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"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Sep 10, 2003, 7:20 PM

Post #1 of 18 (8913 views)

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Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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¡Hola, amigos! Talking with some jalapeño friends last night, the subject of what other people not from Xalapa, Veracruz thought of our beloved city. They said that since I'm a "gringo jalapeño" my opinions are to biased. So I'm asking the participants of this forum who have visited or lived in Xalapa your unbiased opinion of Xalapa...the good, the bad and the ugly. And please don't hold the punches since we want to work to make this a better place to live. ¡Hasta pronto!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com



TomG

Sep 10, 2003, 8:52 PM

Post #2 of 18 (8892 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Hi Roy. I stopped at your place one day last May when I was in Veracruz state with friend - but you were out. It was my second trip to VC and Xalapa.

Anyway....we spent our time in Jalapa staying in a hotel downtown but under the wing of an extended family of an immigrant friend. People are easy to meet and friendly in Xalapa and Veracruz state. Music - WOW - isn't that what Veracruz is all about. Coffee. The tacos al pastor are some of the best - and widely available. I even passed a special al pastor place with takeout by the kilo! Talk about living. And that music group from the University, Tlan-Huicani, what an asset! I accidently caught a concert in the Zocalo during the Cafe Exposition. I bought a CD to show the Veracruzanos up here and they were delighted. It seems musicians are everywhere in in Veracruz. Anyone who doesn't count among his good friends a couple of Veracruz musicians is being shortchanged. Nothing in all the world is quite as good as sitting in a home in small town Veracruz having an impromptu jam session and drinking capulin homebrew.

But I was very put off by the health implications I noticed on a drizzly day when there was an inversion which held the pollution down. And I took note when Don A. was hammering up some screens for his house, I took that to be a bad sign.

We ate quite a few meals with the family of the cafetero Don A. And he accompanied us often in the day when we were going to places he had an interest in. The tamales from the area are the high end - wrapped in banana leave. All around Veracruz has some special flavors. I eat small town Veracruz cooking frequently up here and love it.

The aguas thermales 1/2 hour out of town did a good job fixing my hand tendons 2 years ago, as far as I'm concerned. The mirador in Xalapa is worth the walk, as is the one in Coatepec.

I've got an all day drive tomorrow or I would go on. This deserves more time later. (Hope this is too riddled with error, I've no time to go over it.)


Guapo Gabacho


Sep 11, 2003, 6:29 AM

Post #3 of 18 (8869 views)

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Re: [TomG] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Roy,

After reading all your glowing reports about Xalapa and being a very frequent visitor to Mexico I decided to go out of the way to visit it.

I would liken it to Pittsburg, Pensylvania. They both may have some redeeming value, as evidenced by the many people that live there, but I sure don’t recommend that my European friends, no matter how often they visit the US, go there to visit.

It is with good reason that this city remains off the tourist trail. I think you will, when touting the place, continue to sound like John the Baptist saying, “The desert is nice. Come see and go swimming with me”.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.


alex .

Sep 11, 2003, 8:13 AM

Post #4 of 18 (8858 views)

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Re: [Guapo Gabacho] I felt the same way about ACA

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All the hype about Acapulco, for some reason the Mexican tourists love it, I think its a dump!
Alex


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Sep 11, 2003, 5:19 PM

Post #5 of 18 (8804 views)

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Re: [Guapo Gabacho] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Guapo:

Thankyou for your comments, but could you please give me some concrete reasons why you didnt like Xalapa instead of citing John the Baptist. BTW, Xalapa certainly is not a desert in any sense of the word. So if you could state exactly why it would help my friends and me to see what is wrong.

Suerte y hasta pronto!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


Guapo Gabacho


Sep 11, 2003, 5:41 PM

Post #6 of 18 (8800 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Roy,

In the metaphor with John the Baptist, you were John, but Xalapa was not the desert.



There is nothing wrong with Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, but I sure wouldn’t want to live there, suggest that a tourist visit there, or ever say that it was a good place to retire.

Isn’t it great that we all don’t want to live in the same place? It would be quite crowded in some parts. Remember that Consumers Report says that the Toyota Tundra is by far the best full sized pick-up truck, highly recommends the Chevrolet Silvarado, but the Ford F series out sells all other brands combined.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.


