Jun 21, 2010

Catemaco TV

Beautiful downtown Catemaco is hemmed between a few lovely volcanoes and antenna TV reception is therefore lousy. Talks of installing a repeater antenna have been in the "mañana" stage for years.

But much of Catemaco is wired for cable TV, which is impressive considering that most of the population earns less than two months of cable TV service per week.
The local monopolistic provider is Cablecom, a national outfit with about 3 million subscribers in Mexico. They provide possibly the finest gringo oriented selection of channels that I have experienced in Mexico hotels. At any time, there are usually up to 10 English speaking channels online, plus the occasional German or French ones.

Of course you have to spend most of your time channel surfing because this monopoly provides neither an on-air, internet or printed program directory.  And of course you have to hoof it to their offices to pay the monthly bill, because that is the only way they do business in Catemaco. If you forget, 10 days later a ladder truck rolls up and snips your cable line. One benefit, though, is being able to hook up half a dozen tellies for the same price, 286 pesos per month. (Forget about premium channels).

Satellite dishes are also available, with a comfortable package for one TV costing around 750 pesos.  Itty bitty VE dishes are now popping up with basic service around 310 pesos.

None of the services offer internet.

Jun 10, 2010

Catemaco tidbits

Soccer mania hits Mexico within a few hours with the first match of Mexico against South Africa in the FIFA 2010 World Cup, wich gets played every 4 years.
Now why does the US call the game soccer instead of football as the rest of the world? Apparently at the end of the 19th century when rules were formulated for the game, it was called Association Football  which morphed into senseless soccer because of "association". Assball would have been better.

The Mexican Immigration service has changed the rules again, and managed to create a website where you cannot find anything. Most novel seems to be electronic transmittal of visa applications and extensions.
http://setram.inami.gob.mx:8080/solicitudes-web/estancia.html .
Most curious is the apparent inability to solicit Mexican citizenship unless you were adopted, or a dozen other ways, except for actually living in Mexico for x number of years.
Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) in English
I'll be tryng out the new system in a few months and have started saving my pesos for what I know will be 2 trips to Veracruz City again.

If you think Arizona has gone batty with its new laws, you ought to sympathize with Guatemala and El Salvador, which recently opened consulates in nearby Acayucan, because of the thousands of its citizens getting arrested, mistreated and killed while on their way from the southern to the northern Mexican border.

Local politicians vying for posts in the July elections, are falling all over themselves promising new tollroads criss crossing Los Tuxtlas.  Stop by next decade and see whether anything was built, or you could land at the Catemaco International Airport.

It´s hotter than hades here now, and if a little rain doesn´t show up soon, I'll be running out of sweat, especially since my bimonthly electric bill just climbed to 3500 pesos (without AC!)
My well is running dry, and I slave to keep my plants moist, but apparently mother nature has more resources. This is flowering time in Los Tuxtlas, and great majestic trees dripping red, yellow or blue are everywhere.

The gringopagadoble effect is still going strong. Insuring a car in Mexico, with US plates, costs about 1000 pesos more than the same car with Mexican plates.

I've been doing my annual sightseeing of most of Los Tuxtlas in the last few weeks, because although it is unbearably hot, the sunshine and absence of rain makes for great photos. Most notable is the fertility rate of those damn topes that are reproducing geometrically. And of course the miserable maintenance of all but the main highway.

Surprisingly many "few rooms" hotelitos and isolated rental cabañas have sprung up in out of the way places.
Catemaco City will have two sort of "new" hotels this year. One is a nicely remodeled former fleabag, and the other the 4 story Posada Catemaco which has been building for more than 6 years. Both are a few blocks north of the central park.

The Catemaco Brujos have been getting some bad press lately. Apparently the Mexican Supreme Court ruled than brujos can be sued for malpractice. I imagine that all those justices will be experiencing serious problems in the near future.

Jun 6, 2010

Catemaco Putos

This is a really boring picture of a possible battle field near Cuilonia in the municipio of Soteapan, about 15 bird miles south of beautiful downtown Catemaco.

A few years before the Spanish invasion, the local Popoluca Indians apparently whopped the invading Aztecs. 

The only historical reference for the event comes from Bernal Diáz, an eyewitness of the Spanish conquest  of the nearby Coatzacoalcos area who writes "que cerca de un pueblo de pocas casas mataron los de aquella provincia a los mexicanos muchas de sus gentes, y por aquella causa llaman hoy en día donde de aquella guerra pasó Cuylonemiquis, que en su lengua quiere decir donde mataron los putos mexicanos.", which loosely translated says that near a village with few houses, the people of the province killed many of the Mexicans and the place is therefore named "Cuylonemiquis" which in their language means "where they killed the male whore Mexicans".

The Danish explorer Frans Blom, was one of the first researchers of the area, and considered that the small village of Cuilonia (now Cuilonia Viejo) matched the description. The area historically has been inhabited by Popoluca Indians, and yesterday I went to visit it, traveling along the "Brecha de Maiz", which is another story.

Incidentally, the group of ranchers that I spoke to at their offices, had no idea what I was talking about.