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We are traveling in Mexico again this winter of 2012
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Friday, December 18, 2009

First day in El Fuerte

Just a quick shot of us as cow herders.
It’s hard to describe El Fuerte – so I think I’ll just ramble on about it. We were going to stay one night and ended up staying five nights. That should give you a clue.
El Fuerte is an old mining town, first settled in 1564. Now it is the supply center for a large agricultural area. The tourists haven’t really found it yet so it is a “real Mexican” town.
The first day we were here we got settled in the RV park which is actually the lawn of a small hotel. We’ve got electric and water and dump are available. The internet is working fine so what more could we ask for. There is a little problem with the electricity though – if we are running the air conditioning and they start up a vacuum to clean a room – poof – not electric. Everything in the hotel and campground runs off of the same breaker.
After settling in we drove into town, parked right at the plaza and walked around for awhile. Found a good restaurant and had a delicious lunch.
Back out to explore more. The plaza is typical, lots of plants, palm trees and a white painted iron gazebo.
On one side of the plaza is the municipal building. It is all red brick built around a big tiled open area with a fountain in the center.
At the back where the stairs go up to the second floor is a fantastic mural telling the history of the area. (This is just a very small part of it - it is three sided.)
As we were leaving we noticed brown specks all over the light orange walls. Couldn’t figure out what could have caused them so Bill asked one of the ladies working in an office. Turns out it is bat shit!
Look closely - remember by clicking on it you can make it larger.
The bats live up in the rafters of the ceiling and come out at night and make a mess on the walls. They told us they couldn’t get rid of them. But later a guard told us they don’t want to get rid of them. Part of the folklore of the building.
Across the street is the church. It was built in 1854. It is rather plain looking inside and out more like old churches we’ve seen in southern California and Arizona.
Inside it is plain too.
Since we’ve been here we’ve seen a funeral, with two pickup trucks loaded with flowers waiting outside and tonight a Mass for a girl celebrating her Quinceañera (fifteenth birthday.) She had on a beautiful long red prom type gown.
An interesting note about the church and municipal building. During the revolution the peasants dug a tunnel under both buildings – three miles long to another church outside of town. They would rob the Spanish gold carrying wagon trains and hide the loot in the tunnel – wagons and all. Then they would just claim they hadn’t seen any wagons. It is great that Bill can speak the language we learn so much more.
On the other two sides of the plaza are businesses fronted by arcades with big arches.
The sidewalks are from one to two feet above street level. Most have a couple of steps up to reach the sidewalk. All but a few of the streets are cobblestone of some sort.
There is a two block area that is kind of like a big central market. You can buy everything from lunch to shoes there. This time of year lots of children’s toys, leather cowboy boots and belts,
piñatas and even Christmas trees. Inside one building, kind of the main market we found dried snake skins for sale.Need them for hat bands you know.
And delicious looking and smelling produce.
Sitting outside in the street was a bicycle with a milk can strapped to it. It also had a liter cup measure. That’s how you purchase the milk. He pours it from the big can nto the liter measure. Bill pointed out how banged up the measure was – less for your money that way.
El Fuerte has just been proclaimed a Pueblo Magico so a lot of government money is coming into the town to help with restoration and repairs. As we walked around we saw a lot of buildings that had just been repainted in vivid colors. But upon looking through the windows we found they were empty, some don’t even have roofs.
I sure hope they can continue with their vision.
And this is just a beginning of our time here.

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