A Visit to Don Otavio: A Travellers Tale from Mexico by Sybille Bedford

By Sybille Bedford

This affectionate examine of the Mexican mood is ''one of the main captivating trip books ever written.'' - The Atlantic per month

Before returning to the outdated international after global struggle II, Sybille Bedford resolved to work out anything extra of the hot. ''I had a very good longing to move,'' she stated, ''to listen one other language, consume new nutrients, to be in a rustic with a protracted nasty heritage long ago and as little current background as possible.'' And so she set out for Mexico - and, by the way, to put in writing what Bruce Chatwin known as the easiest commute ebook of the 20th century, ''a booklet of marvels, to be learn repeatedly and again.''

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Extra info for A Visit to Don Otavio: A Travellers Tale from Mexico

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Does Mexico please us? Oh, indeed. ’ We were not displeased by the rains? We reassure her. The hotel is also to our taste? We try to say how pleased we are. Yet those flowers. We did not like their flowers? The vases were already filled with lilac and narcissus. Mexican hotels, that is Mexican-run hotels in Mexico, put flowers in their guest rooms with the towels and the bottle of drinking water. Fresh flowers every day, all year round. I try to explain that we had not been aware of this charming practice.

At last everybody’s turn comes. The officers make a point of speaking no English. Each separate, identical tourist card – the Mexican travel permit one acquires as a matter of course with one’s ticket – is stared at. Now and then a finger comes down on the figure of somebody’s birth date. But nothing frightful happens, could happen as one has been trying to tell oneself all the time; this is supposed to be a casual border, good neighbours all, with paths smoothed for the advertisedat tourist. Back in the sleeping car, we are told to get off the train for the Customs inspection.

Perhaps, it begins to dawn on me, Mexico is not a wine country. It was by nature and in God knows what fashion before the Conquest; then the Spanish dug up the vines, the idea being to import wine from Spain and charge duty. For the same reason they cut down the olive trees and forbade the culture of silkworms. Oil, silk and wine were to New Spain what rum and tea were to Massachusetts and Maryland. After Independence, everybody was too busy murdering each other to plant vineyards and olive groves, and what is being produced now is only a new incentive to murder.

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