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Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler Paperback – November 22, 2006


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Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler + Streetwise Mexico City Map - Laminated City Center Street Map of Mexico City, MX - Folding pocket size travel map with metro map + Top 10 Mexico City (EYEWITNESS TOP 10 TRAVEL GUIDE)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (November 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595418414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595418411
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Best of the lot. Evoke(s) the colors, sounds and smells (of the) world's second-largest metropolitan area." -- San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Jim Johnston was born in New York City and grew up in the woods of New Hampshire. After studying architecture at the University of Virginia and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts, he worked as a professional artist and potter in New York City for 27 years before moving full-time to Mexico in 1997, where he continues working as a printmaker. He currently resides in Mexico City with his partner Nicholas Gilman.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend this to anyone visiting or even living in Mexico City.
tb
The walking tours, restaurant recommendations and travel information are exactly what you need for an insider's look into Mexico City.
Treesa B
My family and I have just returned from one week in Mexico City and we referred to Jim's book often.
M. Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Easy Does It on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
My wife and I just returned from a five night stay in Mexico City.

Along with An Opinionated Guide, we used Fodors.

For me, the great value of An Opinionated Guide was the walks it lead me and my wife on. These walks were through both the historical center and some of the wealthy and artistic neighborhoods.

I feel that the walks gave me as good a sense of Mexico City as a non-Spanish speaking tourist is likely to get in a few days.

I agree with another reviewer that sometimes it was helpful to carry along a thicker guidebook which gives longer descriptions of specific sites.

One way in which this criticism does not seem fair, however, is that many of the sites that the walks cover are not so much historically or culturally important (a famous painting or a building by an important architect)as they are important in showing an aspect of Mexican life: transvestite hair dressers in a flower market and how this reveals the tolerance of Mexican society or a uniform shop where the mannequins are posed like famous sculptures such as the Pieta and how this shows the presence of a folk art tradition.

I think this is an essential book for anyone traveling for pleasure to Mexico City.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. Schimming on February 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
My wife and I just returned from Mexico City and found this guide to be invaluable. If you're an independent traveler, with a particular interest in architecture, this is the book for you. We loved the walking tour suggestions (particularly the one in Coyocan), as well as "Top 10" lists (taquerias etc.). This is really the only guide a first-time visitor to D.F. needs!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Julie V. Daves on January 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Why won't someone write a new, good, comprehensive book about Mexico City? Well, probably because it's the biggest city in the world and no one has time. Look, when an American goes to Mexico City, you are probably going there for business or some specific reason. And you are probably wondering what it's gonna be like after hearing, "Don't drink the water" a million times.

This book is a good crash course on Mexico City from a guy with a nice writing style. But, the book dances between being a "tell it like it is" reality check (which I really enjoyed) to a random laundry list of stuff to see. Plus it's really thin. Not a lot there.

I think the best use of this book is a primer for mentally preparing yourself to go. Read it in bed a few nights before you pack, especially the first chapter. It'll hit the high points and give you a "Cliffs Notes" version of the city.

When you get there, in the insanity, best bet is to hire a trustworthy local to give you the tour. This is not a city for novices to try to navigate, although I wish you many moments of beauty, like dilapidated houses with beautiful pink flowers in the window, and kids with holes in their shoes looking at you with big beautiful brown soulful eyes and chasing pigeons around the park, happier than I've been in years. Good luck!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By NY Kit on November 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was helpful in some ways, though I would not recommend relying soley upon it when navigating Mexico City. A more traditional guidebook is necessary to fill in some gaps. For example, the guide includes few maps, and the ones that it does include are of poor quality. The book's strength is in identifying restaurants and attractions that are a bit off the beaten path, and it does so primarily through descriptions of walking tours of various neighborhoods. The problem with this is that the author often does not provide addresses for the restaurants/ attractions he recommends, so if you are not strictly following his walking tour, it is very difficult to choose an attraction and only visit it. Overall, it was an interesting read, and had some valuable information, but it was far from comprehensive.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ann Pezaro on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
What a delightful book about one of my favorite cities and cultures! Instead of flipping to the glossary to find say, "museums" or "restaurants" and then reading a brief note of the address followed by a short description, I found that once I had begun reading the Introduction I simply couldn't put it down and just read it straight through until the end. It is so gracefully written and full of interesting insights, places and anecdotes that I can't wait to see them for myself. The numerous carefully scripted walks are described with such pleasure and respect for the people and daily life. The visitor is placed right in the midst of the action, tastes, colors and smells. No looking through the window of a tour bus here. It is a vast city and the various districts are quite distinct from one another and the public transportation to get to each is clearly described. The famous sites are all here for you, but this little volume also has unique places that I don't think you'll find in any other book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Goldberg on January 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This was our primary guide for a four-day vacation in Mexico City, and it did not dissapoint. Other guidebooks and websites are so overwhelming with information, but they're short on opinion. Also, others instil the fear of god about safety. I appreciated Johnston's reasonable assessments of safety issues, as well as his excellent tips on eating well and generally enjoying one's limited time in the city. I wish we'd read the tips on Xochimilco more carefully--my husband and I got creeped out by the men selling "tours," and turned around and left before we saw anything. Then on the train I reread the paragraph about how these men are just doing their jobs. So we missed Xochimilco, which means we'll have to go back (and read more carefully next time).

I could happily eat lunch and dinner every day for the rest of my life in the little food market behind the Cantina Guadalupana in Coyoacan. It's just one of the many gems we might not have found if we hadn't had this book.

Mexico City is amazing, and I can't say enough about Mexicans' culture of warmth, friendliness, generosity, and politeness. I can see why the author choses to make el D.F. his home.

Take this book, a phrase book, and a good map, and you'll be all set. That's what we did, and it went perfectly.
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