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But in the context of the North American continent, Americanization strikes me as being the more precise term by far. And the country is hardly alone in having succumbed to the onslaught of Intro.


But as Paz suggested in his New Yorker essay and as any Mexican sixth-grader can readily comprehend, the implications of Americanization contain a special sting for a nation that has suffered so much at the hands of the United States. Those wounds predate the disastrous outcome of the Mexican War and stretch back to the rebellion of American settlers in Texas in , which gave rise to an independent republic that would be annexed by the United States a decade later. Mexican governments could do nothing to prevent U. As recently as the mids, Mexican presidents had credible fears of U.

The scars left by that checkered history are reopened every time the Mexican news media reports on the physical dangers facing their countrymen when they clandestinely cross the U.

The Pull of El Otro Lado There is one notable exception to the general reluctance to accept the Americanization thesis. For political purposes, some prominent figures in the modern Mexican left use it as a handy cudgel for critiquing the pro-capitalist, free-trade economic model adopted by Salinas de Gortari in the early s. California offers jobs, not glamorous jobs, but the young people believe that there are jobs there. But what they think they have in Intro. Cabo San Lucas hotel porters prize tips from American tourists as the primary source of their income.

Millions of Mexican teenagers view El Norte as the ultimate arbiter in music, fashion, and high-tech gadgetry. Across the board, increasing numbers of Mexicans from all social strata see in Americans and the United States their best hopes for jobs, education, markets, role models, and even inspiration.

This is not a one-way street. Some scholars have identified a Mexicanization process that is gathering steam inside the United States. This is especially pronounced in traditional magnets for Mexican immigrants like California, the Southwest, and the Chicago metropolitan area. But states like South Dakota, Delaware, and Indiana have reported sharp jumps in the size of their native Mexican populations in recent years.

The ugly backlash against undocumented workers that poisoned the atmospherics of the U. The evolving image of the United States in the minds of many Mexicans can be seen in the contrasting responses of two very different Intro.

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When a massive earthquake struck Mexico City on the morning of September 19, , President Miguel de la Madrid initially brushed aside all offers of emergency assistance coming from the United States, or any other foreign country for that matter. In those days, no self-respecting Mexican officeholder could be seen appealing to the United States for help in the face of a natural disaster.

The Harvard-educated de la Madrid soon backtracked when the scale of devastation and loss of life wrought by the temblor became fully apparent. But his knee-jerk response in the initial aftermath of the disaster that killed an estimated 20, people spoke to a deeply entrenched nationalism that has defined most Mexican governments since the early years of independence.

That by itself represents a sea change in attitudes and self-perception from the Mexico of a quartercentury ago. Part four will focus on selected sociological symptoms of Americanization, such as the spread of evangelical Christianity and soaring rates of obesity and substance abuse among the population at large.

During his stay in the Golden State, Paz encountered the unique cultural phenomenon known as the pachucos, the flamboyantly dressed Chicano gang members who often scuffled with white U. Navy sailors in the streets of wartime Los Angeles and came to symbolize Mexican American youth culture of that era.

Those zoot suit—sporting youngsters seem to have made quite an impression on the young Paz. The language and tone used by Paz to describe these uprooted sons of his own country evoke a zoologist who has stumbled upon a new mutant species he finds faintly repulsive. The pachuco does not want to 19 Ch Whether we like it or not, these persons are Mexicans, are one of the extremes at which the Mexican can arrive. By the s, of course, it had become politically correct for the intellectual heirs of Paz to embrace the American-born children of Mexican immigrants and deplore the racism they and their parents suffered inside the United States.

But as the son of a Mexican couple who entered this world in , my personal memories predated the seventies. I accordingly had rather mixed emotions when my editors at Newsweek approached me in the fall of about the vacant position of Mexico City bureau chief. I stood to become one of the three Newsweek reporters primarily responsible for covering the armed conflicts raging to the south in El Salvador and Nicaragua. But as a native of Los Angeles, I was no stranger to either of those urban plagues. I was annoyed. Prior to being offered the Mexico City job, I had encountered a similarly condescending reception on several occasions while on assignment for Newsweek in Central America and along the U.

Mexican border. But instead of feeling grateful to an English-speaking Latin American for having saved me the tedious task of translating an interview conducted in Spanish, the insecure cub reporter inside me acquired a big chip on his shoulder over the language issue. That had nothing to do with any shame they might have harbored about their origins. To the contrary: Joe and Olga Contreras always sought to instill in me their deepseated pride in our Mexican roots. As practical people with high ambitions for their only child, my parents were not about to let that happen to me.

In his own unwitting way, my father fed my ambivalence about Mexico. Kennedy in the U. My mother was cut from different cloth. Born Consuelo Granillo in the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua in , she was only three years old when she immigrated to El Paso with her mother Leonor and three older siblings.

As an adult, she changed her name to Olga when she became a naturalized United States citizen. When Dad would disparage Mexican Americans in our suburban Los Angeles home, he seemed to forget he was in the presence of one. I enrolled in the American College of that city in January , and from day one I was treated as just another gringo by my Mexican classmates. Looking back now, I realize that was completely understandable. But the cold shoulder I was shown by many of the Mexican fifth-graders at the American College rankled for many years afterward.

That patronizing attitude continues to reveal itself in different settings and even among senior Mexican government officials who should know better. Feuding Neighbors Through a stroke of pure luck, the house we rented in the elegant neighborhood of Lomas de Chapultepec belonged to Alan Riding, the veteran New York Times correspondent who was in the process of taking up a new assignment in Rio de Janeiro. In the realm of international affairs, for instance, Mexico in the mids was still charting its own distinctive course.

The byproduct of a Ch Throughout most of my four-year stint in Mexico City, U.

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When I arrived in Mexico City in the winter of the main flashpoint of friction was Central America, where the government of President Miguel de la Madrid was trying to negotiate a regional peace agreement under the auspices of the recently formed four-nation Contadora Group.

Consisting of Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama, the Contadora Group saw diplomacy as the only enduring solution to the armed conflicts raging in El Salvador and Nicaragua. The opening salvo in what became an increasingly public war of words was fired by an American general in the same month I landed in Mexico.

Testifying before a U.

The Fiancée Fiasco Mills & Boon Modern Heat Mills & Boon RIVA

Senate hearing in February , Gen. Newsweek ran a brief story in April about a proposal by then U. Anderson based the story on interviews with unnamed Reagan administration officials and classified U. But to de la Madrid and his aides, it all smacked of an elaborate, orchestrated effort by hard-liners in Washington to turn up the heat on the Mexicans over Central America. The dissonance between the distant neighbors rose to a din nine months later after gunmen snatched a U. But this uniquely undiplomatic ambassador accurately reflected the Mexico-bashing views of several top officials back in Washington.

Their ranks included CIA director William Casey, who fretted about a tidal wave of illegal immigrants washing across the Mexican border if communism ever established a lasting beachhead in Central America; U. Customs Commissioner William von Raab, who saw in Operation Intercept an excellent opportunity to punish Mexico for its sluggish response to the emergence of major drug trafficking rings; and Elliot Abrams, the pugnacious assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs who once told a closed-door U.

As the antiMexican chorus was reaching a crescendo in Washington in the spring of , the international edition of Newsweek weighed in with a lengthy article under my byline about the tarnished credibility of de la Madrid at home and abroad. As I passed the midway point of my four-year stint in Mexico City in , the distant neighbors seemed even more at loggerheads than had been the case when Riding was writing his book. Therein lay a certain irony: from the outset of his presidency de la Madrid, the first in a series of Ch De la Madrid had declined repeated invitations from the Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega to visit Managua, suspended heavily subsidized oil deliveries to Nicaragua, and demanded cash payments up front for future deliveries of Mexican crude.

That policy shift won grudging praise even from Elliot Abrams. Senate hearing. To the saber-rattling anticommunists of the U. Economic policies and cultural values also deepened the divide. Given its relative proximity to the U. True, Fords and Chevrolets plied the streets of the city, the Coca-Cola logo was ubiquitous, and the latest Hollywood blockbusters dominated movie theater screens. Thanks to cable television, I could watch the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, check out the latest MTV music videos, and frequently tune into live broadcasts of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games—my hometown team whose roster featured the pride of Sonora, the screwball-hurling pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.

Is [rock music] so popular because it is American, or because it is tailored for middle-class consumption? Are blue jeans American, or middle class? The pelvic gyrations of the young Elvis Presley actually scandalized millions of middle-class parents in suburbs and small towns across the United States Ch In fact, blue jeans, rock music, and hamburgers conquered the planet precisely because each represented in its own way a slice of the American way of life. But however Americanized the Mexican middle class was becoming on a superficial level by the s, the country still had a fairly closed economy that restricted the entry of U.

