Gringos in Paradise: An American Couple Builds Their Retirement Dream House in a Seaside Village in Mexico [NOOK Book]


A Year in Provence meets Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House in this lively and entertaining account of a couple's year building their dream house in Mexico.

In 2004, Barry Golson wrote an award-winning article for AARP magazine about Mexican hot spots for retirees longing for a lifestyle they couldn't afford in the United States. A year later, he and his wife Thia were taking part in the growing trend of retiring abroad. They sold their ...
See more details below
Gringos in Paradise: An American Couple Builds Their Retirement Dream House in a Seaside Village in Mexico

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99 price


A Year in Provence meets Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House in this lively and entertaining account of a couple's year building their dream house in Mexico.

In 2004, Barry Golson wrote an award-winning article for AARP magazine about Mexican hot spots for retirees longing for a lifestyle they couldn't afford in the United States. A year later, he and his wife Thia were taking part in the growing trend of retiring abroad. They sold their Manhattan apartment, packed up their SUV, and moved to one of those idyllic hot spots, the surfing and fishing village of Sayulita on Mexico's Pacific coast.

With humor and charm, Golson details the year he and his wife spent settling into their new life and planning and building their dream home. Sayulita -- population 1,500, not including stray dogs or pelicans -- is a never-dull mixture of traditional Mexican customs and new, gringo-influenced change. Before long, the Golsons had been absorbed into the rhythms and routines of village life: they adopted a pair of iguanas named Iggy Pop and Iggy Mom, got sick and got cured by a doctor who charged them sixteen dollars a visit, made lasting friends with Mexicans and fellow expatriates, and discovered the skill and artistry of local craftsmen.

But their daily lives were mostly dedicated to the difficult yet satisfying process of building their house. It took them almost six months to begin building -- nothing is simple (or speedy) in Mexico -- and incredibly, they completed construction in another six. They engaged a Mexican architect, builder, and landscape designer who not only built their home but also changed their lives; encountered uproariously odd bureaucracy; and ultimately experienced a lifetime's worth of education about the challenges and advantages of living in Mexico.

The Golsons lived (and are still living) the dream of many -- not only of going off to a tropical paradise but also of building something beautiful, becoming a part of a new world, making lasting friends, and transforming their lives. As much about family and friendship as about house-building, Gringos in Paradise is an immensely readable and illuminating book about finding a personal paradise and making it a home.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Shortly after traveling through Mexico on a magazine assignment to interview American expats enjoying retirement south of the border -- at attractive prices -- Golson and his wife, Thia, joined them. Enchanted by the coastal village of Sayulita, with a lively native population and an equally colorful array of transplantted gringos, they bought a plot of land and set about building their dream house.

It was then that they learned that mañana means more than just "tomorrow." It's a way of life, a gentle reminder of the wisdom of accepting what you cannot change; notably the comic, Byzantine, and often illogical Mexican bureaucracy that governs every stage of the building process. As the house comes together, Barry and Thia's marriage frays at the edges. Every detail of their home must be crafted by artisans in accordance with their specifications, and to Thia's despair, Barry develops a passion for monograms. But once particulars like stairways to nowhere are ironed out, the Golsons find that the true wonder of their adventure has come from their immersion in village life and the lasting friendships they've forged with their neighbors -- people far different from those they'd known in New York, for whom mañana is a horrifying thought. Immensely entertaining and truly informative, Gringos in Paradise is a read that's almost as satisfying as being there. (Spring 2007 Selection)
Publishers Weekly
After a career in publishing (as executive editor of Playboy and TV Guide), Golson decided it was time to plan for retirement. With a modest nest egg and an urge for sunshine and adventure, he and his wife traveled Mexico researching American retirees for an AARP article that eventually won a Lowell Thomas award and became the seed for this funny and practical book. On impulse, Golson and his wife also bought land in their favorite spot, the Mexican seaside village of Sayulita. Returning to build their home, they realized their cliffside property was impractical; with the remainder of their savings, they bought more land and started their dream house. As with most home-building sagas, they faced obstacles (permit hassles, contractors who backed out) and made errors (the staircase didn't reach the roof) but, magically, the house was ready when the extended family arrived for Thanksgiving. In the end, the house-building process became their vehicle for cultural transplantation; by the time their home was finished, the Golsons knew a lot more about Mexican village life and felt totally comfortable with their new neighbors. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Golson combines wry humor with personal experience in this highly entertaining and informative account of life on Mexico's Pacific coast. His descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells and rhythms of daily village life and insights into Mexican culture and customs are among the best I've ever read. Though not specifically a how-to retirement guide, the book is packed with invaluable, neighbor to neighbor tips. Unlike the usual dry, factual, sleep-inducing retirement guides, I enjoyed this one cover to cover. If Gringos In Paradise doesn't give you the Mexico itch, check your vital signs!" — Carl Franz, author of The People's Guide to Mexico

