Aug 21, 2006

Fiery Catemaco

Beautiful downtown Catemaco also has some beautiful weeds. Locals don´t even have a name for this weed, but some English speaking botanists call it “Fiery Spike”. It grows wild on my land, and sort of becomes ugly when the leaves turn brown, the flower disappears, and new spikes are getting grown.

But when the plant is in flower, Hummingbirds love it, and passerbies steal it.

Aug 20, 2006


The Mexican federal government recently declared Coatepec near Xalapa, Veracruz a “Pueblo Magico” (magic village).And here I thought beautiful downtown Catemaco was the Pueblo Magico.

A little research discovered that there are 18 other declared magic villages in Mexico, including Taxco, Real de Catorce and Tequila.

Nevertheless that declaration was a slap in the face of Catemaco where everybody knows the “REAL” magic is for sale.

So the Veracruz governor involved himself and proclaimed he will initiate the process to also declare Catemaco a “Pueblo Magico“, and perhaps start his own chain of pueblos magicos in Veracruz.

Is this true magic, or what?

Aug 16, 2006

Catemaco El Teterete

If creepy crawling snakes are on your menu, there is no finer place to visit than El Teterte. The term teterte refers to a small lizard with a head comb that knows how to walk on water. It is sometimes described as the “jesus lizard”.

Twentysome years ago The MEXFAM organization (La Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar) established a foot hold in Catemaco supported by Japanese interests. In cooperation with local interests, many health programs to serve the poor inhabitants in the hills surrounding Catemaco were developed.

Somehow, a small enclave was established in Pozolapan, Catemaco, which, many years later, still has the flavor of Japanese construction techniques.

MEXFAM of Catemaco meanwhile developed into a full fledged Catemaco medical clinic. The site in Pozolapan opened an Education Center, primarily for young people. And the the resident owner, who has been part of this effort since its inception, created a home for the snakes of Los Tuxtlas.

For several years El Teterete also served as a weekend resort for people of the Tuxtlas region, enjoying its beautiful location on the side of the Pozolapan river entering the Laguna Catemaco. But popularity fades, and its visitor restaurant closed.

A few months ago El Teterete opened again as a restaurant and “beach resort” on a weekend basis. Food is served Fridays to Sundays (limited menu) and the snake pits are available to visitors for a 10 peso donation. Boatmen are ready to explore the surrounding shore line including the “infamous” La Hoya cave for 35 pesos worth of rowing. And bird and plant watchers will find no better place to enjoy the Tuxtlas cornucopia.

Aug 10, 2006

Catemaco Pesos

US dollars are white men’s money. That is white, as in WASP (white anglo saxon protestant men)

Here in beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz, you get to spend racially mixed Pesos, with even a woman to fondle.

20 pesos - Benito Juarez - Zapotec Indian. He twice served as Mexican president in the mid 1800’s.
50 pesos - Jose Maria Morelos - Mexican of probable African/Spanish descent. Succeeded Miguel Hidalgo in Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain and was shot as a Spanish traitor.
100 pesos - Nezahualcoyotl - Indian ruler of the Acolhua (Texcoco) tribe. He joined the Aztecs in their Triple Alliance on their way to dominate Mexico.
200 pesos - Juana de Asabaje - Also known as Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz - Mexican of Spanish ancestry - a catholic nun, forerunner of the equal rights for women anywhere movement.
500 pesos - Ignacio Zaragoza - Mexican of Spanish ancestry born in Texas before secession from Mexico - As a general he defeated the French on Cinco de Mayo.
1000 pesos - Miguel Hidalgo - Mexican of Spanish ancestry - One of the cief instigators of Mexico’s war of independence from Spain.

PS - The now abandoned US 1,000 dollar bill featured Grover Cleveland, famous for being forced to pay child support and warring on Indian tribes.

Aug 6, 2006

Mel Gibson in Catemaco

Beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz only has good memories of Mel Gibson’s effort to produce the film Apocalypto in the region.

Mel Gibson never got drunk in Catemaco.
(a loose translation from El Universal)

Mel Gibson never got drunk during the eight months he filmed Apocalypto in the area, according to a local film production member.Mostly Gibson showed up in town to eat pizza or dance in a nightclub. A local bartender says that maybe once in 10 times here, he drank a beer, the rest of the time he shot pool (billiards), teaching others his techniques. Sundays he would come alone into a local cafe and plan his work, sometimes joined by friends playing cards. He enjoyed to eat quesadillas and drink natural juice waters.

A waiter states that Gibson was always an amiable person, who played with children and took photos with admiring local girls.

His only vice seemed to have been racing around the area unaccompanied in a green Volkswagen. Even during the end of the local production cast party, Mel abstained from alcohol and instead entertained his collaborators.