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  • Please WAIT! Then SCROLL DOWN for Dad's 2008 Road Trip: More Del Rio Feb 8-10.    [ Are you in this picture? ]
    Which way is Martin going? Maggie A Gentleman's Travel Notes.
    More Del Rio, Feb 8-10, '08.
    (MetalesM5, Murals at El Barrio San Felipe, Mariachi La Diferencia and big bass fishing.)

    (SAMPLE PHOTOS. Scroll down for complete photo set for this page.)
    Saturdays . . .
    Peace and Mexican Justice.
    Plaza, Centro Cultural, and . . .
    1998 flood wiped out homes . . .
    Dear Maggie,
    The MetalesM5 Mexican (classical) brass ensemble Friday evening
    got me into old town Del Rio, at a recycled movie house. Empty sidewalks. turn of the century commercial buildings, some abandoned. A different world from US90 West (Veterans Highway, old Avenue F), with its big merchandising, banks, Walmart, auto dealerships, and city offices. The center of life moved to the extremeties you could say. Happens all over, a wasteful urbanization that erases history, strangles culture, ruins local business, and leaves dead pockets of poverty behind. (I went back Saturday to see more.)

    MetalesM5 The old theater was well cared for, though isolated. Programs for dance classes and more. The MetalesM5 players were expert (symphony solists all), the music thoroughly eclectic, offered with a bouyant sense of humor, strong national flavor. Tonight was their premier North American engagement. I clapped and yipped along with the rest of the audience at the Mexican selections, standing up at the end for several encores. I'll play the CD for you. They have an attractive webpage my pokey aircard connection couldn't handle (flash) but yours can.

    Saturday AM egg bacon burrito at Carmelitas by the border and then a stop at the already active flea market. Two more zippered utility bags ($1 each) to help organize the cartop carrier, odd pieces of wonderful old silverware some sterling to enhance my Camp Barn service ($18 with a cow candelabra thrown in) and (the prize) a handwoven Native American table throw $12, which I am anxious to research. It looks Navajo, but then there are weavers in what's left of the Indian villages in South Texas. I saw them in El Paso.

    I skipped the museum, it was so sunny and nice out, found the plaza at the quiet Mexican barrio along a creek. San Felipe Del Rio, on the site of a pre-Columbian village with abundant water, became a settled community (the sign says) after frontier protection was assured (by the US) in the 1860's. An irrigation company was formed, promoting settlement by giving land along the creek as wages to its Mexican workers. Then the railroad came, and American development centered a mile away over by the tracks. Traditional village life continued here, kids schooled in Spanish. Consolidation with the mainstream school across the creek didn't happen till the sixties, an event much regretted, remembered in one of the murals on the plaza.

    CLICK for complete photos in this series. The plaza was a gathering place for the community, with a "kiosko" for musical concerts and political and social gatherings as well. Benches all around as now. Formal promenades were a custom. Travelers rested and cooked their food over charcoal fires. I imagined the atmosphere to be like the weekend flea markets I've enjoyed, lots of folks gathering with music and food. The old corner building was a bar that continued business into prohibition days.

    I chatted with a Mexican who contributed the Mary and other parts to the older of two large murals here. Painted on several ordinary sheets of plywood, as a screen between two old buildings, it blew down a few days ago in the 30mph wind I experienced on the bridge to Aucuna, and shows wear. I asked him to explain what events were depicted. (L to R) War, first of all, Mexican War, Vietnam, mourning, praying, Purple Heart. Then religious life, Mary, the church. Worker rights, the farm workers flag along with that of Mexico, a farmer and an activist by scales of native Justice showing equality, words from a speech of the President of Mexico concerning respect for the rights of all to live in peace. Lastly, American justice, a lineup of accused persons, hands tied behind their backs before a fierce judge, American flag, scales of justice weighed down with money.