"I love risk-takers and Barry Golson is one of them. Consider this: Most Americans don't travel outside the U.S. and fewer than 23 per cent even have passports! But where does it say in the manual you can't broaden your horizons? Golson is a perfect and literal example of someone who's done just that. For all the rest of you, he's also proof that if you define a goal as a dream with a deadline, there's no end to what you can accomplish — and experience." — Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, NBC Today Show

"Not just a useful tale of house-building in the Mexican tropics, but a funny, touching story of how both men and women can be re-invigorated by the challenge of change in their lives." — Karen Blue, author of Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing Their Lives in Mexico

"This is a great personal story about the choices the boomer generation now faces and about opting for a vigorous life change in the power years." — Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., author of The Power Years: A User's Guide to the Rest of Your Life

"As all wise expats know, paradise isn't a place — it's a state of mind. Golson's book tells about building a retirement house in Mexico, but between the lines it's really about the harder job of building a new life. I won't be surprised if Gringos in Paradise becomes the newest bona fide Boomer Bible." — James Morgan, author of Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream

"Gringos in Paradise is well written and exceedingly entertaining, full of rich anecdotes and plainspoken advice. It's proof that reinventing your life in retirement is anything but a crazy idea. Moving and hilarious." — AARP the Magazine

"A funny and practical book." — Publishers Weekly

"Golson's overarching experience is one of amiability, creativity, honesty, openhandedness, and a zest for life." — San Francisco Chronicle

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416547839
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 11/14/2006
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 786,035
  • File size: 733 KB

Meet the Author

Barry Golson tried to retire, but put it on hold to launch a travel website for He and his wife Thia are also researching a new book on living abroad to be called Retirement Without Borders. Golson is a former editor of the Playboy interviews, TV Guide, and Yahoo! Internet Life. He has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Ski, and Salon. His article for AARP on Mexico won a Lowell Thomas award. He and Thia divide their time between New York and Sayulita, and look forward someday to re-retiring.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Gringos in Paradise
An American Couple Builds Their Retirement Dream House in a Seaside Village in Mexico

By Barry Golson Scribner
Copyright © 2008
Barry Golson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780743276368


A Rainstorm...

A Goodbye Party...Crossing Over

¿Es usted norteamericana?

Sí, soy norteamericana.

We are rolling across the republic to the soft droning of my wife's Spanish language drills on the car's CD player. My wife answers with the same exaggerated singsong lilt as the woman on the disc, and it is starting to grate on me. Certainly it is a credit to Thia that she is using our five days of driving to the border as a time to begin learning the language, but it has something of the same effect on me that songs tallying bottles of beer used to have when returning from camp. It is Election Day, and it is pouring sheets here in Ohio as autumn lightning crackles down onto the plains. When we pull off the highway to fill up, I see lines of people outside a school building, holding umbrellas or turning their collars up, waiting to vote. Thia and I have cast absentee ballots in our Connecticut town before leaving -- as it happens, I was in the college class between the two presidential candidates -- but if there is any astral, or political, sign in our departure, it is not of our making.

The election results unfold for us in a motel in Ohio, where it continues to pour. We wonder, in passing, what effect the lashing rain might have on the voter turnout here. Thia and I resume our drive the next morning, and the weather clears. She puts on herSpanish drills again (yes, she is a norteamericana, but I cannot think of a time in Mexico in the next two years when we'll be called that), and we strike a time-sharing compromise: I am finally able to tune into my newest toy, a satellite radio. With 120 channels, it turns a long drive into a continuous sampling of music, news, and sports -- Mozart, classic rock, crooners of the thirties, Debussy, even a twenty-four-hour Elvis channel, plus NPR and the talk shows, all thrashing out the election results.

Although we are on our way to simplify our lives, it will not be without some of our society's more useful technology. Mine is the first generation since the rise of the Internet and the technology boom to try out the expatriate life. We may not need our TV -- we have not brought along a set -- but we do want our laptops, our DVD players, our iPods, our Wi-Fi cards.

