6th to 11th Urique / Cuauhtėmoc (both Chihuahua) see “El Chepe”
11th March 2018
I arrived by bus before noon. When I send a message to my host Eufracio, he was surprised, that the bus already had arrived. I took a taxi to his home. He was waiting outside, though we easier could find his address. Eufracio was very welcoming. In the afternoon he took me downtown by the trolleybus, which is really special, but absolutely disability friendly. The bus has its own file on the middle of the road. The bus stops are build up and has always on one side a ramp. From the bus stop is no step into the bus. The entrance to the busses and the floors of the busses have the same level – always! There are also old fashion busses in Chihuahua – on other routes.
He showed me, were to buy the tickets and told me the price, even he had a special card as a teacher at the university of Chihuahua and got me on his card, too. By the way he teaches Spanish and Journalism. – He has his degrees and the document about his doctors title on the wall in his combined living and bedroom. I have seen before, that Mexicans use to do that. We left the bus in the city center, where he showed me the most famous buildings as well as the central plaza and the tourist information, where I asked for a free map, which I got. The map also had fields, where points of interest were listed. We were lucky, because an indigenous group was dancing. Between the dances they were collecting money. I was happy to give them a coin. He also showed me the “underground” station, where I could enter the bus, when I was at the plaza. On the way back to his home, he showed me, what to look for, that I am sure I will live the bus att the right bus stop. He also answered my question about the route: That I can take any of the trolley busses downtown, because the route is first dividing in two different after the city center.
Back at his home he cooked a meal of ground beef, beans and potatoes and invited me for the meal. He served tap water to the meal, though I asked him about the quality of the water, but he answered me about the quantity. The town gets water both from the mountains and from the ground, he told me. The desert starts at the other side of the town. After lunch he put on the TV, but also had a chat about our travel experiences. For the evening meal he made quesodillas. Then took we a walk to a supermarket, where Eufracio bought eggs and I tissues. For the night I have got the bed in his combined living and bedroom, he put a mattress on the floor for himself and slept on it.
12th March 2018
Eufracio was up early, because he had to go to work. Nonetheless he cooked porridge for breakfast and also coffee. I awoke before he was leaving, though he told me, that I was welcome to eat breakfast.
Afterwards I made my laundry, took a shower, dressed and hanged my washed clothes on the cloth line. Checking my emails, my notifications on twitter and even the CS-app, I was happy to read, that Hector in Jimémez had accepted my couch request. I had not planned to stay in that town, but in Hidalgo del Parral. However there was not even one host in that town, therefore I had looked for a host in a town nearby, which is Jimémez. Though I decided to stay for only a few hours in Hidalgo del Parral and going further to Jimémez instead.
I was going downtown. At the bus stop, the conductor did only take 3.50 MXN for the ticket, which surprised me, because they are usually asking for the special card, which is necessary to get the reduced price. I was already hungry again during the bus ride. Well in the city center I looked for a snack and was in the mood to try something new. I found a restaurant selling Banderillas. They were for 20 MXN only, though I ordered one. A Banderilla actually is a “hot dog” (the sausage of it) in bread, but the sausage is, together with a little chili, dropped in a dough and then deep-fried.
I also had an ice cream before I visited the Tarik museum, which I found with the help of Google maps. On the map is was stated, that the museum is about Tarahumara people, but it was about the historic of the town Chihuahua. Anyway it was interesting.
On the way back I took a closer look on the park Lerdo and enjoyed it. I also was interested in a museum, belonging to the university of Chihuahua, but it was closed. On the way back to my host’s home, I finally tried to buy a protecting phone case for me smartphone. It was in my mind for a while, because I already dropped it twice and the glass got cracks. So far I can use it as it is, but I am afraid, if it happens again, I cannot. I did not find the one I would have liked, but bought one offered. Now I hope, it will not get more broken glasses. I also bought two cakes, I thought I have to taste them. Actually they were not what I expected. The one like a big ear was more salt than sweet and for the other one the taste did not match the colour. It was just a dry cake. Furthermore I bought postcards. I am still wondering, if I should continue with it, because so far I only know, that one of all cards reached the address.
