Monthly Archives: October 2006


The Diario Xalapa reports that the lowest temperature of an October day in Xalapa in thirty years was recorded on Sunday. The low temperature was 5.8 degree Celsius, which equates to 42.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

I can report that Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day, of which I took advantage by motoring to Naolinco with Tere, from whom I buy produce, as my guide. The clear day afforded some spectacular views of Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico and third highest in North America, and of Cofre de Perote, also one of the highest peaks in Mexico, both from the town and along the drive there. Both mountains are also visible from various places around Xalapa, most notably from El Parque Juarez and from the glass enclosed lounge on the roof of my apartment building.

Naolinco is a small town about 15 miles North of Xalapa know for its shoemaking and other leatherwork. The entrance to town is adorned by a large statue of a shoemaker sitting over a work in process and there must be at least a hundred shoe and leathergood stores in the small town. There are also a number of homes and shops vending wine produced from local grapes. I haven’t yet tried the vintage, which I am guessing is of last week. The town’s central park is amongst the prettiest I’ve seen in Mexico and is directly connected to a small plaza in front of the cathedral, which you see in the photo.

The hillsides surrounding the town reminded me of the Appalachian mountains, with small farms stretching up the hillsides sporting cattle, mostly Holstein, grazing on the lush, vivid green hillside pastures that fade away into the forest. There were also the omnipresent horses and burros, often tethered aside the road to take advantage of the fodder that otherwise would go to waste, with the remnants of their manure present in the town’s streets.

The area is amongst the most picturesque of the areas I’ve visited in Mexico and its locale a bit higher in elevation makes for a climate a bit more temperate than here in Xalapa. All-in-all a good place to have an acre or so upon which to garden, keep chickens, and perhaps even a sheep or two.

If you look carefuly you can see Pico de Orizaba in the lower picture between the two street lights to the left of the church dome.



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Apartment Pictures

I think the problem I was having uploading pictures was that they were in the .bmp format rather than the .jpeg format I usually use. .bmps must be larger files.

Here’s a shot of the living room from the dining area.

This is a shot down the hall. The door on the right is to the bathroom and the door on the left is to the really small interior patio/laundry area that resembles the exercise space for a maximum security prison inmate, though smaller.

At the end of the hall there is a door to a bedroom on each side. The bedrooms are modest size and each have a very nice, roomy closet with heavy wooden sliding doors.


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I Was Going To Post A Couple More Pictures

of the new apartment, but I am not able to upload the photos. I will take some more and try again. The disk in my digital camera has about 150 photos on it and that may be just about enough. I’ll change disks and try again.

First, thank you all for the congratulations on my dog pound escape.

Nathalie thanks for checking in and leaving your comments, all the way from Australia, no less. Hey, and don’t forget to go pay the shopkeeper for that salad.

Neil and Jodie, the rent for the new apartment is almost three times the rent for the dump; and worth every cent. The place even comes with art work on the walls, which includes a large painting of a road running through a forest of large trees, of a sort I imagine the Headless Horseman rode through.

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The Men Of My Only Internet Cafe

I finally was able to get a photo of the father and brother of the family which operates the great internet cafe I patronize. The brother isn’t really sleeping on the job.

Though I met the mother of the family the day the cafe opened I haven’t been able to get a photo. I’m still on the hunt though.


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My New Apartment

Yesterday I moved into my new apartment and, after a few months of living in the dog pound, I am indeed luxuriating. The picture at left is of the passageway from the street to the very far end where my apartment is.

I have a couple of other pictures to post but Blogger won’t post pictures at the moment.

It took three trips to bring my stuff from my dog pound apartment, which was also furthest from the street, to my new digs. I didn’t enjoy the use of a hand truck or cart so the process involved lots of trips from the apartment to the truck and from the truck to the new apartment. So by the end of the day I was spent and didn’t make it to the internet café. During the moving process the manager here informed me that there is a locked parking lot next to the apartment building where I may park my truck at no additional charge.

Additionally, I found that the cable TV service had not been disconnected so yesterday after completing the move, buying a six pack of Modelo, and plopping on the couch I was able to watch the Seattle Seahawks seemingly lose to ST. Louis in the last couple minutes on a Hail Mary pass, only to win with 4 seconds left on a 54 yard field goal.

Today I arranged for internet and TV service through Cable Mas, opting for the 1 mbs service and returned the keys to the dog pound apartment to Rosie.

Just as I expected Rosie informed me that she would not return my deposit as I had not lived there for six months, as provided in the contract I signed. I told her that was fine; but also told her that I had signed the contract before I knew the roof over the bathroom leaked, above which reside a number of dogs, and before she had told me she had twenty some dogs. She said she was very sorry, though I think her insincerity was manifest.

I’m am so relieved to be done with living there that I couldn’t care less about the $1,600 peso deposit. Here, the welcome mat is out, which I just bought today.


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Free At Last

Today I rented another apartment. A nice two bedroom, ground floor, fully furnished (including an overstuffed living room ensemble) apartment that is the furthest unit from the street and has it’s own very small interior patio with the typical laundry sink one finds here. It also has an intercom to the front gate with which one may buzz in visitors. It is in a complex of 20 units where no pets of any kind are permitted and the place is clean.

The apartment includes roof access, three stories up, which I am hoping the signal from a wireless modem will reach. The manager and her daughters who did the rental paper work we’re all very nice and even laughed at my jokes, tendered in my clumsey Spanish.

Tomorrow I will move my belongings and bid a very relieved farewell to the dog pound, its whiney, yapping chihuahua; the barking of the various other canine inhabitants; that omnipresent odor of dog chow processed by those four legged inhabitants; the need to watch where I walk down the passageway, which isn’t easy at night; and my dark and dank dog pound apartment where when it rain the roof in the bathroom leaks and the bathroom is right below where dogs live.


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Salsa Dancing

Last night I went with Roberto, the proprietor of a “clon” DVD store, and his brother Juan Luis to a nightclub where a Cuban band played salsa music and where we were joined by a few of Roberto’s friends.

The band didn’t being to perform until midnight, which is a bit late for a guy who is usually in bed by ten, but was preceded by a fellow singing while accompanying himself on guitar. I left the shenanigans at 2:00 to the protests of Roberto and Juan Luis who were still going strong.

Roberto and Tere, an employee at his shop.

Juan Luis and a friend of Tere’s

Roberto and Juan Luis ripping it up. They are both very energetic and creative dancers.
Often Roberto would have his dance partner in stitches at his antics.


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