Our car is a midsize used Japanese SUV I bought recently on eBay. It is hardly a smart choice of car, since it is not serviced in Mexico, and it is not particularly economical or environmentally friendly. But it is a strong, rugged beast, and we didn't want to trade it in for a lesser breed; at least it is a four-wheel drive vehicle. Mexico, as we knew from a previous visit, offered ample opportunities to test a car's constitution. The topes -- vicious speed bumps that appear out of nowhere approaching towns and villages -- were enough to require reinforced shocks, and any detours could involve streams, mud, and rocks.

It also had enough cargo room for the stuff we were bringing for a first year's stay in Mexico. Thia decided suitcases would only be a nuisance to store in the apartment we would be renting, and a pain to pack in the car, so instead we filled sixteen large steel-reinforced plastic trash bags with our (all-summer) clothes, our laptops, a printer, a fan, our flippers, a multitude of CDs and books, a stereo, and a foldable bookcase.

By afternoon of the next day, in Missouri, we switch off the satellite radio in favor of an audio book of Mark Twain readings. As we have planned our rambling route, we cross the big river not that far from Hannibal listening to excerpts from Life on the Mississippi. We are in no hurry to reach the Mexican border. We have traveled with our boys throughout the United States and in Europe, and always enjoyed the going as much as the getting there.

To easterners, Europe seems closer than Mexico. In the East, our superficial image of Mexico is shaped by what we read or see on television or when immigration issues are in the public eye: a poor country with good resorts, lousy water, spicy food, dangerous bandidos, a colorful history, and a hard-working people -- a good number of whom might, at any moment, be poised at the Rio Grande, paying unscrupulous smugglers their life's savings to ferry them across to do America's lowest-paid work. When we get exercised about illegal immigration, as we do every few years, we notice the Mexicans in our midst, laboring in our fields and our cities. But we do not trouble ourselves to know much beyond the clichés about Mexico, or about the Mexicans who remain and reside in their own country. In the East we are exposed to a less nuanced image of Mexico than are residents of California or the Southwest. But it's safe to say that a mix of apprehension and condescension toward our southern neighbor seems to be pervasively, reflexively American. Sorry, North American.

In our family, there was a different tradition. It may not have been in our blood -- we're pretty much Irish-French -- but living in Mexico for a time was part of our family history. My paternal grandfather lived and worked in Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, at the turn of the last century. My father, a mining equipment salesman, was transferred to Mexico City in 1952, and we spent seven years there, leaving when I was twelve. I forgot much of my Spanish and did not return to Mexico until I was an adult.

Though I passed some formative years there, Mexico faded from my mind. My family moved to Europe -- I met my future wife's family there -- but I went to high school and college in the States and worked in America's big cities. I retained a warm feeling for the years I spent in Mexico City, which was then a balmy city of a few million. It seemed to me, young as I was, a fabled, romantic time of my life. But later, as time went on, I became no less susceptible than other Americans to the drumbeat of press reports about Mexico's unstable finances, poverty-stricken citizenry, and crime in the border cities, to say nothing of the effects of drinking the tap water.

In fact, after we announced our decision to our larger circle of friends, it was surprising how many had their own personal horror stories to relate, and how eagerly they told them. Just before we left, there was a good-bye party for us in New York at our in-laws' apartment. Our friends came to wish us well. One, a svelte, smart New York City judge and an experienced world traveler, told us she had visited Mexico only once and had been shipped home feet first, retching. A soft-spoken sister-in-law was uncharacteristically agitated when she talked about a friend who had once been stopped by police in Mexico and taken off to jail on spurious charges. A couple of friends from the suburbs mentioned kidnappings in Mexico City and the rash of stories about violence in the border cities.

At the party, after we cut the celebratory cake that was bought for us, several of my male friends put their arm around my shoulder.

"You dog," said a lifelong buddy. "We're so goddamn envious."

"You're paving the way," said another friend and fellow writer. "You're going to live the dream."

That is what they were saying. But by the way they squeezed my shoulder, kneading it sympathetically, I knew it was more than happiness or even a touch of envy they felt for us -- they were wishing us luck, as if they feared we would need it.

After a final Stateside lunch on San Antonio's voguish riverfront, we are in Laredo, Texas, approaching the border. Thia and I rehearse our plans. The guidebooks and websites have advised us what we can legally take across the border. Among other things, we are declaring only the ten books and twenty CDs we are allowed under a tourist visa, and have written a list to that effect, translating it into formal Spanish on Google's language site.

