Dec 3, 2012

November 2012, Catemaco

What sticks out in my mind about November was the arrest of a guy while trying to screw a mare in neighboring Lerdo de Tejada. That news may give you a hint of my current mindset.

Except for 2 of those famous long weekends (Days of the Dead and Revolution Day - (make that week, this year),  Catemaco's Malecón was a bowling alley cluttered only by shrieking boatmen and gypsies.

Snowbirds in their road hogs are now again arriving in transit to the south. Since I don´t talk to the Lard of Tepetapan anymore, I don´t know if business is good, but I doubt it.

Casa Rosa  added a few rooms. Aside from being a friend of mine, that German lady literally will do hand stands to please her guests. If there were more like her in Catemaco, we might have a return tourism business.
The renovated El Cid, down the street from city hall is also doing well.
La Finca hung out its seasonal 689 peso sign (plus tax in small letters, on weekdays) which makes it a best buy in the overpriced "luxury" market.

The chill arrived, and out came all those heavy comforters. Each year it is more difficult to survive when the temperature drops to the maximum subarctic 61 degrees F. A few rain storms hit, but overall, this season is relatively dry, and most of the days are simply gorgeous.

The mini Soriana supermarket opened with a great parking lot and not much else to brag about, still leaving me in the quandary of: if not here, then San Andrés, if not there, Veracruz.
Last month, I mentioned Tienda Lores as another "GAP" - wrong! It is another aggressive grocery chain, that temporarily halted its construction, because their architect screwed up their plans.
Over the next few years I think that will be marked as the death knell for the miserable central "mercado" that is still the heart of commerce in Catemaco.

No new major restaurants. Taco joints and food stalls open and disappear faster than you can say "tacos al pastor". I have not eaten there, but the joint next to Don Pedro's liquor store keeps attracting a crowd.
And somehow, great sweet ball tomatoes are now available. Love 'em!

The hole in the wall "The Pub" is celebrating its first anniversary, and I think all 12 of its chairs are taken for the anniversary party.
The new "Caballo",  near Gorell's on the Malecon is jam-packed on weekends, not necessarily because some raunchy bible thumping gringo is doing country music.

What crime? Catemaco never really had any, except for the occasional hits here and there. But what can you expect from a county of almost 50 thousand?

Actually this should be under the Crime header!
Between now and next July you may read a lot about this. The gist is that some of the same dinosaurs that I have never, ever, heard anyone saying anything good about, (granted!, my circle of spies is small), are all running again to be mayor of Catemaco. If this town spent as much effort on improving itself, as on political infighting, this might be a functional tourist resort.


Nov 24, 2012

I am  almost 70 years old and have wasted away my last 10 years in beautiful downtown Catemaco.

Recenty a non local  friend died  and líke to remember him.

Nov 7, 2012

October 2012, Catemaco

The rains that were promised during the previous months of the "rainy season" finally hit!
But surprisingly, almost no obstruction in coming or leaving Los Tuxtlas.

The new Soriana is almost ready to open, give them another 30 days!
Meanwhile, supposedly CONTINO, a hardware dealer is supposed to occupy the space behind Bancomer on the plaza.

Day of the Dead festivities ran their course, as usual. and the local mayor tried to turn it into a mega event. He flunked, I think,  despite some nice presentations! I think local yokels are switching their kids to Halloween. Bad news, I guess, for pure-ists.

The construction mania in Catemaco continues. Within a month I expect a SORIANA subsidiary to open along the carretera and eat the local Walmart's shorts. (o goody, their ice cream section sucks, both here and in San Andrés).

The new Coppel, on the side of the municipal "palace" is going gung ho at American speed. I expect it to be open for all the impoverished local Christmas shoppers, eager to receive credit cards with up to 55% interests.

The famous Caballo, formerly on the edge of the basilica, now in a rat hole on the edge of the Laguna, is again being threatened by EVICTION. I hope he finds another locale, better than the great gringo doc Ganzoni who left for greener pastures in Tulum, QR.

After 7 days of almost being a model city, because the local mayor tried to impress some friends, the city reverted to the usual. But, it strikes me a little cleaner, less cluttered than usual.. I know that it will not last.

Catemaco no longer is a one traffic light hick town. Now we have four hicks, three of them evenly spaced to make crossing Catemaco a 15 minute experience. Take photos  of some of the side street vendors. They will be remarkable!

