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HOW TO CANVASS MEXICO; CHIEF COMMERCIAL
Location.-Mexico is the fourth largest American Republic as regards territory. It is bounded on the north by the United States, on the east by the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, on the south by British Honduras and Guatemala, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.
Area and Population.— The area, including the islands, is 767,198 square miles; population estimated from incomplete 1921 census returns, 14,450,000, or 20 per square mile. The coast line on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea is 1,728 miles, on the Pacific Ocean 4,574 miles. The inhabitants are chiefly mestizos, a mixture of Indian blood with that of Spaniards and their descendants. There are also a considerable number of Europeans and other nationalities. Among the foreigners the Spaniards predominate. A large percentage of the population is of pure Indian blood, many races being represented.
Topography.—The chief physical features are two great mountain chains which traverse the entire Republic, forming between them a number of great valleys and plateaus. The immense elevation on which the capital of the Republic is situated, called the Plateau of Anahuac, is the largest and most important. There is a fringe of lowlands, known as the Tierra Caliente, on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. The mountain range in the west is the Sierra Madre Occidental, and in the east Sierra Madre Oriental. The more important peaks are Popocatepetl, 17,520 feet; Orizaba, 18,250; Ixtacchuatl, 16,960; Nevada de Toluca, 14,950; Malinche, 13,460; Colima, 14,970.
Climate.The climate is modified by the great elevations and is largely determined by vertical zones. Mexico is partly in the Tropical and partly in the Temperate Zones.
Tierra Caliente.—The district along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, extending inland and upward to an altitude of 3,000 feet, has the heat of the Tropical Zone. The nights are tempered by sea breezes which also make the heat bearable during the day. This region is refreshed by summer rains which fall rather regularly, beginning generally in June, increasing in July, and ending in November. The average annual temperature in this region is between 80° and 88° F. It rarely falls below 60°, but sometimes rises to 100°; 105° to 110° has been known in Acapulco, Guaymas, and Vera Cruz.
Tierra Templada.—The regions from 3,000 to 5,000 feet above sea levei bave a climate like the Temperate Zone. The average annual temperature is between 73° and 77° F. The temperature rarely varies more than 6 or 8 degrees during the year. The dry season is from October to May.
Tierra Fria.-The cold region has a height of 7,000 feet and upward above sea level. This region has an average annual temperature between 59' and 62° F. Most of the central plateau is located in this zone.
Seasons.-Although it is almost impossible on account of the great extent of the country to definitely fix the seasons, they may be designated in a general
1 From Commercial Traveler's Guide to Latin America (Revised Ed.)--Ernst B. Filsinger, Editor, C. S. Dept. of Commerce, 1922.
way as follows: Rainy season, middle of May to middle of October, when rainfalls are exceedingly heavy and of almost daily occurrence. In Mexico City, however, the daily showers are heavy only for a month or two during the rainy season. The dry season lasts the balance of the year. Very little rain falls during this period. The traveler should note particularly the period of rains, as traveling during this season, especially in the mountains and in the remote districts, is often impossible. Even on railroads, when well managed and under normal conditions, delays are quite frequent.
Rivers.-Few rivers of Mexico are of any importance for navigation. Among the principal rivers are the Rio Grande, 1,500 miles (2,414 km.); Mescala, or Balsas, 426 miles (685 km.); Lerma, or Santiago, 540 miles (869 km.); Conchos, Panuco, Grijalva, Usumacinta, and Papaloa pam.
Lakes.-The largest lake of Mexico is Lake Cha pala, on the boundary line between the States of Jalisco and Michoacan. It is about 70 miles (112 km.) long and 20 miles (32 km.) wide. Lake Tamiahua, in the State of Vera Cruz, is about 60 miles (99 km.) long and 10 miles (16 km.) wide as a maximum. Connecting canals lead south from Tampico and north from Tuxpam. is navigable for craft drawing 5 or 6 feet. Other lakes are: Chairel and Car. pintero in Tamaulipas; Encantada in Tabasco; Bacalar in Yucatan; Alcuzague in Colima; Cuitzeo and Patzcuaro in Michoacan; Yuriria in Guanajuato; and Mezitlan in Hidalgo. Their value as means of communication is negligible.
