Saturday, March 29, 2008


I ventured to this little playa (beach) on the advice of others, who assured me that it was really good, "semi-virgen" (Mexican for not busy), and a nice place to be. Well they were mistook. The water was a horrible mud brown colour, there was rubbish aplenty, and vendors galore. But I was hanging out to have a swim so I braved the mud-coloured waves however I could not stay in for long. It was just gross, but I'm not sick so whatever was making the water brown was obviously not lethal.
The vendors were selling bikinis, inflatable toys, beer, food, clothes... well basically everything EXCEPT sarongs! I couldn't believe it! The only beach in the world that I have been to of late that has nary a sarong in sight! By jove, this perhaps was the most impressive part of my journey to this sandy shore.

The arrival of dusk and the sunset saw me head for more populated spaces. I found in the centre of town a little bar to chill out in and watch some folk dancers do their stuff. In Veracruz I'm told it's quite the thing to do, not at all considered fuddy-duddy or antiquated. And these chaps were surely getting a work out! After each dance they were all huffing and puffing, with sweat pouring off them (it wasn't exactly cool), but the ladies' makeup stayed intact. Now that is quite something. Much as I hate to admit it, the dancing bested the beach by a verrry long way. What has the world come to?

El Tajin

It's a small cluster of pyramids near the coast of Veracruz, Mexico. Small by number and small by size but pretty cool nevertheless.
I arrived in the morning to find the entrance packed with artesanos (lads and lassies that sell handmade stuff) and many a visitor. Turns out the day I arrived was the Equinox so that's why there were so many people. Here for the equinox people dress up in white and head to the pyramids to raise their arms skyward, maybe do a chant or two (I don't know) and receive positive energy. Apparantly it works, but there weren't too many arms raised skyward when I visited that day. So I went back on the 21st (the official day of the Equinox, although it fell two days earlier) and still there were not a whole bunch of people with skyward pointing, energy receiving, triangular shaped stances. So I missed my opportunity to become more positively energised. Sigh.
It's a very chilled out place. Lots of trees to rest under (and believe me you do need to escape from the heat every now and then), the pyramids are different because they have terraces as opposed to being flat sided, and it is pretty much vendor free.
There are a few wandering around selling oranges and vanilla pods, but most are barricaded outside the facility and resort to yelling at passers-by to attract attention and sell their goodies. An orange in itself does not sound overly appealing I'm guessing, but when you are suffering from the heat, those oranges are like little balls of goodness. And you are willing to pay what they ask, more than once usually.
Outside the complex I encountered some Voladores de Papantla perfoming for the crowds. This guys are pretty cool to watch, and plenty graceful. Ol' Maori here would fall off and plummet to the ground, as opposed to the graceful descent that is usually associated with this event.

Semana Santa

The passing of this festive period marked the one year anniversary of my being in the land of Golden Cerveza and Abundant Cacti.
I celebrated the event by getting out of cold Toluca and heading off to Tajin in Veracruz (a state that actually has sunshine and surf- yay!) for a few days. There was a festival at the pyramids and it was friggin hot, but I managed to see and do quite a bit in a few days. So to avoid an extended novel-esque literary equivalent to watching paint dry, I'll divide the week into parts, with illustrations and videos to maintain your interest.
Mexico for one year! Who woulda thunk it?

Tajin Pyramids, Veracruz Voladores de Papantla Tecolutla II folk dancing, veracruz