We are taking a risk by failing to declare the fifty CDs and the sixty or so books we are actually carrying. We will be applying for a tourist visa even though we intend to stay for at least a year, and will wait to get a resident visa at our destination in Mexico. That will eventually allow us to bring over a virtually unlimited number of household goods, but for now we have to make do with what tourists do. We are resigned to what may happen if the Mexican border police give us the notorious red light, which randomly singles out travelers for a major inspection. We know we face duty and a possible fine if our international music- and book-smuggling operation is uncovered.

In downtown Laredo, we pick up our Mexican insurance papers; American insurance is not valid in Mexico. Nasty stories about uninsured accidents in Mexico are a cottage industry online, not least because so many Mexican drivers do not themselves carry insurance -- or driver's licenses, for that matter. In Mexico, we hear, with a legal system in part based on the Napoleonic code, guilt is sometimes assumed and innocence must be proved. If papers are not in order, or there are any discrepancies at the scene of a fender bender, it is not unknown for the police to escort both drivers to a jail until it can be sorted out.

We head for the international border.

In the middle of the bridge spanning the Rio Grande, we pass into Mexico. American customs is uninterested in those of us leaving, while at the Mexican booth, an unsmiling man in uniform peers in at us and nods us through. It's a false positive, we know. The real customs stop is twelve miles down the highway, through a "free trade zone," in which U.S. residents can make casual day trips with a minimum of red tape. Those of us going further face the gauntlet. It is an instructive experience to cross the border by car, unlike flying into a Mexican airport, where you encounter only gradual changes amid the familiar glass and chrome of the arrivals building. In a car, you are immersed in the new culture instantly.

On the streets of Nuevo Laredo, the potholed pavement, littered sidewalks, dilapidated buildings, horizontal traffic lights, and a swelter of unfamiliar signage hit us at once. An old gentleman in a straw hat pulls out in front of us, on the seat of a cart made from a car frame, urging his donkey forward in traffic. The sidewalk action, all bustle and glances, has an edgy cast. In the year to come, there will be stories about gang killings and kidnappings in this lawless border city, and even now I know I want us to do our business and be gone.

We have to get our visas and car papers. Given the millions of vehicles that pass this way, the signs for the Mexican car-permit office are remarkably casual and makeshift. When we find the office, there are lines, and documents to be stamped, and permits to be paid for -- in Mexican pesos, not with credit cards. Outside of major hotels and restaurants, we know this is still largely a cash society. This is my first test of patience for the pace of bureaucratic life in Mexico. The American mind begins immediately to make comparisons: God, this is inefficient; in the States we'd streamline this -- conveniently forgetting long mornings of waiting in line at a New York City Department of Motor Vehicles. I have to make a conscious effort to adjust -- they do it differently here, relax! -- so I don't start out irritated and annoyed. Our documents are stamped, then stamped again, and then again.

About ninety minutes later, we are on the highway toward the twelve-mile customs station, where the green or red light awaits. We are exhilarated to be headed somewhere we will be calling home, but with a glance at each other, Thia and I know we are feeling the same thing. It is something we would not have admitted to our friends back East: a touch of dread about leaving behind the safe harbor of U.S. laws and norms, knowing that this time in our journey south we are driving deeper, past the point of easy return, to a place that can feel more perilous and alien than most countries we have visited. It's been said that there may be no two bordering countries in the world more different from each other than the United States and Mexico. Mexican author Carlos Fuentes has written that Mexico is far more "intricate and challenging to the North American mind than anything in Europe; a country at times more foreign than anything in Asia."

Still, I remind myself that despite the press clippings and State Department warnings, the overall crime rate in Mexico, at least as compiled by a recent United Nations survey, is ranked at less than a quarter that of the United States. Because public mistrust of the police in Mexico results in crimes being underreported, probably drastically, it's hard to get a true sense of it. But even if the reported figures are tripled or quadrupled, there is a statistical case to be made that in many parts of the country, for many of its 107 million citizens and resident expatriates, Mexico is at least as safe to live in as the United States. It is reassuring to think so.

Approaching the customs checkpoint, we slow down to pass through the lights. Up ahead, a red flash, and a car pulls over to the side and is approached by customs agents. Then a green, a green, and us -- green! The very first thing I think after feeling relief is an ungrateful, Damn, what was I worried about?; we could have taken the desktop computer (only a laptop is permitted), and maybe even that old air conditioner we had in the attic in Connecticut. Well, maybe not. We hear later from red-lighted travelers who were delayed for hours while every bag was inspected, with imaginative duties imposed on anything that looked even vaguely new.

