Celebrated Mexican author Carlos Fuentes dies

He was, and will always be, a literary master.

On May 15th, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexican author and recipient of countless awards Carlos Fuentes died. Fuentes was one of the foremost representatives of the Latin American literary “boom.” When his novel La region mas transparente was first published on April 7th, 1958, public and critics alike established they had encountered a work that would leave an indelible impression in Mexican and world literature.

Carlos Fuentes wrote it all and said it all. He brought his readers into his narrative world even as he charted it. With the passing of time, the topography of this map—known as “La edad del tiempo” (The Age of Time)—changed, and its boundaries expanded until the inclusion of his last novel Federico en su balcon, soon to be published by his editorial house Alfaguara.

Carlos Fuentes’s work was not solely narrative; his oeuvre includes essays as well. In May of this year, Taurus will publish El siglo que despierta, a series of conversations between Carlos Fuentes and Ricardo Lagos; and in June, Alfaguara will publish Personas, an “inventory” of figures relevant to Mexico and the world—and to Fuentes himself.

Carlos Fuentes was born in 1928. A renowned intellectual and one of the foremost exponents of Mexican narrative, his vast body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, and essays. He was the recipient of numerous awards, among them: The Miguel de Cervantes Prize, 1987; the Ruben Dario Cultural Independence Order, granted by the Sandinista Government, 1988; the Instituto Italo-Americano Prize for Gringo viejo, 1989; the Principe de Asturias Award of Spain, 1994; Italy’s Cavour Award, 1994; UNESCO’s Picasso Medal, France, 1994; France’s Legion of Honor Award, 2003; the Roger Caillois Award, 2003; the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language Prize for En esto creo, 2004; the Cristobal Gabarron Foundation’s International Literature Prize, 2011, and the Formentor Literature Prize, 2011.

What grade would you give Mexico tourism officials?

by Ron Mader

Let me recycle something I recently wrote on Lonely Planet. Here’s a curious stat: There are 16 baseball teams in Mexico all of which have Facebook pages. There are 32 states in Mexico (including Mexico City not technically a state but let’s throw it in) and of these entities only 6 or so have real Facebook pages (not the profiles which have confused so many tourism officials). Frankly, the model of tourism information distribution is woefully obsolete. Mexican baseball league insisted that all of the teams become social media-savvy. And tourism? Not so much …

Today for example there is a big tourism conference taking place in the Riviera Maya. We can read about this online Twitter (hashtag #wttc2012) but there’s no live-streaming video.

What grade would you give Mexico tourism officials? I’d say in the past sexenio, it deserves an “F” as leaders have failed to provide answers to travelers and locals. There are exceptions, of course. I have found six states’ tourism offices on Facebook, including Oaxaca and Chiapas. That said, the vast majority of officials at the city, state and overseas branches use media and social media in particular as bullhorns, and that is the least effective means of engaging the audience, locals or visitors.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d give Mexico tourism an “A” for what is offered. What’s woefully behind the curve are the practices of tourism officials using a ‘business as usual’ model when the current climate is anything but usual.

Let me quote a speaker from a New Zealand conference (whom I happened to hear thanks to the miracle of livestreaming) which reflects the task at hand: “Our biggest challenge in digital literacy is moving organizations to a position where they can work with the community that is digitally enabled. ”

Let me extend a challenge. Before the end of May, please show me which state and city tourism offices have Facebook channels. Bonus points for the entities that use Twitter. Double bonus points for the examples in which officials respond and answer questions in a timely manner. Officials can improve, but they may need encouragement from locals and visitors, so that the communication flows in two directions. Mexican baseball has figured out how to engage its fans. Hopefully, Mexican tourism can take a few pages out of this playbook.

Digital Literacy #NetHui  Our biggest challenge in digital literacy is moving organizations to a position where they can work with the community that is digitally enabled.

Ustream Guerreros TV en VIvo 03.2012

Sinaloa Named Guest of Honor at International Cervantino Festival, #1 Cultural Festival in Latin America

  • Official presentation of the 40th edition of this year’s Festival Cervantino held yesterday in Mexico City and Guanajuato
  • Over 500 artists will participate, including Banda El Recodo and Banda El Limon from Sinaloa
  • OSSLA will organize the festival’s final concert under direction of Maestro Enrique Patron de Rueda
Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez celebrates Sinaloa's participation in International Cervantino Festival. (PRNewsFoto/Government of Sinaloa)

SINALOA, Mexico  — For the first time in the history of Festival Internacional Cervantino (FIC), the state of Sinaloa will participate as guest of honor together with Austria, Poland and Switzerland at the Festival to be held in Guanajuato from 3-12 October. The official presentation of this year’s 40th edition of the Festival took place Tuesday in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, and later that evening in Guanajuato.