The banks were in the hands of the government and the major hotel chains were Mexican-owned, as were the supermarkets where Caroline and I shopped. The fresh produce and canned foods were nearly all homegrown, and the beer on offer came almost exclusively from local breweries. Most American goods were either impossible to find in Mexico City stores or prohibitively expensive— to the point where my wife and I made a special trip to the border city of El Paso to purchase a changing table, baby stroller, playpen, and other related items when Caroline became pregnant with our first daughter.

Punctuality was still an alien concept for many chilangos—the originally pejorative nickname, now in vogue, for residents of the Mexican capital—to the point where I always took a magazine or book with me to an interview appointment in the almost certain knowledge I would not be received at the designated hour. Productivity was another American value that had not yet taken root in Mexico City, a fact of life affirmed on a daily basis by the traditional ritual of the leisurely, three-course afternoon lunch.

Sources almost never returned phone calls, and the job title of government spokesman seemed like an oxymoron, since most of the ones I dealt with appeared to be under instructions never to speak to the foreign press. The air in Mexico City was dirty, the aromas from the sidewalk food stalls were pungent, and the noise of the traffic and Ch There was nothing bland or homogenized about the sights and sounds of the Mexico of that era. Its sheer otherness made a powerful impression on all outsiders, even to one like myself with strong ties to the country and its culture on both sides of his family.

Some Mexican institutions were little more than empty impersonations of their American counterparts. This was especially true of what passed for mainstream journalism in the s. Only the weekly magazine Proceso and the tabloid La Jornada were worth reading on a regular basis in those years, but with both publications a discerning reader had to filter out the stridently left-wing editorial slant in their coverage of foreign affairs. The spirited in-fighting among Democrats and Republicans for the presidential nominations of their respective parties was conspicuous by its absence in Mexican politics.

I was one of many foreign correspondents who saw firsthand how the government engaged in blatant ballot box stuffing to ensure victories for PRI gubernatorial candidates in the northern border states of Sonora and Chihuahua. The ulterior motives of Mexico-bashers like Gorman were reprehensible in many instances.

But much of what they said needed to be said by somebody. Senate hearing were way overdue. And let the press in Mexico speak with an open mind. Let all of the political parties in Mexico criticize the process and recommend reforms. De la Madrid later accused his own diplomats of allowing emotion to prevail over reason when it came to the United States. Naturally, our relations have not been helped by the stance of the current U. And when de la Madrid took the microphone to formally inaugurate the quadrennial tournament, much of his prepared speech was drowned out by a prolonged din of jeers and catcalls.

The money-losing Fundidora de Monterrey, the oldest steel mill in Latin America, declared itself bankrupt on May 8. Its rusting smokestacks overlooking the northern industrial city of Monterrey instantly became a demoralizing symbol of the recession de la Madrid inherited from his predecessor and which seemed to have no end in sight. The ongoing U. Senate hearings chaired by Jesse Helms stoked outrage in the Ch But it was the Azteca Stadium episode that really touched a nerve inside the usually imperturbable Mexican president.

De la Madrid held this nouveau-riche class responsible for encouraging the once timid Mexican right to accuse him of needlessly straining relations with the United States in recent months. He was still on the defensive over his bungled handling of the catastrophic Mexico City earthquake of the previous year, and the PRI was facing an unusually stiff challenge from the PAN in an upcoming gubernatorial election in Chihuahua.

With two and a half years still left in his presidential term, de la Madrid had become a national laughingstock for many of his countrymen: some wags referred to him as Presidente Mas de la Misma Historia President More of the Same Story , a sarcastic nickname derived from his full name, Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado.

A Warming Trend But the crisis atmosphere that soured U. Treasury Department had played a constructive, behind-the-scenes role and urged IMF officials to relax some of the rigid spending and fiscal targets they routinely imposed on developing nations. De la Madrid encountered an altogether different reception at the Reagan White House in August of that year.

Throughout most of my four years, the Mexican capital served primarily as a launching pad for recurring trips to Central America, and I could informally gauge the state of bilateral ties by the number of days I physically spent inside Mexico. By the end of , however, the Reagan administration found itself on the defensive over its Nicaragua policy. White House officials had their hands full with allegations that the administration had circumvented congressional restrictions on channeling more money to the anti-Sandinista guerrillas known as the contras by secretly selling arms to Iran.

There was little enthusiasm left in the White House for continued arm-twisting of Mexico on behalf of a Central America policy under siege on Capitol Hill. Congress as a success story for its counter-narcotics efforts.


When Jesse Helms introduced a resolution in the Senate that year calling for the imposition of sanctions against Mexico, some of his fellow Republican senators, with the tacit backing of the Reagan White House, openly opposed the proposal. The proposed Helms amendment was defeated in due course. The birth of our daughter Claire had crystallized our anxieties about the health hazards that smog-infested Mexico City posed to its inhabitants. The news story in Central America was fizzling as Reagan went into crisis-management mode over the Iran Contra scandal.

On a professional note I was discovering that a foreign correspondent starts to lose his energy and freshness of perspective by the fourth or fifth year of covering the same patch of turf. The time had come to move on. I was leaving the country with more blood ties, through the birth of our two daughters, than when I had arrived. But I had found the formality of upper-class Mexicans to be stifling at times. As the day of our departure approached, I realized that my ambivalence about Mexico had not appreciably diminished.

I felt about the country the way I imagined some liberal American Jews feel about Israel—a homeland with a host of problems, injustices, and hypocrisies. But there was no getting around the fact that it was still the homeland, warts and all. The American imprint on Mexico had spread over the course of our four-year stay despite all the recent political tensions.

The number of in-bond assembly plants known as maquiladoras, most of which were U. A significant degree of Americanization had also penetrated Mexican youth culture. But the identity of the homeland remained as vibrant and unique as ever. At the end of the day, Mexican-ness was very much alive and well south of the border.

Looking back on that period, I now believe that the mids bore witness to the worst deterioration in relations between the distant neighbors since President Woodrow Wilson dispatched U. And to their credit, de la Madrid and his aides largely stood their ground. My career trajectory at Newsweek had taken me to South America, southern Africa, and the Middle East, and during that time I had only casually followed events in Mexico.

Though I registered these events, I never really delved into them for a simple reason: at that point in time I had no reason to believe I would ever go back to Mexico as a reporter in the foreseeable future. I had moved on to different continents, cultures, and wavelengths, and I was not in the habit of keeping abreast of news in old stomping grounds.

That changed quite suddenly when the magazine transferred me to its Miami bureau in the summer of With a smartly dressed military aide standing at attention behind his chair in a wood-paneled office inside the presidential residence of Los Pinos, de la Madrid lived up to his image as a dull, starchy technocrat: his answers had a rehearsed, prerecorded sound to them. The interview was conducted in Spanish from start to finish, with an official translator on hand, even though the Harvard-educated president was known to speak good English. But from the outset it became clear that Fox was a very different breed of politician from the ones I had covered in the s.

My lord, how times had changed. By the summer of , no such musings were being heard about the electoral prospects of a candidate like Fox, the grandson of an American who had immigrated to Mexico from Cincinnati in the late nineteenth century. The undercurrents in U. But every so often there comes to light a document revealing the foresight of a public servant who grasped the full consequences and implications of a particular government measure or policy.

Such a document was written in the spring of by the then U. The compelling factor in this change was the failure of the previous approach to respond to the real needs of the Mexican people, but better and more responsible leadership was also clearly an indispensable factor. Hence, privatization, revision of investment rules and a genuine turn-around in attitudes towards foreign investment in most sectors of the economy.

Again, the compelling factor was to create conditions of business confidence and economic growth more responsive to the needs of the Mexican people. The proposal for an FTA is in a way the capstone of these new policy approaches. Just think of how this contrasts with past behavior. Negroponte was serving as U. Once a rare sight on city sidewalks, the Converse All-Star sneaker had become de rigueur footwear for millions of young Mexicans. Chilango college students sipped cups of white mocha frappuccino and caramel macchiato espresso at the Starbucks opposite the famous Angel monument to Mexican independence on the Paseo de la Reforma.