Agricultural Products. The soil of Mexico is suitable for many crops. Within a radius of 300 miles may be found the crops of the tropical, semitropical, and temperate zones. The most important products are maize, cotton, henequen, wheat, coffee, beans, guayule, chick-peas, chicle, tobacco, vanilla, and sugar.
Cattle raising is a source of great wealth. Hides, skins, wool, etc., add greatly to the annual wealth of the Mexican people. The export of hides is particularly important.
Mineral Wealth.—The principal industry of Mexico is mining. Mines are operated in almost all of the States and Territories. Silver and gold are the most important minerals, but zinc, coal, lead, antimony, iron, quicksilver, copper, etc., are also mined on a considerable scale.
Oil.—Petroleum is an extremely important product, over 163,000,000 barrels being produced in 1920. Mexico has the most prolific oil wells in the world.
Chief Exports.-Silver, petroleum, gold, copper, lead, antimony, henequen, coffee, hides and skins, guayule, cattle, chick-peas, chicle, and sugar.
Industries.-Although Mexico is not a manufacturing country, there has been considerable development of manufacturing. Numerous and important mills are devoted to the production of textiles, sugar, leather, cigars, cigarettes, etc. Flour milling is very important, as is also brewing. There are a number of smelters, steel works, etc., several of which have large capital. There are a great number of small factories devoted to the local requirements.
Language.—Spanish. English is spoken by many Mexicans, but Spanish is indispensable in transacting business.
Currency.—The currency of Mexico is based on the gold standard. The peso (100 centavos) is the unit of value, equal to $0.498 United States cur. rency; roughly two pesos to the dollar. The coins are as follows: Gold, 20, 10, 5, 212, and 2 pesos; silver, 1 peso, 50, 20, and 10 centavos; bronze, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 centavos.
Weights and Measures.- Metric system.
Postage.-First-class letter rate from the United States is 2 cents an ounce or fractional part thereof. TRAVEL ROUTES FROM UNITED STATES
RAILROADS Railroads enter Mexico via Brownsville, Laredo, Eagle Pass, and El Paso, Tex., Nogales, Naco, and Douglas, Ariz., and other border towns.
STEAMSHIP LINES FROM NEW YORK New York & Cuba Mail Steamship Co. (Ward Line).-Office, Pier 14, East River. Sailings from piers at foot of Wall and Pine Streets. Departures every Thursday for Progreso, Vera Cruz, and Tampico. Interior points in Mexico are reached by rail from Tampico or Vera Cruz. First-class passenger fares: New York to Tampico, $114; New York to Vera Cruz, $108; New York to Progreso, $102; Habana to Progreso, $72; Ha ba na to Vera Cruz or Tampico, $78; Progreso to Vera Cruz, $60; Progreso to Tampico, $66; Vera Cruz to Tampico, $36. Average time of trip: Leave New York Thursday; arrivo Nassau, Sunday; Habana, Tuesday; Progreso, Wednesday; Vera Cruz, Friday; Tampico, Tuesday.
Mallory Steamship Co.-Office, 290 Broadway. Sailings from Pier 45, North River (West Eleventh Street). Departures about every Tuesday and Friday for Key West, Fla., and Galveston, Tex. Thence by rail via Laredo to points in Mexico; also by steamer from Galveston to Laguna and Frontera. First-class passenger fare: New York to Galveston, $63. Average time of trip: New York to Galveston, via Key West, seven days.
Panama Railroad Steamship Line.--Office, 24 State Street. Departures from Pier 67, North River (West Twenty-seventh Street) every Thursday for Colon, Panama. Thence by Pacific Mail steamer to Salina Cruz, Acapulco, Manzanillo, San Blas, and Mazatlan. First-class passenger fare: New York to Salina Cruz, $249.
