On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Once upon a time, some friends had a winter home in South Texas, way south, like five miles from the Rio Grande. I went to visit them a few times when the Wisconsin winters became too much. Each year the area where their place was has a huge influx of Winter Texans (AKA snowbirds), not just from the northern states but also Canadians. This allowed for the emergence of a lot of small scale tour companies; essentially one or two guys who hired a bus and driver and took some of these Winter Texans into Mexico for short tours. In 2009, Kathy and Eugene had booked us on one such trip. By the next time I went back to Texas, the whole little cottage industry had collapsed. The Mexican bus company decided that it had become too dangerous to send their buses and drivers north to pick up the tourists. All the buses came from Mexico; I suppose American buses were too expensive. We never got to do another trip.
On the 2009 trip, we went to a tiny village called Capaderito, which I now can’t even find on Google Maps. This was the hometown of our bus driver. A local family provided cultural enrichment and fed us a wonderful meal on their patio. The next day we went to a place called Real de Catorce which had once been a sliver mining town but was now mostly a tourist venue for Mexicans. Our last day was in Saltillo, where we toured some historic buildings and got a slice of urban life. I did not realize how many pictures I took until I was trying to put an OTR post together. So, you’re going to get three posts.
After a quick stop for lunch in Monterey, we continued south to our base of operations at Matehuala. Across from our hotel was a Wal-Mart. In the evening, Kathy and I decided to check it out, which involved crossing a major highway. It was a fun exercise in culture shock, but no pics. The next day we headed to Capaderito.
All over the village were these cactus hedges.
The cactus hedges served to keep the free range burros out of the yards.
Kathy is standing in a gateway, for scale.
We first were taken out into the hills, where our host family showed us how they gathered materials for some of the crafts they make. The aloe fronds get turned into pot scrubbers.
Then we got a cooking demonstration.
Tortillas on a wood fired comla. You can see one of the pot scrubbers hanging on the wall. I bought one which I have never used to scrub a pot. It hangs in my kitchen as a decorative object.
The family also ran a little general store to save the residents a long trip into the bigger town.
After lunch, Kathy and I took a walk around the village. At every house, the folks were sitting out on their porches. Our tour leader later told us that a bus load of tourist coming to town was so unusual that they wanted to keep an eye on us. They were all very polite, but spoke no English and we, no Spanish. During our stroll I saw a painted bunting in glorious Technicolor but was not quick enough to get a pic. This little farm yard scene is my favorite picture from the trip.
Those cactus hedges are impressive!
The last picture is adorable–I feel like somewhere there should be a Mexican Charlotte’s web proclaiming ¡Algún cerdo! (telaraña de Carlotta?)
I’ve been fishing in Sonora a couple of time. The first trip was in 73 and, despite the Federale road blocks, it was an awesome trip for a couple of hippy couples. We camped north of Guaymas on the property that MGM bought to film Catch 22. The air strip was there and so were the mock-up Italian village. Mexican horsemen would come by in the evening to check things out and were very excited when we asked about the mountain where the plane crash was filmed. Ah memories.
Cactus hedge would keep me out! Very interesting OTR.
I’d love to take a trip to Mexico that was this real, where they lived with the land. I also liked the last picture, and the description of community feeling when sitting in front of their homes.
At some point, I’ll find this perhaps. Visited Carmen before its transformation for commercialization and loved it, as its days as a fishing village were coming to an end.
Thanks for these and hoping you have more to share.
These are great! Kathy’s brave, I don’t know if I’d stand in that cactus gate.
The cactus fences are very cool! And smart. Elma—did you do three day trips to Mexico or overnight there?
@way2blue: we stayed in a resort in Matahuala for three nights.
AM in NC
Love those smart and effective cactus hedges! Jealous of your trip; what a nice way to get a non-touristy picture of at least part of another country. Thanks for sharing these!