Category Archives: Xalapa

Los Amigos Del Taconazo

I have found that local bars are good places to practice Spanish, as the patrons and proprietors are generally friendly and ready to strike up conversation.

You may remember my periodic reports from Jose’s cantina in Merida, which I would visit a couple of times each week. Jose’s is what I would call a very funky place, others would probably think it seedy, and still others disgusting; and I couldn’t honestly argue with either point of view. After all, it rained almost as hard in the bathroom as it did outdoors and Jose was often exceedingly drunk. One night, in fact, he was so drunk that he walked around his place apparently unaware that he had pissed his pants. Shortly thereafter he took one of his periodic rides on the wagon.

I have been visiting the bars in my neighborhood here in Xalapa and have found a few that I enjoy. The other day, however, I hit the jackpot just a couple blocks from my apartment, when I stumbled upon Cantina La Negrita. Stumbled upon, because, like many of the bars in town, from the outside La Negrita carries no indication that there’s a bar inside. The other day as I walked pass I heard accordion music emanating from the doorway so walked in.

Here is what I found.  You can certainly tell that I’m a videography neophyte.

Los Amigos Del Taconazo play Norteno music, which features a diatonic (meaning a different note results from a pull on the bellows than from a push) button accordion (in this case a Hohner Corona) and usually a guitar and bass. The bass in the video is 90 years old, and really, really looks it. Los Amigos, who have been playing together for twelve years and play every afternoon at La Negrita, told me they dream of going to the USA to play.

Another serendipitous occurrence in Mexico.

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Filed under Norteno, Travel, Xalapa

Plaza Xalapenos Ilustres

Having researched options for extending the range of WiFi receivers and broadcasters I ran across lots of designs for home made antennas, some with ranges of many miles. My curiosity piqued I decided to build a very long range “double bi-quad” antenna.

I needed a piece of scrap 12 or 14 gauge household wiring, a short piece of half inch copper pipe, a piece of sheet copper about 5″ x 9″, and some low loss coaxial cable. So off I went scrounging.

I was able to get the scrap wire and copper pipe with no problems from a scrap dealer up the street not to far and ordered 15 meters of the right type of coaxial cable and necessary connectors from a vendor on Mercado Libre, Latin America’s eBay affiliated online market place. Finding a piece of copper sheet, however, has been difficult.

I have checked in every hardware, electrical supply, and kitchen equipment store in Centro and in the area of the Mercado Los Sauces with no luck in finding copper sheet. A couple of days ago, though, I asked in a local plumbing supply store and the nice proprietors directed me to a metal dealer just off Avenida Lazaro Cardenas, a good ways North from my apartment.

So yesterday morning off I went to locate the metal dealer. Being Sunday I knew it would probably not be open for business, but I need the exercise and it was a beautiful sunny morning for an urban trek, up and down through the hills of Xalapa.

My map of the city doesn’t include a scale so I don’t know for sure how far I walked before locating the metal dealer in a very nice Colonia Rafael Lucio part of town, but I had been walking for an hour and a half. It was another hour and half to return. I plan to go again this morning.

The real treat of my long walk was encountering the Plaza Xalapenos Ilustres, a tree lined pedestrian plaza which separates the to and from lanes of Avenida Xalapa and which stretches from block upon block from the Avenida Presidente (Lazaro Cardenas) to Avendia Americas. The stretch of Avenida Xalapa passes the Pantheon Xalapeno (a large cemetery), a large sports school, and the famous Museo Antropologia.

The plaza, according to an informational sign, contains 1733 trees, predominately Sweetgums, Mexican Sycamores and Shamel Ash.

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Sunnergy Dealer in Xalapa

There was an informational booth in Parque Juarez yesterday for a local Sunnergy dealer, Grupo Hersa, located in Col. Ferrer Guardia, 8-42-92-64  hersa_1@yahoo.com.

Presently the company is selling only vacuum tube, gravity feed, batch type hot water heater systems with the integrated tank of stainless steel.  The smallest system, with a 132 liter tank is selling for $8,700 pesos.  The systems include a mounting rack.  The company eventually plans to also sell photovoltaic systems.

Sunnergy is a company n Guadalajara whose website may be found here. 

 

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Filed under Solar Hot Water, Xalapa

Ursulo Galvan

Today I drove to take a look at Ursulo Galvan, a colonia a bit off the road between Coatepec and Xico. Entering the pueblito one must cross a bridge over this rio.

The pueblo is nestled on a hill side overlooking the rio and is surrounded by the typical forest found in this area, often with an under story of coffee plant and banana trees.

I continued on to visit the pueblo of Texim, a pueblito a few miles beyond Teocelo, a bit off the road to Cosautlan.

I stopped on the way home at his restaurant in Coatepec and had a delicious late lunch of shrimp in a type of mole sauce, with rice, salad, and a couple of Negra Modelos. I took this shot while sitting at my table.

This flower arrangement, of what I think are some type of Lilly, adorned my table.

The beautiful church below is in Centro Coatepec.

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Filed under Coatepec, Teocelo, Travel, Ursulo Galvan, Veracruz, Xalapa

Teocelo Sculpture

I really like this clam shell sculpture facing Calle Cinco de Mayo in the yard of building across the street from the Centro park.

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My Aborted Trip To Hautusco

Sunday I had intended to drive to Hautusco, a town of about 30,000 a couple hours South of here. So off I went toward Coatepec, turning just before entering the city, following the sign to Cordova. However, I didn’t encounter additional signs directing me and eventually ended up in Las Trancas, at the opposite side of Xalapa from where I had left.

