Mexico Day 3

Tuesday morning was cloudy but warm, so we walked down la playa to the Acuario de Veracruz.  The kids loved the aquarium in Boston, and we weren’t sure what the weather was going to be so we opted for something indoors.  It was a hit, I was pleasantly surprised by the exhibits.  As we approached the dolphinarium Richard started chatting with a museum employee who told him about how you could pay for the kids to get in the pool with a trainer and the dolphins.  We’ve never done this before, it’s always crazy expensive and I have mixed feelings about these kinds of schemes. But Miriam really wanted to, and Cameron was also interested so we went for it.  Cameron played it cool, but Miriam loved every second of it.

Eli loves exotic birds, this was the highlight of the aquarium for him

 

It was a really nice benefit to have Richard’s Spanish skills. I sometimes felt like I was missing out on people and experiences because I didn’t understand what was being said. It’s not a fun feeling.

When we were finished we were all really hungry so we just went straight to the cafeteria in the shopping center next to the aquarium. Tacos tacos tacos. I gave each of the kids a few pesos on the condition that they had to make their purchases without any help from Richard or me. They mostly bought Chiclets, with the exception of Cameron who opted for soda.

After lunch we walked back to the hotel, it was warm but still overcast and the kids were dying to swim in the pool. Amirah went down for a nap and the other kids had the pool to themselves. Richard stayed up in the room with Amirah and I read a book by the pool, which was just fine with me.

Once they had their fix, they got dressed again and we drove into the old-town part of Veracruz to do some exploring. We walked around, found a few notable attractions, and just marveled at the juxtaposition of really nice streets and structures, and really neglected and abandoned homes and buildings.

As I was taking this photo, much to my surprise a man stepped into the frame of the doorway, (sans door) and I could see him sweeping the floor. It struck me as so odd, the building is in need of so much repair and yet he devotedly swept the floor, to what end is a mystery to me.
The Bastion of Santiago, the only remaining of seven bastions that formed the defense around the city of Veracruz. It was built in 1635 to protect the city in attacks from the Gulf coast.
The neighborhood of la Huaca was originally home to African slaves, and was located outside the city walls until 1790. It has obvious historic value, and attracts tourists because of its reputation for being friendly and festive. We found this to be true. people sat outside their homes chatting and kids played in the streets and everyone (well mostly) smiled at us as we walked by.
el barrio de la Huaca

We didn’t have any real plan, we just meandered around for a little while but kids can sense when you’re winging it and they got restless and eventually hungry. We went back to our car and decided to drive up to another part of Veracruz, further up the coast, called Boca del Rio.

The drive to Boca del Rio was so strange. One minute we were among all these old, colonial Spanish buildings and then a few minutes later we were in an area that felt just like suburban U.S. It was American businesses everywhere- everything from Anytime Fitness to HomeGoods, and Starbucks and IHOP, naturally. Then just another few minutes and we were back in Mexico, blocks of brightly colored houses, some well-maintained and some not, and old-style architecture. We parked by the water and the kids played in a park until the sun went down and we ate dinner on an old ship, docked where the Jamapa River meets the Gulf of Mexico.

I tried octopus for the first time, Cameron had a seafood platter, and Richard had some tuna that he loved. But tres leches cake for desert was the highlight. We were literally the only people in the restaurant and the staff was so kind and accommodating, making a big fuss about how we had so many kids. With full bellies again, we drove back to our hotel and slept.

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