Jan 26, 2007

Catemaco chicken

Here in beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz, the chickens apparently came before the eggs, instead of the other way around. Juicy rotissery grilled chicken, plus a handful of tortillas, rice and sauce command 30 pesos. Granted, these chickens are closely related to pigeons in size, but what the heck, this is a cheap feast for two.

Considering that the price of tortillas (made from corn) rose explosively, eggs (made from chickens that eat corn) jumped up 25%, and the price of tomatoes (used in the salsa) would make any farmer blush, the economic intelligentsia seems to be on a "let them eat cake" binge to placate the restive and angry local populace which is already marching around town with large protest signs demanding subsidies.

I don't understand what all the fuss is about. After all, everyone just got a 3.9% raise, (about 2 cents per day)! And many of Mexico's knowledgable economists are now proclaiming that the recent sharp rise in prices will not affect inflation figures.

That is because they don't go grocery shopping, take buses, go to museums, drive on toll roads, buy gas, or smoke. So, these economists are correct.

And they probably only eat juicy rotissery grilled chicken plus a handful of tortillas, rice and sauce for 30 pesos.

Jan 23, 2007

Catemaco Road Monsters

Not far from beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz, sits one of the oldest European towns in the Americas. Santiago Tuxtla occupies the valley below an ancient volcano, on whose sides numerous Olmec artifacts were discovered.

On a recent trip to the small town, we passed about 20 humongous motor homes slowly inching along the sinuous road curves in this region. Obviously they were heading for Catemaco. Noone in their right mind would travel the federal highway towards the Yucatan instead of the toll road.
But not one of these road monsters stopped at the regional Museum Tuxteco in Santiago Tuxtla.
This small museum contains samples of the most important archaeological finds in Los Tuxtlas, including the smallest and largest Olmec heads.

So much for cultural hedonism.

Jan 16, 2007

Catemaco - Venice of Los Tuxtlas

Beautiful downtown Catemaco, Veracruz occupies several hills and vales along the shore of Laguna Catemaco and the foothills of Volcano San Martin Tuxtla.

Unfortunately because not enough people took the opportunity to run for the northern border, the city’s hill sides are now Mexican versions of shoe string Levitz towns or maybe gold rush slums. The concepts of common sense, city planning, or zoning restriction apparently never occupied the minds of Catemaco municipal politicians.

So now, where in the good old days, rivulets ran off the hills to meander towards the placid waters of Laguna Catemao, these rivulets have been channelled, diverted, ignored, and blessed by Catemaco inhabitants.

And in the year 2007, Catemaco inhabitants are still paying the price.
About a dozen times annually, heavy rains create torrid rivers carrying tons of garbage, soil and rocks, beginning in the destructed Catemaco hill sides, and then coursing through the narrow streets of Catemaco. Dozens of homes have been built upon these waterways, including the city’s largest nightclub and a dilapitated bar on the laguna’s shore. Entire city blocks have been cemented over annual rivers, containing who knows how many rats, plastic bottles and abandoned bicycles.

So now obviously the political priority is to build more city board walks which will only be accessible by walking through frequent streams of sewage which bisect the town into often foul smelling quarters.

Aside from this rant, this is truely a pueblo magico! And it would be even more so, if one of those DO GOOD NGOs which are spending millions of dollars in the area, would provide free bus tickets to the border for local politicians.