Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Alamos, Sonora, Mexico




Buenos dias!!
It is a gorgeous day here, cool right now in the morning, but definitely destined for the upper eighties a little later. But it's breezy, and that cuts down on the heat, so absolutely perfect weather.

If you have been following the blog you may know that I have been blogging now since 2007, when we left our home in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

If you are new to the blog, Bienvenidos!

I am going to spend a little time telling you about Alamos, in this post.

Alamos is located in the southern part of the Mexican state of Sonora.
Approximately 475 miles from Tucson, Arizona, and about 65 miles inland from the Sea of Cortes (Gulf of California), Alamos, is nestled in a semi tropical valley at about 1,450 feet in altitude.

The environment of Alamos is unique in that it is a bio region where tropical plants intermingle with the plants of the desert, especially, the deciduous thorn forest.

Founded in 1684,by New Spain explorers, Alamos was once a north-south Indian trade route and later became a mecca center for Spanish exploration.

In 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza came north to Alamos, and recruited 30 Alamos citizens to join his army which then continued north with riches of freshly mined silver to settle San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Monterrey and later, Los Angeles.

By the late 1700's, Alamos was the richest city in Sonora and it was producing more silver than any other town in New Spain, with a population of almost 30,000.

The unique architecture of the city contained  many details of Moorish, Spanish and Grecian design and wealthy Spanish mining merchants and landowners brought to their large mansions flat roofs, blocks of room surrounded by a solid wall, thick adobe walls and recessed windows. They also included central portals that surrounded fountains and gardens. Arches, beams, and columns were created in Spanish colonial style while Grecian cornices or molds were added. 
Moorish details included intricate ornamentation. 

But with the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900's came the quick demise of the city.
 The beautiful old mansions fell into ruin and people deserted the town. 
It became a ghost town.

In the 1940's an American came to Alamos from the mid west United States and charmed by the city and its location purchased several of the old 'ruin' mansions.

He then invited friends and acquaintances of his to visit his homes and also experience the magic of Alamos.
Many of them also bought properties and restored them.

It is these early American visitors and home buyers who spear headed the revival of Alamos and the promotion of it as a tourist destination.

Today the people of Alamos include families of Spanish descent that go back to the 16th century, the indigenous Mayo Indians, and Mestizos ( mixed Spanish and Indian blood which probably count for more than 70% of the population) and a small group of extranjeros (foreigners).

Around 200 foreigners own property in Alamos and many come to their homes in October and stay until April, taking leave before the summer heat sets in.
In the summer there are only around 40 foreigners who remain in Alamos.

Depending upon which office one visits in the Palacio, it would be learned that around 15,000 people inhabit Alamos, but some will say that includes the entire municipality which is over 30 miles in circumference.
Around 1,000 of these are school age children and most attend school.
There are kindergartens, primaries, secondary schools and a high school.
Tourism, agriculture, construction and mining are the main employers.

There are around 30 barrio neighborhoods in Alamos and while they all seem to run together and you will not see lines of separation, each one is unique, each one is a family of neighbors.

Alamos is a Pueblo Magico which gives it a very serious and valued status in Mexico.
It  receives money from both the State and Federal districts to maintain its beauty and its ability to attract tourists.

The main tourists in Alamos are Mexicanos who come to see this Pueblo Magico.
They come for a celebration, a tradition or festival or wedding or just to walk along the Plaza.
 Alamos has been the location for many films and tele novela soap operas and it draws tourists for that reason as well.

Throughout the year, a tour bus arrives each Tuesday from Arizona, bringing foreign tourists, most of them American and Canadian, for an overnight stay.
Some decide to return and stay a little longer.

During  Christmas, Semana Santa and the summer school holidays visiting families crowd both the Plaza de Armas and the Alameda.
 Street vendor booths are filled to capacity and one can buy everything from hats and clothes to nuts and cotton candy.


The architecture of Alamos draws many tourists and Alamos is also known as the 'City of Portals'. Many of these portals can be seen in the Pueblo.

In addition to discovering the beauty of old architecture, once here people find this is a birding mecca, a city of cultural tours, an outstanding area for ecotourism, with spelunking being one of the most popular sports. Biking, both road and mountain is very popular, dove hunting, river float trips, horseback riding and ecology tours are only a few of the things to do once in Alamos.

