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Tequila Oil

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  26 reviews
'Try this tequila oil, Hugito. Just as the alcohol hits your stomach, the chilli will as well and blow it back into your brain. It will take your head off.' Explorer Hugh Thomson takes on Mexico.

It's 1979, Hugh Thomson is eighteen, far from home, with time to kill - and on his way to Mexico. When a stranger tells him there's money to be made by driving a car over the US bo
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 14th 2010 by Phoenix (first published February 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  262 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Linda Whiting
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Atmospheric road trip story. I wanted to read this as I was also meandering through Mexico in 1979 but by bus rather than Oldsmobile 98. My trip was a lot less wild but it still felt very adventurous, especially in 1979 - we really were lost in Mexico in those days pre mobile phones and internet. My parents received a postcard every three weeks if they were lucky.. I remember many of the things he mentioned - mezcal, mole, mariachis.. and places he visited. I liked the way the description of his ...more
Sophy H
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hugh Thomson triumphs again with his honest, self-deprecating, humourous reflection on his travels as an 18 year old through South America in a beast of a car he plans to sell in Belize at the end of the trip!

Things go wrong, things go right, there is tequila, chillies, rum, girls, gangs, dodgy officials!

I really liked this book and enjoyed the little asides about South American ancient history and culture.

Well recommended.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jolly travelogue that details the author's journey through Mexico back in 1979 and a return visit to Belize many years later.
I enjoyed reading Thomson's escapades and the Latin American history interspersed between tales of meeting new people, casual work and occasional car accidents. It was pretty easy to breeze through but slightly disjointed given the fact that the author doesn't really begin with the standard travel book intro of why he decided to travel to Mexico, and the ending chapters a
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zupełnie jakbym czytał o sobie w tym dziwnym, meksykańskim świecie. Może dlatego tak mi się spodobała "Tequila Oil". Chociaż przyznaję, że Hugh mocno na przypale tam pojechał, a stwierdzenie "co za typ" cisnęło się na myśl wielokrotnie, to nawet mu kibicowałem. Ale przynajmniej mógł sobie darować obnoszenie się ze swoimi muzycznymi upodobaniami.
Donna Lister
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
hilarious in parts, a great story but not sure it told me much more about Mexico than i knew
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Collins
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"...we were not drinking the usual tequila. When I’d asked for one, the barman had spat on the sawdust floor, alarmingly close to my feet: ‘ ¿Tequila? ¡Para maricones! ¡Y mariachis! Puro mezcal de Oaxaca.’ He produced a bottle that far from being pure looked cloudy, but not so cloudy that I could miss the large worm floating at the bottom. Nor was it the tourist type of worm they put in a novelty bottle either, but a fleshy, decomposing, honest-to-god cactus-fed worm. I surrendered and asked for ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was easy to read and entertaining. Part one was better than part two. I want to read more Hugh Thomson....
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. The bulk of it tells the tale of the author's stint in Mexico as an 18 year old out on a mission: to see the country and to sell the Oldsmobile he is riding in. Written in a deceptively easy style you can imagine having a few drinks and just happily listening to Thomson tell his tales. The latter part of the book sees him return to Belize somewhat older and wiser and, it has to be said, sadder. The melancholy air of these last pages maybe reflects his marriage brea ...more
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mexican-lit, travel
This was a fun read. I love travel books and this one I will gladly add to my list of favourites. Its the tale of the author when he had turned 18 with the grand scheme to buy a Cadilac in Texas and drive it to sell inCentral America for "big bucks". Grand scheme and very naive man. makes for a good yarn. Lots of relatively stupid things that come across with a good sense of humour as the author looks back. This was in the seventies and it would be a different story now. driving across the desse ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read it in 2 days, good fun and quite insightful at times. I found the structure of the book a little bit distracting, with not much background given on the author and some of the content lacks a clear flow. I agree with a previous comment, the middle aged ending was a bit melancholic and sad after the optimistic adventure and exuberance of the authors youth, but reflects tellingly on our journey through life.
Leah L Mills
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm not one to read travelogues, but this one was so worth the gamble!
It offered an amazing insight into a land I have not even considered visiting. It was incredibly vivid- the food had me hungry at irrational times of the day- and Thomson's voice really comes across throughout the narrative.
Informative yet deeply personal and humorous. I WILL be picking this book up again some time!
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
Hugh Thomson picks up the journey he made to Mexico when he was about 18, in an old Oldsmobile boat of a car. I love the the people and books he references to enhance his adventures. When he returns as a middle-aged man to Belize and Mexico to reflect on his current life and past makes this not only an exciting travel book but a progression and comment on life's transitions.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant travelogue of a journey through Central America in two parts, separated by 30 years. The first part appealed a lot more to me than the second, particularly with the foibles of the car to contend with, but the return visit rounded off the journey well.
Laura  (Reading is a Doing Word)
I loved this book. The "then" part was nostalgic, amusing and engaging,with just enough historical comment to whet your appetite for further reading. The "now" section was more reflective and not quite as amusing but still interesting. All in all a very informative and enjoyable read.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I think I liked the idea of this book more than the actual read itself. It held promise that never really delivered and the style of writing was disjointed. That said there was enough content and humour to keep me reading until the end.
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable travel book. Makes you want to just jump on a car and drive.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely written history/travel combo, especially if you're interested in Mexico.
Tomasz Skórski
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Od biedy można przeczytać, ale ani to nadmiernie ciekawa, wnicambitna, ani wyrafinowana lektura. Nie polecam.
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn't really relate to the many Punk and Reggae references and as a result, for me personally, the book felt a lot less satisfying than his other works
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a really entertaining travel memoir. And it's making me want to learn Spanish again.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Was just alright!! I enjoyed the historical information about Mexico and Central America
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Easy read, but not as entertaining as I hoped.
Caitlyn O'dowd
rated it liked it
May 18, 2017
rated it did not like it
Aug 31, 2018
Mateusz Prusik
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Aug 18, 2018
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Jul 01, 2017
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Apr 27, 2016
Tamaryn Smith
rated it it was ok
Jun 07, 2017
Shauna Carlow
rated it did not like it
Sep 13, 2020
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Hugh Thomson believes strongly that the world is not as explored as we like to suppose.

He writes about the wilder corners of the planet, from the edges of Peru to the Himalayas, looking for Inca ruins and lost cultures. Geographical commented that 'He is a writer who explores and not an explorer who writes.'

For 'The Green Road into the Trees', he returned to Britain to write about his own country

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