For the rest of the way “home” I took the trolley bus. Eufracio was still at work. He often works until 8pm, so did he this evening. – At the middle of the day (usually between 2pm and 4pm) he has a rest, where he can go home and have a meal.
I took down my clothes from the cloth line, had a meal, made my files and updated my blog somewhat, before Eufracio was back home. He was tired, though we only had a short chat and were to bed around 10pm.
13th March 2018
Eufracio made hot cakes (American pancakes) for breakfast. He told me, when they were ready. Usually he makes the dishes himself, but this morning he was in a hurry, though he accepted my offer to take care about them. When he had left I dressed, made another part of my laundry, the dishes and my bed (which I do every morning) as well as I ate a banana before I left. My destination was the museum of the university, called “Quinto Gameros”. I read, that it is open from Tuesdays to Sundays. Soon after I left the home, I felt hungry and bought an energy bar in an Oxxo nearby.
Before I finally was on the way to the museum, I went to a post office. Eufracio had described for me, where I could find one. I had to pay 14 MXN for each postcard, but the stamps I have got were 10 a 7.50 MXN. At the end I paid 98 MXN, but on the receipt it was 105 MXN. I do not know, how Mexican book-keeping works, but that was strange for me.
On the way further I passed a stall of the Tarahumara, where they did sell crafts like baskets. I was excited about some with lids, but when I tried to lift the lid I became aware, that there was no lid at all. Even I try not to buy souvenirs, because I do not have space in my backpack, I could not resist to buy such a set. It was for 50 MXN, which I happily paid. It is such a little amount for so much work!
Going further I tried Dorinachos, that means, that in a little bag of nachos (such one you can buy in the supermarkets) cheese sauces and sweetcorn were added. It was similar to the nachos special I had eaten in Cuauhtėmoc, what I did not know, when I ordered the dish. This one was not so easy to eat and I have got cheese sauce on my fleece jacket. Fortunately it was so warm, that I did not need to wear it. After the meal I also had a soft ice cream. On the way to the museum I even crossed the plaza around the cathedral. Here were two men occupied with taking dry leaves from the trees with the help of brooms.
I did not know at the museum, what I had to expect – only that it is about art. Well there I was happily surprised. The whole building was furnished and decorated in “Art Nouveau”. I actually liked, what I saw, even a few things were a little too much decorated and a little corny.
The museum was not very big, though I left after an hour or two and walked back to the city. Here I took photos of two interesting buildings, which seemed to be old. One of them was the Casa de Don Luis Terrazas and the other one the casa Chihuahua. Both seemed not to be in use.
I continued down the street, because I could see a green strip with trees at the horizon. On the way to that green I also bought a plastic box to keep my souvenir save. It was a more than 30 minutes walk, before I reached that green. It was the Palomar. Just before I crossed a bridge with an announcement about a campaign to detect the opportunities of autism.
In the park, close to the bridge, was also a statue without a sign, which man was honoured by it. When I later asked Eufracio about it, he told me, it is the actor Anthony Quinn, who was born in Chihuahua.
The park was not big, but had a great view over the town of Chihuahua and the surrounding mountains. It breezed freedom. It became actually my favorite place in the town, while the town itself, so far, is my favorite town of Mexico.
