Jan 3, 2009

Dead in Catemaco

My popoluca's father recently died.
12 hours later he was buried and gone.

If you are sick in Catemaco, Veracruz or any other provincial burg in Mexico, and you can afford it, you usually will not die in your town but somewhere else where supposedly the medical service is better. The hifaluting Mexican medical system and service has yet to filter down to cosmopolitan areas of less than a million.

Catemaco's neighbor has what is called a second level hospital. I don't really know what that means, but I do know that any local worth his money avoids it and seeks refuge in neighboring major towns or even Mexico City, all much more than 3 hours away. There,supposedly,  are first level hospitals which  have all the facilities you would expect from a mickeymouse community hospital in gringolandia.

My popoluca's father recently died in a Coatzacoalcos first rank hospital during the middle of the night. He  left 15 known offspring, a reputation for being a brujo, a hunter and a damn good boat builder.

4 hours later he arrived in Catemaco. 8 hours later he was under ground . There are no facilities, need or desire to embalm. Local burial is always speeded up to prevent dead body odor.

Athough that speed seems callous, Catemaco compensates mourning by extending it a minimum of nine days when the family and friends sit around, pray, eat funeral food and block city streets. 40 days later the whole process is repeated.

Very basic cost  for a funeral is a very rock bottom minimum of 5000 pesos, but usually costs are a lot more astronomical for low income earners intent on impressing their fellow greavers. (Caskets are still not being sold by Walmart, though they should).

Cremation is available many miles away, but the length of time of bureaucratic licensing of moving a corpse raises a lot of stink without embalming.

SO - please don't die in beautiful downtown Catemaco!


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