Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer 2007 Car Trip - 48

Exactly two hours after getting back on the train at Diversado, we pulled into Creel.

As tourist towns go, Creel is small with a population of 5100. But the elevation is 2338 meters, or 7670 feet. The town is surrounded by majestic pine trees and the smell of pine is everywhere. During the day, it is a hot, dusty place. But that totally changes after dark. It gets cold there. Very cold. Heavy blankets on the beds and jackets were required.

Not knowing where the hotel was that we wanted to get to, we grabbed a taxi at the train station and went all of three blocks! We stayed at the Casa Margarita (27 out of 30) which included breakfast and dinner in the room rate. As I recall, we paid $30 US for a private room with two double beds. It was a pleasant room, certainly ample for our needs. The hotel also books tours of the region so we went ahead and booked one of their tours. Easy peasy.

Next we set out to explore the town a bit. There was not much to see. We went into a few shops because I always tried to buy a t-shirt from every town we visited. We were flabbergasted at how cheap everything was. Or at least cheap by the prices we have been used to paying throughout Mexico. We stopped for a coffee at one of the small restaurant/coffee shops that dot the main street. This town caters to tourists, mostly of the backpacker variety.

Further along and we discovered the Museum de los Tarahumaras. These are the indigenous people that have lived in this area for years. These are some of the poorest Indians in Mexico with over 40% having no income at all. They wear homemade shoes fashioned from old tires and held together by leather thongs. With the dust and dirt that they live amongst, they also have some of the dirtiest feet I have ever seen in my life.
Tarahumara girl and boy waiting at the train station in Diversado.

These are the Indians that are known worldwide for their ability to run. They have a game where two teams compete. They kick a small ball, about the size of a croquet ball, in a foot race that can take them as many 160 km (100 miles) through the canyons and rough terrain of the aptly name Sierra Tarahumara.

They are also expert basket weavers. We bought a few, they are everywhere for sale. Some of the most intricate hand work I have ever seen in my life. Truly an ability to be admired. I must say though, they seem to undervalue the amount of work and skill required to make a basket because they were not expensive at all. They are also known for their pottery, called Mata Ortiz. Beautifully formed pots of all sizes and decorated with dried cat gut. True works of art as well as functional.
Tarahumara girls trying to sell baskets to passengers hanging out of the train windows.

On our way back to the hotel, we decided to stop at a cash machine because I was running low on cash. I pulled out my wallet and that's when it hit me. I had left my ATM card in the machine in Durango! I freaked. After my panic attack subsided, we went back to our room and I called HSBC's emergency number. They checked and nobody had used my card! Thank goodness. They immediately cancelled it. They had no problem issuing me a new card but I wouldn't be able to pick it up until I again reached a big town. And that would be La Paz, which was still three or four days away. Nothing to do about it except worry for a few days!

With that stressful little chore out of the way, we went downstairs and enjoyed the dinner that was included in our room rate and then headed straight back up to the room to get some much needed rest and sleep.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Those baskets are truly lovely!!!