A little over an hour, and two buses, north and west of Taxco is the town of Teloloapan, where mi amiga ,Vanessa, lived when she first came to Mexico.
We went for a special event and stayed with Pedro and Bonfilla (hope that’s spelled correctly) and their family, whom Vanessa had gotten to know in the States.
The family runs a tienda, a little neighborhood store, high on a hillside overlooking town, though not quite as high as his parents’ house which has a fabulous view of the city.
They literally live “above the store,” which is only a few steps from the open door to their living room. Rather than having to sit and “man the store”, this arrangement allows them to be doing something in the living or kitchen area and still hear and greet customers as they come in.
Like a PDQ, they sell a little of everything — things one might need immediately, avoiding a time consuming trip to the big market downtown. Children come in for candy or snacks and are often sent to get milk, cheese, or Coke for the meal while mama is cooking.
The day starts early as, each morning, neighborhood women bring their corn to be ground into masa so they can make fresh tortillas for the day’s meals.
The family, their parents, and even neighbors up the street, hosted a house full of company from other towns, far and wide. Everyone congregated at their house for a simple dinner of beans and hot homemade tortillas with fresh salsa roja (red) and, of course, Coca (Cola.) We laughed, we talked, we shared photos of family — a good time was had by all. Every bed in the house, and even makeshift pallets on the floor provided a good night’s rest.
Making breakfast the following morning proved to be a bit of a challenge as we discovered that we had run out of gas for cooking and heating water. Being Sunday and not being able to get more until Monday, cooking was done the old fashioned way — over an open fire.
An overhang in the yard protects the cooking area from rain and the relentless sun. A big pot of corn boiled away in the corner (to be ground into masa later), water was heated for baths (aka bucket showers) in the other, and in between tortillas were made (even we gingos got in on the act) and a pan of hot coals cooked other breakfast items — huevos (eggs), frijoles (beans), salsa, and a huge pot of calabasa (squash).
Cooked slowly with piloncillo, cones of natural brown sugar, the squash turns into a delectable, mouth watering treat, to be served, sometimes with milk, for breakfast or as a snack or desert. MMMMMMM!
After breakfast, we all piled into the car and drove to the assembly grounds, where an old quarry site was transformed for the day with the aid of a makeshift tent, made out of corn and flour sacks, which provided much needed shade from the hot sun. I loved watching the wind ripple through the floating panels to the end where, with a poof, it escaped once more to the open air. Almost as interesting as cloud watching.
I am always amazed at the resourcefulness of the people here; nothing useful ever goes to waste.