Home to a history of turmoil, the rich and the famous, Chihuahua has many lovely buildings, parks, monuments and historic sites. Being the capital of the state of the same name, it tries very hard to be clean – there are trash cans everywhere and it’s the only place we’ve ever seen anyone mop a sidewalk.
Note: We didn’t see any little dogs running around as you might think. Actually there is no archaeological evidence that the breed originated there, but was probably brought from South America or by the Spaniards to Mexico. The only ones we saw were weirdly painted statues in the main square.
The two most famous sites to visit are Hidalgo’s prison and Poncho Villa’s home. Father Miguel Hidalgo started the War of Independence against Spain and ironically was imprisoned (and later executed by a firing squad) in the same building where he once studied religion. Francisco “Pancho” Villa was a bandit, Revolutionary War leader, and state governor and evidently only popular with the ladies. Twenty five (25) women claimed to be his “wife” after he was killed when several gunmen riddled his car with bullets. Poncho was riding around in typical Mexican fashion at the time of his assassination, as evidenced by the fact that 8 of the 12 people in the car were killed.
Chihuahua is also known for its cowboy boots, colorful markets and jeans (although the only jeans for women were the stretch kind – which Cynthia says are as attractive as sausage skin).
We were disappointed to find that Cinco De Mayo is a regional holiday celebrated only in Puebla commemorating a battle victory there. However, we did find a Mexican “beer garden”(4 Meg WMV file) (roofed but open-aired) – complete with DJ, dance floor, food, beer(cheap – about $2.40 for a liter) and shoe shine guys. After 5 weeks of trekking, Warren had his shoes shined – and to show that men are universally the same, both Warren and the shoe shine guy nearly got whiplash as several high-heeled, short-skirted girls walked by…
As we head to our final destination of El Paso, TX, we’ll leave you some final thoughts on Mexico:
* A Mexican who can’t whistle is like a car without a horn.
* When you ask for an English map, the sights of interest will also be translated into English – which means you’d better have a Spanish-English dictionary since you have to translate them back to Spanish when standing in front of what you hope is the right building.
* Much to Warren’s disgust even the lollipops are spicy hot.
* Mexicans seem to think limes go with everything – they even have lime flavored peanuts and lime flavored potato chips.
* No matter how small the denomination you carry, the cashier never seems to be able to make change – they will always ask you if you have something smaller, then look at you in disgust when you say no. (We have never had any Mexican refuse to take our money though, no matter how large the bill)
* Dirt floors and dirt yards must be swept.
* And finally…Mexico is more similar to the USA than many Americans might believe: beautiful cities, a burgeoning middle class and friendly people – most of whom do not speak a second language.
More pictures can be seen in our Chihuahua gallery
Good Bye Mexico, next stop El Paso, Texas