History

Reino Mágico
The Final Resting Place

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.


A Sunday Walk through Reino Mágico
Reino Mágico is rather large with many trails. One day several weeks ago I had walked through what used to be the old General Cemetery. I was looking for the Hemicircle of the Illustrious which was the final resting place of Don Domingo Bureau. He was an early mayor of Veracruz who has been erased from history. More about Domingo Bureau here.

Everything had changed with the construction of the amusement park in the 1990´s. Yet, I thought, at the same time, there should be certain things that may have been too expensive to change, such as a hill or an overlook. These places would have been adapted into the original plan. All you had to do is look at the contours of the land.

I talked to some of the older people and found that some remembered the Hemicircle. It was on the highest point in the middle of the park. That´s where it had to be.
Hemicirculo
Carnival Rides
The Search for the Hemicircle of the Illustrious
One Sunday one of the teenagers in the neighborhood, Manuel and I went looking for the Hemicircle of the Illustrious.

He had never been to Reino Mágico and was interested in how to use a digital camera.

He also wanted to get out of the neighborhood and see some place new.

"Why you are interested in Reino Mágico?", Manuel asked as we got into the car.

On the drive across town I told him more about my search for information about Don Domingo Bureau.
path
The Path
An Amusement Park
Reino Mágico was a cemetery at the turn of the century. After a massive parade of grief through town it was Don Domingo´s final resting place. He was buried in a special place called the Hemicircle of the Illustrious.

As we drove into the parking lot, we noticed there weren´t many cars, maybe about 15.

When we paid the $7 peso admission fee, the ticket lady remembered me from my visit a couple of weeks ago, and welcomed me back.

We entered the park and walked past the silent mechanical cars. Not much business for a Sunday. We followed the path towards the back part of the park.
Hemicirculo
Rubber Tree
A Real Rubber Tree
The last time I was at the park I had noticed this old tree.

It looked just like one of the tropical parasite trees in Antigua that eventually take over a healthy tree, strangle it and remain in its place.

The leaves were smooth and full, kind of like a magnolia or a local almond tree.

Manuel said, "Look. It´s a rubber tree!"

I had seem them in offices, but never one this big.

We took a closer look and found what looked like vines hanging onto the branches were actually roots extending from the branches.

And from the looks of the tree it was very old, probably preserved by the architects from the original cemetery.Perhaps no one had the heart to chop it down.
Rubber
Natural Rubber
Rubber
A Droplet of Rubber
Manuel
Manuel and Water Well
Natural Glue
Manuel walked over and picked one of the low hanging leaves and snapped one off.

When he brought it over, a white droplet was oozing from the wounded leaf.

"Liquid rubber," said Manuel.

"What´s it used for in Mexico", I asked.

"Resistol Glue. We use it in school on paper projects."

And it looked just like Resistol Glue.

Later we found what looked like an original well adapted with tall goose made of wood.
Hemicirculo
Up the Hill Towards the Hemicircle
El Mirador
We followed the path around, then the path began to climb up a long hill.

At the top, there was a semi circle and an observation deck called the Mirador. It was a quiet place with a view of a large beautiful swimming pool down below.

For awhile I looked around imagining this was the final resting place for Don Domingo Bureau, 4 times mayor of Veracruz.

Parks and schools were his favorite projects during his life time. Perhaps unknowingly, the park people had built a beautiful place for Don Domingo to watch the park from his resting place.
Hemicirculo
The Hemicircle
Pool
The View
The Swings
The Moving Swings
Legends of Moving Swings
Local people have told me about walking past the swing area and seeing some of the swings moving, while others were still.

Manuel wanted to see the swings. They weren´t moving the day we were there.

Manuel told me he remembered one time he´d been to Chapultepec Park in Mexico City on a Sunday.

He said it was so crowded kids were waiting in lines to swing in the swings.

We talked awhile about the other legend of the girl in white who tries to hail a taxi at night in front of Reino Mágico.

The word has spread amongst the taxistas of Veracruz, and not many stop for her.
The Oasis
El Oasis
El Oasis
It was getting close to lunch time, so we stopped at one of the fast food stands in the park.

Manuel was hungry so he ordered a hamburger and I ordered a hot dog.

There were a couple of empty park benches, so we got some cokes from the stand next door, and sat down for awhile and watched people go by while we waited for our order.

After awhile it was ready, and a younger son helping out at the stand brought our orders to us on the park bench.
The Oasis
El Oasis
The Oasis
El Oasis
Hot Dog
Three is Too Much
Hot Dogs on a Park Bench
I hadn´t felt like eating 3 hot dogs, and had ordered only one. It would be enough.

My hot dog was smothered in onions, finely diced tomatoes, Mexican chorizo sausage, white queso de hebra cheese, topped with 5 or 6 little jalapeño rings. There was barely room for the hot dog itself.

Manuel´s hamburger was huge and he couldn´t eat it all. So, he packed up the rest of it to take home.

He said his older uncle liked hamburgers, too and wanted to share it with him later.
The Oasis
The Path Back
Time to Go
By this time we were full, and it was time to take the path back towards the parking lot. I was satisfied thinking that I had found another piece the puzzle of the life of Don Domingo Bureau, and I wasn´t disappointed.

Don Domingo was laid to rest in what for many years was a grim neglected cemetery which today is cheerful and full of life, ready for the people to use and enjoy.

El Día de los Muertos is coming up soon, and I think I will come back and make a visit to the Hemicircle of the Illustrious.

When we got home, Manuel´s uncle was delighted with the hamburger leftovers.

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