Has anyone been to Veracruz lately? My original plan was to arrive at 11:23 AM, go through customs and then go directly to the bus station, where I would have coffee with milk before catching a bus south to Alvarado. Then there would be a local bus or truck to Tlacotalpan, where Mexico is said to be perfect; I would arrive toward the end of the Mexican lunch hour and before sunset.
According to the Mexican and Central American Handbook bus tickets in Veracruz should ideally be bought ahead of time, however, and according to Ticketbus, the website that sells them, there are only two buses a day to Alvarado – one at noon that I would miss, and one at 8 PM which is too late to be ideal. I am having trouble believing there are only two buses, and might telephone Tlacotalpan to ask about this. If it is true, I will have to spend the night in Veracruz, not a bad idea except that Mexico is too expensive a country for me if I plan to stay in actual hotels (I rent rooms from people, it’s a whole different economy) or eat at restaurants with printed menus (menus on a blackboard, once again, are a whole different economy).
However I do not know where to rent rooms in Veracruz that I trust, and I do not have the patience for a bad hotel, so I am checking them out. I feel I ought to want to stay at the Mar y Tierra, a sensible option for 450 pesos or about $38, but I would rather stay at the Baluarte, which has a promotional rate of 500 pesos or about $42. There is a historic hotel called the Mesón del Mar which would look better without its very irritating website, its 700 peso price, and its terrible reviews. People who stayed there fled in the end to the Balajú, which is in the same price range and much better, they say. I am charmed by it as well because it is named for a song, its website plays son jarocho and its restaurant is called the Tilingo. 700 pesos is about $58, high for me but not necessarily for all.
In Tlacotalpan I am thinking of staying at the Casa Blanca, which costs about $29. I am proud to know its address: Venustiano Carranza 8, Centro, 95460 Tlacotalpan, Veracruz-Llave, and its telephone number: +52 288 884 3192. When I looked up the location on Google Maps, another site started singing the bamba.
Veracruz has excellent music; Veracruz sones are practically as amazing as Cuban ones and they are more interesting, as they have harps and are less known. I can hardly believe I will soon see Veracruz music played in person.