Jul 30, 2006

More Catemaco rain stories

Unofficially beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz was drenched with 255 mm (more than 10 inches of rain 2 days ago, and it has not stopped.

The weather must have been just like that when missionaries from Puebla stopped by to visit in the early 1700’s.
Those poor wet friars left behind a statue that has turned Catemaco into a pilgrimage center for thousand of aficionados of “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”, (the “Virgen del Carmen”) who is very attractively housed in one of only 27 basilicas in Mexico.

Photo Essay: History of the Catemaco Basilica and the Virgen del Carmen

Jul 28, 2006


Thank you for Montepio not being part of beautiful uptown Catemaco, Veracruz. This hovel of money grubbing, dirty denizens of one of the more beautiful scenes along the Los Tuxtlas coast is actually part of the San Andres Tuxtla (S.A.T.) municipio.

That municipio, since the advent of a dirt road, 30 or 40 years ago, from Catemaco to Montepio has done its best to avoid improving this beach town´s infrastructure, probably because of jealousy to allow tourists to head for beautiful downtown Catemaco instead of beleaguered uninteresting S.A.T. S.A.T. , itself offers about as much to tourists as a trip to ugly downtown Hicksville, USA.

Instead of helping in paving their part of the Montepio road, S.A.T apparently developed its own hare brained scheme for a disconnected paved road via Ruiz Cortines, which at present ony serves some fat cattle ranchers. And iInstead of maintaining one of the unique artifacts of Los Tuxtlas, - (the 19th century Hacienda of Montepio), Montepio's only historic jewel is a pig sty.

Residents indiscriminately clutter the beach with dilapidated palapas, forcing non-consuming bathers across the river to Dos de Abril. Meanwhile, sun stroked bathers BE AWARE to take advantage of the palapa shade - costs 40 PESOS to sit here, Señor!

The heart of Montepio, visible from 360 degrees, is the epitome of Los Tuxtlas sense of care for its environment. Gravel hungry builders have destroyed Montepio's pristine view, except of course for the scissor hair cuts of the surrounding hills. At least the S.A.T. part of the Montepio road is now being paved, after S.A.T sat on its rear end for many months and apparently funneled Montepio money into Ruiz Cortinez. As a consequence many parts of the previously prepared road, which was ready for paving, is now a wash out nightmare and will cost twice as much to repair and finish. Whenever!

The abortion part of the Montepio road, designed by the biologists of the UNAM biological station, still exists, and should become a reminder to the entire world, to not let biologists design roads, at least until engineers are allowed to clone mammals with wheels instead of legs.

A curious adjunct is the complaint from Montepio residents is that their Hurricane Stan relief from S.A.T. was absolutely nothing. There is a vague movement for that part of the Los Tuxtlas zone to secede from San Andres Tuxtla and establish a new municipio headquartered in La Nueva Victoria, near the El Tropico entrance to the Tuxtlas beaches.

Great idea, except there are so many rich folks from S.A.T. owning most of the area on a forgotten basis, judging by its many abandoned structures. And the actual residents of the area own almost none of it. Meanwhile, the waters of Rio Maquina and Rio Col are still wonderfully cool, and the shore beaches are still wonderfully warm. and when the fish or shrimp are fresh ( which on my last visit was also questionable), Montepio is one of the great places to visit on the Tuxtlas coast.

Too bad!

60,000 pesos to escape from Catemaco?

Hell, I´d possibly marry someone for that.

Did those caciques that control the Mexican economy get involved in emigration?

Some of these prices being quoted for passage across the US border are similar to the prices being charged for an old car in Mexico before the opening of the customs borders.

Beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz is not exempt from the attempted exodus. My carpenter recently returned after leaving me hanging on a bed room set, and is now looking for work. To hell with him!

It is not the few national guards shipped to control the US border, it is the sentiment of danger being experienced by possible Mexican emigrants. I hope it continues, I would hate to lose another good gardener.

Meanwhile I have a suggestion:
Catemaco´s port of Balzapote, long known for transportation of square groupers (packaged marijuana) should be available for passenger transit. Get aboard and visit the Texas or Florida coast. This poor village has recently been fighting to get some beneficial returns from Veracruz miners intent to devour some of its hill sides for fill operations elsewhere.

A passenger terminal staffed by agents of Mexico´s Immigration Service would really be a benefit to the Balzapote community.

Roca Partida - Los Tuxtlas beach head

Not far from beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz, the San Martin Volcano stretched out its tongue to the the Gulf of Mexico. And thevolcano left an impressive shoreline filled with caves and sea birds.

The pirate Lorencillo (Laurens van Graff) supposedly buried treasure in one of the caves surrounding Roca Partida after having sacked Veracruz City in 1683. At low tide the interior of the caves allegedly show markings on where to find the gold.

Of course you have to rappel down that cliff first!

Come on down and visit!

Photo: Original unknown- seen on many other internet web sites.

Jul 23, 2006

Catemaco Mañanitas

I recently paid a thousand pesos to waken my good buddy with a birthday Mañanita on his 65th birthday after 28 years in beautiful uptown Catemaco and he promply stayed asleep during the perfomance at 5 AM in the morning.