United Fruit Co. Steamship Service.—Office, 17 Battery Place. Sailings from Pier 16, East River (Burling Slip). Departures for Cristobal, Panama, every Wednesday and Saturday. Thence by Pacific Mail steamer to ports on West coast of Mexico. First-class passenger fare: New York to Salina Cruz, $299.
Compañía Trasatlántica.–Office, Pier 8, East River. Spanish steamers. Departures from Pier 8, East River (old slip). Sailings monthly for Vera Cruz and Puerto Mexico. First-class passenger fare: New York to Vera Cruz, $120.
STEAMSHIP LINE FROM SAN FRANCISCO Pacific Mail Steamship Co..-Office, 508 California Street, San Francisco, Calif. Sailings every 10 days for Mazatlan, San Blas, Manzanillo, and Salina Cruz. First-class passenger fares: San Francisco to Mazatlan, $S7; San Francisco to San Blas, $101.50; San Francisco to Manzanillo, $110.50; San Francisco to Acapulco, $117; San Francisco to Salina Cruz, $117. Average time of trip: Leave San Francisco, first day; arrive Mazatlan, eighth day; Man. zanillo, tenth day; Salina Cruz, thirteenth day.
Toyo Kisen_Kaisha (Japanese).-Monthly sailings from San Francisco to Salina Cruz. Fare, $97.50.
STEAMSHIP LINE FROM GALVESTON Steele Steamship Line.-Sailings about 15th and 17th of each month for Tampico and Vera Cruz. First-class fares: Tampico, $50; Vera Cruz, $55. Average time to Tampico, 214 days; Vera Cruz, 3 days.
OTHER LINES VISITING MEXICAN PORTS The following are some of the foreign lines whose steamers make calls at Mexican ports. Travelers are often enabled to take advantage of the unex. pected arrival or departure of these lines. Inquiry should be made at Gulf ports.
Canadian Merican Pacific Line.-From Victoria, British Columbia. Monthly service, calling at Mazatlan and Manzanillo.
Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (French).—Monthly service from France to Habana, Vera Cruz, Tampico, and Puerto Mexico.
Harrison Line (English).
Quarantine Regulations.—The usual quarantine regulations are observed. If there is any question of suspicious illness, passengers may be detained.
Distances.—New York to Vera Cruz, 1,973 nautical miles; New Orleans to Vera Cruz, 788; New Orleans to Tampico, 705; Pensacola to Tampico, 749; San Francisco to Mazatlan, 1,354; San Francisco to Acapulco, 1,836. From El Paso, Tex., to Mexico City, 1,221 miles (1,971 kilometers); Kansas City, Mo., to Mexico City, 1,659 miles (2,675 kilometers).
COASTWISE STEAMSHIP SERVICE Compuñía äc Navegación del Surestc.—Fortnightly service from Vera ('ruz to Progreso, Tampico, Frontera, Laguna, Puerto Mexico.
Compania Naviera Mexicana.—Monthly service to all points between Guay. mas and Salina Cruz.
C. Barquin Hermanos y Cía.-About every two weeks, Vera Cruz, Puerto Mexico, Frontera.
Compañía Navegación del Pacifico.-Weekly, San Blas Las Penas, Chamela, Manzanillo, Acapulco, Puerto Angel, Salina Cruz.
Note.—The traveler can obtain from local agents of these lines necessary information regarding sailings, rates, baggage, etc. The schedules are constantly changing.
PRINCIPAL RAILROADS OF MEXICO National Railways of Mexico (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de
Miles meters Mexican Central Railway (main line and branches). 3.516 5,659 National Railroad of Mexico.
1,218 1,960 Uruapan Division
318 512 Michoacan & Pacific Railway.
92 Hidalgo & Northeastern Railway.
152 244 Mexican International Railroad.
917 1,476 Tehuantepec National Railway.
188 303 Vera Cruz & Isthmus Railroad.
425 Pan American Railway.
478 Interoceanic Railway
1,184 Mexican Southern Railway.
282 454 (The Mexican Government operates most of the mileage in
Mexico under the name Ferrocarriles Nacionales y Annexos.) Mexican Railway
340 547 Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway.
