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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Veracruz, Mexico.

I can't believe I was sick all week and, even though I was given the opportunity to return to Veracruz one more time, I had to turn it down.  I didn't want to spend the weekend running for bathrooms if (you know what) hit.

My last visit was just after Christmas this past year, and I went with my daughter during New Years.  We were invited by a close friend of mine who's family live in Rinconada, about an hour or so out of Veracruz.  Even though Rinconada isn't on the coast, it had some of the best seafood I've ever eaten in Mexico.  My friend family not only own two restaurants in town, they also own a tequila factory - bonus.

Rinconada is a small community about half way between Puebla and Veracruz.  We had a fantastic visit there and New Years Eve was amazing.  The family set up a party area in the Tequila Factory, and guess what we drank.  I also brought a bottle of Captain Morgan's Rum and Coke, and shared with the other guests.  They even had karaoke and made me sing a Mexican love song.  One of the cousins, Sandra, had a crush on me and sang me a love song too.

Sandra was a big boned girl that drank, smoked and swore more than any woman I have ever met.  But for some reason she had a big crush on me, and it was obvious.  She had me on the run all night (away from her) and I called her my ton of love.  Anyway, the family tradition is to bring in the New Year with a straw-stuffed man - complete with wide-brimmed hat.  Just before midnight, a special song is played, and everyone takes turns dancing with the dummy.

After the dancing is over and New Years has entered, the dummy is taken outside and burned.  It has also previously been filled with fireworks, and as it burned it also exploded from time to time.  I've never heard of this tradition before, but after a few tequila's, it was quite fun.

We spent a couple more days exploring Veracruz and a couple of the nearby beaches.  Luckily I had bought a travel cooler on a previous Mexican trip, and we filled it with beer and headed to the beach area.  We found a place to park near the beach and it was only 250 pesos, or free if you bought lunch at their beach restaruant.  Horacio had a shrimp cocktail for about the same price, so our parking was free - sort of.  It was a nice, but windy, day and our restaurant was located right where the river met the ocean.  We got flooded out a few times, but had a great time.

We went to another seafood restaurant for brunch and I had some coconut prawns to die for.  Horacio and my daughter had a local fish meal with a fantastic sauce.  Sorry I can't remember the name of it.  We finished off the day with a tour of the Veracruz malacon (waterfront) and coffee at La Parroquia, a famous local coffee shop.  The coffee was excellent, and watching them pour it four you was amazing.  I was so impressed that I bought a pound to take home, but this was a mistake.  Once home, I found the packaged coffee very weak and tasteless.  I guess you have to experience La Parroquia in Veracruz only.

We went to the beach on one more occasion with the cousins, and found a free parking area where it appeared, the entire community went.  Everyone had their quads on the beach, and we got a quick tour of the nearby dunes on our quad.  It was pretty amazing.  This day was again finished off with coffee at La Parroquia, and a little local Veracruz shopping for my daughter.  She would be returning to Canada soon, and had some gifts to buy.  While shopping, I found a cigar import store, and of course had to buy a few Cohiba's.

Some may describe Veracruz as an industrial ocean city, but I found it quite charming in many ways.  It did have a large port area, but it was also developing in other directions along the waterfront, and resorts were popping up all over the place.  I can see it one day being a very nice tourist destination.