Top critical review
Information content- good. Moral message- poor.
on January 30, 2001
What? A moral message in a travel guide? Yes. But first, let me say that the information content was top notch. I would recommend this book to a South American travel newbie. The coverage of the cultural aspects and scams was excellent in particular. What was very, very annoying was the pretext that Western people are bad. The author was astute to point out that just the fact that you are traveling indicates to natives that you have money. But, trying to pay the same price for goods and services as the natives is called (and I quote) "cutting them off at the knees." The author goes on to add that merchants simply can't survive on the price charged to natives, so it is your job to subsidize their business simply by your virtue of being a visitor. And in the section on Scams and Cons, we learn that it is OK for them to steal from you because they don't have as much as you. I became disgusted at the author's hypocracy several times. But, I will reitterate, that otherwise this is a good book and I would recommend it.