The crossing, as I reflect on it, has its disturbing ironies. Here are we, persons born to privilege, now prospective immigrants headed in one direction over a border river that countless desperate immigrants look to cross the other way. We are worried about carrying too many CDs and getting fined; they are, many of them, fearful of being caught, arrested, turned back, robbed, in some cases dying from desert exposure. But something comes back to me: for all the furor about Mexican illegal aliens, which will grow more strident in the months to come, I have also read about Mexican immigrants working in the States who say they ultimately prefer the way of life in Mexico and intend to return here when they have saved enough. Although there's an economic reason I am emigrating to their country, I am also hoping to embrace the life and culture they say they miss.

So we are, at last, on our way. Our destination is a stretch of beach villages two days' drive away, about halfway down Mexico's Pacific Coast. We felt it important to settle in the middle part of the country, beyond the reach of the hustle and aggression of the border cities, and outside the periphery of tension and congestion that is Mexico City. We have been to the gentler central and interior parts of the country, and have a sense of how life is lived there.

Still, it is not that we have a dreamy notion of living alone in a rural village or necessarily of living in a more "authentic" Mexico. There are expatriates who seek that out, but we were not looking for a primitive, locals-only retreat. The villages that caught our interest are more prosperous, and more inhabited by Americans, than most. Yes, we want the Mexican experience; yes, we want to engage with a culture that is new to us. But we are going to make a home and do not want to forgo all modern comforts or English-speaking comradeship.

Besides, it seems more interesting to us to engage with a community that is dealing with change, not pastorally preserved in the past. As Mexicans come north to seek a better living, Americans will be heading south in greater numbers to seek a better life. That dynamic -- between a purely Mexican tradition and the wave of modernism ushered in by television, tourists, and retirees -- will be an increasingly common scenario played out in Mexican towns and villages.

This, at least, is what I found when I took an assignment a year earlier to write about Americans retiring in central Mexico. It was then that I rediscovered my childhood affection for the country and its people. During that trip, I came to feel that the overarching characteristics of Mexicans -- amiability, generosity, creativity, honesty, joy in living -- were most evident in these smaller towns. As for the Americans, I interviewed a wide range of gringo retirees, in various states of work, repose, and merriment, from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta. It was at the end of the trip that, unexpectedly, we arrived at the funky, dusty village that would grab our hearts: Sayulita.

We would not have got there, or done any of it, if I had not first had the rug pulled out from under me. Sometimes you need a shove to discover where you want to go next.

Copyright © 2006 by Barry Golson


Excerpted from Gringos in Paradise by Barry Golson Copyright © 2008 by Barry Golson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2009

    Read Before Moving

    If you are considering a move to Mexico, or simply a move to a foreign country, this book will help you understand the cultural differences, the upsides and down sides. And if you are not thinking about a move, read it anyway! It is delightful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Loved it

    My husband and I just purchased oceanfront property in the Yucatan. While we were also temped to buy on our first visit, we made a return trip a few months later. Their journey has been very helpful as we start our own journey. Must read if you are planning a similar move and even if you are not, while it is very informative it is also quite entertaining.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2011


    Until I started reading this book, I had never entertained the remote thought of moving to Mexico! Now, I wish I had moved to Sayulita 10 years ago! Living through the Golson's trials and tribulations was like going through them myself. I could not stop reading this book. I enjoyed the way Mr. Golson writes, as if I'm there in his living room, and he's telling me this story. Highly enjoyable!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    Witty, Thoughtful and Moving

    Barry Golson's tale of the year that he and his wife, Thia, spent building their dream house, is one of those books you find yourself thinking back upon long after you're finished reading.

    I particularly loved the way he braved honest fears about worrying that he and his wife wouldn't have anything to talk about after their sons boys flew the coop for college. It's sentiments like those -- commonly-felt but usually not-talked-about among married folk -- that give you the feeling that he's coming from a place of emotional honesty.

    The rest of the book is filled with moments like that: poignant, emotional and true.

    I can't recommend it highly enough.

    If you want to read up on him, his blog is here:

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    If your interested in living a "building in Mexico" adventure, this book is for you.

