Mining for Silver

The tourist is part of the landscape of our civilisation, as the pilgrim was in the Middle Ages. — V.S. Pritchett, The Spanish Temper (1954)

Thursday 15th – Jueves 15a

20130816-160432.jpgToday we went on a grand expedition – a long coach trip into the mountains, partly on winding roads of the sort that require the taking of multiple travel sickness tablets. At the other end we found ourselves in Taxco, a town built on the silver trade.

Our first stop was a silver mine and shop just outside the town, where we were taught all about silver – how it’s mined, where it’s refined, and, most importantly, how to tell real silver from the silvery alloys that some of the more unscrupulous traders try to sell to tourists.

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Obviously, we also spent some time in the shop. Some people wanted their silver engraved, and since this would only take “5 minutes, Mexican time”, we left them to pick up on the way back.

In the main part of Taxco, we were dropped off at the bottom of the hill and walked up to the zocalo. The streets were somewhat winding, and narrow. I was quite glad that they seemed to be (mostly) one way.

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It was very picturesque. We went in a cathedral, where a lovely man wanted to give us a tour. He was quite insistent, and it took us a while to get rid of him!

We spent the afternoon wandering around, looking at shops and craft things, and just watching life go by.

One of the things that made an impression on me was the difference between the inside and outside of many of the buildings. On the outside they are all rustic and Mexican. There are people wandering around with sixteen sobreros on their head and a handful of things to sell.

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On the inside they are all posh and shiny.

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After we were all done, we got back on the coach and wound our way back down the mountain to Our Cabaña.

Our evening session was La Fogata! Everybody’s favourite activity, involving fire, singing, and marshmallows. Quote of the evening was from Jen, one of the Cabaña volunteers.

Jen: If you guys don’t behave you won’t get marshmallows.

Everyone: *sound of indrawn breath*

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