The Guaymas Chronicles: La Mandadera

Front Cover
University of New Mexico Press, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 394 pages
5 Reviews
This memoir of a young gringo's assimilation into the exotic street life of a bustling port on Mexico's Sea of Cortez is an eye-opening account of the area's working-class life. After months of anthropological field work in late 1960s Ecuador, David Stuart returns to Guaymas with broken bones and a broken heart, finding comfort in the cafés and night-spots along the waterfront. There he reveals his failings to people whose lingua franca is the simple wisdom of listening and understanding. The loyal barmen and taxi drivers adopt him into their tight-knit circle, helping him ride out the devastation of betrayal by a woman who is carrying another man's child. Dubbed El Güero ('Whitey') on the street, Stuart drifts into la movida, the Mexican world of hustlers, politicians, police officials, businessmen, and street urchins. In a 1970 Mexico where a $500 bribe and a two-year wait might get you a telephone, he needs help. A headstrong shoeshine girl, Lupita, becomes his mandadera (messenger) and then his confidante and junior business partner, working her magic by bribing customs officials and making deals for tires, fans, blenders, and other fayuca (contraband). A scrawny eleven-year-old, she is not just street-brilliant but complicated and utterly fascinating. This vivid, haunting portrait of a world many Americans have visited but few understand, is a unique examination of what Mexico means to one American and what America means to the everyday Mexican people who surround and protect him.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Daniel.Estes - LibraryThing

David Stuart's personal account of the time he spent in the Sonoran town of Guaymas would have remained relatively uneventful had he not met little Lupita, la mandadera. She is the story's emotional ... Read full review

Review: The Guaymas Chronicles: La Mandadera

User Review  - Derek - Goodreads

Great account of 1970s Guaymas. Makes me want to go back there. Read full review


Return to Sonora
Playas Primaverales
Two Hotels

8 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

David E. Stuart is Associate Provost and Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

Bibliographic information