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Discussions About Mexico and Latin America

I've already mentioned newsgroups, but you may find it easier, especially at first, to join a discussion based at a website. The sites listed below host excellent discussions (also called message boards or forums). Many of the participants are knowledgeable travelers or have special skills and information that they share generously. (Chat groups are yet another format -- live, "real time" group conversations via computer. As an information addict, I have to say that the chat sessions I've tried haven't impressed me.)

Before you jump in, keep in mind that there is a definite etiquette that must be observed, especially if you want to avoid being "flamed" (chewed out, often graphically). Most groups welcome "newbies" and offer them a list of FAQs -- Frequently Asked Questions. Read the FAQs and follow the exchange of messages for a session or two before you participate. This break-in period helps to avoid cluttering the discussion with repetitious messages and questions.
By the way, in discussion group cyber-jargon, the term "thread" is used to describe a series of messages or an ongoing exchange on a certain topic.

Discussion Groups

MexConnect, <>. My first choice for thoughtful answers to questions about living and retiring, with lots of good input from gringos actually living in Mexico.

@migo! Mexico Chat And Message Center
, <>. An interesting and talkative group hosted by Mexico OnLine, <>, one of the oldest and best websites for general travel and Mexico business information.

UseNet Travel Newsgroups

Travel discussion groups based on Web sites tend to be relatively sedate and well-mannered. In contrast, some unmoderated UseNet groups are one step away from total chaos and clamor. A prime example is <soc.culture.mexican>. The conversation in this unmoderated newsgroup is a cross between an overcrowded singles bar, a political protest rally and a Mexican carnaval. Enter at your own risk!

Not all groups are so disorganized. Here are several that I follow regularly and with great enjoyment. (Newsgroups can be accessed from your web browser, I much prefer to use a stand-alone "news reader" program.)

<>: My first choice, especially if I'm looking for up-to-the-minute information and responses from people who are actually in Latin America.

<soc.culture.honduras>: Light traffic and (mostly) on-topic, polite discussion.

<sci.archaeology.mesoamerican>: Since I'm not really qualified to discuss archaeology with real experts, I tend to "lurk" in this group, trolling for interesting travel crumbs. When I needed a list of reading material on the indigenous people of Honduras, one of this group's regular participants sent me an incredible bibliography.

<rec.outdoors.camping, rec.backcountry, rec.outdoors.rv-travel>: Rather than wade through all of the talk about Yosemite and Winnebagos on these groups, I use the search function to look for "Mexico" and other key words in the titles of messages.

<>: If you're as excited about the potential of digital cameras for travel photography as I am, you'll find reams of valuable info here.

<soc.subculture.expatriate>: A place for expatriates to compare notes and trade recipes to cure homesickness.

<>: If you're traveling cheap....
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