    This isn't a brain surgery book, but it does a great job of its subject, building a home in Mexico. It's an honest, straightforward story with humour thrown in the mix. The book gives the reader a good analysis of the people and challenges,(Sometimes the people are the challenges!), of building in Mexico. I have two different people who would like to build in Mexico; they are getting the book as a gift. Buy it to enjoy it and you won't be disappointed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book For The Traveler and Adventurous Retiree

    I'm no where near retirement, but this book makes me think long and hard about the possibilities of retiring somewhere new and challenging. Mr. Golson has a witty humor that makes living in Mexico an adventure...even during the golden years. The book centers around building a dream house in a tropical region of Mexico. Seems like a simple task? Well in a funny and topsy turvy way, a dream house is made and retirement is living through it. I loved this book, have talked to family and friends about the nuances of Mexico, and felt like I learned a great deal about how great retirement can be if you are willing to be a trailblazer. I loved getting to know the Golsons better and wish I could have learned more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2008

    Best book about Mexico

    As the author of The People's Guide to Mexico wrote about this book, the 'descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells and rhythms of daily village life and insights into Mexican culture and customs are among the best I've ever read.' I agree. One curmudgeon reviewer below called it smug, but I don't know a gringo who's written about Mexico with more affection--and the humor's always at the author's expense. It's practically a primer on how to resettle in a foreign country without being an Ugly American. I'm thinking about moving abroad, probably to Latin America, and I suspect this will be my bible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2007

    Mas Gringos en Paradise

    Wow! What a read. Barry Golson's view of experiencing the adventure of building a villa in Mexico was absolutely the best timing for my wife and I. We were experiencing something very similar in Los Cabos as I ventured through Barry's excerpts of his and Thia's construction experience. Barry concisely captures the special measures of the Mexican culture with taste and accuracy. Thanks for sharing...EXCELLENT!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2007

    You're Right, I Just Don't Get It

    Expected Peter Mayle charm but got NYC charm instead. Numerous, gratuitous, PC, Oliver Stone-esque diatribes about victimized Mexico. Blissful ignorance reminiscent of Dickens with his newfound wealth in regards to the exploitation of new Mexican neighbors: circumvention of their culture by helping to set up a gringo expatriot colony that thrives on cheap Mexican labor and circumvention of their laws by finding the right lawyer to build a beautiful home financed by the strong American dollar - a home the average Mexican can only afford if they go to a place like the NYC area the author just left and and toil for many years in the restaurants the author can no longer afford. Delivered with a serene smugness about how other gringos 'just don't get it.'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2007

    Wishin' I could retire there today!

    Golson's Sayulita adventure makes me wish I was old enough to join them. (One kid in college, and one to go!) I appreciated the way he reminds readers that the most successful expats become part of the community, immerse themselves in the culture and live on Mexican time. He does a wonderful job with the introducing the people he meets both mexicans and gringos.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2006

    A real Mexico adventure.

    Gringos in Paradise is a wonderful story of meeting life's challanges head on and succeeding. It is also a funny and insightful story of a couple's relationship with mutual love and support. It certainly paints a picture of Mexico that reveals the charms and strengths of the Mexican people.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    Funny, poignant, practical

    The story of a couple's move to a Mexican village, filled with great stories about what it's like to start a new life. This is one of those gems that give you a bunch of things at once--humor, with some laugh-out-loud moments--information--it feels like the real deal on Mexicans, gringos, and living in Mexico--and a very touching story about family and friendship. I was teary-eyed at the end, wishing the story would go on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2006

    A wonderful vist to Mexico

    Even if you don't plan to retire in Mexico, the book is a great read. It took a lot of guts for the author to turn his dream house into a reality, and along the way he learned all sorts of lessons about the Mexican people and life in Mexico that make the country seem delightful, even if there are some bumps along the way. And with a little Web searching you can find that the house is for rent for part of the year. You can literally live this dream, too!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    Gringos in Paradise: An American Couple Builds their Retirement Dream House in a Seaside Village in Mexico

    Gringos gives the reader a good insight into Mexico and the Mexican people. It's easy to read and it is always nice to have a story that is told with a good sense of humor. I enjoyed it as did my wife and our friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    The book is more than about building a house in a foreign land.

    I read 'Gringoes in Paradise' in Florence, Italy but as I got closer to the end of the book I was ready to get on a plane to Sayulita, Mexico and track down the Golsons and their Casa Gala. The book is more than about building a house in a foreign land. It showed that we Baby Boomers can live without all the extras that we've become used to and we can live life with humor, sensitivity and humanity in another land if we have the courage to take the leap. The richness of the Golson's long term marriage makes it all possible and Mr. Golson's warm amd accessible writing brings it home to the reader.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2006

    Gringos in Paradise: An American Couple Builds their Retirement Dream House in a Seaside Village in Mexico

    Well written with humor adn a real insight to Mexico and Mexicans. Loved it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)