Purchased airline tickets, housesitter arranged, four weeks in Mexico here we come. Let me tell you, I'm ready. We're leaving toward the end of the month and spending most of the time in Xalapa, birthplace of the Jalapeño pepper and home to some of the best coffee in Mexico. (You also see it spelled "Jalapa," whereby its citizens become "Jalapeños.")
Xalapa is the most like Austin, TX of any city in Mexico, or maybe Austin 20-25 years ago. It's the state capitol of Veracruz. A river runs through the middle of town, and it's got a big university that dominates central city life. In Mexico, Xalapa is perhaps best known for the diverse music and other cultural output centered around the university, which is home to a well-regarded music school. The city is less sprawling, industrial and filled with urban problems than the much-larger Veracruz City downstream on the Gulf Coast. Day trips away from Xalapa are cool archaological sites, hiking, canoing, etc., so we're going to home base there and venture out from Xalapa a day or three at a time for most of the month, is the plan.
My big goal is to convince Kathy to actually buy retirement property there, I keep half-jokingly telling her, but first things first: I need a vacation.