The new TEXX (imitation 7-11) is now operating at full speed on the Malecon at 14 of 24 hours, except weekends. (Incompetent assholes).

There is no food news, except the Fool on the Hill keeps bragging about better than prime, rib eye steaks being delivered in Catemaco and disappeared faster than I wrote this from Casa Lost.

Did I miss something?
Oh yeah, the mystery building on the highway is still a mystery. Looks like a shack being converted into a mansion with a few store fronts in front. O yeah, a new hardware store with probably less than what you were looking for, is opening on the carretera.near the Tepetapan turn off.

And yes, they tore down half a block of historic Catemaco behind my home, planning to erect a Tienda Lores, the equivalent of Mexico's Gap for extremely low income earners.

After a few weeks of permanent rain, the weather today is magnificent!  A little chill, almost 79 degrees, but very welcome.

We are now in the absolutely dead touristic season in Catemaco. What a great time to visit!

Oct 7, 2012

September 2012 - Catemaco

To keep this blog alive, I will publish a monthly update of beautiful downtown Catemaco and its surroundings.

Nothing of importance happened in September.

Because of some stupid event, supposedly promoting the adventure tourism of Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas, to which the governor but almost nobody from Catemaco was invited, the downtown of Catemaco miraculously cleaned up itself, disappearing almost all loud mouths screaming "lancha, lancha", painting anything that held still, either green or yellow, and constructing some fabled figurines and a boat dock for some political VIPS.

The road work on the Catemaco - Sontecomapan highway continues to be a fool's paradise. It amazes me how many workers and machines produce rubbish instead of a highway.

Progression of the the new commercial centers of Soriana and Coppel are zipping along at US speeds. Expect openings within the next two months. 

Another mickey mouse chain "Tienda Lores" also purchased an antique half a block in downtown Catemaco and expects to adds its cacaphony to the local environment, a la Doctor Zimi. Unfortunately, I live 2 lots away from them and I need new ear plugs..

Tourism is next to nil, as expected during this time of the year.

Rain has been surprisingly mild during the last few months. Despite a few storms, I expect Catemaco to present a relatively dry profile for the year. Remember that the higher altitudes report up to 15 feet of rain per year! One of the wettest places in the universe.

Amazingly, another two rip off offices of loan sharks opened in downtown. Where 5 years ago there were none, now there are a more than a dozen pawn shops and "personal" finance companies. And still only one bank with lines, at times, around the block!

Food has not improved. The Aurrera (Walmart) store maintained a freezer full of rotten ice cream for 2 weeks before anyone apparently noticed. The pizza in the "pizzeteria" has deteriorated. and the egg rolls in the new chinese joint are yesterdays.

I had some very nice lunches, as usual, in the Playa Cristal, La Finca, and some hole in the wall that apparently has no name. YET! My first venture to Valentino's on the Malecon was a bust because they "ran out of gas". And I am damn tired of the Coney Island Hot Dogs at Casa Lost. (I wish that beautiful joint would increase their menu). 

That is pretty much the attitude of local restauranteurs. (Here I will sneak in a recomendation for a rib eye steak proffered by the Fool on the Hill at Merendero's in San Andrès). Of course I know you all want typical Mexican food. I DO NOT! I like Texmex.

Catemaco's Malecon has actually reverted into a pleasant place to walk after dark, after the local government abided by the state law to prohibit drinking alcohol in public. Overnight, dozens of loudspeakers on wheels and hundreds of underage drinkers disappeared. Now the few rent paying joints are fighting for customers.

Oh yeah, a BIG TEXX  convienence store opened on the Malecon, Almost none of the conveniences of any self respecting 7/11, including the absence of 24 hour service.

The hole in the wall "Caballos" on the Malecon, after deservedly getting kicked out its premise below the basilica, is holding its own. Also, the offshore La Panga seems to attract customers. I have yet to go, because I still have to digest my opinion of its current lessee.

The gringo haven Tepetapan, after suffering a drought, is now again enjoying mostly full capacity of retirees pumping a few bucks into the local economy. 

There is nothing new on the beaches except for complaints about the roads on how to get there.

A recent article reported that 40% of the annual 15,000 visitors to the community museums of Santiago Tuxtla, Tres Zapotes and San Lorenzo were foreigners. Since I suspect that less than 2% of visitors to Los Tuxtlas are foreigners, that figure both indicates that most Mexicans prefer their heritage on TV or wherever, while gringos, or whatever, prefer to walk it.

