Exploring Mexico

Images of Mexico Part XII

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Mexico is a big country. It can only be described as a sensual mosaic of different scenes of people and landscapes. Soft pastels and hard colors are seen and felt in the emotions of the people.

Beautiful as the soft music of a romantic trio in the evening or a hard ranchera. The laughter of a people who love their children and celebrate life in the streets and their homes.

If you look at a map of Mexico and the US, you might describe the US as the mind and logic, and Mexico is the heart.

El Malecón in Veracruz
The Busy Malecón in Veracruz
The Malecón is where most tourists come to stroll when the weather is cool and pleasant.

It´s mostly in the evenings when the weather is cool.

During the day, there isn´t much activity.

There are all kinds of things to look at and little stalls to browse.

Most of them sell the same kinds of things.
El Malecón in Veracruz
El Malecón in Veracruz
El Hotel Diligencias
The Gran Hotel Las Diligencias
The word "Diligencia" means "stage coach" and goes back to the days of the first stage coach service in the 1830´s.

The wide corridor with the high ceilings reflects a special attention to refined relaxation of the tropical climate in Veracruz.

When I have time in the mornings, I sometimes stop here to enjoy a quiet cup of rich dark coffee and watch the world go by.
El Hotel Diligencias
El Hotel Diligencias
Table Base
Watching the Plaza
Sometimes you can hear the heavy bells of the church, or the chimes in the city hall across the plaza in front.

Across the plaza which probably dates to the early 1700´s, you can feel the centuries and wonder what battles must have been fought.

Looking down at the floor, you can see the base of the table made of heavy cast iron, was built to last.

It´s been here for a long time.
El Baluarte Santiago
Historic Places
Veracruz is a great place to enjoy good coffee.

Historic places are everywhere.

One of my favorites is the Restaurant "Casita" in front of the old Baluarte Santiago, built as a consequence of a pirate raid in 1683.

For several hundred years, it was the room where all the gun powder was stored, and where I sit used to be the beach.
A Garage Restaurant
A Restaurant in a Garage
In Veracruz, good home cooked seafood is everywhere.

It seems like the people of Veracruz really know how to prepare seafood.

Many people convert their garage at home into a restaurant.

In many of these places, you can find some really good seafood in a family atmosphere.

You will find it at a good price, too because the overhead is low.

Often the children in the family are your waiters and it´s a lot like eating at home.
Palapa Beach Restaurant
Palapa Beach Restaurant
Along the beaches of Boca del Rio, just south of Veracruz, are a couple of palapa restaurants.

They are fair weather restaurants and aren´t built to last, probably not more than one season.

The first winter storm the comes will blow it away.

But for now, it´s a great place to enjoy the beach.
Palapa Beach Kitchen
Outside Dish Washing
Like in the countryside, half the kitchen is outside.

There is always a convenient window to pass the dirty dishes outside.

You wash and dry the dishes outside in the backyard.

Weekend Restaurants
During the week, these beach restaurants are empty of people throughout the year.

Boca del Río
Boca del Río
Boca del Río has a small downtown area with many seafood restaurants along the Jamapa River front.

The atmosphere is a little different from Veracruz.

There are strolling musicians during the week, and on the weekends, there are dance groups.It´s a great place to have lunch when you want to get out of the city.

I like to watch the people working on their little fishing boats that go out to sea at night

This is while I have another round of fresh seafood at my table in the restaurant on the beachfront of the Malecón.

The fisherman ignore us because they are accustomed to seeing tourists and have more important things to do.
Boca del Río Boats
Boca del Río
An Old Mansion in Downtown Veracruz
An Old Mansion
In downtown Veracruz, many of the old mansions have been remodelled and converted to government offices.

One day I was waiting my turn at one of these offices to renew a permit for another year.

The ceilings of this elegant home, along with central air conditioning made it a lot nicer than the normal government offices.When it came to be my turn, I noticed the employees seemed to be more pleasant than usual.

Veracruz has a special charm that is not only the beaches, the deep rich coffee, the historical buildings, or the people of the coast who have share everything with me.

I think when the time comes, it´s not going to be easy to leave.

My neighbor told me the other day, "Life is just for today, to think about the future is to suffer."

At least for today, I think I´ll follow the advice of my neighbors and continue to enjoy what I am doing right now.

Sometimes on a Clear Day You Can See El Pico de Orizaba from Veracruz
From the 6th Floor of the Parking Lot at the Plaza las Americas Shopping Center

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