Parents took their kids to a sprawling Six Flags amusement park on the southern outskirts of Mexico City. So tight had the Mexican embrace of American junk-food culture become that it was blamed for a 50 percent drop in the sale of Mexican sandwiches known as tortas over a ten-year period and a 25 percent decline in the consumption of tortillas between and I later discovered a restaurant in the Mexican heartland whose owners had introduced a complete and heretofore inconceivable ban on smoking, a decidedly American trend.

The tobacco-free policy seemed all the more noteworthy because the restaurant, Dorados de Villa, was located in the city of Zacatecas, a jewel of colonial-era architecture that for some reason is rarely visited by most American tourists. The country had become wired—and wireless. From the coffee-growing town of Coatepec in Veracruz to the immigrant-exporting city of Jerez in Zacatecas, every community of any reasonable size seemed to have conveniently located internet cafes where I could check my e-mail.

Wireless access for laptop computers was fast becoming a commonplace feature of cafes and major airports throughout the republic. In major cities more schoolchildren celebrated Halloween than the traditional religious holiday that falls on November 2 and is known as the Day of the Dead. Americanstyle malls had become entrenched fixtures of the suburban landscape. When I boarded a bus in Mexico City for the seventy-five-minute ride to the city of Cuernavaca one afternoon, my fellow passengers sat glued to the TV monitors hanging from the ceiling of the vehicle that were screening an inane Hollywood comedy called Jersey Girl starring Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.

On the return trip to the capital city, a different group of passengers was equally transfixed by the latest James Bond film, Die Another Day. No example of what passes for American pop culture in the twentyfirst century seemed too vulgar or mindless for the tastes of some Mexicans. The popular TV talk show host Adal Ramones wore a baseball cap during tapings of his program in a studio that looked like a replica of The Tonight Show sound stage where the American comedian Jay Leno delivered nightly monologues on the NBC television network. The Miami-based Univision TV anchorman Jorge Ramos once told me that, with the exception of soccer broadcasts and the durable workhorse of Mexican television known as the telenovela soap opera , nearly all of the programming he saw on his periodic trips back to his native Mexico City seemed modeled on American television.

That most monotonous and redneck-friendly of American sports, the NASCAR stock car races that feature overpowered Chevrolets and Fords and Dodges endlessly spinning around oval tracks, made their debut in Mexico City in March before a sellout crowd of nearly , cheering fans. A rendition of the Mexican national anthem was followed by three young pop music crooners who sang the American national anthem a cappella while U.

Another could be heard in the growing importance and penetration of the English language.

The classified ad sections of Mexico City newspapers were littered with entries from employers seeking job applicants with advanced fluency in English. The linguistic bastard child known as Spanglish that my father had ridiculed over the family dinner table decades ago had become not just acceptable but downright trendy. Signs of creeping Americanization have been consistently resisted in a country that throughout its history has often defined itself in terms of how it differed from the United States.

We have, by our example and our commercial products, taught the peon to wear shoes and a hat, and have increased the wages all over his republic. But over the ensuing decades American culture did make significant inroads inside Mexico. A Mexican version of the emerging counterculture movement in the States arrived in the mids in the form of the cultural movement la onda the wave , and some of its leading writers spiced up their iconoclastic prose with rock music lyrics.

At the top of the map a smirking President Lyndon B. By the s the bank financed over half of all movies made inside Mexico, a figure that would rise to 70 percent by the late s. The sporadic efforts to contain Americanization achieved perhaps their most ludicrous expression in , when the Mexican government established a Commission for the Defense of the Spanish Language as part of a doomed bid to halt the infiltration of English terms and, in particular, the apostrophe—a punctuation mark foreign to the orthography of the Castilian tongue.

The thickening economic ties binding Mexico to the United States are not limited to the area of direct foreign investment. My Argentine wife Olga Wornat and I walked into a Holiday Inn in the northern city of Monterrey one afternoon with two Mexican friends and ordered drinks. Our friends by contrast had opted for frozen margaritas, a mound of crushed ice sitting in a puddle of tequila with protruding plastic drinking straws.

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To my mind and taste in tippling, that icy concoction is to a real margarita what a Miller Lite is to a Sam Adams Boston Lager—an ersatz version of the genuine article—and when I asked our friends why on earth they were drinking that, they shrugged their shoulders and smiled sheepishly. And sure enough, when the waiter came back to our table, there perched on his tray was the dreaded frozen drink, an Americanized travesty of a national treasure if ever there was one.

So too are Mexican politicians. Bush won six years previously. During the recently concluded U. But the Ch If a major foreign or Mexican company wanted to change an existing law or derail a pending piece of legislation it deemed inimical to its interests, its executives made a beeline for the presidential residence of Los Pinos as the final, incontrovertible arbiter.

But Washington-style lobbying has become a salient fact of life in Mexican politics in an era when the congress is no longer a rubber-stamp body at the beck and call of the sitting chief of state. But for better or worse, lobbyists have inserted themselves into the body politic as well-connected players that major foreign and domestic corporations can ill afford to do without. The Holy Grail of this bold foreign policy initiative was a comprehensive immigration accord with the incoming Bush administration that would legalize the status of millions of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States.

In the current context of our interdependence, the mutual interests of Mexico and the United States require us to consolidate a firm, long-term relationship. Aides to both men played up the good personal chemistry between the folksy chiefs of state. The Mexican president Ch Cuba provided the most conspicuous example of this sea change. The statement was widely interpreted as a standing invitation to any Cuban interested in obtaining political asylum, and within hours the embassy was invaded by hundreds of unemployed youths. Fidel Castro would take his revenge in due course.

When Fox foresaw the possibility of an embarrassing showdown between Bush and Castro at a U. An apoplectic Castro later embarrassed Fox at a Havana press conference by playing tape recordings of what the Mexican president had thought was a private phone conversation. S government at the International Court of Justice on behalf of over fifty Mexican citizens who were accused of Ch The drug trafficking problem that was such a recurring source of friction between the Reagan administration and the de la Madrid government in the s became an example of how well the two countries could work together on an issue of mutual concern.

Navy and Coast Guard. At the beginning of , the White House declared that the two countries had achieved unparalleled levels of cooperation in the antinarcotics effort. In the fall of —more than forty years after President John F. Previous governments had denied entry to the Peace Corps out of fear of appearing too proWashington. In a nod to Mexican sensitivities about being perceived as Ch By the summer of , the number of in-country American volunteers had swollen to forty-five who were deployed in four Mexican states, and U.

Successive Mexican governments vetoed OPIC requests for permission to offer political risk insurance to American companies with operations south of the border, arguing that Mexico had compiled an impressive track record of political stability over several decades and that U. But Fox finally relented in and signed an agreement that okayed the provision of such insurance coverage.

The Servility Syndrome Is there a danger that Americanization may be going too far? The cover of Ch It bet everything on achieving a special relationship with Bush and the United States. During the run-up to the U. That should come as no surprise: year in and year out, in schools stretching from the city of Tijuana south of San Diego to the town of Tapachula on the southern border with Guatemala, the disastrous outcome of the midnineteenth-century war with the United States and the naked land grab it represented are drilled into the minds of successive generations of Mexican children.

It is a very old and profound trait of Mexican nationalism, and it is nurtured every day in school classrooms. So from the standpoint of politically correct thinking, Mexico has to be an anti-American country. Harvard professor Samuel Huntington recounted a conversation he once had with a top adviser of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was touting the neoliberal economic policies the then Mexican president was aggressively pursuing.

Influential opinion makers no longer shrink from calling for more mature attitudes toward the United States. Should Mexico behave as a wounded civilization and fight the United States at every turn, as Aguilar Zinser has suggested? Or should it leave its pride and prejudices behind while pursuing concrete bilateral interests? We abandoned the anti-American rhetoric totally, and we tried to transform it into a rhetoric of cooperation but at the same time really pursue an agenda based on Mexican interests.

Domestic political factors may have swayed the Fox government: with midterm congressional elections scheduled for July of that year, opinion polls showed that an overwhelming number of Mexicans opposed the invasion. Whether it was for principle or expediency, history will show that Fox stuck to his guns all the same. In other respects, the Fox government displayed a refreshing readiness to side with the United States on some issues and resolutely oppose it on Ch When U.

That position prompted a revealing outburst from the self-proclaimed socialist leader of Venezuela. Is Americanization Only Skin-Deep? There remain formidable limits to the Americanizing of Mexico. Heads still turn in Mexico City elevators when strangers speak in English. Baseball has a fervent following among millions of Mexicans, but soccer remains the undisputed king among spectator sports.

Anti-Americanism lives on as a powerful strain in Mexican politics and society and can surface in very public and even puerile ways. During a soccer game in the city of Guadalajara that pitted Mexico against its U. The journalism graduate crowned her star-crossed visit to the country by slipping at one point during the evening gown competition and landing directly on her derriere. Scott Fitzgerald. They saw all the new American movies. They read Time magazine or Newsweek. That is Americanization for them. There is greater knowledge and naturalness for coexistence.

Attitudes toward the United States have changed a lot in the sense that there is a high percentage of the population that has a favorable opinion of the institutions of American society. Yet a passport is sometimes useful; it now costs little, and should always be taken. It is particularly important in some towns, to facilitate the obtaining of registered letters.

Even ordinary letters occasionally, as I have found at Brussels on a former trip having unfortunately lost my passport at Strasburg , will scarcely be delivered at the Poste Restante without production of the passport or other presumable evidence of identity; and it is said in guide-books, although we have never experienced the benefit of the information, that it operates as an admission to certain places of public resort.

Although to the mens conscia recti it may matter little, it does not follow that, with all this relaxation of former rigour, people are altogether free from surveillance. The spy may not crop up here and there as, according to Doyle, he did, to afflict Messrs. Brown, Jones, and Robinson, yet travellers do meet with evidences of the existence of a secret and prying police. At Aix-les-Bains, which, however, may be regarded as a frontier town, we found the register of visitors kept in a book furnished by the police, and containing instructions for the entry of all names and particulars; and almost everywhere, immediately upon arrival at a hotel, a waiter comes to take down the name, [10] address, profession, etc.

Besides a passport, there are other things to be attended to in order that the way may be made smooth. People do not always, when they resolve to travel, sit upon their boxes—I mean, of course, metaphorically; yet in travelling abroad, at least for a period of any duration, some thought must be bestowed upon the impedimenta , and it is very proper to take such boxes as will stand the immense fatigue to which all luggage is exposed, and to which the foreign system of registration greatly adds. Very little regard is paid by porters to the conservation of the luggage.

It is tossed and dragged along over iron-bound tables; and huge heavy iron-bound and iron-cornered American chests, with their piercing little iron castors, are often thrown or deposited remorselessly on the top of smaller and weaker packages. Very small articles, indeed, should never be put in the vans.

It is better, and in the long run cheaper, to have fewer packages and of a larger size. At the same time, they are very inconvenient if unwieldily large, as too often one sees them to be, requiring two men for their carriage, and needing to be left outside the bedroom—an inconvenience both to the traveller herself and her fellow-travellers; for it is the ladies who are in this respect the great transgressors. Some ladies seem to travel with their whole wardrobe, or at all events with a useless number of changes of raiment.

This is a grievous mistake. Ladies ought to travel with the least possible quantity of changes. More than is fairly needful is inconvenient in many ways. Apart from causing detentions to others, it is a source of anxiety, and is most expensive in countries where [11] the luggage is all weighed, and every pound or extra pound must be paid for. Among the little things to be taken, no good traveller will, of course, omit a pocket corkscrew and a flask of cognac; nor will he neglect soap.

If he have not made it a rule in all travelling to use his own soap, he is charged at foreign hotels 1 franc for savon. We considered it advisable, especially in view of travelling in Italy, where the water is said to be often impure, and consequently unsafe to drink, to take with us a small filter; but although we used our filter occasionally, I cannot say we were frequently conscious of drinking bad water. It is, however, a proper precaution, as water may be bad without betraying its quality by the taste.

An Ashantee filter with a quart tin bottle, to be had from Atkins and Co. Were Messrs. Atkins to devise a portable little filter for use at the table by insertion in a tumbler, so as to purify the drinking water without the fuss of a large filter, which it is inconvenient to carry, and which one cannot bring to the public room, it would be of much use.

It must be borne in mind, however, that filters do not destroy organic matter suspended in the water, and for this purpose permanganite of potash may be employed. There are, however, things more important to provide, and among them are good guide-books. The rapid growth and extraordinary ramifications of the railway system have created [12] a new branch of literature in the railway time-tables. It is curious to take up an early copy of Bradshaw, consisting only of a few pages, small pocket size, neatly got up, and to contrast it with English Bradshaw of the present time.

If such a book be needful in Great Britain, people are even more helpless without it abroad. It contains a great deal of information, which, however, ought to be taken in a general way, or as the lawyers say, cum nota. Perfect reliance cannot always be placed upon the accuracy of its railway and other time-tables and its tariffs. On arriving in a country, it is especially necessary to secure, in addition, one of its latest official railway guides. This costs 60 centimes 6d. As nearly all French travellers purchase a copy when they start on a journey, it doubtless obtains a large sale.

It is published once a month, book shape duodecimo, costs 1 franc, and has no advertisements, which are scattered through the Indicateur in a tormenting way, though sometimes useful when desired information is thereby discovered, which it might much more readily be if, as in Bradshaw, all the advertisements were thrown systematically to the end of the book. It is, however, troublesome to follow these French guides when divergence from the main lines is desired to be made.

This is peculiarly arranged, and requires study; but the Italian lines are so few, compared with those of France, that there is no insuperable difficulty in discovering the time-bills of particular railways. The Italian Indicatore contains various preliminary directions which it is well to read. They are curious, and embrace, inter alia , regulations relative to the transport of cats and monkeys.

The Italians have also a long Indicatore similar to the French weekly one; and in both countries smaller and cheaper district guides, with more limited information, are to be had. It is never safe to trust to a guide of a past month, although changes are generally only made in the beginning of the winter season, or about 15th or 16th October, and in the beginning of the summer or spring season.

These books all require from time to time careful revision; and considering the importance to the traveller of having the latest information, and the large sale they command, they ought to be revised at short intervals. There are certain very useful guide-books published in France, of two sorts—the Guides Diamant , which are little pocket volumes in small type; and the Guides Grand Format , which are of a larger size.

Each class published only in French contains a series of volumes applicable to the different parts of France, as well as volumes devoted to other countries. The divisional volumes for France are exceedingly useful, as containing detailed information respecting the districts to which they apply. I may also mention that Mr. Cook, the tourist, publishes a series of handbooks for the countries to which his tours apply; and that recently Black has also added to his list of guide-books, guides to the south of France.

Unfortunately we did not take it with us, as adding to the quantity of books with [15] which we had to travel. In the old coaching days, when the mail or the diligence drove through a town, and generally stopped at one of the principal inns, there was not much deliberation needed or even much choice granted as to where the passenger should sleep. But it is one of the inconveniences attendant upon the railway system,—to a certain extent obviated by the erection of station hotels,—that he has not an opportunity from ocular inspection beforehand, on arriving at a strange town, of forming an idea as to where he should go.

And it is an observation on Bradshaw more or less applicable to other guide-books , that it does not do to rely implicitly on its recommendations of hotels,—a circumstance which probably arises from the notice of given hotels having been written years previously, and means not having been used to obtain a complete revision from year to year. In the absence of other means of intelligence, we have sometimes been driven, like many others, to ask information from chance fellow-travellers, at other times to get it at the hotel from which we started in the morning—not infrequently the less trustworthy method of the two.

But as it is most desirable to have reliable information on this subject, it is, where practicable, by far the best plan, before setting out upon a tour, to settle as nearly as possible the route to be taken, and to obtain a note from friends who have travelled along it of the hotels they would recommend. In possession of this knowledge beforehand, all anxiety is removed, and one is enabled to write previously, requesting the landlord to retain rooms. Letters and telegrams with such requests are always carefully attended to, the hotelkeeper no doubt [16] considering that application to him is made from choice and not from chance.

The great increase of travelling produced by the railways, has led bankers to contrive convenient methods in which people may take the requisite supply of money with them; and of all the methods which have been devised, the best and safest is that afforded by the system of circular notes. They can be cashed at any town on the Continent, hotelkeepers also accepting them in payment of their bills, but without benefit of any exchange which would be allowed by the banks. At some places, however, such as at Paris, the bankers are more cautious, and not only invariably ask for the letter, but they put sundry questions and take the hotel address—the object being, quite properly, in a quiet way to make sure that the notes are presented by the right person.

A friend had his notes stolen from him at a railway station in Paris on arrival from England, having unfortunately put them with other things in a small hand-bag, instead of carrying them in a secure pocket about his person. His letter of indication, however, was not with the notes, and so far, though not altogether, was he safe. The thief [17] took them at once to a bank in Paris, and, I suppose, not having the letter of indication, and perhaps not being able to give a satisfactory account of himself, they were forwarded to London, and within fifteen hours after being stolen were presented to the banker on whom they were drawn, and they were refused because the signature attached by the thief did not correspond with the usual signature of my friend.

These circular notes are exchanged for the money of the country in which they are presented for payment; but French gold is always useful, and fetches full value abroad. In exchanging, one generally gets the benefit of the exchange, subject to a fractional deduction. The usual exchange in France for a sovereign is 25 francs 10 centimes; [4] but this is seldom got, and in some places, such as Biarritz and Mentone, the bankers only give the 25 francs nett, and in other places slightly more or slightly less according to the state of the exchange.

Eighteen months later, however, I found in Paris, oddly enough, that Bank of England notes were at a premium, while circular notes were at a discount. At Cannes, in , I had occasion to cash a bank draft on London received from one of the colonies, and found that nominally the allowance was greater than upon circular notes; but as the banker charged a commission, it practically reduced the exchange to about the same amount.

The same difference occurred in two other places. Within a day or two afterwards, I had to change other notes at Interlachen, and received 25 francs 10 centimes. The only explanation I ever got for these anomalies was that given at Biarritz, the banker there saying, that at Montreux they were near the Italian border in fact, a long way off from it , and could make more money out of the notes. But this was obviously an unsatisfactory reason, and certainly could not explain the position of matters at Mentone, which is within two miles of the Italian frontier. In Italy the exchange of gold or notes on London into Italian paper is a matter of considerable importance to the holder, for the exchange allowed, though it fluctuates, is always high.

This last was during the Eastern War, which had been declared in April, and [19] considerably raised the value of gold in Italy. I presume the uncertainty as to whether Italy would be involved in the war helped to depress the value of the paper. It is difficult for one who has not been engaged in commerce or in banking to understand why these fluctuations occur, or to be acquainted with the causes which influence them.

The current value is said to be dependent upon the position of the commercial relations between Great Britain and the Continent; but there are obviously other circumstances, such as national credit, political disturbances, war, and the abundance or scarcity of money, which affect or bias the barometer. But whatever may be the cause, the traveller obtains the benefit of the effect when the exchange is high, as his money goes so much further. The Italian paper money is, unless otherwise specially bargained for, taken everywhere in Italy—in hotels, in shops, and even at railways.

It is only necessary to be particular in seeing that paper of the right sort is given. It is always safe to receive paper of the National Bank of Italy. This circulates everywhere throughout Italy, but notes of district or provincial banks are not accepted out of the province; and there are certain notes which have been called in with which one soon becomes familiar , which, though taken in shops, are refused at railway stations and other public places, sometimes provokingly. One curious circumstance about the Continental banks is, that they seem to possess marvellously limited stores of money, whether of notes or of gold and silver.

People have just to take what the bankers can give. I have often had the greatest difficulty in getting small change even for half a napoleon. For a napoleon 20 francs one is fortunate to get, as a favour from a bank, four large 5 franc pieces, the banker saying that he has no smaller change, which perhaps [20] only means he cannot spare his lesser money.

This state of matters, I believe, arises from the scarcity of silver money in France, produced by the people hoarding up their savings, which are thus withdrawn from circulation. In Italy where apparently the same hoarding must take place, though probably not so extensively I have for the most part had to take, except to a very limited extent, the notes proffered by the banks; and one very useful kind of note, that for half a franc, is very difficult to procure. Even 1 franc notes are scarce; the bankers will give you a pocketful of copper instead.

Fancy tendering a London cabman his fare in copper! At first one feels a little repugnance to the use of these small Italian notes, which are of all values; but after getting habituated to them, a preference arises for their use over metal money, which is so much heavier. A special purse with divisions for the different values should be procured. And now, having accomplished the preparations for the journey, the next question is as to the route. It will always be found that there are greater facilities in travelling to and from a capital city, such as London, Paris, or Edinburgh; and in going abroad towards France, the voyager has generally to select one of the routes from London to Paris.

The four great leading steamboat passages across the Straits are—Southampton to Havre, advertised to take in crossing six and a half hours; but on the only occasion on which I have gone by that route, which was in , the voyage occupied in a calm night eleven hours, though possibly more powerful boats are now laid on. Newhaven to Dieppe, five and a half to six hours in good weather: I have been nine hours in a storm. Folkestone to Boulogne, ordinarily two hours, although one fast boat by which our last crossing was made accomplishes the passage in an hour [21] and a half.

Dover to Calais, one hour forty minutes; but in a storm I have known it to have taken four hours. As an inducement to travel by the longer crossings, the fares are proportionately lower. Fares by night service trains are considerably less than those by day trains. The routes by Newhaven and Folkestone are tidal, and the hours of sailing vary according to the state of the tide, which is troublesome, and infers to most people, when the boats sail at an early hour, sleeping at the port of departure, which we repeatedly have had to do.

In proceeding to Paris from Calais or Boulogne, one may stop at Amiens and see the town and fine old cathedral; but the routes from Havre, and from Dieppe to Paris through Normandy, are far more interesting by the way, and pass picturesque Rouen, which is well worthy of a visit, the stoppage of at least a night to explore it amply repaying the visitor. All the world and the railway companies are largely indebted to the enterprise of Mr. Cook, who, from small beginnings, commencing in , has gradually enlarged his schemes for the public benefit, till the ramifications of his system extend over all Europe and even into the other continents.

Gaze followed, apparently a good many years later, and his arrangements seem to be on an equally extensive scale. Both houses have agencies in the leading towns of Great Britain, as well as in several of the principal European cities. Their success is evidence of their utility, [22] and there can be no doubt that the facilities afforded by them have greatly increased the number of Continental travellers.

Their Lists furnish the routes and the cost of travel; their tickets are extremely useful, and possess the advantage of being printed in English as well as in the language of the country to which they apply; while to those who are afraid of travelling in countries where they cannot speak the language, their conducted tours are no doubt valuable. The tickets are made up in little books, and a leaf applicable to the portion traversed is withdrawn by the ticket collector upon accomplishment of that stage of the journey.

But if the traveller be going beyond Paris, to some place to which these offices book, he receives a separate packet of tickets, which is exceedingly useful to him, as, besides saving the trouble of purchasing at the Paris railway station, he is enabled on starting from Paris to register his heavy luggage to any part of his destination for which there is a coupon, and that even at every such place. For example, going from Paris to Nice, the luggage may be registered to Nice; and taking sufficient in the carriage for the journey, in a sac-de-nuit , one may stop or break his journey at Dijon, Lyons, Avignon, Marseilles, Cannes, and some other towns.

He can be a month on the road, and find upon arrival at Nice his luggage safe in the luggage room, with a trifle per night to pay for the accommodation. The trouble of procuring tickets at each station is also saved, although at some places they require the tickets to be stamped afresh at the ticket window; but in Italy generally a separate window for this purpose is provided, so that the trouble of obtaining the visa is there reduced to a minimum.

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The tickets issued by the two London houses for France [23] seem to be charged at or about the same rates as at the French railway stations. No doubt it is an advantage to those who cannot speak a few words of the Italian language so as to be understood, or who cannot pick up what is said at the railway booking window, to take the English tickets, and they can afford to pay for their ignorance.

But if the fee-expecting commissionaire of the hotel do not attend to the matter, which he often of his own accord does, or will do if asked, extremely little is necessary to be said, even French, or a mere acquaintance with the numerals, being generally sufficient. Conceiving there might, on a first visit, be trouble, I had at Nice taken tickets from Genoa to Rome, bearing a right to make three intermediate stoppages. Having, in perfect accordance with the conditions, stopped at Spezzia, Pisa, and Sienna, I could hardly, on leaving Sienna, get the tickets marked for Rome.

They were refused at the ticket window, and doubted by the chef-de-gare ; and it was only upon my emphatic remonstrance, and his appealing to somebody else on the platform, that I succeeded in getting them stamped. On arriving in Rome, I told Mr. It was no doubt just one of those stupid things that will happen under the best arrangements, well to be mentioned, that it may not be repeated; and apart from the question of time for the English tickets are limited in time allowed for a journey extending over several towns , there is no reason [24] why they should not be preferred, provided always that they could be procured with Italian paper money.

Probably from the fluctuating state of the exchange, it is difficult for Messrs. Cook and Gaze to arrange; but if they could, it would obviate all objection. To those intending to travel in Italy, great advantages are held out by the railway companies in the shape of circular tour tickets viaggi circulari. The Indicatore della Strada Ferrata contains a list, [7] with plans of a large number of such tours, the tickets for which are issued, enduring, according to the length of tour, from ten to sixty days which cannot be extended , at the large reduction of 45 per cent.

This tour, for which sixty days are allowed, enables the traveller to stop at any important town on the lines; and all that is necessary is, at starting from each place, to get the next station at which he means to stop scored through at the railway window. To those whose time is limited, these circular tickets are valuable, and they are procurable with Italian paper, so that the benefit of exchange is got.

Cook and Gaze issue tickets for the same circular tours, and probably at the same price, although I suppose they are generally in connection with tickets from London; but they have, I understand, to be paid for in English money. They possess the advantage, I believe, by no means to be undervalued, of having all directions printed in English as well as Italian. In France, likewise, there are for some parts circular tours, such as from Paris to Bordeaux, Biarritz, the Pyrenees and back. Information on the subject may be got in the Indicateur , or in the Guides Diamant among the advertisements.

In the course of a journey, what are called supplementary billets can be procured through the guard, so as to enable a neighbouring place to be visited by a side line. Thus, in going from Lyons to Marseilles, we obtained supplementary tickets from Tarascon to Nismes by asking for them when stopping at Valence, about the second station before reaching Tarascon. This, especially looking to the peculiarities of foreign lines, is a great convenience. The Italian Indicatore states that travellers may exchange at any place to a higher class by paying difference of fare between the place at which the transfer is effected and the terminus.

After crossing the Channel, the first thing which is new to one who has not previously ventured out of the British Islands, is the examination of luggage by the douaniers or custom-house officers. It is now arranged that by registration of luggage to Paris, the examination may take place there. This saves detention at the port of debarkation. In general, an Englishman, if apparently a bona fide pleasure traveller, is very easily dealt with by these officers. If he have but a single portmanteau, it is sometimes not so much as opened, or if opened, there is but a nominal examination.

If there be several boxes, the officer points to one of them, and desires it to be opened, sometimes merely to be closed again. At other times the man will provokingly put his hand down to the very depths, and perhaps bring up something hard or a parcel, and fancy he has made a discovery. But he is easily satisfied, and things are restored in the best way possible for a tight fit. No examination of luggage seems to be made on entering Switzerland from any frontier country, indicating that the Swiss have no custom-house duties; but on leaving Switzerland and entering France, there is a more minute examination than occurs when coming from England; and although English people get off comparatively easily, a question being sometimes asked as to where they are going, those of other countries are most unmercifully dealt with, every separate package, down even to handbags, being overhauled.

I presume they are suspicious of such travellers secreting Geneva watches or jewellery. On that occasion my own luggage was only examined once, but they made a sort of examination of the person by passing their hands over my dress. The lady, no doubt, was subjected to a more strict examination of her person. On landing in France, it is found that there is a difference of time between Paris and London of ten minutes. All the French railways go by Paris time; all Swiss railways, by Berne time, which is twenty minutes in advance of Paris time; and all Italian railways, by Roman time, which is forty-seven minutes in advance of Paris time.

This is all very [27] right and proper, and makes it easy to know the times for travelling by railway. But although the railways adopt the time of their respective capitals, every different town has, according to its longitude, its own, or what is held to be the correct time at the place according to the sun. This proves most embarrassing, more especially as the hotels regulate their hours by the clock of their own town when that exists.

If not, there is the utmost perplexity in finding out what the correct time is. At Mentone no two clocks were alike. By common consent they all differed. On going south to Avignon, the time is nearly a quarter of an hour in advance of Paris time; at Mentone it is twenty minutes. The complex and extraordinary mode of measuring time formerly in use in Italy, by counting twenty-four hours for the varying time of vespers, seems to be now wholly abandoned. All who have travelled on the Continent are familiar with the railway arrangements; but as they differ in some particulars from those to which we are accustomed, and as this introductory chapter is mainly intended for the benefit of those who have not previously crossed the Channel, it may be useful to mention some of them.

Although in all leading respects foreigners have copied our railway system, yet their diverging peculiarities are not always calculated to reconcile an Englishman to Continental travel. He arrives at the station, which he finds he must do in France a full half-hour before the hour of starting; in Italy, in large towns, a full hour. And in France he must always, in the first instance, procure his ticket at a little wire-latticed window, falling into a queue of people to take [28] his turn.

Stooping to a small hole not six inches high on the table level, he has to shout through in French to the distributor of billets within, telling him what he wants, and from whom he receives in return mention of the amount to be paid. It is always well to know beforehand how much this is, which can be at least approximately calculated from the time-tables; but the exact price of tickets may usually be obtained from a board or table of fares near the ticket window, often most inconveniently placed and arranged, and so dirty and soiled as occasionally to be illegible.

Without a previous knowledge of the probable cost, it is exceedingly difficult for a stranger to make out what the man says, owing to the narrowness of the aperture and the indistinctness of French pronunciation. In many places, particularly in Italy, an official is stationed a most commendable practice outside the window, to prevent inconvenient crowding, to tell the fares, to see that the correct billets are supplied, and to be a check on the ticket distributor giving the right change. I have been told of cases where, in Italy,—but it was some years ago,—there had been supposed attempts to cheat on the part of the distributor; but, except on one occasion, I never got wrong change.

It happened at Bologna, where I received at the ticket office 1 lira too little, and at the luggage office some pence less than the correct change. In both cases it was at once rectified on my pointing out the mistakes, and I set them down to slips. At other times, on accidentally neglecting to take up small change at the window, such as a sou, I have been called back to get it. But there is an admirable check upon any attempt to cheat, or on mistakes, in the circumstance that commonly Continental tickets have marked upon them their cost—a system which might with great advantage be introduced into Great Britain.

And now the Englishman obtains a new experience of how they manage things abroad. His luggage was, on arrival at the station, deposited on a long table under the care of the [29] conductor of the omnibus which brought him. This luggage, with the exception of such little things as he means to take with him into the carriage, has, when his turn arrives, to be carefully weighed.

In France each traveller is allowed 30 kilogrammes, or about 65 lbs. For every pound beyond this he is required to pay according to distance. The men engaged in weighing ask for the railway billets to show the destination, and then he goes to the luggage-ticket window, where he duly receives back his billets stamped as having been used, and gets a little scrap or morsel of thin paper, which is the receipt for his luggage, and for which he has in any case to pay 10 centimes 1d. What is the exact method by which the officials in charge manage to secure that all the multiform boxes and bags arrive at their respective proper destinations, I do not know.

I presume that, in addition to an invoice or list of some kind accompanying the train, the things for each station are separately stowed away in the waggons; but whatever may be the means adopted, they ensure the utmost regularity, although I have heard of persons losing small articles, which, as a rule, ought not to be so registered. On one occasion a rather curious circumstance happened to my luggage. I went from Interlachen to Paris, and the registration number on my portmanteau was From Paris to London it was registered anew, and the number happened to be ; but the passage across the Channel was very stormy, and I presume the Paris number had been washed off on the voyage.

On presenting my receipt at London, and pointing out my portmanteau, it was found that it had not the number , but simply 82, and I had some [30] difficulty in getting it; but as my key opened the lock, and nobody else appeared to claim the article, I got delivery. In Italy, no allowance is made for luggage.

Every pound which is registered must be paid for, and consequently it is not in general necessary previously to take out the railway billets. Our luggage, which perhaps was less than many travel with, cost me, travelling nearly all over Italy, for railway charges, less than 30s. Although the system of registration is attended by much security, and is one with which it might not be safe to dispense in travelling abroad, I do not think that, in its integrity, it could be introduced into busy England.

We should never stand the minute weighing of our luggage, and, above all, the enormous loss of time which it entails. It has, besides, its disadvantages, because it results in travellers carrying and placing beside them articles which ought properly to be in the van. The luggage registered, too, suffers injury. All have to wait till the vans are emptied, and the contents dragged about and arranged upon long tables in a closed room.

When the entire collection is adjusted as far as possible according to the numbers affixed, the doors of this room are opened, after having had to wait wearily perhaps half an hour. It is, however, by no means necessary to attend personally, except where the luggage must be passed through the douane , and sometimes the hotel omnibus will take home the passengers and come back for the luggage; but personal attendance enables a more prompt recognition of it to be made, and ensures accuracy.

In Italy it is reckoned safer not to leave luggage at a station. The Italians have not been credited with the greatest honesty, though probably this is a thing of the past. In travelling by steamboat, also, a charge is made for luggage according to weight. In diligences in Switzerland, 20 lbs. All weight beyond this is charged for—a fairly reasonable regulation. Perhaps the most peculiar and striking of all the Continental travelling arrangements is the system of waiting-rooms. It introduces to English people a difference of method of a somewhat irritating description.

Generally a separate large room is provided for each of the three classes of travellers, and the rule is that nobody is allowed to enter without exhibition of the railway ticket appropriate to that particular class; and as this cannot be done till the luggage be registered and paid for, which seldom takes less than a quarter of an hour, if ladies be of the party, they must wait with all the patience possible, guarding the little articles to be taken into the railway carriage, in the large hall of the office, where ofttimes there is not a seat or a comfortable or clean one to be had.

The salon also specializes in first-time haircuts and provides a lock of hair and a certificate to mark the occasion. The BMA's innovative hands-on programs such as one on West African dancing and drumming as an entree to the museum's renowned African art collection and another on bridge-building tied into works by Whistler, Monet, and Derain will make an ardent art lover out of even the most easily distracted. Set amongst the farms of Pennsylvania Amish Country and adjacent to The National Toy Train Museum, this motel bills itself as one of the few places in the world where you can sleep in a caboose unless you're a conductor, of course.

All aboard! Though Jack passed away in , not much else has changed in nearly three decades. His two sons are still running the restaurant; it still offers a great value for the family. Best of all, when the kids get squirmy in their seats, they can head to the adjacent Friendly Farm Country Store, stroll around the ponds, or feed leftover dinner rolls to the farm's Canadian geese and mallards.

Library Program Kids will learn that listening can be fun when they tune into Enoch Pratt Free Library's e-stories , www. Lads and lasses will revel in jousting competitions, sword swallowing, juggling, and Celtic music. They can also mingle with a mime, lock up a loved one in the Village Stocks, or listen to a noble lady gossip. Late summer through early fall, this annual celebration turns back time to one of the more colorful times in history. Movie Theater Kids driving you crazy? In operation since and the only drive-in theater remaining in the area, Bengie's boasts the biggest screen 52 feet by feet on the East Coast, and children under 11 get in free.

By the time you leave, you'll have a hard time not sharing in their enthusiasm for fart spray, whoopee cushions, card and coin tricks, thought transmitters, and other assorted magic gizmos. Magic Mart, one of the largest remaining magic shops in the country, caters to both the fledgling illusionist and the master magician. New Reason to Visit D. There are plenty of reasons to visit our sister city, but the Smithsonian's magnificent National Museum of the American Indian , 4th St. From Andean gold and textiles to intricately carved jade from the Olmec, kids can explore the diversity of Native-American civilization through a staggering 8,plus works of cultural, historic, and spiritual significance spanning 10, years of Native-American history.

Playground It's not just the five slides, scads of swings, rock wall, puppet theater, climbing crab, and fire pole that make Our Playground at Stadium Place , E. It's the spirit of the space—the largest community-built playground on the East Coast—that is equally worth celebrating. Snowy Day Activity Sure, it's hard to envision now, but soon your kids will be climbing the walls because of all that white stuff on the ground. Head to Earth Treks , Greenspring Dr. With more than climbs on 18,square-feet of varied terrain—slabs, overhangs, bouldering caves—Earth Treks is the largest indoor climbing facility on the East Coast.

A Kids Klimb program, for kids ages 6 to 12, and a Youth Rox Climbing Series, for kids ages 10 to 14, teach tykes rock-climbing basics in a safe setting. A second location is in Columbia. Charm City also hosts demos by nationally known boarders such as Andrew Reynolds and boasts at least one famous alumnus: Tony Hawk's right-hand man, the Baltimore-born Bucky Lasek. Beginning in Hunt Valley and moving 20 miles across the Pennsylvania state line, this flat, gentle trail comprised of pulverized limestone features some of the states' most bucolic scenery, and you don't have to mangle your Maclaren to see the sights.

The past season's shows included the crowd-pleasing magic of Arnie Kolodner and Alice Bergmann, the dazzling juggling antics of Lazer Vaudeville, and the music of Grammy Award-winning folk singers and storytellers, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. Packed to the ceiling with more than 12, toys, Terry's features an inexhaustible inventory which includes Madame Alexander and Ginny dolls, Steiff Teddy Bears, toy president dolls, Young Einstein science kits, tin wind-up soldiers and boats, trendy marshmallow shooters, retro toy vehicles,and even NASA-improved gel ant farms.

Cohen's has the feel of an old-fashioned store, but it also manages to be modern, stocking a wide variety of labels, including Lacoste, Polo, Tommy Bahama, Nautica, and Quiksilver. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable and alterations are exceptional, which helps explain why, after more than a century of business, Cohen's is still pleasing tweens—and their parents. Affordable Seafood Sure, there are those places where you can get ultra-fresh fish in delicate preparations. This bustling place is great for massive plates of sparklingly fresh oysters, moist and mild and mountainous!

Barbecue Don't get us wrong, we've been pretty impressed by some of the new barbecue joints that have opened in the area recently. These guys know how to do 'cue right—smoke it till it's melt-in-your-mouth tender, gussy it up with just a little rub, and let folks doctor it with sauce to their own taste.

But our advice would be to skimp on that sauce, because this meat needs no embellishment. Beer bottled Brewpubs are great, but sometimes you just want to be able to savor your suds from the comfort of your couch. The brewers load this baby up with enough malt to give it great richness and substantial texture, but all that strength is balanced with a bouquet of bitter, spicy, flowery hops. Brewpub When you're in the mood to put on pants before you drink, head over to the Wharf Rat. Their Inner Harbor location, W. The one in Fells Point, S. Ann St. Either Rat, however, can serve you a wide selection of their house-made Oliver Ales, done in the English style with great care.

Brunch When was the last time you started brunch with an amuse-bouche? Biddle St. Make reservations, and if you order the three-course chef's menu, schedule time for a long nap afterward. The buns and toppings are all fresh and top-notch, but it's the hand-formed patty of superb beef that makes this burger sing.

Nicely charred on the outside and pink and juicy on the inside, this is a burger purist's dream. The setting—right on the Lake Kittamaqundi—can't be beat, and the lengthy menu has something for both the adventurous and the timid eater. We recommend the casseroles, steaming hot pots full of rich, savory goodies.

Cosmopolitan Yes, we realize Sex and the City is all kinds of over, but its signature drink lives on. Unfortunately, too many bars mangle this pink, drinkable jewel—making it either too sweet or too sour. Crab Cake No, we haven't lost our minds. And yes, we realize that the Carlyle Club , W. University Pkwy. All we can say is: Taste the crab cake. We've brought many a skeptic to this Hopkins-area gem and converted them into bona fide Carlyle groupies. Think big, flavorful lumps of sweet crab, perfectly grilled, perfectly seasoned. Is it traditional? No, the delicate spices are a little, okay, Middle Eastern, and the two cakes are served with basmati rice and mixed vegetables.

There's even a Lebanese take on tartar sauce. But trust us, you'll be back for more. There's something about eating crabs outdoors by the water that makes us feel like we're truly in the Land of Pleasant Living. And at Cantler's, we can be assured the crabs are fresh, since we can see them scampering around in tanks and tubs on the dock below. Dessert We've had tartufo before—or at least, we thought we had, until we tried the version at Della Notte Ristorante , Eastern Ave. Served in a martini glass, this semi-frozen concoction combines cream and chocolate and sweet crunchy hazelnuts—and did we mention the cream?

Probably not enough. Suffice it to say that this leaves all other tartufos—and most every other dessert—in the dust. Greek The Black Olive , S. Bond St. But this place is a shining example of Greek cooking's central tenets: Perfect ingredients, simply and carefully prepared. This Fells Point rowhouse, lovingly restored by the Spiliadis family to look like a Greek taverna, offers a gorgeous selection of very fresh fish, usually simply grilled and dressed with olive oil and lemon; the best hummus in town; and a grilled octopus salad that makes us salivate as we're writing this.

Hot Dog Hot dog aficionados know that the best place to grab great local color along with their dogs is at Ann's Dari Creme , Ritchie Hwy. Since , the tiny Glen Burnie institution has had crowds clamoring for Ann's foot-longs and double dogs packed with chili, onions, and mustard on a submarine roll. If you're lucky enough to grab one of the few worn blue stools inside this red-and-white shack, you'll have a ringside seat to the floor show—not just the grill prep action, but also the cadre of waitresses who pride themselves on never missing an order without writing a thing down.

We prefer the mild original—the hot version is tongue-numbingly potent—for a nice slow burn. Was Pazo worth the advance hype? You bet. The enormous but intimate spot, with its movie-set-worthy elegance, has not only become Baltimore's premier place to see and be seen, it also happens to offer some of the best Mediterranean cuisine around.