More gringos would be welcome. 

Actually, anyone, wanting to spend more than 3 hours in Catemaco would be welcome (the average stay of a Mexican tourist). I can provide an itinerary of 7 or 365 days of  local adventures without getting bored!

Aug 22, 2012

Catemaco, the beautiful!

Yeah, I know Catemaco News is kinda dead! 
It is just so much more fun to publish junk in Fuckbook, duh, Facebook!

This is a local photographer who every once in a while gets off his ass and publishes stunning photos of Catemaco and Los Tuxtlas.

Jul 3, 2012

Catemaco Walkabout

Those wonderful folks from DEMATAC, the Defenders of the Environment of Los Tuxtlas, have scheduled their annual exploration of the Catemaco wilderness for the 28th & 29th of July. Come along!

See their page:

May 22, 2012

Catemaco Crocodiles

Republished from January 2009,
because I saw a bunch of crocs at Nanciyaga the other day. But none on their menu.
Also saw a live one at Laguna Amolapan (see link below) and I have photos from visitors with some huge crocs around Las Margaritas.

As you lazily float on Laguna Catemaco on your way to visit monkey behinds, consider that there are crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii)  in the lake. The last time anyone officially counted them, there were 5 in 2002.

Crocodile fat and oil is supposed to be a reliever of bronchial problems when rubbed over the neck and chest. Local healers say it works best when you catch your own croc. Crocodile tails are delicious when sauteed and taste somewhat like chicken.Guess why there are no more crocs in the laguna?

Nanciyaga, the ecological disney world of Los Tuxtlas, has a small crocodile breeding facility. Nobody knows what happens to the hatched eggs, because as said above, there only supposedly remain 5 swimming free.

The nearby Laguna Nixtamalapan supposedly was previously used as a crocodile experimental farm and had as many as 40 of these delicious critters. The same counter in 2002 reported 8 remaining, and rumors of a woman having been eaten. On a personal climb down to the laguna, I saw none, probably because a neighboring gravel mine has destroyed the lake's environment..

En 1995 Casas reporta 40 individuos para la laguna de Nixtamalapan Veracruz, una población de más de 20 individuos en el lago de Catemaco, y menciona que hay otras poblaciones no estimadas en Nanciyaga y Catemaco...Pérez-Higareda (1989) señala que en la Laguna de Nixtamalapan, Veracruz viven 36 cocodrilos de Morelet adultos (14 machos y 22 hembras), de los cuales 24 (14 machos y 10 hembras) ya se encontraban ahí, los 12 restantes se introdujeron en 1986 para balancear los sexos (1 macho por 2 hembras al menos), no se conoce el número de juveniles porque es difícil observarlos, al menos se sabe de 12. Gracias a ocho años de estudios por investigadores de la estación biológica tropical Los Tuxtlas, la laguna de Nixtmalapan en Veracruz de 4 has, es ahora una reserva natural para la protección, la cría y el estudio de los cocodrilos así como un ejemplo de conservación y ha creado entre la población una actitud de respeto hacia los cocodrilos (UNAM 1992). Conabio

a local croc delivered to Dematac to be released who knows where

A user, affectionally called "Fool on the Hill" made this comment:
Laguna Amolapan was used as an experimental croc farm, not Nixtamalapan. They screwed up, or did not know the correct name – common occurrence. I was there, dude. In ’86 – and after. I helped unload crocs. I loaned ‘em a canoe. They even had a f’ing sign. Don’t tell me, pinche gringo newcomer. They are also wrong for ’95; there were not 40 individuos then. Somebody doctored the books.

Also see: Laguna Amolapan in Spanish -

May 15, 2012

Catemaco's Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's Panama born author died today. 
His novel "The years with Laura Diaz" is partially set in Catemaco. His grandmother was born in Catemaco to a German/Mexican couple and his great aunt, Marìa Boettiger, also born in Catemaco, is the area's best known poet.

Read his obituary:
Read the book:

May 14, 2012

The Puntiagudo Cross in Catemaco

Looks like the Olmecs are back in Catemaco.
Without official support, appparently hundreds of local citizens are joining to construct a new cross atop Cerro Puntiagudo. 
You can see more photos and text in Spanish here:

May 9, 2012

World’s Largest Tegogolo Cocktail

republished from july 27, 2006
Sitting here in beautiful soaked downtown Catemaco I am thinking of what could make Catemaco more famous.

