|The wares of an herb vendor in Paracho.|
|Don Luis offered to send this rooster home with us. We declined.|
|Don Luis Silva's guitar workshop.|
|Wedding procession in Paracho - very festive!|
And as Chon was visiitng with Don Luis I walked a couple of blocks to the entrance to the town. Here's the view from the workshop.
As I continued my walk, I passed a drainage ditch with one of my favorite flowers, called mosca, or fly. Mosca likes to grow in cracks, and it sends out baby plants to nearby spots where they can root. The flowers are like tiny violets. I had tried to transplant mosca with little success. But last planting season, some just showed up in our yard - in a pot!
|Mosca, a creeping plant with tiny sweet flowers.|
So - that was the reason for our trip, which turned out to be very, very interesting, and was not our typical leave-early-in-the-morning-and arrive-home-in-the-evening sort of drive. We got to Carapan (CarApan), the turn-off to Paracho, and there were soldiers there, telling us that the ill-named "highway”, narrow, and full of twists and parades of heavily loaded trucks to Paracho was closed, and if we wanted to get there we had to find a different route.
As we drove further along the same road, with fields of raspberries and strawberries on both sides, we passed through several small towns along the way until we decided to ask for directions.
Chon is uncannily good at chosing people to ask for directions, and this time he chose a man and a woman obviously waiting for a bus. The man turned out to be a taxi driver. He gave us directions, but they were overheard by a man preparing elotes to sell, who told Chon to get a paper and pencil. He did that, and the man gave us a lengthy list of towns to go through for our new route to Paracho.
His list of towns we would pass through read like this: turn left to Tangancicuaro; go toward Patamban; go through San Jose, Cumicho, Cucucho and Nurio. IAt the temple in Nurio turn left to Paracho. We had to go Up through the mountainous area. We only made one wrong turn of about 10 miles, and went through beautiful small towns with many native Indians in their colorful dress.
We arrived at Daniel Silva's workshop. He had repaired two cracked guitars for Chon. He and his wife were there, and the workshop seemed very quiet because their teen-aged and older kids who had been there the last two times we visited had returned to school. Daniel told us what had happened to cause the road closing. His wife who helps in the workshop, prepared slices of wonderful mangos for a refreshing treat, so we sat and chatted, and Chon played the repaired guitars and gave Daniel a lesson in how to play a guitar piece he wanted to learn.
And Daniel played for us, too, suggesting that Chon write a song with Purepecha rhythm, a 6-8 rhythm similar to huapango. He sang us a song in the Purepecha language, with that rhythm, too. It might have been called “Cristinita”).
Two towns close to Paracho are long-time enemies, with many unfriendly altercations between them over many years. In the last year or so the government (which has for many, MANY years mistreated and misrepresented the majority Indian population there) promised some "help" to ONE of the towns. The other town complained, there was some kind of demonstration, and the two enemy towns began shooting at each other. It was reported that 8 from one town and 5 from the other town were killed. Thus the road closing. I later located a report on CNN that left out many details (and the article may have been distorted by my understanding anyway).
I had thought that closing a road for two days was over-doing it, but now that I have heard more of the story, I am sure that the road will be closed for a while longer. I am imagining over-wrought, grieving families at their nightly 9 days of prayers for the dead, and the tearful and angry family conversations following that.
There is a community support organization for the two towns, and I imagine that even those meetings have been suspended.
In the afternoon before our drive home. we walked to the mercado, which is as colorful as any I have seen.
|It was a warm afternoon.|
|Sometimes you can catch a glimpse through a door or hallway into a home.|
Our morning drive to Paracho had taken us through a small mountain town called Cocucho where we immediately spotted pottery on the street in front of workshops that looked different from any other I had seen in Mexico. The color was mixed dark browns with streaks and spots of black.
|A purchase transaction in action.|
|Loading our treasure in the back of the car. You can see just the mouth of one pot beside Chon.|
I was in the parked car across the street from the workshop as this transaction was happening, and a woman in the store I was parked inches from had a handful of clay and was working it. Soon a little boy came our from the store carrying something I could tell was pottery. When he turned it around so I could see it, it was a representation of a cantina, about a foot long, and perhaps four inches wide. There were tables and chairs, and men in various states of drunkenness. The woman tried pretty hard to sell the scene to Chon, but he had already bought the vases, and thought the price for the little scene was too much compared to the tall, graceful, masterful vases he had just bought.
|This photo was taken through the car window. That's the boy who made the pottery cantina - Chon is holding it.|
In another town close by, San Jose De Gracia, there was more pottery, glazed with green, in the shapes of pineapples. There are other shapes, and other colors, but the green pineapples are typical.
|Not my photo - it's from a website offering these typical gorgeous green pineapples.|
|Peaceful afternoon view of a square templo in Aranza.|
|I was lucky to catch this photo. See the apron, the pleats, the beautiful blue rebozo?|
When you come to visit us, I hope we can take a two-day trip to Paracho and go through the mountain and valley towns. It looks a lot like the area near Sonora, California, and the towns are beautiful, old, charming. You'll probably enjoy the visit as much as I do.
|These are popular paint colors for houses and stores.|