Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/573

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thousands of miles of travel, I have at last come to the conclusion that personal ablution in Mexico is done by proxy; that is, that certain ones are hired to exhibit at the lavatories, and thus save the credit of the more respectable of the community.

A great effort has been made, of late, to bring Monterey forward as a health resort, and pamphlets by the thousand, the work of some interested, though injudicious author, have been circulated, praising the city to the skies. There is certainly much here to recommend the place to the tourist. Its buildings are old and quaint, its central plaza delightful, its altitude above the sea sufficient to insure a pure and healthful climate, and it has, a few miles away, some very remarkable mineral springs. But to call Monterey an "Invalid's Paradise" is going a little too far. Because there are no American hotels of note, the food is vilely cooked, and the streets, over which said invalid must be jolted, and the walks, are broken and full of holes. There are no attractions in the suburbs to which an invalid would take pleasure in walking, for the city is completely begirdled by the huts of the lower classes, whose squalor and misery are not exceeded in any other city of Mexico.

Six miles distant from the city, and a mile from a station on the "National" road of the same name, are the hot springs of Topo Chico. There are two of them,—one very hot (208° Fahrenheit), and the other an arsenic spring, just tepid. As I have previously remarked, one needs to forecast events at least five years, in writing of Mexico in 1883; and it may seem uncharitable to mention that the accommodations for the suffering invalid, who has been lured by the seductive pamphlets to these waters of rejuvenescence, gushing out of the "Paradise" aforementioned, are utterly wretched. Yet that is the cold fact; and, until the great hotel goes up, which is promised mañana, and until the present horrible hack, without springs and with the hardest of boards for seats, is replaced by a luxurious carriage, I would advise a seeking of the more accessible thermal waters of the United States. With good hotels, one at the springs and another in the city, Monterey may some time claim as many visitors as its Californian namesake.