My Gold Coast: Baja A Practical Guide 2nd Edition, by Susan A. Mahalick
Book Review by Dennis Moore
Susan A. Mahalick, having grown up in Middlesex, New Jersey, has written an indispensable primer and guide for those considering visiting or an extended stay in Mexico; My Gold Coast: Baja A Practical Guide 2nd Edition. The author states: “A sampler of information and interesting things to do in this part of Baja. This book represents 11 years of living and thriving in a wonderful climate with a culture that is both delightful and welcoming to people from other countries It is not just about the low cost of living, it is about an experience of community with fellow expatriates and locals alike. This is what makes this place so special.”
Having lived in Tijuana for 5 years myself, and frequenting many of the locales Mahalick writes about in this book such as Rosarito Beach and Cantamar, I can attest to basically everything that the author refers to in this candid and indispensable primer for those considering an extended stay in this beautiful country. When Mahalick speaks of fish tacos or the wine country, I know from whence she speaks.
This book is resplendent with numerous pictures of this northern part of Mexico, better known as Baja California, which serves to underscore the beauty and tranquil nature of this community. If a picture really is “worth a thousand words,” one need only to peruse this book by the author to get a feel of the vitality of this land just south of the border from San Diego.
Mahalick gives the reader necessary survival guides and techniques for those moving from America to Baja California, such as where and how to shop, where and how to get medical services, and of course, communication needs such as cellular service and internet connectivity. In her 11 years here, she indicates that it wasn’t easy, but she seems to have mastered it now. It was definitely a bold move by the author, being a single American woman and moving across the border from San Diego to her now hometown of La Mision. I have actually visited this quaint locale, and it is everything that she describes in this book.
Throughout this interesting and at times entertaining book, Mahalick gives humorous anecdotes and self-deprecating statements, such as how a single American woman in another country would go about dating. I found this illuminating and rich in character. She speaks of a particular instance in which women would be the pursuers, as opposed to men making overtures.
Perhaps most interesting in this book is the cheapness of medical services in this country, such as dental or eye treatment. Mahalick gives examples, such as instances in which she had to rely on doctors to correct vision problems that she had struggled with much of her life, and the affordability of it. Particularly, she speaks of a well-known addiction center in Tijuana, the “Hitt Wellness Center.” She speaks of bestselling authors, film producers, actors, comedians, musicians, and award winning film composers, having all found their way to the “Hitt Wellness Center.” It is not unusual to see and hear of Americans streaming across the border to Mexico to get affordable and quality medical treatment and pharmaceutical supplies, which the author details in this book. I recall myself, periodically purchasing penicillin in Tijuana for my son in Chicago, and mailing it to him. If he had to acquire this for himself in the States it would have cost considerably more.
Mahalick describes an email interview in her book with a Dr. Hino, which is most revealing. She also talks fondly of her relationships and friends in this locale, such as Sitara and Jo Ann. Obviously, Baja is now home for the author and she is well entrenched in the culture and ambience of it. This is a book that I highly recommend for so many reasons, mostly to better understand and appreciate our neighbors south of the border. The Baja that the author describes in this book is so conducive to neighborly hospitality that our own founder of SDWriteway, Sam Warren, has also moved across the border to enjoy it. Listen to Susan's podcast interview on the "East County Magazine Live!" here.
Dennis Moore is a former freelance writer for the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. He is also a writer and book reviewer for the East County Magazine in San Diego as well as the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.