Sunday, December 8, 2019

Day Trip to Victoria de Durango

It’s amazing how little it takes to raise one’s spirits. Larry spent yesterday getting help with camper problems and definitely felt a sense of accomplishment by the end of the day. And I spent some time being thankful there was a washing machine on site that we could use. Even though the task of hanging the clothes on the line lay before me for the bulk of the afternoon, I was happy to immerse myself in getting the laundry done.

This morning we squeezed our 14 selves into a 10 passenger van and rode into Durango to see the sites. Durango celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2013, and is a city of around 700,000 inhabitants. It serves as the capitol of the state of Durango, whose economy is mostly dependent on agriculture and livestock. The economy of the city of Durango, however, revolves around forestry products and foreign factories that have set up shop in the vicinity. On our drive into the city, we passed by a few viable business concerns such as a John Deere dealership, and a Syngenta seed facility.

What strikes me the most about visiting these small to medium sized cities is the sheer number of small businesses everywhere, and the hordes of people milling about doing their shopping. Mexico seems to be a nation of hard working, optimistic business people trying over and over again to make a living. There are an abundance of shuttered businesses as well as start ups almost everywhere you look. I don’t see evidence of any public funding for business startups, like in the US, but I can’t rule it out either.

Larry and I spent a large part of the day visiting two museums, enjoying lunch with the group, and wandering around the main part of the city. We purchased a roasted chicken and some delicious tangerines in the market place. On the ride back to the water park, the group stopped at a Walmart on the outskirts of Durango so that everyone could stock up on whatever they might need until we reach Matzatlan on Thursday.

Today’s photos in no particular order:

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception 

We saw lots of these city busses buzzing around.

We passed by a Sanborns restaurant in the central square which prompted me to want to find out more about it, since Larry and I had eaten at one in Mexicali a few years back. Sanborns was established by two California immigrants who eventually sold it to Walgreens, who eventually sold it to a conglomerate owned by Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man. 

We stopped in a cafe at the end of the visit for iced coffees and a piece of cheesecake.

This was a walkway over the Paseo Las Alamedas, a lovely tree lined path near the Zona Centro.

We were tempted to visit Mickey Dees for a coffee this afternoon, but found a local place instead.

Interior of the Cathedral Basilica

We all had tacos at this stand near the market area of Durango.

We visited the Museo de las Culturas Populares first. I liked this wool “painting.”

Looking down into the courtyard of the Museo Palacio de los Gurza, which had a permanent display of the history of Mexico’s money, as well as several rooms of Mexican contemporary art. The docent at the museum gave us an enjoyable hour long talk with about Mexico’s currency.

We saw several of these notices of marriage posted at the Basilica. I looked further into this custom, since I know that in the US, to be married in the Catholic Church requires that the couple attend three months of Pre Cana classes.  I found an article online about this particular custom as pictured above: 

Wedding reprimands are newsletters with photos and information of the bride and groom.They are placed on the church bulletin board so that the community finds out about the next marriage union. If someone knew a reason why the marriage should not take place, they can appear before the pastor or the administrator to give their testimony.
Regularly, they are placed after the marriage presentation, once the couple's documentation has been delivered and they have had an interview with the priest. The names of the couple, their ages and the names of their parents will appear on the reprimands, as well as the community in which they live and where they grew up.

Working police dog. Occasionally we will see regular dogs on leashes, but it is not the norm. In larger cities, however, we have passed by quite a few specialty pet food businesses.

Policeman directing traffic at a busy intersection.

Mexico has had a union of shoe shiners since the 1930’s.

Textile painting made with dyed wool yarn.

We saw this display of masks in the Museo de los Culturas Populares.

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