For many, Mexico is a land of sunshine, bright white beaches, bikini-clad
tourists, and gold-toothed souvenir vendors. To David Lida, it symbolizes a bleak,
forbidding land--sometimes beautiful--filled with sorcery, squalor and seduction.
Travel Advisory, Lidas recent collection of short stories
deals with Mexico in a light far removed from the cushy tourist meccas and beach hotels.
It offers a powerful portrayal of tawdry characters living out their lives in familiar and
sometimes unfamiliar settings. Inspired by his experiences while living and traveling in
Mexico, this collection shows the stark contrasts within Mexico, from the dirt streets of
rural villages to the ostentatious homes of the wealthy in the Polanco district of Mexico
The ten unmistakenly Mexican stories in this collection show tourists
and Mexicans interactingand sometimes clashingin situations overflowing with
sex and violence. At times, Mexicans interact with their fellow countrymen and women. That
cruelty can exist in paradise seems ironic as Lida pulls his readers deeper into the soul
One of the most intriguing stories is "Bewitched," the tale of
a travel writer from Philadelphia, who acts as a pompous prima dona, and though traveling
on a budget, expects quality service in the tiny town of Quetzalmaco. Here she intends to
discover the story behind the witches of Quetzalmaco only to be drawn into a sordid scene
with a male witch, leaving her to wonder just what magical powers these infamous witches
possess. The Mexicans are by their indigenous heritage a superstitious people, and Lida
explores this to the fullest in this story.
Another portrays a tourist couplethe husband a realist and the
wife full of naivte about Mexicowhove come to the beach seeking sun and
relaxation, only to be taken in by a drunk who engages them in conversation.
"Taxi," another of stories in the collection, shows how Maria
Concepción, the maid to a wealthy Mexico City family, gets caught up in the lustful
desires of their son, only to find herself pregnant. Not in a financial position to care
for the child, she ends up signing him away to a couple from the States, only to go
seeking him there.
Travel Advisory is a collection of tales that turns the image of
paradiseand Mexicoupside down. Lida has succeeded in unraveling some of the
contemporary misconceptions about Mexico where others have only brushed the surface. A
must read for a behind-the-scenes look at Mexico today.