Exploring Mexico

Images of Mexico Part II

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Mexico is a Big Country
It can only be described as a sensual mosaic of different scenes of people and landscapes. Soft pastels and hard colors are seen and felt in the emotions of the people. Beautiful as the soft music of a romantic trio in the evening or a hard ranchera.

The laughter of a people who love their children and celebrate life in the streets and their homes. If you look at a map of Mexico and the US, you might describe the US and the mind and logic, and Mexico is the heart.

Welcome
Selena
Tuxtepec, Oaxaca
Música Tropical
In the small towns of Mexico south of Veracruz, there are local bands of young people who play some good Música Tropical.

One weekend, some friends invited me to a celebration in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca.

The said it would be a lot of fun. They were right!

There is nothing like live "Chun-Chaca" music straight from the Cuenca del Papaloapan, which in English is the Papaloapan River Basin.

She looked like Selena, and I thought she was smiling at me.
Light House
Gulf Coast Lighthouse
Costa Esmeralda, Veracruz
Gulf Coast Lighthouse
About 2 hours north of Veracruz, at the south end of the Costa Esmeralda, is this old lighthouse.

It is is fully staffed by the Harbor Master´s office in Casitas, Veracruz.
Windows
Tropical Windows
Misantla, Veracruz
Tropical Windows
In the small towns of coastal Mexico, you can see how people deal with the weather.

The windows are full length with a small balcony to allow the afternoon breeze to enter the house.

And the bars on the windows, make you feel safer when you are alone.

I saw these windows in Misantla, Veracruz on the way up the hill to the church.
Jarochas
Jarocha Dancers of Veracruz
Tierra Blanca, Veracruz
The Dance of the Butterflies
The dances of Veracruz sometimes resemble the flight of graceful butterflies as they go from flower to flower.

The origin of the beautiful white dresses of Veracruz is Valencia, Spain.
Shoes
The Shoes of a Man
Yanga, Veracruz
The Shoes of a Man
Poverty in Mexico has a certain amount of dignity.

And perhaps a man´s shoes are a reflection of his dignity.

His feet have gotten used to his sandals, and he doesn´t give much thought as to whether he is poor or not.

His shoes have served him well for a very long time.
First Coffee
First Coffee
Near Casitas, Veracruz
First Coffee
There are few places in the world like the Costa Esmeralda.

The Emerald Coast of Veracruz is a beautiful, almost remote 25 km. stretch of highway about 2 hours north of Veracruz, and 5 hours south of Tampico.

There are many small cozy hotels and bungalows. Most of the time they are vacant.

You can have the whole place to yourself. Especially during the week.

It´s a great place to have the first cup of coffee in the morning, and to watch the sun come up over the Gulf of Mexico.
Kitchen
Cat in a Country Kitchen
Near Esperanza, Puebla
Country Kitchen
The traditional kitchen in Mexico is outside.

It's probably so you won´t smoke the house up.

Steaks and sausage for breakfast at the El Mirador truck stop on the way for a visit to Puebla on a cool Saturday morning in the high country above Orizaba, Veracruz.
Bungalow
Beach Bungalows
Costa Esmeralda, Veracruz
Beach Bungalows
If you have a really long report to write and don´t want any interruptions, this is where to go.

The Hotel del Palmar on the Costa Esmeralda is quiet and peaceful.

It also has a small restaurant where you can take a coffee break, or go for a quick swim at the nearby beach or in the swimming pool.

Fritangas
Rinconada, Veracruz is one of the original way stations on the first Camino Real along the road from Veracruz to Mexico City.
Garnachas
Fritangas
Rinconada, Veracruz
On both sides of the highway, for about 2 km., are non stop small restaurants that all seem to offer the same kind of food to tourists and truckers alike.

This type of food is universal in Mexico and is as delicious as it looks.

Fritangas are fresh, hot, and safe. I´ve never gotten sick from them.

Last year a new by pass was built and these businesses in Rinconada are slowly dying as people no longer have time to stop for a bite.

But, instead of dying, many of these businesses have set up shop on the sidewalk near the bus station in Veracruz.
Cannon
The Last Cannon
Cerro Gordo, Veracruz
The Last Cannon
The Battle of Cerro Gordo was in April of 1847 when the US Army was chasing Santa Anna from Veracruz to Mexico City.

I had heard that there were two cannons still left, and this is the only one I could find. A place to tie your horse in front of the Casa del Campesino, a block from the main highway from Veracruz to Xalapa.

And, at the bottom of the cannon, notice how the anti recoil "ears" has been knocked off, making it useless.

Could this have been one of the cannons disabled after the Mexican American War?
Restaurant
Colonial Restaurant
Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca
An Oasis
After a long hot dusty trip through the mountains of Oaxaca, the colonial style García Perales restaurant is a touch of civilization and a welcome oasis!

You can imagine what it must have been like to take a carriage over the same roads, but unpaved and no air conditioning.

A cold glass of water with ice cubes is such a treat!
Dancers
The Finale
Tepatitlán, Jalisco
Los Mariachis
I love Mariachi music! It lifts the heart.
Maria
Welcome Back to Veracruz, Señor...
Veracruz, Ver.
Welcome Back ...

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