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Archive for the ‘Veracruz’ Category

Chatchkes on Parade

Here are the results of my prowlings for trinkets.

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This little mask is actually an ocarina and is only about an inch
and a quarter in width. I found it in one of the shops on
Callejon Diamante in Xalapa.

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Another ocarina, about two inches high.

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Made in Oaxaca, bought in Xalapa.

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A ceramic pitcher I got at the Naolinco market.
Can you believe it was only forty cents?!

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But then, it doesn’t hold much.

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A rock, painted as a frog by a Xalapa artist.

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A jarocha dancer, bought in Veracruz, four and one-quarter inches tall
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A larger dancer, seven and a half inches tall
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Horse carrying firewood, about 4.5 inches tall
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Forgot to tell you, I bought a house in Veracruz.
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Getting ahead in Veracruz is easy.
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Last Day in Xalapa

This is my last day in Xalapa. I’ll be getting on the ADO bus around noon to head back to Veracruz, as my plane for Mexico City leaves midmorning tomorrow.

Miscellaneous Observations

I don’t think anyone has ever exaggerated about the climate in el puerto de Veracruz. Veracruz can be uncomfortably warm and humid at times, and this is still winter! However, it does have nice breezes and did cool off nicely in the evenings, although I did need to turn on the AC in my room for comfortable sleeping after a couple of days. Didn’t get any bug bites while I was there, but Eric confirmed it was partly because of the time of year. It’s got lots to see and do and is close to a number of interesting little towns to visit. It’s flat, so I was able to do a lot of walking without problems. In the warm weather, I seemed to have fewer aches and pains.

Xalapa wasn’t too hot and had a much more comfortable level of humidity. Pat got quite a few bug bites. She wore capri pants sometimes; I always had long pants and shoes with socks. I only got a few near my elbows and a couple on my hands. I’m assuming these must be the no-see-ums. The bite is pretty small, very red and leaves a tiny blister. Hers itched quite a bit, but mine didn’t. They’re taking a long time to heal and go away.

I liked Xalapa very much, especially the people, who are wonderfully kind and friendly. What I didn’t like so much are the hills. Coupled with the altitude, it may be a big issue for me ten years from now when I retire. The city is very charming, with lots going on. Coatepec is even more charming, and much flatter, but Dennis told me there isn’t much going on in the way of cultural activities or nightlife.

I’ve really enjoyed my first taste of Mexico and am now looking forward to exploring other areas on my next trip, whenever that may be. There are a couple of trips to Europe I want to make first, and I ought to do them while I still live on the East Coast. But I will be back!

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Naolinco

We didn’t do much today. Decided to take the ATB bus to Naolinco, a little town an hour away known for their leather making expertise.

Walked through a little fast food restaurant to get to the ticket window.

As we waited for our bus,

I noticed the pasta tile floors.

Here are some scenes taken from the bus along the way.

Pineapples: 2 for 15 (pesos, about US$1.50),
1 for 10 (pesos, or about US$1.00)

The route wound through some hills and was very pretty.

We passed through quite a few small villages.

Arriving in Naolinco an hour later, we saw lots of leather goods for sale.

Some kids thought we were pretty funny looking.

Wound our way through the market.

This restaurant looked inviting,

so we stopped in to have lunch.

We talked with the owner a bit, who jokingly asked if it would break my camera when I asked to take his picture.

Then we walked by the church

which had beautiful stencilled decorations on the walls and ceiling

and even little doggies were permitted inside.

Then we walked to the mirador to see the waterfall.

Now we’re resting up before dinner. Oh, and it might have been in the mid-80s at Naolinco, but right now its 70 at Xalapa.

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On to Jalcomulco

After the hacienda we went to Jalcomulco, a village which is well known among white water rafters. Roy said there was a suspension bridge there he wanted to show us. Roy told us that in a couple of weeks, the town would be full of tourists. But for the moment, it was calm.

We went across the bridge, which was somewhat terrifying. It didn’t look too bad until you got a few feet out onto it. Some of the boards on the bridge looked like they were going to crumble under my feet, and some were a bit too widely spaced, through which I could see the river rushing below.

Steve captures Pat and me coming across.

