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!