The prayer for a safe journey that Abbi’s mother insisted she say before we left was apparently effective as we arrived safely in pueblo Arroyo Zacate at about 3:00 and pulled up in front of a small store operated by Ivan and his family. I think Ivan is Abbi’s cousin but I met so many of Abbi’s relatives I couldn’t keep track of who was who.
Abbi went off to visit relatives while I chatted with Ivan who had lived in San Jose, California for four years and was quite interested in my story. A bit into my conversation with Ivan I asked if he sold beer. He answered no and made it quite clear that he didn’t approve of beer. So a bit later, telling Ivan I wanted to explore the pueblo, I excused myself and went off in search of a beer, which I found at a small store a couple blocks away.
Next to Ivan’s store was the beautiful out building with a palmed thatched roof which you may see in the photo at the left. Located at the rear of most of the homes of Abbi’s relatives I visited had palm thatched palapas housing open air kitchens and dining areas. Each included a small wood fire pit over which was placed a large round, clay platter upon which tortillas are cooked.
The palm thatching technique used in the area is different than that used in the palapas with which I was familiar in Merida, in that the fronds are placed horizontally to the roof structure, while the fronds in the Merida area are placed vertically. I will post close up photos of one of the roofs in the next couple of days.
To sit for a while, drinking beer and chatting with the woman proprietor and her very cute and talkative granddaughter was a very pleasant respite from the long drive. The woman suggested that I should buy her brother’s house, next door to hers, and promised she would take care of me, promising specifically to do my laundry and cook my meals. I told her I needed a house with garden space, which her brother’s has not. Having downed a couple of the small Sols I continued on my exploration of the village.
Arroyo Zacate is a pueblito, a few miles up a dusty dirt road from highway 147, that is home to about 250 folks living within about a 4 square block area. The village is fully electrified and enjoys both telephone and cable TV services. The inhabitants are members of a few different extended families, with the members of each family sharing a particular part of the pueblo. Abbi’s family lives in an area of town encompassing perhaps ten or twelve houses.
The town has many little stores which folks operate out of their homes; three churches of Catholic, Episcopal, and Evangelical persuasions; a tidy, freshly painted primary school; many new houses in various states of construction; and lots of brand new galvanized metal roofs. One of the homes under construction sports the intricately carved front door seen in the photo at right.
The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent moving from house to house visiting various of Abbi’s relatives. We settled for the night in the home of Abbi’s cousin Perfecto, his wife Lauara, and their four boys (with another child on the way) who may be seen in the photo at the left. The older woman at the left in the photo, holding a photo of her very recently deceased husband, is Perfecto’s mother who lives in Xalapa.
Late in the evening the boys of the house, and a couple of their cousins, had warmed up to me so I spent the last hour before going to bed about ten, a couple of hours before anyone else in the house, in the living room with the kids. They asked if I would take their pictures and each tried to outdo the others in striking the most comical pose. Here’s Gabriel.
It was an entertaining end to a very pleasant day.