Latin Despite the recent plethora of great little storefront Latin restaurants in Baltimore, we keep coming back to Babalu Grill , 32 Market Place, , where the ceviche sparkles and specials like the lechon asado that's marinated rotisserie pork to you, gringo are pure, authentic Cuban homestyle cooking. Owner Steve de Castro's expertise as a restaurateur shines through in the precision of the kitchen, the excellence of the service, and the party atmosphere of his Power Plant Live venue. Liquor Store It should come as no surprise that the same eclectic minds who manage the comprehensive wine collection at The Wine Source , Elm Ave.

You can find Venezuelan rum, absinthe substitutes galore, the best Bourbon value in the world Old Heaven Hill proof , more tequilas than anyone should try, and a stunning bunch of single malts with reference guides conveniently chained to the shelf. Best of all, the staff is able and willing to tell you whether or not that new quintuple-distilled vodka is worth it. Live Music with Dinner Although the days of the swank supper club have long since gone the way of Fred and Ginger, we still love the idea of dinner and drinks set to the strains of great live music on a weekend night.

Enter Canton's Pearl's , Boston St. What a perfect way to put sophistication back into the art of dining out. But we love its classically perfect milkshake—thick, creamy, served with a long spoon and extra-wide straw in a frosty pint glass, the metal cup containing the overflow on the side. Try the black-and-white, a sublime blend of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Neighborhood Bistro Sometimes we think we want to move to Bolton Hill just so we can spend more time at b , Bolton St.

To us, this is the perfect place for a relaxing Sunday brunch or a laid-back evening meal. The food is excellent a recent special of venison over risotto was a show-stopper and the atmosphere urban hip we love sitting outside and taking in the neighborhood's glorious architecture.

But b's true secret weapon? That would have to be the ever-hilarious—and ever-efficient—waiter Joe Conner. We can't get enough of this guy. New Restaurant Our sorrow at the closing of Mahmood Karzai's Tampico Mexican Grill quickly turned to joy when we got a gander at what he'd engineered to take its place—the show-stopping Limoges Gourmet Bistro , N.

An elegant new look complete with the eponymous china and a French menu that features lovely renditions of bistro classics and a few Spanish Basque dishes have proved a winning combination. Onion Rings Fried food is good—there, we said it. And crispy, flaky, perfectly fried and moist slices of onion are very, very good. Just don't tell our cardiologist. For a quieter meal, either head up to the rooftop deck or go for lunch. Whatever your preference, Nick's offers a soothing view of the adjoining marina and the nearby Hanover Bridge, and a wide range of American fare, as well as steamed crabs.

Whatever he's doing getting back into the kitchen was a start , it's working beautifully. After several up-and-down years, Joy is back in full force, with a newly energized Latin-inspired menu that sings with inventiveness, and service that shines more brightly than ever. Smoky, tender and moist, Gruber's beef is sliced thick and piled high on a kaiser roll. All it really needs is good teeth and cash, as Gruber doesn't take credit cards , but if you must have accompaniments, excellent coleslaw is available, as well as the traditional grated horseradish.

Pound Cake The key to good pound cake is texture, and Julie Salter's traditional Southern version is perfectly moist and dense without being oily or leaden. Her Towson-based Quite a Stir, www. Trust us, you'll be bookmarking the site after your first bite. Diners have their pick from a variety of oyster species, along with a dazzling array of other fruits de mer, from scallops to periwinkles, all of it fresh.

Sake Selection Lovers of sake usually have two options when dining at their local Japanese joint: small or large. Not anymore, because Matsuri , S. From the Hananomai Ginjo—with its white peach and nectarine nuances—to the Katana Junmai Ginjo's clean and crystal finish, you'll easily find something to complement the gigantic spicy tuna-stuffed Orioles Roll. Oh sure, they have all the fun, stuffed maki that we Americans love to chow on backfin crabmeat and avocado, anyone?

But if you're into the hardcore stuff—giant clam, uni, live scallop yes, we said live , delectable toro that's belly tuna to you , theirs is the freshest, and most adventurous, around. Summer Drink Oh, Frijolejito! Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely, and more delicious. Like a mojito, but with the added bite of ginger beer, the Frijolejito combines cooling mint, refreshing lime, and, uh, numbing rum into one pint-glass concoction that makes even the most vicious humidity seem bearable.

Available at the ever-hip Holy Frijoles , W. Or maybe we just get lyrical at the thought of bringing home a stack of these fluffy, aromatic, soft corn tortillas for dinner. Try them once, and you'll never be able to buy those rubbery things at the grocery store again but use them right away—like a good baguette, they go stale quickly. Tuna Salad "But I hate tuna salad! Then she reluctantly took a bite off our plate. And then another. And that's when we told her to get her own darn order.

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This little cafe, located next to a gym in an office park, uses Sicilian, oil-packed tuna in its salad, and counterpoints it with a beautiful olive tapenade. The upscale-casual establishment offers handsomely presented meat-free and dairy-free, if you so desire dishes that aren't afraid to indulge in a little decadence; for proof, try the creamy coconut spinach or the sinfully rich chocolate lava cake.

Wine Bar Truly delicious food and the option to accompany it with anything from the adjoining wine shop are two of the lures at Locust Point's The Wine Market , E. Fort Ave. Chris Spann and staff keep the by-the-glass list fresh and interesting, particularly now that they've moved into more eclectic, small-production offerings. If the weather's nice, enjoy your Merlot oops, we mean Pinot! This isn't about the rarest, the most expensive, or highest score, but rather about an engaging collection of affordable wines from all over the world that truly works with food, rather than strutting around your palate.

Ad Campaign Yes, it turned out to be for nothing more than the darn Maryland Lottery. And no, we don't understand what the heck revolution-mad cows have to do with scratch-offs cows don't have thumbs, people! But Eisner Interactive's BovineUnite. Steffen Jr. The local media went into full-court press mode; the O'Malleys made their first public statement a repudiation on the matter; Steffen resigned; Gov.

Ehrlich's politics seemed a little less lovable. Have we heard the last of this? We think not. Nothing unusual about that complaint. What was different was the decision of the Governor to ban contact with the two entirely, issuing an administration-wide gag order.

Turns out, that made covering the government kind of difficult. The Sun launched a much-self-touted lawsuit against the Governor's office trying to get a court to order them to talk to the reporters; in February, a judge ruled that the Ehrlich administration could talk or not to whomever it liked. The legal wrangling continues this year, as The Sun tries to refile the suit. Interview When local media learned about the now-legendary Stop Snitching DVD—which soon became a national story due to its shocking message and a brief appearance by local NBA star Carmelo Anthony—the movie's wider presentation of the subculture of the streets was generally overlooked.

In McCarthy's May interview with Rodney Bethea , the DVD's producer, listeners learned about underground "documentary" filmmaking and the streetwise entrepreneurship they don't teach at college—and Bethea's stunning admission that he agrees in part with the message of the disc's title. Newspaper Story They've probably been around since man first took up stones against his fellow man: tourniquets, simple braces, and ties to stanch a bleeding wound until better medical help can be received.

That's why The Sun's report on tourniquets for U. The Pentagon took note, too, and by May, Uncle Sam had ordered , more to be shipped to our men and women in harm's way. By covering hometown news with just as much verve as the national scene, it's the one show that makes us feel most at home. First, there's Viviano, who's like the VP from the next office over, who can handle erudite discussions about all the dorky minutae and overarching high-concepts of the world of sports. And then there's Damon Yaffe, a.

Yaffe loves to talk on and on about his theories and strategies and knowledge, sometimes to the exasperation of Viviano. They're a great Odd Couple because they. Sun Columnist As the city takes some spectacular steps forward, and shiny new edifices, offices, and condos rise up along the waterfront, remembering the rest of Baltimore City and its hardships is a tough and sometimes thankless job. And that's why, with his Open Letter written to the city's drug dealers asking them to keep selling if they must as long as they stopped killing, Dan Rodricks proved why he's one of the city's unique voices.

His followup columns describing the lives of former and current criminals in "the game" were just as riveting. Sun Sports Columnist At first, we were kind of confused by Peter Schmuck : He seemed to come from a different newspaper, or city, or planet. What with his sometimes-lame zingers and quips, and personal.

But then we realized we kept turning to his column first thing almost every morning, and that we chuckled a little more each time. And when he revealed the advice he received from Boog Powell on post-game strategies at Orioles fantasy camp "drink heavily and try not to throw up on yourself" , well, we knew we were hooked.