Soon I continued back home, because I had a nearly one hour walk in front of me. On the way I nearly passed a shop for outdoor equipment, but entered it then to ask for a backpack of 40 liters. I thought about it for some days now, because the big backpack I have is anyway too heavy for me to carry on my back, especially because I have to fasten the little backpack on it, if I do so. That means nearly 80 liters with a weight of 20 kg. A 40 liters backpack would maximum have a weight of 10 kg. The biggest backpack they sold in this shop had 30 or 35 liter, but also space taken off this for a water bag. Though I have to continue with the backpacks I have. Later on I thought, instead to invest more money in backpacks, I should use my suitcase next time and ask my daughter for the backpack I gave to her, when I left Germany. She has an own anyway and that backpack has a size of 32 liter, which is good together with the suitcase. For now I have to be happy with the backpacks I have with me. All this think thank belongs to, that I need more clothes because of the diverse weather I meet in Mexico and also will have in Central America as well as in South America. Closer to the home of Eufracio I bought yogurt and drink chocolate as well.
After the evening meal he told me, that he will go to an old cantina (pub) on Thursday at 2pm. This weekday they serve a meal (soup), when one has a drink (e.g. a bear) as a courtesy. Friends of him would also attend. He asked me, if I would like to join, too. I told him, I will be happy to spend time with them at the cantina. Furthermore he explained on my question, how to go to the Central bus station for busses to other destinations, because on Friday I will go further to Hidalgo del Parral and later the same day to Jimémez. It was actually very easy. I only had to go by the trolley bus to its final destination.
We were to bed around 10pm, but I made couchsurfing requests for more destinations – so far as Tampico. I had decided to make some more stops, because I am not happy in sitting on a bus for a whole day. To visit Jimémez had not been on my route at all, but there was no host in Hidalgo del Parral and Jimémez was not so far away as well it was in the right direction further. By the way, I was sitting in the dark. Even Eufracio slept in the kitchen, he did never switch off the light, before I had done mine.
14th March 2018
We had breakfast at 7:30am. This day Eufracio offered scrambled eggs and beans. He had to go to work again and I did update my blog meanwhile I washed my fleece jacket after I had dressed. I also made the bed and the dishes. On the CS site I have got an answer from the host in Tampico. It was positive.
All done I was going by the trolley bus to the bus station for busses to rest of Mexico. It was easily to find. The bus ticket for Hidalgo del Parral was for 385 MXN. I had a light lunch and was to the bathroom as well before I was going back by the trolley bus to the park Lerdo, where I bought ground beef and ground pork (50/50) at a nearby supermarket as well as macaroni and tissues. I also was looking for the cantina, where we should meet next day and took a picture of that one, I thought will be the right one to get the verification of my host. There was also a flower shop nearby and I did not remember if I have told you before, though I make it now: All flower shops, I have seen in Mexico so far, are also selling teddy bears and similar toys like soft pigs.
I was back “home” at 4pm and started to make Swedish meatballs – I only mixed the ground meat with the other ingredients. I put this in the fridge, though I could fry it, when my host came home. During the waiting time I checked my photos taken under the days in Chihuahua and made then albums in my account on Google photos for the last three or for destinations. The others were already done. Eufracio did not come before 8pm. He had forgotten our agreement about the dinner at 7pm and apologised. He had to work with some files, because he will go to a congress the upcoming week. When frying the meatballs and cooking the macaroni I found, that I had forgotten to buy carrots, though we shared a tomato I found in his fridge. He liked the dish – I have so far never met a person, who did not like the Swedish meatballs 😊. I told him to save the rest for another time, which he happily did. We also had a glass of wine and we had a chat about energy. He told me, that more and more people are using solar energy. Before we went to sleep around 10pm, I showed him my photo of the cantina and he confirmed, that it is the cantina we will meet.
15th March 2018
After breakfast I updated my blog a little again. In time for the meeting at the cantina I took the trolley bus. Actually I was ten minutes early, Eufracio was just in time and his girlfriends where coming after a while – first Coco, then another one and really late even Rebecca. I tried a dark beer.
