I leave early in the am to get to Veracruz. In the morning mist the rolling pastures lead to great views of Mexico’s largest mountain, the snow capped ‘Citlaltepetl’.
I ride in the cool air with a smile and my heated gear going. This however doesn’t last long. Coming into Veracruz in the early afternoon the heat skyrockets as I ride into town in the blazing sun, and heavy traffic. My bike temperature gauge hits almost 47C ; a difference of over 35C from earlier that day. Thankfully my hotel is not too hard to find, and the cool breeze off the ocean starts to bring me back to more humane temperatures. I look for a swim but change my mind as I look into the oily glaze on the surface of the water and the grit of the huge working dock beside me.
I walk the streets exploring as the heat starts to dissipate in the late afternoon. The town is hot and humid, and the streets show the grit and grime of a place too hot to be bothered doing much.
The rawness of the streets is charming in its own way, and there is little pretentiousness in the town. It seems to hustle with the vibrancy of a working city alive. The people here are friendly, and over the evening I meet a range of people.
The Zocalo is alive with music as the mariachi bands fight for airspace. Those with the loudest horns win. Others crowd around their audience seated at tables of beer, plates of seafood and caldo de mariscos and sing deep melodies under their big hats. Instruments are negotiated between tables. A harp is lifted over people’s heads and squeezes its way to rest between the tables. Five or so men with a variety of instruments and swish costumes gather around the table. The horn player stands back as not to offend the customers. Cheers go up. Requests are taken and notes exchanged. Another tune lights up the evening.
Caldo de mariscos- a suposed hangover cure