C
 


T-SHIRTS & OTHER GEAR


A full-color portfolio by Anita Brown of the real Cancun that most tourists never see.


"This site is wonderfully original and reported with clear eyes."
-- Craig Stoltz, Washington Post

Review of
Cancun User's Guide

So you think you know Mexico?

By Kelly Arthur Garrett Excerpted by permission from The Mexico Herald, Apr. 2, 2005, Page 4.

This is no garden-variety commercial tourist guide. Sure, neophytes get homespun advice on things like dealing with money (page 168) and pronouncing zanahoria (page 197). But they also get what amounts to a 200-page expanded essay on what's going on around them not just in Cancun, but anywhere from Chiapas to Chihuahua.


 
"Siegel is incapable of writing a dull sentence."

The bulk of it is the result of a decades-long writing project Siegel calls "The Real Mexico." A title like that sends up huge, flapping red flags, but Siegel's premise seems merely that the "real" Mexico is wherever Mexicans are, and not confined to picturesque folk dance settings. That's hardly a radical thought, but his choice of a prototype for such a place will raise some eyebrows. It's Cancun itself.

For those who have a hard time considering a recently carved-from-the-jungle wet T-shirt mecca to be a "real" example of anything, Siegel has a calm explanation. "Cancun is an excellent framework for seeing Mexico, as it is a microcosm of the country at large," he writes. "Its inhabitants have come here from all over the Republic to seek a better life."

He goes on to prove his point rather well, most effectively via a series of short oral histories on the lives of some architects, engineers and other workers who created Cancun over the years. These people are as real as it gets. And the list includes Siegel himself, who was lured to Cancun by a job offer from Fonatur, the Mexican tourist board that financed the resort's construction.

Siegel was a lucid chronicler of the unprecedented (and so far unrepeated) cultural outburst in the United States of the 1960s and early 1970s, most notably for Playboy in its prime. His writing has lost none of its fat-free clarity.

When your dinner party lulls, open the Cancun User's Guide up and read a paragraph or two at random. Since Siegel is incapable of writing a dull sentence, your guests will spend the rest of the evening discussing, debating and delighting in the endless supply of pleasure and enigma this bewitching country offers

 

Playa El Mirador, New Year’s Day, 2011
SEE MORE PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANITA BROWN

Book Excerpt--Shopping in a Mexican Supermarket
Whether you're staying in one of those fully equipped Cancun luxury condos or just want to make a picnic lunch, you'll find these tips from longtime resident Anita Brown a life-saver for those times when restaurant or dining room food just won't do! GO TO STORY

Some good advice.The Cost of Living in Paradise It's not all that cheap, but look at what you get! Carmen Pino and Anita Brown give you the complete scoop!
GO TO STORY

Is Cancun Plastic?
When I tell my media friends that I am writing a book called The Real Mexico, they frequently ask how I can possibly know anything about the real Mexico if I've lived in Cancun since 1983.
GO TO STORY

Mexican Honey Bounces Back
After severe declines caused by invading parasites and Africanized bees, Mexico expects a bumper honey crop. The recovery results mainly from government programs to domesticate Africanized honeybees that began arriving here in 1987. GO TO STORY

Why Buy a Cow If Milk Is Free? There are comprehensive websites devoted to Cancun resorts. When you get to Cancun, the free information is everywhere. You'll receive full color magazines, maps, really great guides, on the plane coming here and in the airport as you leave the baggage area. But how free is this information, really? GO TO STORY

 


 

 


CANCUN USER'S GUIDE
$6.37
Alcohol
Apartments

Artists
Bargaining
Beaches
Books
Botánicas
Butchers
Coffee
Communications
Crocodiles
Fish
Fruit Drinks
Fruits & Vegetables
Hair
Hammocks
Handicrafts
Hotels Ice Cream
Insect Repellents
Laundromats
Lottery
Malls
Markets
Media
Medical
Money
Night Life
Personal Care
Pharmacies
Pottery
Restaurants
Ruins
Seashells
Supermarkets
Take-Out Food
Transportation
Vacation Rentals
Water Purifiers
Weather
Zona de Tolerancia
Glossary

Words to live by.

Casa Bambú, Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexico