Tuxpan, Veracruz
Life on the Gulf Coast

Photos and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Map of the Gulf Coast
Tuxpan, Veracruz is on the coast about half way between Tampico and Veracruz, 3 to 4 hours, either way, in the heart of the Huasteca.

The roads north to Tampico have some rough spots, and on the south the Costa Esmeralda and the pyramids near Papantla snag most of the tourists.

Nearby Poza Rica is about an hour away, and has a lot of oil company activity. It dominates most of the economic life of the area. All the good stores are there.

Itīs a beautiful tropical town along a wide peaceful river. I worked there for a year and a half and love Tuxpan.

The people are nice, and itīs a wonderful place to live and work.

Sunday Mornings in Tuxpan
Sunday mornings in Tuxpan are kind of quiet with most people sleeping in. I get up early, and go by the office and do a little work.We are supervising the construction of two huge offshore oil platforms for Pemex in Tuxpan.

When finished and installed in the Cantarell Complex in the Bay of Campeche, they will be about as tall as a 9 story building. I am working on Akal-LKL and Akal-TM.

A platform is basically two things: the jacket, or the legs, and the Deck where several directional oil wells will tie into a pipeline that goes ashore.

I finish up, and drive back across the bridge, then over to the plaza for breakfast. By now, people should be up and moving around.
Deck Akal-TM

The River
The Tuxpan River dominates the town. The main boulevard winds for about 6 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Across the river is the little town of Santiago de la Peņa. Rather than climb up and walk across the bridge, most people take an aqua taxi because itīs cheaper and faster.

The towers on the other side of the bridge are a semi submersible oil drilling platform. Itīs where I worked on the construction of two offshore platforms.

A block or two inland from the river is Calle Juarez. During the day and at night it is crowded with people.
Water Taxi
Water Taxi
Main St.
Main Street

Coastal Architecture
Finding a Parking Place
Driving up the narrow main street called "Benito Juarez" is leisurely because on Sundays there is very little traffic.

About 5 minutes later is the plaza, almost deserted.

The blackbirds that live in the low trees around the plaza are waking up, and early risers gather to buy the first newspapers of the day.

Finding a parking place is easy.
The Newstand

A Table for Breakfast
Sunday mornings are kind of quiet on the plaza. In the summer and the fall the early morning, rains leave the little town clean and fresh.

After a hectic week at the office, I donīt feel like fixing anything at home, and walk across the plaza to the "El Mexicano" Restaurant for a quiet breakfast.

Bacon, eggs, black beans, and tortillas. Most of all fresh orange juice from the area around Tuxpan, and dark aromatic Mexican coffee.

And, a droplet or two of hot chile sauce adds the missing ingredient for a great Sunday breakfast.
A Tuxpan Breakfast
Fresh Chile Sauce
Don Nino
Shoe Shine
Don Nino
Maybe afterwards I will go over and talk to Don Nino and get a good shoeshine. He told me his real name is "Saturnino", but people call him "Don Nino".

He has been there for years and enjoys chatting about what he reads in the Poza Rica newspaper, and the recent history of Tuxpan.

Someone once remarked, "Itīs a shame that our best politicians spend their lives driving taxis, and cutting peopleīs hair." I would add, shining shoes, too.
Don Nino
Don Nino Setting Up
Don Nino
Don Nino
Don Nino
River Walk
The plaza was still closed, and it was still early.

In the back of my mind, I wanted to go back to the office and get some more things done.

After the shoeshine, I walked passed a closed stand, and a block over to the river.

Even though it looked like it might rain again, I left the car parked on the plaza and walked over to the peaceful river.
To the River
Don Nino
A Lone Fisherman
The Boulevard
Life Around the River
Tuxpan is a long town. Most of it is along the river.

Not much of the town goes beyond 3 or 4 blocks of the river.

Even the market is about a block from the river, with a lot of people bringing fruit and vegetables across the river from Santiago de la Peņa.

You always see a lot of fresh oranges and bananas.

I stopped for a minute and talked to an old man sitting on one of the benches while we watched the water taxis go back and forth to Santiago de la Peņa.
The Boulevard
The Boulevard
Agua Taxi
A Man on a Bench
Back to Work
After my morning walk, refreshed, I headed back to the office for a couple of more hours.

This is one of the hardest parts about living and working in Mexico.There are so many temptations not to go back to work.

On my way back to the car, I lingered awhile longer talking to the old man on the bench.

We talked about fishing, and his life in the Mexican Navy. He said he knew Fidel Castro when he lived in Santiago de la Peņa across the river years ago. And the story his father had told him about running across a German U-Boat near the Isla de Lobos in World War II.

I stayed awhile longer, then went back to the office for a couple of more hours.
Agua Taxi
The Aqua Taxi Arrives
Agua Taxi
Waiting for the Agua Taxi