flaws, I still find it a useful resource. I imagine it is especially useful to the new, first or second-time traveler to the famous vacation destinations of Mexico. I can see how it would provide a one-stop internet shop to the less experienced traveler.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


MexiData is a website maintained and written by a group of businessmen and politicians with insight into the workings of the government and business of Mexico. The columnists are Enrique Andrade Gonzalez, an attorney and business consultant and former Director of Audiences and Hearings for Vicente Fox until two years ago, Kenneth Emmond, a Canadian journalist and consultant who lives in Mexico, Carlos Luken, a consultant and real estate develpor and Barnard Thompson, a long-time consultant in risk analysis who is also the editor and who lives in San Diego. Mr. Thompson runs MIRA, Mexico Information and Research Associates which helps US companies do business in Latin America.

Without spending all day reading the website, I cannot say where these guys fall in the political spectrum between liberal and conservative. One of the categories of information on this website are columns written about their opinions on current affairs affecting or originating in Mexico. The columns are well thought out, informative but not very in-depth.

The second category of data on this website is Media Watch. These are columns written in Spanish for Mexican and other spanish-language newspapers, translated into English. For those of us with not enough fluency in Spanish or time to puzzle out a whole article, this section is a great resource.

But the best resource of all on this website is the Reports section. Here the group has uploaded various .pdf files with reports from all over. There is a lot of good information here. One of the first to catch my eye was the InterAmerican Development Banks' report on Migrant Remittances from the USA to Latin America. Did you know that the cost of transferring remittances has fallen 50% over the last six years? And that remittances from migrants constitutes one of the broadest and most effective poverty allevation programs in the world? I knew it was doing a lot of people a lot of good. Did you know that immigrants constitute 23% of working people in the production sector and 20% of service workers in the US?
Did you know that the majority of immigrants in the US did not have jobs in their home country before they came to the US? And that if they did have work before, within a month they were making an average of six times their former salary? And that almost 40% of immigrants found a job within two weeks of crossing the border?

In this section you can also read reports from Amnesty International about violence against women in Mexico. You can read the Global Competitiveness Report from the Executive Summary of the World Economic Forum, for instance. There is even a Maquiladora Employment report just recently released by the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas.

In other words, there is a wealth of information for anyone doing research or someone just plain curious, like me. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Adventures of a Third World Shopkeeper

Every once in awhile, I find a new and interesting website by looking at the list of websites that are linking to Mexico-in-English. Adventures of a Third World Shopkeeper is one such website. As I was perusing the website for the first time last night, I wondered "How is it I have not found this until now?"

"Eddie" (and I'm not sure it's his real name, but no importa... ) has been blogging about his version of the Mexican expatriate experience since 2002. He is one of the few British voices that I've come across, and thus his political views on the country he left behind and the one he lives in are different. In one of his early posts about why he wanted to leave and what he was looking forward to in Mexico, I was surprised to see a list of reasons totally different from the one I'm used to hearing from mostly ex-USA expats. But politics is not the reason I will continue to check into this blog.

Eddie is married to a bilingual Mexican and has a 2-year old daughter, born in Mexico. He and his wife own a glass shop, a "cristaleria", the kind of specialty shop you would never find in the USA. He lives near his wife's family. And he lives in a city that no one would mistake as a tourist center. He is thus living as close to a "typical" authentic Mexican life as an expat can get, I would think. And lucky for us, he writes about it.

He doesn't paint a totally rosy picture. In fact, he doesn't paint pictures at all: there are no photos on "Adventures of a Third World Shopkeeper". And after five years, he is still amazed by the things he sees every day in this new culture. One of his favorite phrases is "I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried." Come to think of it, that's a phrase I've been hearing more and more from the people around me about everyday life here.

Eddie writes in a conversational style that is easy to read. He writes in detail about conversations he has in his store, things he hears from his father-in-law or what he reads in the paper. If you want to get a feel for the nitty gritty of 'normal' Mexican life (okay, 'normal' Mexican life doesn't exist...), you'll enjoy Eddie's blog.

My favorite thing about this website? Underneath the title, Eddie writes: "After all, life as a third-world shopkeeper has to be better than as a first-world wage slave." I agree wholeheartedly. Read the blog and see for yourself.

Complete Blogroll

To prevent the list on the side of this blog from growing unwieldy, I am providing a
list of all previously reviewed blogs here:

  • Black Mexico

  • San Felipe

  • Mexico Uncovered

  • First Mate

  • BoGo Light

  • The MEX Files

  • Countdown to Mexico

  • Doing Business in Mexico

  • Prensa Latina

  • Mexico With Heart

  • Historic Haciendas

  • Mexico Desconocido

  • Bookmark the Larpman
    Third World Shopkeeper
    Beyond the Border
    The Road to Merida
    Billie's Blog
    Blog Day Around the World
    Good Airs or Buenos Aires
    Latino Pundit
    Cooking Diva from Panama
    Blogging El Salvador
    Beautiful Horizons
    Mexican Laws
    My Life in Chacala
    Ricardo's Blog
    Cabo San Lucas Beaches
    El Universal
    Viva Veracruz
    El Antiquario
    Yucatan Living
    Through the Looking Glass
    2035 miles
    Jon's Mexico Page
    The Cancun Blog
    Hopalog Travelogue
    Quality Peoples
    Living in Mexico
    Guajiro Dreams
    Sparks Mexico
    Surf Mexico
    Mexico Insights