What I miss about Xalapa

I miss:

1)      The amazing varieties of fruit – I loved going to the market and picking out the ripe, delicious seasonal fruit… the plums, the MANGOS…. Oh the mangos were heavenly!  Not to mention guanabanas and the tiny bananas and even the mini apples – I had never tasted an apple so sweet and flavorful in my life.  Even the tart blackberries that I would use to make smoothies…  I had never tasted a berry with so much juicy flavor.  Here in the US you don’t get an idea of the seasonality of your favorite fruit varieties because everything is in stock at the supermarket all the time.  But I miss going to the local markets in Coatepec, discovering and picking out fruit, which by the way a lot is organic or “semi-organic” since many things are still farmed by small farmers who use more traditional practices or simply don’t have enough money to buy expensive fertilizers.  Of course this isn’t the rule, the potato farmers in the surrounding mountains were notorious for using impressive amounts of pesticides and polluting the water channels, rivers, and ultimately the water table…

2)      Waking up to misty sunrises…  Xalapa has an amazing climate – being in the middle of a cloud forest has its advantages, although the climate in the urban areas has changed drastically in recent years.  I used to sleep with my window and my curtains open since I like waking up naturally to the sunlight.  On my second floor room from my bed I could look out the window, which had a beautiful view of the treetops of the nearby park as well as the beautiful mountain backdrop.  I loved watching the mist uncurl while I would sip on a hot cup of coffee, slowing but surely waking up…

3)      Living in a coffee town that had two yearly harvesting seasons.  During the spring and autumn harvest of coffee, the entire town would fill with the smell of coffee toasting.  Not bad, compared to the smell of most cities.  Not to mention the coffee pretty much everywhere was delicious – Starbucks and all their blends don’t even get close to the smooth, acidic flavor of Coatepec coffee…  Interestingly enough the coffee drink of choice for the majority of the local inhabitants (with the exception of upper/middle class folks and academic circles) seems to be instant Nestle coffee.  A lot of the coffee goes to export, and I find it interesting that with so much coffee at hand the local coffee drinking culture has been slow to expand.  Even people who will head out to their local cafes every once in a while to enjoy a cappuccino made with the local coffee will still rely on their crutch – instant Nestle coffee – for making coffee in their homes.