In his ceremonial speech, Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez noted that Festival will be a great opportunity to show the world the true face of Sinaloa, one of artistic and cultural supremacy, at the most well-regarded multi-disciplinary cultural festival in Latin America, and among the top five in the world. Guests will see and hear the best of Sinaloa, including Ines Arredondo, Gilberto Owen’s poems, Jose Limon’s dance, and the young and adult symphonies of Sinaloa.

Festival Internacional Cervantino, known as “El Cervantino,” is a three-week festival in Guanajuato featuring 500 artists through a variety of art exhibitions, academic events, and many genres of dance and musical performances. Each year FIC invites one Mexican state whose thriving art and culture scene stands out country-wide.

“We are thrilled at Sinaloa’s nomination as guest of honor at this year’s Festival,” said Oralia Rice, Sinaloa’s Secretary of Tourism. “The honor further validates our state’s thriving cultural offering within Mexico and beyond.”

The Sinaloa Institute of Culture, ISIC, is working with the FIC to drive the festival’s programming, featuring fifteen local dance, music and theatrical groups and companies, including Banda El Recodo, Banda El Limon, Sinaloa Symphony Orchestra of the Arts (OSSLA) and its director Gordon Campbell, Delphi, Sinaloa Folkloric Company, and more.

OSSLA will perform the closing concert of the Festival under the direction of Maestro Enrique Patron de Rueda

For more information about Festival Cervantino, visit http://www.festivalcervantino.gob.mx/


Be a Mule on your travels and get rewarded with great local experiences!

New start-up site, mmMule.com, allows people to get anything they want from anywhere in the world by rewarding a traveller with an experience – like drinks in a cool local bar – for delivering it.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA  – The idea was borne from the experiences its founders, Avis, Andrew and Alan, all seasoned expats who often found themselves missing treats from back home “I always wanted things like Barry’s Tea” says Avis an Irish woman living in Sydney, “but I couldn’t get it shipped and I was tired of waiting for friends from Ireland to bring it for me.”

“We realised it was a common problem as we kept seeing posts on Facebook from friends of all different nationalities who wanted stuff – like food, cosmetics and electronics – that they couldn’t get shipped to where they lived” Avis continues.

To solve the delivery problem, the team drew upon their travel experiences. Having visited more than 65 countries between them, they knew that it was always hard arriving in a new city not knowing anyone. “We knew from our own travels that we always had the most fun when we had a local connection, that way you don’t feel like a tourist and you actually get to experience a place like the locals who live there.”

“We thought that if we could connect locals who wanted stuff with travellers who want more authentic experiences, we could solve a real problem for both, and that’s how mmMule was born”.

One of the biggest surprises for mmMule’s founders Andrew, Avis and Alan the response they got when they soft-launched the site. Without any press coverage and just a little social-media seeding, the idea quickly spread around the world.

“In our first 24 hours we had 1900 unique hits from 59 different countries, had 50 requests posted and even had our first Mule delivery accepted from the UK to Australia.” Avis says, “What’s even more fascinating is that our second delivery accepted was to Nigeria.”

Some of the more unusual requests and rewards on mmMule include one from Joe, who runs a surf camp in France. He wants English bacon delivered from the UK; in return he’s offering his Mule free accommodation and surf lessons. Then there’s Keeli from NYC, who wants a brightly coloured blanket from Guatemala; in return she is offering a few drinks at her favourite little bar. Also Steven in Kazakhstan wants good quality coffee beans so in return he’ll put his Mule up for a few nights. And Henni in Canada who wants ‘real’ toilet paper from Germany; in return she’ll show her Mule around Toronto.

mmMule also has a part of its site, AngelMule, dedicated to helping the less fortunate. By becoming an AngelMule travellers can now use part of their travels to deliver urgently needed supplies – like clothing, food, sporting goods or used electronics – to organizations in need.


Media page:            mmmule.com/press-media

Blog:                        blog.mmmule.com

Website:                 mmMule.com

Twitter:                   @mmMule_com
Facebook:                facebook.com/mmMuledotcom




Avis Mulhall, Co-founder  | avis@mmmule.com | @avismulhall | +61 450458230

Divorce and the Costalegre

Today’s post is by a long time friend of Mexico Premiere, Jane Custer. Jane and her husband, Greg, founded Destination Ventures 20 years ago and lead the charge in the world of travel agent education. Their “Magic of Mexico” seminars became famous worldwide and they rode their successful wave into the e-learning universe. In  2011, DV was acquired by Mark Murphy and his Travalliance (formerly Performance Media Group LLC).  Leaders in agent education and technological innovation, Travalliance implements programs and platforms to enhance the current Specialist programs created by Destination Ventures. We thank you for your contribution, Jane! And, thank you Greg, and Travalliance for all you do for Mexico!

By: Jane Custer

Walking through Guadalajara’s open-air antiques market “El Trocadero” on a recent Sunday, I happened across a 1990 issue of Architectural Digest with Isabel Goldsmith-Patiño’s Las Alamandas, on the cover.  I took it as I sign.  My husband and I had just driven from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara via Jalisco’s lush, tropical, elusive, Costalegre. I knew it was time to do some research and refresh my history of this European enclave.

Just south of Puerto Vallarta, along the coast of Jalisco state, the mountains, and lush jungle foliage, are spectacularly beautiful and relatively undeveloped. This area called Costalegre (or Happy Coast), comprises a 280 kilometer (174 mile) stretch of coast between Playa Mismaloya and Bahia de Navidad. Huddled between mountains and rocky outcroppings, the golden sand beaches hug coves.  The highway, completed in 1973, cuts through mango, papaya, banana and coconut plantations and is crossed by numerous side roads that meander west to hidden beaches, bays, lagoons, and tiny fishing villages. The Blue Bay Los Angeles Locos in Tenacatita is the only chain hotel on the entire Costalegre.

There is frequent commercial air service to Puerto Vallarta and is just 60 minutes from the northern part of Costalegre and the Manzanillo airport is only 20 minutes from the southern end.  With all this beauty and perfect weather, it begs the question, “why is there so little development?”

To answer this question you need to understand a bit of history.

The Bolivian mining millionaire, Antenor Patiño and Maria Cristina de Borbón, a descendant of Spanish royalty, were married in France in 1931 (she at the young age of 17 and he was 35).  They had two daughters, Maria Cristina in 1932 and Maria Isabel in 1935.  The younger of the Patiños’ two daughters, Maria Isabel, followed a path similar to her mother. At 19 she became pregnant and married Anglo-French financier James Goldsmith. He was 20; she was 19.  In 1954, at seven months pregnant, Maria Isabel died of a cerebral hemorrhage.  The infant, Isabel Goldsmith Patiño, was born via Caesarian section and was raised by her father, Sir James.

After trying for years to obtain a divorce from Maria Cristina de Borbón, Antenor Patiño decided to move to Mexico, a country he had never visited.  Why Mexico? In exchange for a Mexican divorce, Patiño promised then-president Ruiz Cortines, he would invest heavily in Mexican real estate.

According to Mexican writer Carlos Tello Diaz, “The marriage was one of convenience, and their long, litigious divorce, will go down in the annals of International divorce law.”   Maria Cristina wrote to President Ruiz-Cortines, and begged him not to grant the divorce. In spite of this, in 1957, the divorce was finalized.

Patiño kept his word by building what is still the largest hotel in Mexico City, the Maria Isabel Sheraton, named in honor of his late daughter Maria Isabel. He then began construction on what would become one of the Pacific’s most iconic resorts, Las Hadas.

In 1960 Mr. Patiño was married for the second time. He and his wife, Spaniard Beatriz de Rivera, chose to live in Mexico.  Beatriz de la Rivera’s niece was married to Italian Banker and world traveler Gian Franco Brignone. After experiencing the beauty of Jalisco’s coastline for himself, Brignone decided to purchase 400 hectares (988 acres) of mangrove and jungle including over seven miles of Pacific coves and beaches in Careyes.

Word of Mexico’s Pacific Coastal beauty eventually reached Sir James Goldsmith. In the 1980’s Sir James purchased 9,000 hectares (over 22,000 acres) of land including the Hacienda San Antonio near Colima City all the way to Cuixmala, on the coast. But in 1990, Sir James had a “rebirth” of sorts.  The man who was the inspiration for the character of the corporate raider, Sir Larry Wildman, in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, decided to leave his business persona behind and dedicate his considerable wealth and energy toward furthering the debate on environmental and humanitarianism causes.

Due in part to the Sir James’ efforts, and those of daughters Alix, Isabel, and the Brignone family, in 1993, 32,000 acres of the Costalegre were declared a protected area and named the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve.

Isabel Goldsmith’s Las Alamandas, Gian Franco and Giorgio Brignone’s Costa Careyes, the villas at Cuixmala, and the spectacular Hacienda San Antonio, are the legacy to be enjoyed by all of us.  There are private airstrips, a Polo Field frequented by European Royalty, and a very small human footprint.

Not everyone can afford to stay at these exclusive properties, but everyone can enjoy the spectacular, natural scenery, and the history that conspired to save it.  Here are some links for those who want try out some of top rate beauty: www.lasalamandas.com –  http://www.careyes.com.mx –  www.cuixmala.com.

Note: there are only 54 hotels, and 1,212 hotel rooms in the entire 174 mile stretch. By comparison the Riviera Maya stretches 100 miles and offers 40,000 hotel rooms.

Of the 1,212 rooms 1,094 of them are located south of the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, on the final 70 miles of Jalisco’s coastline.  The “European enclave” I have written about offers 118 rooms in the form of deluxe bungalows, homes, villas, and castles, along 100 miles of coast.