    At the Centro Culural across the plaza I walked through an art show into a large activity room, art, pottery, a kitchen, where a mariachi group was having a practice session. Twenty or so young people, some of them, I learned, second and third generation Mariachi. The lead violin and trumpet were fine, others learning. The singer was perfect, her voice specially suited to the emotional style. I clapped and yipped at the right times, the sole audience until a restaurant owner came by to listen, maybe arrange for them to play at his place.

    CLICK for complete photos in this series. A new mural on the side of the building shows religion, family, the barrio, aztech symbols and the '98 flood that wiped out all the old houses (mud huts I guess they were) along the creek from the old days. The Mexican I met earlier told me about that, pointing to a spot eight feet up on the building to show how high the waters came. He wasn't there to explain the symbolism of the interesting Aztech design.

    I spent a couple of hours altogether around the San Felipe plaza. At one time a complete village, the lone grocery was closed down. I saw an old lady pushing a shopping cart from a market somewhere on the other side of the creek. Others seemed to be walking home from the same direction. I found one business, a sleepy sort of gift shop with Spanish figures, maybe dolls, and other Spanish stuff all wrapped in plastic, like gift baskets. I walked in for a Cesar Chavez T-shirt for you ($8).

    Marge and TA had a totally different experience that morning. They were out 6AM for a well advertised bass fishing competition (fanfare!). These guys (all guys, it's a guy thing) come from all over with special boats, gigantic motors, and electronic gear to compete for prizes. We met an Alabaman at the restaurant in Aucuna, who knew about Plattsburgh, was there a while ago for a competition. The winners of this round (just $25K) get to go on for a million-dollar prize somewhere with big water next month. See some of the pictures they took. I (emphatic) was not there.

    For lunch, a pre-arranged Korean meal at a Chinese buffet, mandu kuk, kalbi, chap chae, kimchi and soju I brought. Delicious, worth the trouble, felt at home. The takeover Korean lady was pleased I liked her cooking. Warned me about the soju. Saw her later at a big table with all kinds of family she brought over. I packed mirin, shoyu and other stuff for my trip, ingredients for kalbi tang, my fave winter dish, but cooked it only once on the Keys for a dinner at the KOA with Scott. Had to adjust my meals to what was possible cooking outdoors on just a table often in a stiff breeze, and with limited refrigeration. I'll make you a pot when I get home. Simple, just kalbi (short ribs, you know) and daikon, finish with egg, add rice as you eat. Soju. Satisfying.

    Love XXX,
    Del Del Rio Postcript Feb 8-10.
    (CLICK on Photo Thumbnail for Full Size Image.)
    Centro Cultural, Barrio San Felipe
    Mariachi La Diferencia . . .
    . . . led by Jesus Brijalba . . .
    . . . meets for practice . . .
    Saturdays . . .
    at the Centro Cultural . .
    Many of these . . .
    . . . young people are third generation . . .
    Ernest booked them for his restaurant.
    La Plaza Brown
    Mexico-America social conflict.
    Peace and Mexican Justice.
    American justice.
    Plaza, Centro Cultural, and . . .
    . . . new mural. Religion
    Family, barrio.
    Spanish school, now consolidated.
    Water fun.
    Aztech motif.
    1998 flood wiped out homes . . .
    . . . 9 dead.
    Sunny plaza, benches . . .
    . . . and trees.
    Defunct grocery.
    Cesar Chavez shirt for Maggie.
    Mandu kuk, kalbi, chap chae, kimchi and soju.
    Bass fishing . . .
    . . is macho . . .
    . . . big money . . .
    . . . all American . . .
    . . . made for TV. (Photos by Marge)
    A Personal Potpourri. A Personal Potpourri.
    Old photos, letters, clippings, greeting cards and other stuff too precious to discard. A Personal Potpourri is your Adirondack Guide's eclectic photo and writing place for stuff that just doesn't fit elsewhere in Fourpeaks Adirondack Backcountry Camps webpages. CLICK HERE for more Personal Potpourri.  CLICK HERE to meet Your Adirondack Guide.

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