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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Visiting El Habal and El Salto - two more small town off the beaten path

Oh boy! It’s my lucky day. Just read my emails and the President of a bank in East Asia wants to send me 1.5 million dollars…..Do people really fall for these schemes?
The sun has come up behind some clouds this morning. In fact I see more clouds than sky – so that means it might be cooler today OR it might be much more humid. Either way it’s not raining or snowing.
Congresswoman’s Paquis “people” texted “our people [me]” about meeting them yesterday again to tour some villages. So off we went for another very interesting day. Our route yesterday. RV park, El Habal, El Salto, RV park, Los Arcos Restaurant, El Habal, RV park. Only two towns and a great restaurant.
1,4,6 the RV Park - 2 El Habal - 3 El Salto - 5 Los Arcos Restaurant
We left home about 10:00 stopped and gassed up Willie ‘cause we had no idea how far we would be driving during the day. [and that’s another story – either I got my numbers wrong or our gas mileage went to heck in a hand basket – came out to 10mpg! since last fill up. Not right.] So we were to meet them in El Habal which is only 8.5 miles from the RV park. It’s a town of about 4,000. Most of whom work in Mazatlan or the surrounding farms. When we got to El Habal – we couldn’t get into the town through the main road under the arch. It was all tore up.
Saw another car go down past the last building so we followed. Glad he was in front of us or we wouldn’t have gone that way. Looked more like an off road course than a way into town. First a steep drop down a dirt bank into a wash then it got better – a little.
After a couple of false starts and asking directions we came to the Plaza. It wasn’t in front of the church but in the middle of the street in a residential area.
We parked to get out and look at this mural across the street. If you look closely in the lower right hand corner in the shadow you’ll see John Wayne. All the rest of the faces are Mexican performers.
Not sure who the woman on the left is – but she sure is pretty. All the rest were labeled.
Because the town was so close we got there early so drove around a little on the paver and cobblestone streets. Lots of ups and downs.

You don’t have to be very old to drive ATVs here. And you can have as many passengers as you can fit on it.
Back to the plaza and parked then took a walk towards the church.This is where the main road construction is.  
The church is fairly new built in 2003.
Quite modern inside.
Walking along the road construction. Pavers stacked up ready to use. After they are laid a layer of sand is added and packed down with a small hand run vibrater/leveler. You can see the loose sand and the tracks of the machine.
This section looks done and cleaned up.
Here is a restaurant in the front patio area of a house. We were talking to the owner/cook. He also does catering for events.
A couple of the stores in town. This one sells meat, milk products, chicken and is a supermarket.
They make tortillas here. It is a section of their home.
This little store sells all kinds of stuff from snacks to detergent.
Back at the plaza the crew is beginning the set up. And they turned the music on. BOY did they turn the music on. A couple neighboring housewives came out took a look and shut their front doors.
Waiting for the event.
Congresswoman Paquis. She is extremely charismatic and makes you fell like you’ve been her best friend for years. The people really seem to like her and believe her.
This particular day she was talking about a program for single mothers. The government wants to provide life insurance that will take care of the children if the mother dies. No one gets any money – it provides care for the children so they won’t be put out on the streets. Notice most of the audience is women and children.
He was listening but not looking. The horse was beautiful. Notice the machete – can’t go anywhere without it. And right next to it a motorcycle. Again the old and the new – common theme here.
This man was really paying attention. He and a couple of other older men were in the street leaning up against a car. He smiled when he got his blanket though.
A couple of typical houses in El Habal. Large and small, one and two stories. Some painted some still unplastered brick. But lots with TV dishes.

We made out way out of El Habal and on up the road to El Salto – paved road all the way and only a couple of miles further.
Going into El Salto – a town of about 300. Mostly farm workers.
Found the little green church with the plaza right next to it.
The listening crowd. Notice the women are in the middle then men stay to the outside. At one time Paquis was asking for the name of the person in town who had the least. Turns out it was the man in the middle of this group; the one with the patterened shirt. He has four walls, a roof and a plastic chair. Period. She was going to make sure he received a table, stove, a cot and cooking utensils. He was smiling big.
Don’t know who he belonged to but he was waiting across the street. The ever present machete and rope. This is a working saddle – the first horse had a fancy silver trimmed saddle.
Again a couple of the homes in town.

It never ceases to amaze me how welcoming the people of these small towns are to us. We’re never made to feel like outsiders. Here is Bill in blue shirt being introduced to crowd.
After we left El Salto everyone except Paquis, her husband and right hand man came with us back to the RV park where we sat around and visited for an hour or so before driving into Mazatlan downtown to go to Los Arcos Restaurant where we all had dinner. The rest of the group met us there. Very good meal. But the best part was the plates the desserts were served on. The decorations were made with an icing glaze. Each plate was different.

After eating we drove a couple of the guys back to El Habal to pick up their car. We got home around 7:30 Another long and informative day.
I have to mention – when we were driving around El Habal I saw something that surprised me so much I couldn’t pick up the camera – simply forgot to. A full grown cow was being butchered on a front porch! Wish I’d got a picture but Bill wouldn’t drive by it again. Don’t blame him – I probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to take a picture anyway. Would seem kind of “Stupid tourist invasive.”

So today so far we are just relaxing. Tomorrow there is a festival in Concordia we want to go to. 

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