TomG

Sep 11, 2003, 8:28 PM

Post #7 of 18 (8776 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Here's a minus, Roy. I teamed up for a trip with an old college friend. We two guys were advised by a number of various locals to be careful, especially around the zocalo area after 9 PM or so. And also not to go down to the lower city level below the zocalo after dark. Yet often the same people would say that Xalapa is not a very dangerous place and that the people are very friendly.

You ought to clarify if you want to include well known satellite towns like Coatepec and Xico in this conversation. My understanding is that a lot of people from uddles of surrounding villages out as much as 1 to 2 hours bus time work in Xalapa and return to a house they maintain in the village for the weekends. Also a lot of young working age people who return to their parental homes for weekends. So Xalapa to me includes a big area.

Now here is a tangential village story: I ran into a drunk 18 year old muchacho in the village who wanted to talk to me late one night. He was dressed like any with it city inner kid in the USA....... attempting to show off his worldly sophistication, he was talking black ghetto English, and had black ghetto body language. He had returned to the village after a few years in Chicago. then he tried to hit me up for 2 American dollars - but this was the village not Chicago, and I had no need to buy my safety down to the next block. He was too young and too impressionable to be away from home, family and village at whatever age he had left. As a result Mexico sent away sent away probably a decent kid and imported back a weird anomaly of a social problem. I explained his sub-culturalization to my village friends. There is not much you can do about this, and certainly it exists all over Mexico.

In Papantla I ran into a couple of young state employed agricultural experts whose job it was to help the vanilla growers with expertise, and more importantly to help them develop better international markets and even quality control. It was very impressive. Coffee needs the same effort, on a bigger scale. Andres’ father in the village of Y is getting 1 and 1/10 pesos a kilo for coffee he picked off his own trees while the supermarket in the USA is charging $7/lb for midrange coffee beans.


Veracruz has some world class products – music included being among them. Moreover, it is exotically beautiful. There is very good reason why the hearts of the Veracruzanos up north dream of their homeland. It is beautiful and green, the food tastes great, and the music is plentiful and good.

Don’t forget that people can apparently sign up for morning exercise programs at the stadium about a 10 minute walk down below you studio. The atmosphere down there seemed very public spirited.

The whole area is very rich archeologically. But you are in danger of rapidly losing some of your indigenous culture. Villages that spoke no Spanish in the 1930’s now have only a few older people left that can speak Totonac. The state made a big mistake last March when they made the whole of El Tajin into a heavily wired up Hollywood style stage set for a rock concert with all the screwy lighting effects. Tell them not to do that anymore.



(This post was edited by TomG on Sep 11, 2003, 9:28 PM)


sfmacaws


Sep 19, 2003, 10:00 PM

Post #8 of 18 (8704 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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I've got a question that kind of fits in here. I've often heard of Jalapa and Xalapa, I think in terms of being an artist town or perhaps a gringo town. Anyway, the names come up and I never know whether they are all talking about the same place or not.

Now, I know there are many towns with both of those names, in many states of Mexico. I've seen them on the map. Can you tell me if the city in the hills of Veracruz that you are talking about is the 'main' or 'most famous' of the towns by those names? and which is the correct name? or, are there two well-known towns, one named Jalapa and the other Xalapa? Could some of the references be to the town south of Puerto Vallarta?

Oh, and am i correct that the place you are referring to is in the mountains of Edo Veracruz towards DF from the coast?

It's puzzled me for a long time,


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Sep 19, 2003, 11:12 PM

Post #9 of 18 (8700 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Jonna:

Xalapa("Xallapam" in náhuatl, the Aztec language, means "springs of water in the sand") is also spelled Jalapa by the Spaniards. It is the capital city of the state of Veracruz and has a population of over 800,000; a growing and dynamic city suffering from the "sifilazation" of the automobile and pollution, it still maintains a provincial atmosphere with a cultural richness of a university(there are four) city. I have been here for 31 years and am still marveled by it´s uniqueness at times. Only 10 minutes west from the hills and mountains of the Sierra Nevada Oriental(5-10°C cooler) and 10 minutes east of the almost dry tropical highlands which are 5-10° C hotter. Come visit soon!

¡Y lo bueno, es que no somos muchos "gringos" que vivimos aquí!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


sfmacaws


Sep 19, 2003, 11:46 PM

Post #10 of 18 (8697 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Thank you, that explains the different spellings. I also didn't realize it was the capitol of Veracruz, I guess I always assumed that was the ciudad de Veracruz. 800k is a big city, probably bigger than I like but, who knows, perhaps we will get to visit it someday.

