Having walked around Xalapa enough to gain a pretty good understanding of the interconnections of the arterial streets and where they head out of town, I decided it was time to venture a bit further afield. Additionally I had not driven my pickup since I arrived here August 20th and thought it should have a bit of exercise. I had been wanting to visit Xico, a small town not far from here, and yesterday being Sunday, providing the prospect that I would be able to find a parking space near the dump upon my return, I decided to take a drive.
I knew where to access the road to Coatapec, a city of a size between that of Xalapa and the town of Xico, and headed on my way. I hadn’t yet left Xalapa, however, before I strayed from the proper route, so spent a bit of time driving around a part of Xalapa I had not visited. I backtracked and returned to the old route which I had opted to take rather than the considerably faster highway. You know me.
The two lane road wended it way through the hills, passing quintas and ranchos growing coffee, bananas, citrus, and sugar cane. The road passed through a number of small communities and was often enveloped in a canopy of overhanging trees. It was a very tranquil 20 minute drive to Coatapec, pronounced Qwatapeck, by the way.
I entered Coatapec, following the sign to Xico, but soon strayed from the route and spent a bit of time driving the backs streets until I happened upon what looked like the proper route. Sure enough, in short order I came upon a sign ensuring me that I was heading to Xico, pronounced Heecoe. About ten minutes later, after passing mile upon mile of more coffee, banana, and orange plants and through a couple of small communities complete with the usual multiple speed bumps intended to slow traffic in populated areas, I arrived in Xico.
Traffic entering Xico was backed up quite a ways to a crawl as it was El Dia de Maria Magdalene and there were celebrations and parades impeding traffic. Being extremely devote I didn’t want to miss the celebrations. OK, you’re right, I’m about as devout as a heathen can be. Speaking of such things, I didn’t know until I watched The DiVinic Files the other night that Mary Magdalene wrote on of about sixty gospels that some politician decided should not be included in the New Testament, even though Mary was apparently referred to by many of her contemporaries as the apostle of the apostles and apparently had a sexual relationship with Jesus. But, then again, being a heathen I’m ignorant of such things.
At any rate I parked in Centro, watched a bunch of folks dressed in clown suits carrying a litter upon which road St. Mary Magdelen followed by a traditional Mexican band and lots of children parade up the main street, and then asked a fellow for a restaurant recommendation. He directed me three blocks down the main drag.
Walking to the restaurant I noticed quite a few horses either carrying their riders or parked riderless. I also noticed the remnants of considerable amounts of horse manure littering the cobblestone streets, which I found considerably more charming than I find the dog crap which litters Xalapa sidewalks.
I soon arrived at the Casa Xiqena, the recommended restaurant, which has been established in a beautiful colonial building. I opted for a table on the veranda where I could enjoy the flowers, that surrounded what I supposed used to be the back yard of the home, and the music provided by a fellow singing to his guitar accompaniment.
I felt obligated to order the mole chicken specialty of the house and a traditional Xico dish, which I accompanied with a Sol oscuro (dark) beer. Mole is a very rich, spicy sauce of unsweetened chocolate, chiles, and spices for which Xico is famed. Soon arrived a chicken breast and leg smoothered in thick dark brown, almost black, mole sauce, along with a large serving of rice and, of course, warm corn tortillos.
As I enjoyed my meal, and music, I noticed the management had posted its “mission statement” on the column adjacent to my table. The owner appeared to be an older very Caucasian looking fellow with a large white beard, who warmly greeted me with a “buenas tardes” and a pat on the shoulder as he passed by.
The pictures you see here are of the restaurant, taken from my chair. Check out the brickwork that fills in the guardrail along the edge of the veranda. I took more picture of Xico with my 35 mm which I will posted when developed. I have been using my 35 mm more and more as the resolution of large prints far exceeds that of photos from the digital and I am thinking that I may take to printing and framing my favorite photos.
Well, as it turns out I’ll have to post the pictures another time as the Blogger upload feature is not working.