Dec 31, 2005

Fat Mexico

It´s projected that Mexico will surpass the USA´s body mass by next year. At present 66% of Americans are fat. That is one hell of a triumph for Mexico, especially on the average daily salary of US 17.40 per day (for officially employed people).

Naturally NAFTA and yankee imperialists like McDonald´s get the blame.

Mexico is the world´s largest consumer of soft drinks and Coca Cola is happy to sell its products at prices that would produce shoppers protest riots in the US. Unlucky for big bad Coke - a little old lady took them to court, and (a first in Mexico) won a multimillion peso judgement against the juggernaut for infringing on competition.

Here in Catemaco the populace lives on junk food, or maybe it just seems that way. Half the merchandise displayed in the hundreds of tienditas (tiny stores) consists of junk food and candy. Even the larger grocery stores seem to stock more junk than food. And boy-o-boy- some of that stuff is delicious.

Dec 5, 2005

Catemaco cheese

I like blue cheese and I would die for some real french roquefort cheese. Soriana recently opened in San Andres Tuxtla and stocked queso azul (blue cheese) around 65 pesos a kilo until a few weeks ago.

They now stock a Soriana private brand cheese labeled "Qso Ro Papil" and the price is marked at 599.00 Mexican pesos per kilo. I requested the clerk to check her computer. She says the price is correct. I ask to speak to the department manager - she also says the price is correct.

Obnoxious gringo that I am, I then search for a store manager and drag him to the refrigerator. The price is correct!, he says. I explain to him that obnoxious gringos do not pay 600 pesos a kilo for cheese wrapped in French francs and flown in directly from the caves of Roquefort, France. He graciously responds "Mexicans do".

I can live with poor service and inept management BUT today I return to Soriana, and for the third time in 6 weeks check the cheese again. It is still the same price, except it has been relabeled, indicating it was packaged 28 November 2005.

It´s still the same old Soriana cheese that´s now turning brown around the edges. I am sure Mexico has laws protecting consumers from that sort of cheating. It is item number 286615 071882 in case someone knows someone at the local department of health.

Los Tuxtlas deserves better than that store, and it is getting it. An Aurrera, Walmart subsidiary will open soon in San Andres and hopefully they will eat that Soriana store for lunch.

Nov 5, 2005


There´s a saying in Los Tuxtlas which loosely translates and sort of rhymes in Spanish: Santiago has the culture, San Andres has the money and Catemaco has the garbage. It stems from Catemaco´s long ago ownership of a major dumpsite for Los Tuxtlas.

Apparently CONACULTA, Mexico´s major government cultural agency, and its chain of national bookstores “Libros y Arte” still consider Los Tuxtlas on par with garbage.On a recent visit to Veracruz city, the closest place to Los Tuxtlas and Catemaco, the two had absolutely “nada” on either subject.What a shame! Especially after listening to speech after project after proposal to promote Tuxtlas tourism.

In Veracruz CONACULO is not alone, neither the largest bookstore chain in Mexico, “Libreria Cristal”, nor Veracruz´s alleged best book store “The Spynx” (espinge?, I can´t recall how the store spelled it), has anything available on Los Tuxtlas.
If you´re interested in Catemaco books, check the Books unfinished web section on that subject.

Nov 4, 2005

Catemaco Milagro Tree

I was not that long ago when someone saw the face of the “holy catholic virgin mother” in a tortilla in Caleria, near Catemaco. That tortilla is now enshrined after having been visited by 1000´s of faithful.

Hurricane Stan produced a new miracle.

The storm knocked down a fairly massive mango tree in a real pretty area of Catemaco, in the suburb of Tepetapan, on the shores of the Rio Grande de Catemaco.
So, as is usual, the neighborhood busied itself with the Tuxtlas favorite tool, a chainsaw!, chopping the tree to fire wood size pieces and leaving a 15 foot stump.

Then the tree, which had been lying on its side, allegedly “miraculously” raised itself.

So all the tortilla people started a new pilgrimage. If you want to see the tree, you better hurry. Apparently many visitors want to take a piece of the tree home with them.