Las Mañanitas are sort of a love song and my good buddy certainly did not deserve that, especially when I used my car alarm and mariachi trumpets to remind him.

Nevertheless, across 1000`s of communities in Mexico people are daily awakend to the tunes of “Mañanitas” and live to tell about them.Mañanita Lyrics:

Estas son las mañanitas que cantaba el Rey Davidalas muchachas bonitas, se las cantamos aquí.
Despierta mi bien despierta, mira que ya amaneció,ya los pajarillos cantan la luna ya se metió.
Si el sereno de la esquina, me quisiera hacer favor.de apagar su linternita mientras que pasa mi amor.
Despierta mi bien despierta, mira que ya amaneció,ya los pajarillos cantanla luna ya se metió.
Ahora si, señor sereno, le agradezco su favor.encienda su linternitaque ya ha pasado mi amor.
Amapolita doradade los llanos de Tepic.si no estas enamorada, enamórate de mi.
Despierta mi bien despierta,mira que ya amaneció,ya los pajarillos cantanla luna ya se metió.

Jul 22, 2006

Catemaco Gibson says NO

Catemaco Gibson says NO

Apparently Mel Gibson did not like the food served at the Hotel Catemaco, or perhaps he had indigestion after transversing the potholes between the city and his filming redoubt.

He donated a large sum of money for housing assistance in San Andres Tuxtla and the rest of Veracruz, via the Rotarians and the DIF, and he obviously omitted Catemaco City.

What is with this dude? Heartburn from Nanciyaga cinnamon rolls, bad press from the non-existent Catemaco newspapers, or simply being disgusted with the Veracruz film coordinator who had promised “good” weather?.

Beautiful downtown Catemaco deserves more than this. Even though its Rotarians are defunct, there is a DIF that supposedly distibutes things to the needy,

Mel Gibson obviously prefers to donate to non-governmental organizations (Smart move) - but he blew it in Catemaco. He could have sent the money to me and I would glady have constructed another 100 houses in the middle of nowhere.

Jul 21, 2006

Catemaco Submarines

Catemaco is a relatively dry place in Los Tuxtlas. Where other communities receive up to 16 feet of rain per year, Catemaco gets by with as little as 7 feet. Yesterday, I think we received one of these feet.

In the second week of June, Veracruz’s rainy season began and returned the parched natural beauty of Los Tuxtlas to its green outlook. On July 20, the real rainy fun began in beautiful customary runoff from the Catemaco gravel pits. Even a few submarines were sighted.

Much of Los Tuxtlas is still struggling with the aftermath of 2005 ’s Hurricane Stan, and recent heavy rains in the Santa Marta’s have wiped out much of the rural road infrastructure. More than likely thousands of campesinos will be in need of help again.

Donate: Mexican Red Cross

Jul 10, 2006

Catemaco Memelas

Memelas are giant soft tortillas, covered with anything found in a Mexican kitchen, then doubled up - and enjoyed.

For one reason or another Los Tuxtlas are famous for their memelas. I have no idea why.

Nevertheless, if you want to eat a memela in Los Tuxtlas, you must stop at La Encantada “Restaurant”, recently relocated to the left of the end of the beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz to San Andres Tuxtla highway.

Personally, aside from cheap and good, their memelas are no different from many other memelerias. But for possibly a good reason - most local folks frequent the place.

The most memorable memela that I ever partially ate was on the outskirts of Covarrubias (south of Catemaco, at Tia Mari’s), who served me a memela the size of my spare tire with a fitting beefsteak and on which I and my dog chewed for two days.

Generally Tuxtlas memelas, as opposed to Oaxaca memelas are covered with meat, -barbecued, roasted, fried, or whatever is current that particular day. The underlying double strength tortilla is naturally handmade because there are no presses to do the job that is done on most tortillas in Mexico.

The stuff on top is whatever, same as the sauces.


PS . At La Encantada - try the memela barbacoa

Catemaco birding

William J Schaldach Jr. was one of the pioneers of wildlife study and specifically ornithology in Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. He died before publishing any of his thousands of fragments of historical lore in readable form. His last effort to annotate the birds of Veracruz died with him, but remains in a provisional form on the tuxtlas.com website.

A new addition to the knowledge of the birds of Veracruz is a simplified check list which should become a backpack item for any birder visiting beautiful downtown Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas, because most of the birds represented in the list, are also present in Los Tuxtlas.

tuxtlas.com - William J. Schaldach Jr.’s Annotated Birds of Veracruz
endemicos.org - Check-List of the Birds of Veracruz (Listado de las Aves de Veracruz, Mexico)

Jul 6, 2006

Adios al Peje

I had hoped you would win and try to correct the many social inequalities in Mexico. Instead, Señor Calderon beat you by a few votes.

Whether that was justified or not is for history to judge. I am sure your party was just as adept at vote manipulation as your competitor was.

And I am proud that beautiful downtown Catemaco was on your side.

It is now time for you to return to Tabasco to go fishing and permit Mexico to go forward.

Viva Mexico!