We made it to Chihuahua after a short bus ride from Creel. Although the largest city we’ve been to so far in Mexico, Chihuahua felt immediately comfortable for us as upon our arrival at our host’s home we were told; “bueno, es tu casa.” We immediately got to touring the city with our hosts, Martha and her family, before going out for fantastic Mexican food, ensuring that we had the special dishes of Chihuahua – beef and tortilla soup. After dinner they gave us a walking tour of downtown Chihuahua where we met the the “Jedi Angel”, a statue of an angel in the town square that has a green laser sword…the first of many star wars references to be made around the world.
Later we hung out with Martha’s friends at a really cool local bar called La Roca where we had out first and last cerveza michilata. Turns out a lot of Mexican’s don’t like the taste of regular cerveza so they’ve learned to improve it…with crushed chili’s, salsa and salt. We poured in the cerveza, toasted and… well I don’t know what we were expecting, but woah. From now on regular cerveza for us.
The following morning, after a fantastic breakfast, we headed to the center with Marta as our tour guide where we met up with our friend Severine (whom we met en route to Creel and who we have continued to travel). We toured around a bit before heading back home (with Severine) for a very large lunch as it is tradition in Mexican households for a big, late lunch rather than a big early dinner. We ate our fill and just stayed put talking in Spanish for hours, finally we left to go to the city´s miradores where we drove up the side of the mountains mountains surrounding and in the middle of the city to gaze at the world.
Chihuahua is the center of Mexican independence and culture of north Mexican. It seems that Chihuahua is also the “cowboy” state in Mexico. Everywhere we went there were cowboys, or faux cowboys. After seeing one in pink boots and a flamingo pink shirt Jill asked Marta if she knew the word “metrosexual”. Martha laughed and said, “of course.” Turns out American culture exports itself rather quickly. The “special” display of cowboy boots in various colors (magenta for men, tiger print for men, etc…) amused us to no end.
We spent our last day in Chihuahua touring more of the city, going to the Las Grutas (the caves), and hitting the zoo where we were able to get far closer to the animals than in the US. For example, standing in front of the golden eagle cage one bird decided that he didn’t like Alvarro (our host padre) very much and swooped across the cage towards us, getting a talon through the cage and getting a stranglehold on Alvarro’s shirt. I would have taken a photo but I was too busy pulling the shirt away from the eagle’s talon. I’ve never looked into the eyes of a raptor before, only inches away while playing tug of war, and I never want to do it again.
Until we’d arrived in Chihuahua we hadn’t seen any signs of the drug related violence that has gripped US newscasts lately. Chihuahua has seen its share however and while the people have not let it drastically affect their lifestyles but they do certainly feel the pinch. The most direct evidence of this that we saw was actually at the zoo where there were two extra lions, confiscated from a drug dealer during his arrest only 2 weeks prior.
Hopefully it is clear by now that the best part of Chihuahua for us was our hosts. In case you’re wondering,we decided to cook them some frittata and a super secret really yummy dessert (thanks for the recipe Mom!) that we have come to love. In the end, we didn’t get to have an extended stay in Chihuahua but we certainly saw everything there was to see and had an absolutely fabulous time.