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Far superior to Xalapa is Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, or just Veracruz. This is where Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519, and because there was gold and it was Good Friday, he thought Rich Village of the True Cross was a good name. As Spanish city names in the new world go, it shows remarkable restraint when compared to The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola.

The seaside here is the most well maintained, normal, pot-hole free part of Mexico I have yet seen. Unfortunately, due to short time, everything closing at 5pm (even the things that close 'at 6pm' close at 5pm) and Naomi having a run-in with dodgy chicken, not much of the actual town will be seen this trip, but the museums and fortresses we will miss warrant a return trip.

One thing that is open late is Veracruz Salvaje Museo Viviente, with a fine collection of tarantulas, poisonous snakes and other things either unpleasant or deadly. One particularly fatal and at that time active snake was behind glass so clean that it took some time to make one member of our two-member party walk past. Of interest, scorpions fluoresce under ultraviolet light, just like a gin and tonic. So, if a scorpion runs across the floor of Daisy's, every ex-Maroondah SC person in the neighbourhood will have a chance to avoid it.

Nae and I woke up the day after arrival, showered, went down for breakfast, came back, I went to the bathroom, stood up, went to wash my hands and noticed an object of undefined providence in the corner of the shower. It appeared to be an ellipsoid brown thing sitting atop a bed of black shrivelled tendrils, and my mind went through the list of possibilities it could collate. An incredibly bruised banana sitting on very blackened, very dedicated skin? Maybe. Or... did someone come into our room and make a toilet of the corner of the shower? No, that doesn't explain the black bit. A...... bat. A diseased vampire bat that has crawled into the corner and is making itself small. Yep. Naomi was alerted, and proved her mettle by setting repulsion aside to go to the adjacent sink to wash the moisturiser from her face.

Going down to the front desk, my explanation went, in the local tongue, “Good day. I don't know the word in Spanish, but there is an animal in my room”. The guy's face said consternation. I employed my previously developed technique of describing unpleasant animals I can't put a name to (see bees in Coyoacan) by drawing a little bat. Consternation melted to jovial relief, leaving me with the impression this happens all the time, life in the tropics, my old chap. Easily fixed by a guy with a small rag and a quick hand. And, with that, murciélago was added to my vocabulary next to abeja.

This lunar cycle

April 2015
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