Roy had great fun, jumping up and down on the bridge so it would undulate, causing Pat and me to wobble across like we were drunk. But, as they say in Spanish, “no pasa nada” (nothing happened).

It wouldn’t have been far to the creek below, but it was pretty rocky down there.

Having made it across the bridge in one piece, we stopped for a snack.

I really liked the locally made bamboo chairs.

We head back to the vehicle.

A cute house.

Selling souvenirs.

Buying souvenirs.


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Xico

Leaving Zimpizahua, we headed for Xico. On the way, we crossed a bridge that Roy mentioned was at least a hundred years old. There was no traffic in either direction, so as we crossed I asked Roy if we could stop briefly so I could snap a photo out the window.

Steve did some quick calculations as to the weight of the vehicle plus passengers and made a funny comment about the wisdom of our stopping in the middle of this ancient span. Since we neither caused an accident nor plunged to an early demise, I am dedicating this photo to Steve.

Wending our way through the streets of Xico, we happened upon this young man selling hand carved wooden horses.

Next stop was a little museum where the lady pictured above had a number of displays depicting elaborate scenes with people and animals made from corn husks. These are a few figures that were for sale.

By now we were all ready for lunch. Roy brought us to one of his favorite restaurants in the area, La Molienda, so named because it was once a mill.

Tortillas and salsa were being prepared as we arrived. Everything looked good!

The restaurant was wonderful. Our table overlooked a creek.

Appetizers.

Steve, Pat and Roy ordered trout, which they said was wonderful. Those of you who know me know that I don’t eat anything that lives in the water. I chose the chicken mole. It was good, though perhaps a bit too sweet. The serving was so generous that I was only able to finish about half of what’s on the plate. In the shot glass is a lemon flavored liqueur, and on the left is sarsaparilla. Sarsaparilla is one of the main ingredients of root beer. Locally the drink is made using about a dozen ingredients, then diluted with water. It was very refreshing.

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Touring With Roy

Today was action packed. In addition to sore feet, I’m suffering from stimulation overload. (That’s a joke.)
I wanted to see Coatepec and Xico. Steve and Pat knew how to get to Coatepec by bus, but we also wanted to see some nearby villages that were hard to get to. So we took a tour with Roy Dudley.

Roy has lived in Xalapa for over 30 years. He knows everyone, and everyone knows him. Being a professional photographer himself, Roy took us to a lot of places that were not only picturesque but off the beaten track. Roy speaks Spanish like a native and was able to talk to people and introduce us. He’s also a lot of fun. If you’re going to visit Xalapa, I’d highly recommend a tour with Roy. It was one of the highlights of my time in Xalapa.

Hooking up with Steve and Pat has been great because Steve is an avid photographer, and Pat is used to him stopping and taking pictures. I must be even worse than him because I was always last to catch up. Roy is also a professional photographer, so he knew where to show us beautiful buildings, gardens, doorways and much more that we would want to capture.

Roy wanted to show us a historic inn called Posada Coatepec, but I had to catch up because several things caught my eye on the way there.

Coatepec, being much smaller than Xalapa, has a much more tranquil atmosphere. I found it charming.

A street in Coatepec.

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Exploring Xalapa With Steve and Pat

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Steve and Pat, watching activities in front of the cathedral.
Behind them, across the street, is the Palacio Gobierno.

After our thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Xalapa Anthropology Museum, we headed for el centro to give me my first real look around.  There was something going on in front of the cathedral involving a large group of students and a drum corps or two.

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This is what they were watching: festivities in front of the cathedral.

Steve and Pat had arrived in Xalapa three weeks before I did, so they knew their way around pretty well. This was the first time I’d ever gone anywhere without making a detailed daily itinerary and thoroughly checking out transportation options myself. Because Steve and Pat were already familiar with the city and the buses, I basically just tagged along. As Steve said, “we acted as your advance team!”

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A view of the cathedral from under the colonnades at the Palacio Gobierno.

The cathedral was quite beautiful and seemed to incorporate a number of different architectural styles.

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Across the street under the columns of the Palacio Gobierno, there was a little market going on.

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Fruit, flowers, plants and handicrafts were for sale, attracting hordes of potential customers.

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