This article is part of the The Great American Reach Around series.

Luis "Kal-L" Toscano

Veracruz, Mexico

Veracruz, the place where Cortez began his march of conquest over the Aztec empire, is not only one of the most important ports of the country, but it's also a city with a rich history.

Being the place where all of the New World's riches where sent to Spain, the city was a prime target for pirates. The fortress of San Juan de Ulua was built to protect the port, keep undesirable people inside as a jail, and as place where many local legends start.

Downtown is where most of the museums and historic places are. Many of the buildings were built with coral extracted from nearby reefs, so once global warming puts the city underwater, the mermaids and tritons can move in right away.

If you want to see a historic place or monument, you'll only have to walk a couple of blocks in any direction around downtown and you'll find one. Since the city has been invaded a number of times, it has earned the title "Four Times Heroic", for resisting the invaders every time.

Having the luxury of being next to the beach and having cheap beer available, makes most of the people laid-back and joyful. But the Catholic faith also makes them quite conservative in their values. There are also many diverse kinds of people around: Asians, Europeans, South Americans; many of them have made this city their home

The city is also a focal point in the war against drugs, and in the past few months, there have been some executions and kidnappings happening around, but unless you have something to do with illegal drugs, you'll be fine.

There are also a number of clubs where you can go dancing and drinking. Most of them are near the beaches and hotels, and play diverse kinds of music, so you'll always find a place to your liking.

The people of the city are known everywhere as "jarochos", and are represented by using all-white clothes, with a red bandanna tied at the neck for the men, and always dancing around. Only the dancing around is true, and always after drinking a lot.

Americans are welcome here, and despite being invaded by them a couple of times in the past, there are no hard-feelings against them. Tourism is the most important industry here, and we always have our arms open for any visitors.


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