Taking that “seize all ye roses while ye can” mantra to heart, I jumped on my Mexican friend Jorge’s offer to come home with him this past weekend to Vera Cruz. This was a very gringo-filled weekend, as I would also be traveling with my friends Katie and Skylar who go to the University of Wyoming and who are completing their second semester at UDLAP. We left on Friday afternoon at around 3p. After the 3 ½ hour bus ride on one of those coach buses, we finally made it to his mom’s apartment. When we got there, however, we ran into quite the snafu. Unbeknownst to Jorge, his Mom had changed the locks a few weeks ago so we had to wait about an hour outside in the unseasonably cold Vera Cruz elements until his mom came with the new keys.

This is a statue of Porfirio Díaz, one of the most important political figures in Mexico. It was located near the port, which was one of the few places we actually got to visit.

After finally getting inside, his Mom took us all out to dinner. The restaurant was weird because it was basically the living room to somebody’s house, which I’m beginning to realize is a pretty common setup in Mexico. After pigging out on tortas, empanadas, and fried tortillas, and falling for one of Jorge’s try-it-because-it’s-not-that-spicy-although-it-really-is jokes, we went back to the apartment and waited for Jorge’s friend Zelma to come pick us up.

At about 10.30, Zelma arrived in her SUV that looked like it had been a contestant on MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.” We went to this rather pricey bar where the smallest thing of beer they sold was three liters. Everything was expensive because we were in Vera Cruz, a place that has been described to me as “The Hills of Mexico.”

The next morning, we woke up late. Jorge had locked the door the previous night and we just now realized that the lock had broken and we were trapped inside his apartment. There were bars on all the windows for safety reasons, so there was really no other way to get out. This situation was just too ridiculous to be real. But then again this was Mexico, a place as I’ve come to learn where anything can happen. After some failed DIY-tries to get the door open with a screwdriver, Jorge finally got one of his neighbors to call a lock smith who was able to open the door in about 2.5 nano seconds, making all of us feel slightly incompetent.

By the time we were able to actually leave the apartment, it was about 9p. Zelma came over and picked us again and took us to a party she was having at her house. Her house seriously looked like something off an episode of MTV’s “Cribs” (sorry for all the pop cultural references today btw. I just don’t know how else to describe this stuff). The house was one of those modern-looking pads made out of concrete in a gated community that made it feel like we were in a prison. In the middle of the house was a courtyard with an in ground pool. In the guesthouse, where we were hanging out, her dad had a private music studio and a 15-person movie theater with mood lighting that kept changing colors!

As if I didn’t feel out of place already, Zelma’s friends were all those Abercrombie and Fitch model wannabes who live for partying, don’t care about school, and don’t really have to worry about their futures because daddy’s trust funds will take care of them for the rest of their lives (sorry if this comes off as bitter…I’m just not used to being around people of this social class). It made for a really interesting social dynamic because I had essentially nothing in common to talk to them about. It’s hard when your interests are more along the interests of human rights, social justice and liberation theology and all they talk about is their new Ray Ban sunglasses or who had just hooked up with who at so-and-so’s last beach house party.

The next day was Superbowl Sunday. We took it pretty easy and went to a bar to watch the game. After that we headed to another bar just to get some drinks and talk.

Here’s a pic of the Zocalo in Veracruz. One of the few places that I actually made it to this weekend.

That was pretty much my weekend in Vera Cruz. Although I’ll probably have to go to Vera Cruz again to know what it was actually like, I’m still glad I went. I had a really good time with my friends even though I did feel kind of out of place a lot of the time. Hopefully my next adventure will feel a little less like a wannabe Ke$ha music video and a little more oh hey I’m in Mexico 🙂

The fountain in front of the Veracruz aquarium. It’s one of those cheesy spots where everyone snaps a pic for the family Christmas card.

Jorge described Vera Cruz as a place where people drink, party, sleep, rinse and repeat. So if clubbing and partying aren’t really your scene, then you may want to consider going someplace else in Mexico. In case you want to learn more about Vera Cruz, I have posted a couple of links to some interesting touristy stuff. Enjoy!

Check out the Vera Cruz Aquarium or the Vera Cruz Soccer team.

What a beach should actually look like in Veracruz when the weather isn’t terrible.