After a too-dry winter, spring and early summer, after, in fact, the most serious drought recorded in Mexico in sixty years, comes the deluge. In the past week, we have had record rainfalls: hard, long, driving rainfalls that have wrought destruction on houses, roads, crops, hillside; rains that have quickened the pace of of soil rushing and tumbling down treeless slopes.
In our neighborhood, only the newly completed strip of street from the main road to the first street that crosses it, remains undamaged. We have watched the main road that goes past our colonia peel away over the past week and we now run past numerous baches, piles of gravel, small mudslides and streams washing over what's left of the pavement. The road between Las Puentas/San Marcos and Coatepec, the road we always take, is a disaster. It made the report of terrible roads today in El Diario de Xalapa which gave up trying to list all the problems in Xalapa saying, "an infinite number of streets exists which have become impassable because of this season of rains."
The Las Puentes/San Marcos -- Coatepec road -- our main road into Coatepec-- has its very own article in El Diario, in fact. In it Ceilia Gayosso, the reporter, notes that "just two weeks ago, the road was in pretty good shape, but now it is in such deplorable condition that drivers have to proceed very slowly and single file which results in long lines." As she says, this road is very important, since it is the main road for getting to many municipalities including Xico, Teocelo, Cosautlán, Ixhuacán de los Reyes and a lot more, as well as our own colonia. Authorities in the area say that it is vital for the survival of the region that roads in this area be well-maintained, not only for basic transport, but also because to slide off them in this area of barrancas (canyons) is fatal.
The paper also reports that the Coatepec-Las Trancas highway is in danger of collapsing. This is the road that runs from Coatepec to highway 140, the main Veracruz-Mexico City route.
City officials in Coatepec have written to the governor urgently seeking help. Among other things, they said, "....At present, this important artery which links municipalities like Ixhuacán, Cosautlán, Ayahualculco, Teocelo and Xico, through which thousands of cars and at least three buslines travel daily and which sees an enormous weekend flow of tourist vehicles is like a minefield. There exist stretches ... where there is no longer any asphalt and ... where the highway is totally destroyed, being nothing more than one bache (pothole) after another."
"Mr. Governor, we trst that this petition to will be heard and attended to since we who have signed it only are a means to transmit the concern and anger of thousands of citizens of more than five mncipalities affected by having to drive daily on tis dangerous road.
As happens when roads wash out, youngsters come out with shovels and bags of sand. They throw a few shovelfulls in the holes and then stick out their hands for payment, as you can see in this picture below, taken from EnlaceVeracruz 212, a local news blog.
Blanca, my young neighbor is supposed to be one of the "court of honor" in tomorrow's Independence Day parade in San Marcos. She came in third in the voting for Miss Independence Day. We were going to go to Xalapa to look for a red dress for her (the other two girls wer green and white respectively -- Mexico's colors). She hadn't been able to find a red dress in Coatepec. I fear we will end up improvising something which I hope works, because we won't have the hours it will take now to go back and forth to Xalapa.