Oct 22, 2005

Catemaco beep beep

When I first arrived in Catemaco I bitched about he noise of the fire crackers.
So, they exploded a few users of those toys, and tried to put a stop to that.

Then it became popular to run small vehicles around Catemaco and announce whatever was going on in town. That became limited by the price of gasoline.

NOW - there is a generation of beep-beep cabrones passing along on their motorbikes pushing to sell tortillas.

There are umpteen street merchants in Catemaco, most have their distinctive call, perhaps not sweet to my ears, but nothing like these idiots and their horn honkings to sell tortillas.
Perhaps it´s time to explode a few bearers of tortillas. What an awful thought.

Oct 2, 2005

Catemaco Hills and Coast

I took a wonderful drive a short while ago, from Catemaco to Perla de San Martin. From there, I headed towards Ruiz Cortines, and broke off on the spur towards El Diamante. I had traveled the direct route from Perla to Diamante previously and spent most of my time opening cattle gates.
This route is absolutely wonderful for someone in a high clearance vehicle preferably with 4X4.
The views are amazing on the road to Perla, with the gulf and laguna Sontecomapan glittering above the greens of the many cow pastures.

Heading from Perla towards Ruiz, the clouds start nibbling on the very bad road composed of volcanic pebbles and sundry rocks barely permitting views of the magnificent vistas of an enshrouded Volcano San Martin, patches of remnant rain forest and glorious exhibits of flowers.
The turnoff to Diamante from Ruiz leads into a pure channel of green, towering jungle foliage, moist with the almost ever present high altitude fog, butterflies larger than my side mirror and plants that I spent a fortune to buy from local nurseries.

Unfortunately that channel peters out into the usual treeless Tuxtlas landscape on the way to La Nueva Victoria.

Inherently the landscape still remains beautiful with gorgeous vistas of the gulf, the flanks of Volcano San Martin, the innocent looks of hundreds of calves, and assorted dried out rocky arroyos.

With the growing season advantages of Los Tuxtlas, this would have been a paradise for sustainable forestry, instead it´s a "gentleman´s" playground of absentee landlord's fiefs and hunting grounds.

At La Nueva Victoria (forget about the turnoff to Montepio, it´s not transversable), the choice was to head back via El Tropico or Montepio.
Montepio it was, with a quick stop at Arroyo de Lisa and Costa de Oro to check on some beach front property my partner owns.

The road is great - (notwithstanding the potholes from previous experiences on the El Tropico to La Nueva Victoria connection or the asinine contributions of "topes" by the inhabitans of Dos de Abril and Revolucion).

I like Costa de Oro and its sister ejido of Arroyo de Lisa. But my days of "hippy" style vagabonding are gone. If these communities want to get a share of both Mexican and international tourist dollars, they have to clean up their attitude, landscape, and directions, and don´t even mention the word ecoturismo to me!
Meanwhile, if you are a bum, like I used to be, you´ll be perfectly happy there.

The Montepio/Dos de Abril bridge has been bridged! I didn´t believe my eyes, but the functional idea was to run a span of concrete above the old haphazard crossing, apparently using the same old foundations. Cross over this one quick.

The Montepio / Catemaco road is taking shape. The part that technically is of the Tuxtlas Biosphere nucleus, near the biological station, is being paved in rocks, worse than the usual suspension busters of usual Catemaco roads, but still better than what existed before. From The La Barra entrance to Catemaco it´s a free ride, except for those 7 damn topes in Sontecomapan.

Jul 12, 2005

Catemaco Expoferia

wonderful idea --- horse races, cattle shows, national entertainment in Catemaco, etc.

So they borrow umpteen hectares from the richest man in Los Tuxtlas, spent a small fortune trying to turn it into a fairground on a few weeks notice, fly giant banner ads on the wrong side of the Tuxtlas highway, and in general ignore anything ever said about business management.

So now the taxidrivers, the potential exhibitors and anyone else with a grudge in Catemaco are trashing the ayuntamiento.

Serves them well.

Jul 1, 2005


I added this post in 2011 to provide continuity.

This blog began as  Google News group, then switched to a Wordpress blog within, and now is a Google blog which was renamed in 2010 and lost most of its readers.

Previous posts have been eliminated.