When I told Ana and her family that I want to go to Tampico for a day, their reaction was very clear. ‘Why the heck would anyone visit Tampico?! There is nothing there! It’s far! It’s dangerous!’. I almost listened to them… But the emotional value of this city won with my common sense.
I went to Tampico to visit Israel and Malu (isn’t Maria de la Luz a beautiful name?!) – Mexican friends I’ve met in India and raised and helped to survive on their first days. And it was a great choice!
As an economical person – both time- and money-wise – I decided to take the bus during the night. I slept almost whole 7 hours of the journey, since the Mexican buses have amazing, semi-sleeper seats and even provide you with snacks and beverages before departure!
I woke up at crazy 6 AM, jumped like crazy seeing the guys again and went with them immediately to see the sunrise on the beach! Well, my luck… When I went to the place with the great beach, it was cloudy and almost rainy for the whole day. However, I’ve seen racoons hunting for the trash and ugly dolphins (forgot the name of the species, but they have really ugly faces!) and was super excited anyway!
It was the long day! We started with breakfast in Malu’s house. Meeting her family and finally pushing myself to talk only in Spanish was lovely, but there is one more thing… Childhood photos!
It is funny everywhere, but Mexico is special… All the girls celebrate their Quinceniera – 15th birthday party is thrown with such glory that it reminds me almost of a wedding! Or at least it’s rehersal… And those dresses! And the make-up which makes this 15yo look older than me…
During the da we walked a lot, saw the nearby lagunas and took a ferry on one of them to see the crocodiles. Can you believe that they really do have crocodiles in the middle of the city, like we have ducks in pond in the parks?! I was so surprised and terrified!
Next, we headed to the fish market, since Tampico is famous for delicious crabs called jaibas. I had lots of fun watching the pelicans fighting for the left-overs. Ah, and I got some food for free! That’s the privilage of being a blond ‘gringa’ or ‘guerita’ in a town where there are NO tourists.
The oldtown looked almost the same as in all the Mexican (and Spanish) cities – the main square with cathedral, city hall and a little park. Thanks to the Reyes Magos (the Three Kings, 6th of January) celebration coming the next day I could see the huuuge rosca – cake which Mexicans share with friends on this day. The fun fact is that there are a few little figures of Jesus hidden inside, and the lucky ones who find them in their piece of cake need to cook tamales (another local dish) for the others in the beginning of February.
Than I had probably the most Mexican meal of my whole stay! As the only child I am not used to the table buzzing with laugher, MANY people eating together, the brothers making pranks at each other and a strong Mexican mother to govern all that. Well, in Israel’s house I could experience all that and also feel like at home!
I was exhauested but after the dinner we met some more people for huge, 1 liter drinks (that’s misleading, though. The amount of alcohol is the same like in standard ones) and went to dance salsa before my departure. Then, I’ve spent another night in the bus to reach Mexico City again.