If I had looked at the Xalapa map I had with me, which I didn’t do until I had arrived home, I would have learned that the road to Jacomulco, with which I am familiar, leads to Hautusco. One of my frequent dumb ass moments.

treeepiphytes.jpgArriving back in Xalapa I drove through town and again headed for Coatepec. I had decided to drive to Teocelo and ask as to the route to Hautusco, which I thought I could reach from Teocelo.

Arriving in Teocelo I headed toward the bar at which I had stopped the other day to ask directions. The proprietor, Senor Crescencio (Chencho, as he said most folks call him) Martinez, was tending the bar and talking to his son Carlos.

I ordered a Negra Modelo and asked the gentlemen how I would go to Hautusco. Carlos asked his father for a sheet of paper and drew me a detailed map, not only showing the route to Hautusco but the routes to all of the area pueblos as well. He also told me that the name Teocelo derives from Teo Ocelotl of the indigenous Nahualtl language, which in Spanish is Dios Tigre and in English God Tiger.

Senor Crescencio informed me one of his other sons is selling a small rancho in Texin, not far from Teocelo along the road to Cosautlan, and gave me his son’s name and phone number. I plan to contact his son to arrange to look at the property.

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Filed under Teocelo, Travel, Veracruz, Xalapa

Teocelo

I had been to Teocelo only once before my visit to the Ranchito Coyolopan, and then only to the edge of town where I had turned off to the pueblito of Santa Rosa from where I walked to visit the Cascada Texolo.

When passing through on the way to visit the ranchito a couple of weeks ago I noticed what a tidy little town it is, and when we stopped in Centro during the return trip for a bite to eat I noticed how very attractive is the central park. During my visit last Sunday to the home of Lorena and her father Franco, before returning to the Ranchito Coyolopan, I had even a better look of the town and decided that I wanted to return for a longer visit.

So Wednesday I walked to the tourist information booth across from the Parque Juarez, here in Xalapa, and asked from where I would board a bus to Teocelo. The very pleasant woman staffing the booth was able to tell me that I must go to the Mercado Los Sauces, about ten blocks from Parque Juarez. So off I went.


I located a bus parked adjacent to the mercado which indicated Teocelo on its front window and asked the driver, who informed me from where I should catch it. So off I went down Calle Bolivia to the bus stop. The bus may also be boarded at the route’s origin at La Rotonda on Calle Revolucion , about 12 blocks North of my apartment.

The bus was a very comfortable Mercedes and the young driver sported a gelled hair do that put to shame the greaser “duck tails” popular in my adolescence. Unlike the local buses one does not pay the fare upon boarding. Rather, there is a fellow riding shotgun who approaches each passenger that boards, determines their destination, and collects the fare. The fare to Teocelo is $13. pesos.

The route passes through Coatepec and continues toward Xico. Just before reaching Xico the road diverges, winds its way up and over a mountain pass, drops down into the valley of the river into which the Cascada Texolo falls, and snakes its way up and over another pass before dropping down into Teocelo. The scenery along the route is spectacular, including sheer rock faces, of well over one hundred feet in height, on each side of the narrow river valley the route traverses.

I debarked in Teocelo just around the corner from the central park and spent the next couple hours walking the streets looking for signs announcing houses for rent or sale, though I encountered none. I stopped into the cable TV office and inquired if they offered internet service and as to the prices for TV services. The very nice woman staffing the office indicated that the company does not provide internet service and insisted that she write down for me the TV connection and monthly services charges.

A bit further along in my tour I stopped into a bar that was about only 8 feet wide, ordered a Bohemia, and began grilling the proprietor with questions about the town. When I asked if he knew of any houses for rent or property for sale he indicated that he was selling a home around the corner. He informed me that the house, constructed only about five years ago, has fourteen bedrooms and five bathrooms. I finished the beer and continued on my way.

I am impressed with how clean the town is and how friendly the folks are. Almost without exception those I passed greeted me with a “buenas tardes” or “adios”, as is a common greeting here. The buildings are colorful, most of the streets and sidewalks are of stone common to the area, and the central park is amongst the most beautiful I have encountered.

Returning toward the central park I inquired of a gentleman I encountered if he could recommend a restaurant he likes. He directed me to the Dona Ofe restaurant across the street from the North end of the park. The tidy restaurant has about eight tables in the front room of a colonial home, with the food preparation in the rear. The tables are surrounded by beautiful caned chairs with frames constructed of rough hewn tree trucks or limbs.

As is typical of coninas economicas here, Dona Ofe offered a choice of two meals, carne asado, a thinly sliced beef flank steak, or chuleta de cerdo, a pork chop. Each meal was of three courses, a delicious pasta soup, followed by a plate of rice with peas and corn, and finally the meat plate with a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. The meal included sweeten lemon water, corn tortillas, and tortilla chips with a fairly picante salsa. The meal was $30. pesos, which at today’s exchange rate is about $2.75 USA.

Following lunch I walked through the park to Don Franco’s bakery and home, located across the street from the end of the park opposite the restaurant, as I wanted to thank him and his daughter Lorena for their hospitality the previous Sunday and for their help with communicating with the owners of Ranchito Coyolopan.

Franco greeted me warmly, we talked for a few minutes, he encouraged me to visit any time and assured me that his home was also mine, and he directed me as to where to catch a bus home and which bus to take.

The bus in which I returned to Xalapa was a Blue Bird school type bus with high backed seats. It was an exciting trip home, as the driver maneuvered the bus along the winding mountain roads as if he were driving a sports car.

Teocelo is an enchantingly beautiful, very clean, quiet pueblo of friendly folks. I recommend to those visiting Xalapa a day trip by bus to Teocelo. I intend to return next week for further explorations to include a bus trip to the nearby pueblo of Cosautlan.

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Filed under Teocelo, Travel, Veracruz, Xalapa