Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
Prev / The Americas / Mexico Next

Veracruz is where the fun really started. I got my first glimpse of the gulf waters and first beer on the beach. I managed to avoid the ubiquitous "name on a grain of sand" vendors, but here I started to meet some of the locals and try some food. I stayed in Veracruz for a couple nights before heading off to the Yucatan.

Finally, after surviving endless potholes, man-eating insects, and countless hours waiting in bus terminals, I arrived at the beach. And boy was it nice. From my notebook:

"Now this is what it's all about. Dos cervezas, por favor, and more sun than I can stand. As I walked to the beach I was hailed by a man and escorted to my private table. Minutes later he brought my Superior cerveza, a quartered lime, and a pile of rock salt.

"As I drink my beer and chill in the breeze, I watch a family coat their boy with thick soupy sand, while his grandmother laies in the surf like a beached whale. Farther out an elderly couple plays in the waves as if it's the first time. Who knows? Maybe it is.

"I order another cerveza from mi amigo and continue my sitting and watching, feet in the sun, stripped to my waist with all my worldly posessions safely guarded in the seat next to me. I had begun to have second thoughts about this trip -- only two days old -- but it's good... [more]
(Random entries from my notebook)

Well, the trip has officially started. Boy, not speaking the language complicates things. However, each minor activity becomes a major accomplishment and source of pride. Now I can safely boast "I can buy a bottle of water *completely* in espaņol." Actually, I've done surprisingly well given my poor Spanish, though not without very helpful strangers and patient merchants along the way. In the process, I've learned a few useful lessons:
- Credit cards are *not* widely accepted, no matter what the books say.
- Mexican busses are so much better than Greyhound. The typical mid-range bus here is like the luxury busses back in the US.
- Mexico City is actually called "Mexico DF" (no idea what that stands for), or just "Mexico". It's more like New York than Oaklahoma City.
- Mexican chicks are hot! I had the pleasure of having a long conversation with a very pretty girl on an even longer bus ride. She spoke no English so we made ... [more]
With the help of dos chicas, pen, paper, and my infantile espanol, I learned of an extremely cheap hotel next to the Instituto Technological in a remote neighborhood of Veracruz. The first chica pushed me onto some ancient box on wheels called an 'autobus', and the second chica told me where to jump off (in the literal sense -- some busses down here don't really "stop" for people to get on or off), as well as walked me to the hotel.

Anyway, this room ended up being $51 pesos -- about $6USD. It had clean sheets, a working ceiling fan, and a good breeze from the outside. Of course, it also had no toilet seat, only one temperature of water (chilly), and some extremely loud street noise in the mornings. But hey, such is the life of the budget traveler.

Making this room even more exciting was the girl that led me to it. My spanish is pretty bad, so I usually don't know what's going on. Furthermore, whenever it comes to girls of any nationality, I always seem to be confuse... [more]
Set back behind a terraced-pool is the library for the University of Veracruz. This library is an amazing building of glass and steel, modern in every sense. Particularly modern were their computer labs which sought, but failed, to keep me out using their password protection. Thankfully, students all over the world forget to log out, leaving opportunities for people like me to leach Internet access. Muhahaha!
One attribute of Mexican cities I've begun to love are the various fountained squares they have hidden throughout. The best of these are tucked away in remote nooks and crannies, often ringed with small cafes and resturants, rather than overtly placed amongst noisy roads. This particular square I found whilst wandering throughout the mall downtown, freshly-baked goods in hand from a nearby paneria.
One pasttime that I've found to be very entertaining is to just jump on a bus and see where it takes you. Doing this I managed to find a whole 'nother city in which all sorts of fun was to be had. In addition to fountained squares and imposing obilisks, I found this nice corner cafe. I took the corner seat where I had a good view of the ship, which was in the process of unloading. Feeling adventurous I tried a ham and cheese ommelette. I'm surprised (or not, I'm not sure which) to report that it tastes exactly like a ham and cheese ommelette anywhere else.

See those guys in the background? "Your name on a grain of rice"? Those guys are everywhere. Now, I don't know if there's a huge demand for this service in Veracruz, but I probably saw a hundred -- literally -- different vendors selling the exact same thing. And not one of them did I see actually make a sell. They sell your name on a grain of rice, a key, or a pen. Boy, when I think Veracruz, my name on a key is the first souvegn... [more]
There are so many, and they're all pretty.
(Coming soon)
While walking down the street a light drizzle came on just as a man hailed me with a barrage of food recommendations (I think). Hoping to avoid the impending rain, and being a bit hungry, I said "Si" to see what kind of concoction I would get. It turns out that the resultant food was absolutely amazing -- possibly the best meal I've had since. I never did get the name of what it was, but it was almost like a cajun chicken. with a dash of lime and a bit of refried beans, it was a stunning dish.

During my stay in Mexico, I've become progressively more adventurous in my eating. With this meal I tried some of the juice to see if it'd sit well with me. However, the juice tasted diluted, and the only thing that it makes sense to dilute with is water. Local water. So, after a half glass, I drank no more out of fear of my intestinal tract's response.

I'm happy to report that it responded quite well, and all systems are go.
'Nuff said.
"Por su patria, lidiando sucumbrieron, y un templo aqui, de su sepulcro hicheron: 'Invasion Norteamericana de 1914' En este monumento yacen los restos de: Cristobal Martinez Zorrilla, Bejamin Cutierrez, Jorge Alacio Perez, Antonio Fuentes, Gilberto Gomez, Andres Montes, Mario Rodriguez Malpica, otros Heroes Desconocidos"

Copyright 2021 - David Barrett -