Dear Mr. Franz,
Please allow me to tell you how much I enjoyed reading The People's Guide to Mexico. I have read it with pleasure several times. I can think of few books I have enjoyed so much recently.
I am going to Yucatan at the end of May, and I would never have done that if I had never read your book. Basically, I was a house-bound bookworm, but I'm ready to get up and go someplace now.
I wonder why the subject of short wave radio has never never come up. I dote on my Realistic DX-390 ever since I got it in a pawnshop for $175. A good portable short wave radio is a godsend for people who enjoy going to way-out-of-the-way places. It's a good idea to get one of those spool antennas that unwind and wind to 20 feet or so, since antennas are so important to reception.
The short-wave can also help you learn Spanish. I learned Spanish by watching Univision news every day for several years. From what I've heard from people who've 'tried' and failed to learn another language, there's only one essential trick: persistence. You only have to practice a little bit every day, and every day. It's like weight-lifting
Now I listen to the news in German twice a day. After six months, I have reached the point where I can get through magazines and popular fiction. The little light bulb inside my head glows faintly for a moment now and then when I listen to Deutsche Welle. I expect it will stay on for long periods in about a year or so.
Yours truly, Edward Swaim
Your suggestion to use a shortware radio for news and language instruction is excellent. I carry a compact Sony IFC/SW15 radio, and a Radio Shack spool antenna (total cost under $100). Every evening about 5:30 p.m., Mountain Time, the BBC has an excellent broadcast that features English instruction to Spanish-speakers. I listen to the program, 'in reverse,' however, for the Spanish.