Cordoba, Veracruz City and Cempoala











            Cordoba and Veracruz were both welcoming and friendly cities.  It seems that the warmer and more tropical the climate gets, the more friendly people are and the more likely they are to sing and dance, anywhere.  Poblanos are more reserved, some would call it stuck-up, but almost everywhere I went in Veracruz there was somebody singing or dancing or both.  [I'm in Villa Hermosa now and there's even more singing and dancing].

            The ruins of Cempoala [or Zempoala] were a bit too pretty and over-renovated but the city was very significant from a historical prospective.  Cortez landed near there and in 1519 he persuaded the Totonac's [at Cempoala] to help him overthrow the Aztecs and help him establish the City of Veracruz as a starting point.  Later when Cortez was in Tenochtitlan holding Moctezuma prisoner he received word that the Governor of Cuba, who had originally sent Cortez to the Americas, was sending 1200 troops led by Navaraez to arrest him and his captains and take over the conquest.  Cortez returned to Cempoala to confront Navaraez and his men.  There was a brief fight, then Navaraez decided to join Cortez instead.  The most devastating and decisive occurrence to the whole Spanish conquest of the Americas happened at this time; it was one of Navaraez' men who carried the smallpox virus.  Without that single unintended weapon things would be very different here today - maybe I would have been learning Russian instead of Spanish to travel through the Americas...

Click on the image to dance like John Travolta.


Mexican Red Cross doing a demo in Cordoba with a narrator explaining every move. They had the jaws of life, and a team of about 30.

When they first started they were sort of smirking but within a minute or so they were all very focused, like good actors.

Star of the show. His friends were pushing him and calling him the drunk driver killer, that was his role.

Cathederal in the South end of the zocolo, Cordoba. Much of the town is colored with pastels.

The bells were in front of the Cathederal.

Another zocolo shot from Cordoba. It was a very inviting and friendly city of about 200,000 people.

Veracruz. This fountain was actually in Boca del Rio, the south side of Veracruz City.

The fountain was electronically synchronized to music. This is one of those things that would be better on video.

"Between men as between nations respecting of rights results in peace". A shorter version of Juarez's quote that you can find everywhere in Mexico.

Veracruz - looks like fun.

Catching air.

I was trying to photograph the beach and these darn girls kept getting in the way.

Fishing boats in Veracruz - Shrimpers.

Technical, or expert, fishing boat or fisherman. Or both. One of those 'double meaning' type of words to help confuse us gringo's.

Virgin of Guadalupe day at the zocolo, Veracruz. Tons of little girls were dressed like this.

Another traditionally dressed girl.


They were all posing for pictures in front of settings like this. Not all were very happy about it but this little cutie doesn't seem to mind.

Many of the little boys were dressed like this.

More posing.

Veracruz City zocolo, looking toward the cathederal.

Zocolo, from the other direction.

Cardel, just north of Veracruz City. I wanted to sign up for the 'KINK BOXING' they offered but they were closed.

Also spelled Zempoala, means "place of the twenty waters" because several rivers merge near the city.

Inhabited from 1,000 BC. Current site contains ruins from the 14th and 15th century, the older sites show signs of Olmec influence.

Occupied by the Totonac's; when they saw Spaniards approaching they called them 'beasts with 2 heads and 6 legs; they'd never seen men on horseback.

About 8 km north of Veracruz City, population of 25-30,000 during it's peak - largest city in the Gulf of Mexico in the 14th and 15th century.

One of three circular ceremonial circles, this one is the largest. Most of the buildings are made with these round beach stones cemented together.

Xicomecoatl, or "Fat Chief" was the ruler here when the Spaniards arrived. He was happy to help Cortez build Vera Cruz City and fight the Aztecs...