Thank you again for the explanation.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




mjr234

Sep 20, 2003, 4:01 PM

Post #11 of 18 (8654 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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My wife and I took a day cruise to Xalapa from Cordova. The bus ride would pass for a roller coaster at some parks. Some people like roller coasters, but the series of white crosses along the highway made me wish the driver obeyed the posted limits: Mexican Bus Drivers'Motto - Better dead than late.

Xalapa reminds me of Quebec City, a transplanted bit of old Europe. The walkway along the canal is excellent. The museum of paintings of Freda Kalho's ex-husband is again excellent, though I wish the "coffee table books"were not so expensive. The archealogical Museum is well-worth the visit. I also loved the too, too cheap meal we had in the university district. It was delicious and practically given away. The sight of dancers strutting, jetteing, etc in the school of fine arts was highly pleasant and certainly unusual.



In short, I liked the sites, the activities and the attitude of the people.

My wife and I speak limited Spanish.


ScottM

Oct 24, 2003, 4:31 AM

Post #12 of 18 (8532 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Was considering Xalapa area as a retirement destination 3 years ago. Was unable to get a 'feel' for the home rental market, since price/availabliity was going to be a major part of our decision. My Spanish is crummy, and the very few intenet sites I
found were difficult to negotiate.
Accomodation is usually the first thing an Expat needs (after the cerveza), with that in mind, maybe
you or your friends could come up with a gringo- friendly listing for a range of rental properties.?


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Oct 24, 2003, 7:58 AM

Post #13 of 18 (8515 views)

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Re: [ScottM] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Scott:

You are right! And the need for a reliable real estate agency is just what I am working at since there is a definite demand. I will be listing many places which I am sure would appeal to you very much. Hope to hear from you soon. ¡Hasta pronto!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


mexicoanswers

Oct 24, 2003, 3:30 PM

Post #14 of 18 (8462 views)

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Re: [ScottM] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Hi, Scott, and everyone else interested in a Xalapa-based information sheet, along with information about moving to Mexico in general. Just to let you know, we have published a website called www.mexicoanswers.com and it contains listings of apartments and houses for rent and sale in Xalapa. Any listings can be translated and contacted by Roy Dudley, whose information is also listed in the newsletter. We change the site monthly, and a new listing is being posted this coming week or so. Even if you get the newsletter before the new listings come out, you will get a feel for some of the available houses and apartments.


believer111

Nov 1, 2003, 11:32 AM

Post #15 of 18 (8358 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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interesting info. will correspond with you privately.



shalom,

Dios le bendiga,
hermana greta


JimOfMex


Feb 19, 2004, 6:14 PM

Post #16 of 18 (8240 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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I'm about to retire to Mexico. I intend to live for a month or so in several locations before deciding where to settle. I love Mexico and its many cultures. I love Spanish. I speak it in a limited way. I have a strong desire to immerse myself in it and become fluent. I need lots of rain with occasional storms. I hope for not too many mosquitoes or similar pests. I already know the area is almost like a rain forest which totally delights me. The city itself sounds wonderful. Probably, though, I will want to buy outside of the city in order to get 5 or 10 acres of land. Is it feasible to do this without a car? I have a 2004 Subaru SUV, but I'm wondering if I would absolutely need a car. The times I've done without a car have been very good, very healthy times. Thanks in advance for any/all info.


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Feb 19, 2004, 6:21 PM

Post #17 of 18 (8236 views)

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Re: [jimOfBoston] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Jim:

Xalapa "fits the bill" exactly as to what you are looking for. Just like everywhere it has it's good and bad aspects, but I am sure you can find what you are want. If you live in the country it might be hard to get along without a vehicle, but if you set your mind to using it only when absolutely necessary you should be able to get along fine.

Send me a private reply if you are interested in more information.

¡Suerte y hasta pronto!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


hopalog


Feb 23, 2007, 7:27 AM

Post #18 of 18 (7906 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa, the good, the bad and the ugly

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Right now, the ugly would be the horrific traffic. We got as far as the Auto dealerships (Pemex 3025?) and turned around and headed to Coatepec. Once the new underpasses are built, I would think it would be much easier but right now, we couldn't even get into town.

But we LOVED Coatepec! :)

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