After a while we were served a little bowl with soup and another little bowl with pasta. The bowls were really small. There were popcorn, too, one could take of as much as wanted. We were sitting there for more than an hour and getting hungry. I tried “flautas”, a kind of fried burritos. Actually I found, that the cream on the dish was not optimal, but I do not like sauces to fried food in general – only mayonnaise on French fries. Eufracio and Coco had ordered a dish with chili. Eufracio did take out a lot of it and explained, answering my surprised question, that not all Mexicans can eat a lot of chili, meanwhile some can eat just chili. All the others had more beer than me and most of them something to eat. The bill was for around 480 pesos all together and Eufracio told me, that I have to pay 110 pesos of them. There were actually 13 beers on the bill. My dish was for 60 pesos, though if every beer would cost 50 pesos, the bill would have been much higher. I did not tell him that at the cantina.
The teachers had all to get back to the cantina. While Rebecca had left earlier, we others were following one with a car. I was allowed to take a closer look at the university. At this place the faculties of art, Jura as well as philosophy and languages (filosofia y letras) were situated in different buildings. I was also allowed to come into the building of the last-named, but unfortunately Eufracio did neither show me his work space nor was I allowed to attend one of his lessons. Though I went “home” to his rented house and bought on the way two bottles of water and an ice cream at the Oxxo. I used the time until he came back home (he had late classes between 5pm and 8pm) for updating my blog. When I got tired of it, I was on twitter for a while. I joined him during his meal. He took of the leftover from the day before.
16th March 2018
I had put the alarm clock on 4:30am the evening before and was up at 4:40am after have taken my medicine. I dressed quickly. On my way by the trolley to the Central Bus Station, I could watch the sunrise, meanwhile the street lights were still on. I had a ticket for the “Omnibus de Mexico Plus”. I did not know what the plus stand for, anyway it had wi-fi, air-condition and nice bathrooms (separated for men and women). In addition to that, we got a little plastic bag with a soft drink and a sandwich as well as headphones (which I could not use for my hearing aids). There were also TV in the bus, but one could not choose the program – only the driver could. There was no possibility to switch it off either. There was also a sign close to the seats that contacts are under the seats, but I did not find it.
As soon I had arrived in Hidalgo del Parral I bought the onward ticket to Jiménez, the final destination for the day. I chose one, though I had six hours to spend in *Parral. Fortunately I found a storage for my big backpack. I had to pay 39 MXN (6 MXN/hour), but it was worth it. I also had a Hamburger at the station, before I left to see the historic city center. *Parral is well-known for the roll in the history of Mexico. The Mexican general and revolutionary Pancho Villa was murdered.
I visited the city, where people were preparing for a “fiesta” for three hours. I had anyway been on some places twice. The best in town was the theatre, which was open air in old walls. There was a statue on a hill and I was thinking about to take a taxi, but I could not see if it was possible to drive all the way up. Even I guessed, that there must be a great view, I decided, that the place was not interesting enough. I visited the church, as I use to do, for the architecture and art.
Downtown a Mexican asked me, from where I am, which I answered. He asked me another question, which I did not understand. I was even not sure, which language he was talking. He asked the same question one more time, but I only understood the word “como”, though I think he was using Spanish. As I had been recommended of Coco in Chihuahua I bought a sweet with honey. Want was added. It was very sweet, not really my favourite. I also took the opportunity and bought a body lotion, because the one I have, was going to its end and finally an ice cream. There were three hours left, when I was back at the bus station.
It took around one hour only to Jiménez. Hector and his boyfriend Felipe met me at the bus station by car. If you are wondering, they are a couple. While Hector do not speak English, Felipe does. We tried anyway to speak as much Spanish as possible. At their home – the have a very nice furniture home, which is really clean even they have six Chihuahua dogs, they showed me “my room”. Two of the dogs live on the second floor / attic and I have not got to see them.
I was offered fruit and coffee. Though I had a banana and a coffee. During the conversation I had to answer questions about my route, how I like Mexico, which place I like most in Mexico and which country I like most – of the countries I have visited so far. They told me, that we will meet friends, when we were going by car throughout the small city. Unfortunately the friends did not have time. We had a rest at a restaurant for a tea and similar. Afterwards they showed me the important buildings in the city.
