The Juice Man Cometh.
My friend Chris and I did some early morning lurking one of our first days in El Higo. As we trekked through the heavy mud and fog, we weren’t quite sure which was more oppressive. It seemed that this morning was not going to yield much bounty culturally or photography wise. As shapes of people, cars, bikes, and dogs darted in and out of the dense fog, we noticed a small motor bike delivering juice approaching us and an oncoming tope (spanish for “speedbump of death”) as a fairly fast clip. This was it. I was going to miss the shot of the day. I knew I wasn’t going to get my camera out quick enough to catch this guy ricocheting of the tope and launching himself, as well as the contents of his little honda delivery bike into a vertiable airborne yardsale.
Cringing a bit as he approached terminal velocity to the point of no return, I was bracing for impact. I should have known better. At the last second the driver expertly maneuvered the bike through the tiniest of gaps in the tope, that was just the with of his tire. I was a bit relieved but I am ashamed to say a little disappointed as well. Catching his eye, he whips the bike around, pulls a u-ie and slides right up next to us. He clearly says in fairly good English for the area, “You Americans? I have coffee.” He directed us to the juice stand that sets directly across the street from our hotel.
Oh sweet baby Jesus. He said coffee. Getting good coffee of any sort can be hard in most parts of Mexico, especially the north. For many “coffee” is actually that bitter demon powder that is found in Nescafe jars. I am pretty sure it is made from extracted baby tears. Horrible stuff. As you travel south though, good coffee slowly becomes a reality. The area has their own twist on “cafe de olla” or “coffee of the pot” . It is made from beans from nearby Tempoal. The beans are lightly hand roasted, coarsely ground and are mixed with copious amounts of raw sugar. Sugar is everything here. El Higo is built around a sugar processing plant. His little juice stand was parked directly in front of the sugar mill from which he got the sugar. Normally I hate sugar in my coffee, but when you are living literally in a sugar cane field and are stationed across the street from the plant that processes that sugar, you are having sugar in your coffee.
For the remainder of our trip our routine was to grab some coffee first thing and speak to this guy and his wife who wanted to practice his English. They were gracious host and wonderful people. Great guy. Great experience. This are the moments that you won’t find on Trip Advisor. These are the unique, special moments that you can only find exploring. Don’t be afraid to get out and find your own adventure.
Juice Man Cometh, December 31,2016
El Higo, Veracruz, Mexico
Canon 5D MKiii
24-105mm L series Lens