The World´s largest Tegogolo Cocktail, better known as THE WORLD’S LARGEST FRESH WATER SNAIL COCKTAIL.

Judging by the Guinness Book of Records, at present there are absolutely no entries in that category.

So, we would not want to insult them by serving one of those miniature cups served on the Malecon. Instead, we could use theabondoned garbage dump on the Coatzacoalcos entrance to Catemaco.

The surroundings could be cleaned up, the circular repositary could be filled with a plastic liner from Lopez Miranda, and the Maxacapan crowd could be urged to provide Tegogolos at wholesale prices. Around 200 kilos should do (maybe 450 pounds). Since tegogolos are supposed to be aphrodisacs, that quantity is just enough to give an erection to the state of Veracruz.

500 US dollars publicity via REUTERS or YAHOO would possibly attract thousands of erection seekers to Catemaco.

Hotels and the carretera whore houses would flourish. Brujos would flinch because they never promoted the substance.

And hopefully, all those tegogolos would have gotten big and fat after eating all the effluent discharging from the Catemaco sewer lines which at present lead directly into Laguna Catemaco.

Reference: How do I become a Guiness world record holder?

Apr 24, 2012

Catemaco Cross

Until a few years ago, when the day was clear, a small cross was visible from Catemaco City on the top of one of its major surrounding ex-volcanoes, Cerro Puntiagudo. Probably constructed with the same techniques that they use on the local roads, the cross collapsed a few years ago. 

There is now a local grass root effort to replace the cross. SEND MONEY! Because it will need about 750 people from Catemaco to carry 20 pounds each, up hill several hundred feet, to build a new cross.

Let's see if there are any Olmecs left in Catemaco!

Mar 7, 2012

Catemaco Oywey

More than 3 months ago, my web hosting server, Yahoo Sitebuilder, destroyed my website because of conflicts between Windows XP and Windows Vista/7/8.
Dozens of my 1200 pages in English and Spanish now lack photos, words and titles.

It took me 5 years to build the site to show my love for the paradise of Los Tuxtlas. 
At the moment I have neither energy, nor love, to make all the necessary corrections.

To any affected reader, I am sorry.

Feb 8, 2012

Catemaco Brujos 2012

Traditionally the brujo event of Catemaco begins at the stroke of midnight on the first Thursday of  March (1st of March 2012 this year), which is actually the first Friday of March.

At present, although two neighboring cities have announced their events, Catemaco so far has not
deigned to announce anything.

Stay tuned.......

First tune: I think they were drunk when they added the dates to the poster! Right now they are Wednesday to Friday, should be Thursday to Sunday! Stay tuned....

Second tune: Here is the program for Thursday and Friday,
 read it and weep

Third tune: 23 Feb

Also see

Jan 19, 2012

Catemaco Amazonas

Amazon is the nickname of a funeral director in Catemaco. For the past ten years he has been one of the few promoters of tourism in the area. 

The photos are from his first DVD from Catemaco, published in 2002.

 Pick up your free copy in his crypt at El Cerrito in the center of Catemaco.

see some of his videos herei:

Jan 15, 2012

Catemaco Shit

I smell of shit. My house smells of shit. And especially my dog smells of shit. If my Popoluca were here, she would smell of shit.

For 9 years, I am living in a town that for 4 to 6 months of the years requires pedestrians to cross sheets of sewage flowing down the principal streets of Catemaco.

The local sewage system is 50 years old and totally incapable of handling the shit of a population that more than quadrupled during those years.

So during my 9 years, the principal public works in Catemaco City have been remodeling the town hall, painting the lake walk, and again, remodeling the town hall and painting the lake walk..

For the last 6 years the same inept person has managed the system that after 6 years still cannot get its sewage system to work, and instead contaminates the lake and the river flowing out of Catemaco. In addition the incompetent has greatly expanded the sewage connections to a system totally incapable of handling that load of shit.

Promises of corrections to the system have been on the political palate for years. Last year around 50 million pesos were bragged about to be spent on repairing the sewage system.

Instead, a few months ago, work began on an 11 million peso dock jutting into the lake that has no function except for visitors to ogle the laguna which is already accommodated by 5 view points along the lake front.