Back at their home again, they offered beans and bread. During the following chat they told me – Felipe also wrote down for me, what I should see in Jiménez as well as in Torréon. Felipe had been living there for some years, he told me. We agreed to take a trip out to the “Ojo de Dolores” next morning. It is a hot well in “nowhere”. The closets village is Dolores, therefore the name. Maybe I also should remind you, that we still are in the desert. We were to bed around 10pm.
17th March 2018
I awoke 7:30am and wrote my memo for the day before. In addition to that I wrote the review on CS for Eufracio. Afterwards I dressed and was then going to the kitchen. I have got fresh orange juice, camomilletea and a banana before we left for the hot spring. On the way we have seen pecan plantains and Felipe explained that Mexico is one of the biggest producer of pecans and they all come from Jimenez.
At the well “Ojo de Dolores” we had to pay an admission fee of 10 MXN each. I did not have money with me, though Felipe paid for me. I had left all my important things at my host’s home: My passport, my smartphone etc, because I did not know how save it would be at such a place even in the car. Hector did not enjoy the water, but took photos and videos.
Afterwards we did go for breakfast. We had gorditas at a restaurant. They had no sweet fillings, but more like tacos. Then it was time to go home and have a shower. I could not get hot water, though I showered quickly. Before we picked up a girlfriend to my hosts, Felipe tried to help me to buy a bus ticket online, but it was only possible with two of the Mexican banks as well as they did some work – they tried to get paid from people, who had depths at their shop. Mostly they got their money. Some told them, that they have to come some days later. While we were around in the town and even in the outskirts (the town is small) I have seen two man on horses, one man with a horse and simple carriage and furthermore a man with a donkey.
Together with the girlfriend we had lunch at another restaurant. Hector and Felipe were very concerned about to let me taste traditional Mexican food. They ordered en soup, called “menudos”. It was cooked of pork – the fattest and cheapest parts ever and therefore very fat. The taste of the soup was OK, but I could not eat it for the fat, even I really tried. Both were very understanding about the issue.
We continued then downtown, where the fiesta for Benito Juarez (he was born 21st March) in combination with the celebration for the spring was ongoing. Youth did show their talents. They were singing and dancing.
Unfortunately we did only stay there for a short while and drive to a road outside the town. At one side of this road were a lot of barbecues and benches. It seemed to me, that my hosts were looking for someone there, but did not find him. Finally we were going to the supermarket, where they were looking for a USB cable, but they did not find the kind of they were looking for. They bought dog food and ice cream instead and went back home, where they left me, but were going out one more time. I used the time to update my blog a little more before I was going to bed.
18th March 2018
I awoke already at 6:45am and dressed after had taken my medicine. This morning Hector and Felipe served a really big breakfast with homemade tortillas by Hector. Afterwards we went to the flea market and they told me, that it is hold every Sunday. On the flea market also food and drinks were sold, e.g. agua de Horchata. We continued to the old train station, which was not in use anymore. Here Felipe told me the sad history: Many years ago an accident happened with two trains – they collided. Almost one had cars filled with gas. By an explosion a fire was breaking out. Many people from the town run to the train station to see, what happened and a new explosion was a fact (not for the interested people, of course 😉). Most of this people died in the explosion.
Before they left me at the bus station, they remembered, that they have not shown the “pampas” for me, but there was no time left to do it. At the bus station I had to wait until the bus arrived, before I was allowed to buy a ticket. The ticket to my next destination Torréon was for 370 MXN – officially a three hours ride. The guys took good-bye at the bus.
Even this bus had wi-fi, though I wrote my blog at the bus. Anyway I had a look from time to time out of the window. Most of the time I have seen lowland – desert, but there were even low mountains in the far distance.
To read about my arrival and my stay in Torrėon, please follow the link to Coahuila.