Friday, June 02, 2006

Mexican Days Review

Anyone who loves Mexico will enjoy Tony Cohan’s new travel book Mexican Days: Journeys into the Heart of Mexicoin which he embarks on spontaneous voyages to both obscure and well-trodden areas of the country. Cohan’s peregrinations take him to the Sierra Gorda region where he visits Las Pozas, a surrealist sculpture park created by an eccentric Englishman, plus a chain of isolated 18th-century missions built by a zealous Franciscan monk. Cohan also explores the history-laden streets of Mexico City, communes with disinterred mummies in quirky Guanajuato, and lingers in the bohemian coffee shops of mist-enveloped Xalapa.

He goes on to reconnect with old friends and places he has visited in the past: Oaxaca, Cohan discovers, is undergoing a cultural renaissance; magnificent Chichén Itzá has been overrun by tourists; but the jungle-shrouded Maya ruins at Palenque have retained much of their solitude and mystery. Cohan shows the same insight and gentle humor that he did in his 2000 bestseller On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel de AllendeCohan obviously finds his adopted country endlessly rewarding, and he describes it with both eloquence and great affection.

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