Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/181

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153
MEXICO.

this city as possible. Passengers on the steamers may remain on board until within an hour of the departure of trains for the interior. During a norther, however, the temperature sinks to 65° Fahr., and then, of course, the stranger is not incommoded by heat. Travelers can have their foreign money changed at the office of the agents of the principal lines of steamships, Messrs. R. C. Ritter S Co.

The streets in the city of Vera Cruz are laid out at right angles, and are paved with cobble-stones, with a kennel in the middle.

Flocks of turkey-buzzards, called zopilotes, take the place of a street-cleaning department. These birds are protected by law, a fine of $5 being imposed for killing one of them.

The houses are of either one or two stories, and are generally built of stone and mortar, and covered with red tiles. Many of them have patios, or court-yards, and railings painted green in front of the windows facing the street, reminding the traveler of Old Spain.

A walk, or ride in the horse-cars, from the main plaza to the Alameda, should be taken by the stranger. The variety of colors and signs on the buildings, the picturesque costumes and musical language of the natives, and the tropical vegetation, will have the charm of novelty to the tourist coming from a northern clime.

Vera Cruz, formerly the capital of the State of the same name, is situated on the 19th parallel of north latitude. It was founded by the viceroy, Count Monterey, at the end of the sixteenth century, and was made a city by Philip III of Spain in 1615. The city is built on an arid plain. It was formerly called Villa Rica, or Villa Rica de la Vera Cruzi. e. , the rich city of the true cross. The original town of Vera Cruz founded by Cortes lies several miles north of the present city.

Referring to this spot, the historian Prescott, in his