Meanwhile I wade through shit to enter my house, which is directly on the corner of the Malecon.

You think I a am concerned about narcos in Veracruz? Hell, no! I care about shit. And typically, neither my community nor the country can handle either!

Too bad, I can´t vote, or participate in politics!
see:  (in Spanish, of course)

Catemaco Chagalapoli

The Chagalapoli are in bloom, and I am looking forward to jelly tasting sessions.

The fruit is vaguely related to mistletoe and is unique to Central America and endemic in Los Tuxtlas. Its latin name is ardisia compressa, and even Wikipedia does not know what it is. Originally I was told it was a wild grape vine, until I discovered I had a 10 foot tree of it growing on my sidewalk, and now in containers on my roof.

The fruit is about the size of a pinky fingernail, and begins with a nice claret color going to a lush burgundy and finishing almost like a blueberry. It has a seed. The fruit itself is on the bitter-sour/sweet side and is a popular homemade local lemonade, or better, chagalapolimade. It is also used to flavor atoles, which are basically liquefied tortillas. My preference is chagalapoli mermelade which used to be available in a now defunct gift shop on the Malécon and soon, for me and select friends, from the loving hands of my Popoluca.

Late February to May is harvest season, and the fruit stalls around the central market will be offering the fruit. 

And would you believe, I do not have a photo, among my 5000, of the damn tree? Check back, tomorrow.

Flowering Chagalapoli
It is incredible how I cater to my undeserving readership at 5:30 in the morning in a torrential rain

Jan 9, 2012

Into the Mystic of Los Tuxtlas...

Into the Mystic of Los Tuxtlas...

When I told the editor of National Geographic en Español that I was going to explore the Los Tuxtlas region of Veracruz state over the holidays with my brother, Anson, he asked me to dig around in the small city of Catemaco. He had always been interested in publishing a story on Catemaco’s famed witchcraft, but wasn’t sure there was one to be told; the abundance of stories in Mexican publications touting the witch’s abilities were always one-sided and, frankly, very uninteresting.
So I set about researching witchcraft in a Mexico City library; an important introduction, among other sources, was “La Magia en Los Tuxtlas” (The Magic in Los Tuxtlas) by Marcela Olavarrieta. Anson and I headed for Catemaco on December 31, and arrived just before midnight. We walked straight into our first mystical custom: “quemando el viejo.” (burning the old man).  Catemaco’s residents had made effigies filled with hay, newspaper, sawdust and fireworks, and were spraying them with lighter fluid then lighting them afire. The rite serves to do away with the past year, and start anew with a blank slate. Children no more than five years old lit fireworks and threw them at us. The streets were filled with smoke, thorough which we could see the flaming body after flaming body between the one-story houses. We escaped to the malecon (boardwalk), where the trees’ branches were filled with hundreds of birds and it smelled strongly of guano. Bats were wheeling across the lake’s surface.....
An absolutely MUST read:

Jan 8, 2012


One of my favorite reads on the intrernet about Mexico, the Mexfile, disappeared a few months ago, supposedly because of selling out to a Dutch weasel promising to put the "real" Mexico on the internet.

The poor guy apparently starved. Although he supposedly has 2 left arms, he provided some of the most interesting facets of Mexican history, and on occasion, concise interpretation of its current condition.

Apparently, he is now sneaking back:
If you are not just a snowbird or are living cheaper in Mexico than in  the US kind of person; Do a  "Me Gusta" (I like), on Facebook:

The photo is of Fidel Castro's boat "Grama" leaving from Tampico, Veracruz for Cuba. If the author was here during that time, they apparently ditched him.

Update: the Mexfile is back

Jan 2, 2012


I have been using the software of  Yahoo Sitebuilder to program the website of since 2005. 

Unannounced, four days ago, Yahoo changed its limits on my web hosting plan, and I was unable to upload changes because of a supposed lack of storage capacity. I upgraded to their unlimited plan and since then I have spent about 18 hours on the phone with tech reps in India trying to upload changes to my site.

Incredibly, that bunch of incompetents now advises me that the only solution to my problem is to restructure my 700 pages and reload them.

Instead I will switch to Dreamweaver, Coffee Cup, or maybe Wordpress to redesign my website which took me 6 years to build.

So for the next year, expect to be a mess while this old dog learns a few new tricks.

Meanwhile here is my heartfelt message to the powers that be: