Veracruz

I have arrived back in Mexico City, and returned to the same Youth Hostel after leg one of my Mexican journey. I spent only two nights in Veracruz in the end, due mainly to the fact that the hotel prices were all double those stated in my Lonely Planet guide. Mid July signals the start of the holidays for the natives, and Veracruz is their number one destination, damn them! My room really smelled bad as well which didn’t encourage me to stay!

The town itself was pretty cool. It is a port city and has been since the Spanish arrived here in 15whateveritwas, so there is plenty to see as far as colonial architecture goes. Even if the skyline is rather dominated by the huge cranes and container ships at the dock! And it has to be said, I did get to see most of the good stuff. The zocalo there is one of the most famous, and is an event unto itself, with hours of entertainment every evening in the form of singers, dancers, jugglers and even a group of stilt dancers!

I have today found out why Mexican town squares are called “zocalos”….and it really sums up the whole country sometimes. To commemorate independance from Spain, a huge towering monument was to be constructed outside the presidential palace. They laid the base (the spanish word for which is, funnily enough, zocalo!), and well….we are still waiting for someone to get round to the actual monument! Hence zocalo! I also have a theory that if the zocalo wasnt so full of the locals all day long, and they actually got up off their arses and did something, perhaps the poverty level wouldnt be what it is! Have a similar theory for the Olmec, Aztec, Toltec etc etc civilisations. Fantastic stone sculptures, and true experts at ripping peoples hearts out to appease the Gods, but maybe if a little more time had been spent on health, education and agriculture…. Saw the aquarium too which was mightily impressive, if not quite Sea World, and a quick one day tour of the main museums finished things off quite nicely. Visiting museums is very much a hit and miss affair in Mexico – rarely are any exhibits labelled in English and as my Spanish still sucks Im very reliant on there being lots of pictures, models and button pressing displays to keep me amused. Still, I get by!

Anyways, Im now at the half way point of my trip (oh yeah, Ive had a big change of plans…..booked a flight home from New York for the 18th August, and hopefully will have plenty of money left to fly to Prague, buy a Railpass and spend a month touring Eastern Europe!)in both terms of time and distance covered, and am looking forward to my northward trek. First stop will be Guanajuato, followed by Guadalajara for some Mexican culture, San Blas for some sea, sun and sand, then Mazatlan for some more sea, sun and sand, and then to Los Mochis to catch the train for a 14 hour ride through the Copper Canyon.

Which will leave me in Chihuahua where I can take part in the famous Kick Me Dog kicking competition! Ha ha ha! Then to the border to cross into El Paso, and a joyful 2 day Greyhound trek to New York. Think Ill buy a tub or two of Nytol before that trip and swallow the lot! So goes my plan anyway, but then it has to be said Ive changed plans about 6 times already! Oh well, what can you do?

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