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JonL.

Jul 11, 2004, 7:30 AM

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Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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I'm trying to get some feedback on Xalapa from someone other than Roy Dudley (El Gringo Xalapeno) with all due respect to Roy. Although Roy seems to be a generous and honorable promoter of the area, I'm trying to get opinions from other folks who have visited and/or lived there. Last year for instance in a posting about Xalapa, one Guapo Gabacho (who no longer seems to be active on Mexconnect) stated that he was lured to visit Xalapa exclusively by the influence of Roy. He went on to say that he was extremely disappointed by what he found there. Unfortunately, Guapo never expanded on this. Any comments? Thanks



TomG

Jul 11, 2004, 7:33 PM

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Re: [JonL.] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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There are a couple of issues implied here.

One is your point of view, which is not uncommon. You want to get as accurate an information as is possible for yourself without risking the time and expense of personal investigation. This is a reasonable and rational desire. But given how screwy Mexico really is, it is not likely that you could be so lucky. Add to Mexico's screwiness the numerous and fundamental cultural differences, and how they will strike you over time; and you've got nothing but perceptions problems.

I have heard of the existence of a small community of well educated university associated European intellectuals in or around Jalapa. My guess is that Roy would be your best chance at finding out about this. Whether they would enter into this kind of discussion would be a different question.

Second, clearly formulated negative opinions and observations about Mexico are hard to come by for a number of reasons, some more understandable than others. There are many things in Mexico that deserve disapproval, but they do not get as open an airing as they do in the culture of the USA. The positive can be talked about endlessly, as they often are by Mexicans, and, of course, gringos living there. But there is a sort of a cultural taboo against discussion of negative things in Mexico. Mexico is not a critical culture (although I have had great discussion with a Mexican cultural critic).

There are lots of immigrants in the USA from Veracruz state, many of them have tried living and working in Jalapa after leaving their pueblos before crossing over. They know a lot.

One thing is for sure, Jalapa is in Mexico. It doesn't have an expat scene.


JonL.

Jul 12, 2004, 11:26 AM

Post #3 of 10 (5288 views)

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Re: [TomG] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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Tom,

I understand and essentially agree with your response. However, when I have asked these sort of questions in the past about other areas, I have received feedback (both negative and positive) that has helped me decide whether a certain town is clearly worth pursuing or ignoring. Some of these responses were fairly objective, verifiable and helpful (e.g. "it's so hot and humid there six months a year that we were miserable" or "in three weeks in xxxxx we didn't encounter a single ex-pat".). I also realize that not only Mexicans, but even ex-pats that live in a certain location are probably less likely to venture something negative about a town. But if nobody is willing to even list the positives of a town (even someone who just visited for a few days and has no stake in the matter at all), it does make me suspicious. So, again, any specific comments from any Xalapa residents or tourists, past or present would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


raferguson


Jul 18, 2004, 7:21 PM

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Re: [JonL.] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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I will give you an impression of Xalapa, based primarily on a one day visit.

It is high, wet, and cool. I understand that it tends to be foggy and humid there. Coffee is grown in the area.

The anthropology museum is one of the best in Mexico, excellent.

I did not see any gringos during our visit, although I know of college students who went there to learn Spanish at the University. I believe that there are lots of cultural events, since it is the capital and has a university.

I did not come away with a strong positive or negative impression of Xalapa, perhaps because our visit was so short. As the other poster said, you should go and check it out for yourself.

For what it is worth, the city of Veracruz is one of our favorite places in Mexico, I suggest you check it out if you are in the area.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Bubba

Aug 7, 2004, 5:19 PM

Post #5 of 10 (5197 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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Xalapa/Jalapa has two things going for it.

Proximity to vibrant and exciting Veracruz which has a very impressive waterfront, especially from about Centro to the southern suburb of Boca Del Rio. The malecon is a beautiful drive. Unfortunately, the beaches and Gulf there are grey and murky respectively.

A stunningly beautiful and green high mountain region adjacent to the city to the west on the old road to DF. If you can take a true alpine environment with high meadows and forests, the country west of the city would be a wonderful place to live.

Xalapa itself truly disappointed us as we had high expectations. The city is rundown and traffic has to be seen (and heard) to be believed. The city center is rundown, dirty, congested, gridlocked and claustrophobic. Add to that its location up against a mountain peak that attracts cloudiness and drizzle and it's time to move on for some of us.

We had little time to stay there but understand this university city has a vibrant cultural scene. The city's cultural charm is best enjoyed only if you are fluent in Spanish.