276 444 Mexican Northern Railway....
81 130 Mexican North Western Railroad (controlling the Chihuahua
& Pacific R. R., the Sierra Madre & Pacific R. R., and Rio Grande Sierra Madre R. R.).
366 589 Parral & Durango Railroad..
105 Potosi & Rio Verde Railway.
64 Southern Pacific Railroad of Mexico.
1,195 1,923 Vera Cruz Railways.... United Railways of Yucatan.
CANVASSING MEXICO Customs Formalities. Through Pullman cars run from San Antonio, Tex., to Mexico City and return, and baggage of passengers entering Mexico by way of Laredo is taken across the Rio Grande in the train. The hand baggage of Pullman passengers remains in the Pullman car and is inspected there. Trunks are taken off train on the American side of the border after reaching Laredo and transferred to another train just on the other side of the station and taken across to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where they are placed in a large room at the station and inspected by the customs officers. At El Paso and Eagle Pass the baggage of passengers entering Mexico must be transferred to the Mexican side by automobile or truck as there is no train across the border into Mexieo.' The inspection of baggage takes place on the Mexican side. Passengers, of course, should be present when their baggage is inspected and claim their trunks after the inspection is completed. A small fee is generally charged by the “cargadores'' or porters who meet the train at Laredo to transfer the baggage to the other train and who, on the other side, transfer it from the train to the customhouse and back again.
When arriving by sea the baggage is inspected in the customhouse at the port of arrival. The examination is usually conducted in a prompt and lenient
Hotel runners may try to convince passengers that they can have the bag. gage successfully passed through the customhouse, but this matter should be attended to by the traveler in person.
Railway Baggage Regulations. The usual baggage allowance on a firstclass ticket is 50 kilos (110 pounds). For excess baggage rates see railway guide.
Salesmen's Samples.-Samples of any character which are not prohibited by customs laws may be imported duty free, provided they possess no commercial value.
For samples which have a commercial value, a bond may be given at the customhouse for a sum equivalent to the duty on the samples. The period for which bond is given is six months. Salesmen should carry with them letters of authority from their firms to customhouse agents at the border, who will thereupon look after the necessary bond.
If samples which have a value are carried into Mexico and later reexported, it is important that there should be no change in weight or quantity. If there is a difference noted when samples are reexported, they may be confiscated.
If the customhouse at port of reexportation is furnished with a randum of samples that have been sold and the payment of duty thereon is volunteered, the matter can easily be arranged, and bond will then be canceled for that portion of the samples sold.
Reexportation of Samples Through Other Ports.-Samples may be brought in through one and reexported from another port. The traveler should obtain a document at the port of entry which he can present to the customhouse at the port of reexportation, which will enable him to effect the clearance without difficulty. If goods are not reexported within the specified time the gua rantor is liable for the duties and has to pay a fine in addition. Upon application to the Customhouse Department in Mexico City, the time limit may be extended for a period not exceeding two years.
Time Required for Clearance.-Samples which have no commercial value and are carried by the salesman as baggage can easily be cleared without any delay. Baggage will be inspected by customs officials and passed very quickls. Samples which have a commercial value and require the giving of a bond can be cleared in practically the time that is required for the clerical work neces. sary to prepare the proper papers. This can usually be expedited by the aid of a customs broker.
Duties on Advertising Matter.-Mexican authorities permit travelers to carry with them and admit free of duty a limited amount of advertising matter, such as calendars, catalogues, etc. The quantity so admitted is usually governed by the customs officials.
Best Visiting Time.--The time for a traveler to visit Mexico depends ep. tirely upon the conditions which govern the line of trade of the traveler. In Mexico, unlike the countries in South America, prompt deliveries are exacted, and merchants, as a rule, will not buy so far in advance as in other Latiu American countries.
Baggage Rates.—No special concessions are granted by the railroads of Mexico to commercial travelers.
1 Since the above was written, the same arrangement has been affected at El Paso and Eagle Pass that prevails at Laredo.