"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Aug 10, 2004, 8:16 PM

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Re: [Bubba] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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Bubba:
It is good to hear the "bad and ugly" about a place where a person lives because every place on this earth is not a bed of roses, as we all may feel about where we live especially after many years. We tend to often overlook the "faults" because we see many "charms". As I always tell people who write me about what it is like living in Xalapa, I answer that "What is one man's heaven is another man's hell". Xalapa's center is crowded and has very congested traffic, yes, but I would not consider it run down and dirty. I just spent 3 days in beautiful Phoenix, AZ thanks to America Worst Airlines, and although the streets were wide and clean(there was litter, though), I could never imagine living in such incredible heat with everyone sealed in their air conditioned cars and buildings. So thank goodness we are all different and are looking for different places to live. Fortunately I have found my niche here in Xalapa, where speaking Spanish is almost my first language, where my friends and family live, and where I enjoy a cultural richness I rarely find in "Gringolandia". Perhaps it was better that you saw Xalapa at her worst so you could form a negative opinion of her, perhaps never to return. Fortunately for me I have seen her so many times at her very best that I am forever thankful that I can live here.
¡Suerte, amigos, y hasta pronto!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


Bubba

Aug 20, 2004, 1:06 PM

Post #7 of 10 (5125 views)

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Re: ["El Gringo Jalapeño"] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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Roy:

I don't know what came over me. I highly recommend Xalapa to other Gringo correspondents reading these boards and trying to decide where to retire. Lake Chapala, where Bubba lives, is a dump. The lake is polluted and the towns are overrun with Gringos. Why not just retire in Kansas? Xalapa, on the other hand, has relatively few Gringos and enjoys a refreshingly cool and misty climate where it is always spring. It is a short distance to vibrant and beautiful Veracruz and to its west are fabulous Alpline vistas. Why should "El Gringo" have this paradise all to himself?

I do believe "El Gringo" and I have one thing in common. We, and many like us, whether we live in Xalapa, the Lake Chapala area, San Miguel, San Luis Potosi, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Morelia or any of a dozen other places in the Mexican Highlands ain't ever going to be competing for space in Phoenix.


Caarina12

Sep 9, 2004, 11:47 AM

Post #8 of 10 (5068 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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I was in Xalapa for a week at the end of June/beginning of July, and I enjoyed it immensely. I found the people very warm and friendly--even taxi drivers, although English is not widely spoken. Weather was humid, but not hot by any means. Food was INCREDIBLE, and the landscape surrounding the city was lush and green.

The center of the city for me did not seem to be very dirty (go to Mexico City or TJ and you'll see dirt) as others have mentioned, but it is not pristine. Although I love Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende and other colonial cities, but I came away from them feeling as if they weren't quite real. They are postcards. Xalapa is a living Mexican city.

Xalapa impressed me by the number of public parks and cultural institutions available to the public. Coatepec and Xico are picturesque towns nearby waiting to be explored. Great coffee, Mole and Liqueurs. Hike around the waterfalls in Xico (Cascadas de Texolo) for some incredible vistas. Coastal beaches are an hour away for those who like it. Very few people from the US around, the foreigners I saw were mainly Europeans and South Americans studying or working at the University.

Shopping was excellent, and many things that expatriates look for seemed to be available. A SuperWalmart is on the edge of town near the main bus terminal.

Public transportation is available, but cabs were so cheap and walking so easy we didn't use it.

Cable internet is available in some areas, and I did get CNN on my hotel cable package.

If you are in need of a community of fellow expatriates or your Spanish is poor, Xalapa is probably not for you. Also if humidity is your dreaded enemy, again Xalapa is not for you. However, if you want to work on your Spanish, be independent, near cultural ammenities, and don't mind the humidity, Xalapa is a place to check out for yourself. And be sure to eat at the Churreria del recuerdo!



"El Gringo Jalapeño"


Sep 10, 2004, 11:14 PM

Post #9 of 10 (5045 views)

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Re: [Caarina12] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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Caarina:
¡Gracias por tu comentario tan gentil! As you just said, Xalapa is not for everybody. I just showed a 70 year old couple from Texas around all week and they left very enthused about the prospect of living here. I hope they do! They showed me you can always be young at heart and capable of new adventures.
Please forgive me for not contributing more to this forum, but fortunately between my businesses and grandchildren I have had little time, as well as my Rotary activities. But please come, visit Xalapa, enjoy her as much as you can. See her bad sides, impossible traffic and lurching poverty. But the view of the Pico de Orizaba(Citlateptl), the laughter, screams and giggles of the girl's grade school next door to my house, and just life in general makes me so thankful that I live here. Please enjoy wherever you are at, but remember you are always welcomed here in Xalapa.
Portense mal y cuidense bien. ¡Hasta pronto!
Roy B. Dudley "El Gringo Jalapeño" See more about Xalapa at www.xalaparoy.com


Billie R. Holmes

Nov 22, 2004, 5:04 PM

Post #10 of 10 (4942 views)

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Re: [JonL.] Xalapa: Looking for feedback

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Jon L. Having lived in South Texas for many years and being a frequent traveler to Mexico, I would say that of the many cities that my wife and I have visited in Mexico, Xalapa has been one of our favorite cities. Yes you will find some bad points, but the good ones are there also. Roy Dudley is what one would consider a true authority on the city, and the one I would go to if I had specific questions about conditions there, due to the fact that he makes it his home. His longevity there weighs heavy when looking for feedback. All I can say is go there, stay a few days or longer and make your own opinion.

Amigo from Texas
 
 
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