Alamos is also very centrally located and is not far from Los Mochis where you can catch the train to the Copper Canyon.
Several beautiful sun drenched beaches are within easy driving distance and smaller Pueblos with  their own celebrations are easily accessed.

Culturally, Alamos is superior for its size, hosting the annual Alphonso Ortiz Tirado Music Festival, and a Pueblo Magico summer event among many others.
 It has an outstanding Museum, El Museo Costumbrista, one of the best in the state of Sonora and a wonderful cultural center, Casa de La Cultura, where students come to study music, theater and arts.
A community center on the Plaza de Armas, the Boors Center, features classes in culinary arts and education for adult women.
These are only a few of the cultural opportunities in Alamos.

Alamos is also a wedding destination for people around the world with its baroque designed church, Iglesia Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion, and beautiful hotels that offer unique reception rooms.

There are parades in Alamos to celebrate anything you can think of and a few of the largest celebrations are Day of Kings, the Alphonso Ortiz Tirado Music Festival, Carnival, Viernes de Dolores, Semana Santa, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Day of the Dead, Festival de Patronales and the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Revolucion. 
Traditions blending Indian and Christian beliefs can be seen through out the year as well.


A view from El Mirador, looking to the west. This is the El Centro district that surrounds the Church Plaza and is the oldest, historic neighborhood in the Pueblo. 
These children are walking through the deciduous thorn forest. When the monsoon rains come in June, June 24 being the official day, everything will turn emerald green and there will be very little room on this pathway for walking.



In this parade photo you can see why Alamos is also called the City of Portals. A portal is an area inside or outside a house that is under a cover or roof supported by columns and beams. The portal provides an area of sun protection and an outdoor living space which is essential in hot climates. 

Calle Obregon, at the end of a parade, the horses and their riders in white hats, always bring up the rear of the parade. Parents go to parades to see their children walk in uniform with their school and everyone else goes to see the horses and caballeros.

Beautiful ornate iron work can be seen all over the Pueblo.



Calle Chihuahua in Colonia Colorada. El Mirador is on top of the hill in the background.

Calle Mina and another beautiful example of an arched portal on the right.

Calle Juarez, in El Centro, with the tower of the Palacio, the government building in the left background.

The Palacio, the office of the Pueblo President is here and all of the government business is presided over in this building.

Calle Obregon and another beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture.

Many of the streets of Alamos have now been paved with concrete, but quite a few cobblestone streets remain. This callejon runs along side the Palacio to a stairway that leads up hill to Loma Guadalupe.

Calle Commercio, one of many streets laid out in a typical Spanish grid that surrounds the church.  Many of these streets are said to have tunnels beneath them that lead to areas beneath the church.  

Cobblestone section of Calle  Commercio

The church and Plaza de Armas


Callejon de Beso connects the Plaza de Armas and the Plaza Alameda,. Also known as the 'Kissing Alley' 

The gazebo in the Plaza.

The Alameda, or working Plaza, early in the morning before the street vendors have set up their stalls.

Alameda

Alameda

The gazebo in the Alameda.

The Mercado, or indoor market, located across from the Alameda.

Horse stalls in Barrio El Barranco.

Calle Madero, a wonderful blend of Spanish architecture.

Calle Madero leads to the Plaza de Armas.

Madero as it leads one in or out of town. Facing west, toward Mt Cacharamba. 

Calle Campoy, another cobblestone street in Colonia La Colorada.

Calle Durango in La Colorada

Calle Durango

Sunrise in El Barranco

Iron work at the Palacio

More beautiful iron work


Old bricks mix with newer

More elegant iron work


One of many beautiful old stone walls in Alamos.


And look, here we are back to my street, Calle Durango, in La Colorada and my wall is on the right. 

So, that is my little tour of Alamos and I think you can see some of the reasons we live here.

 But there is so much more to it than what you see and read here.

 It is a friendly, welcoming community.
When you pass people on the street they look at you, they smile, they say hello.
They make you feel like you belong here, even if you just got off the bus this morning and they have never seen you before.

Each year we see more cars and more people, the Pueblo seems to spread a little farther, and the music is a little louder, but Alamos still has a mysterious tranquility to it and it feels like home.
It is home.

Watch for my next post.
 I am going to tell you how we found Alamos.

A little PS here for you:
Some of my information came from the Hamma/McGee collection of Alamos Guidebooks,
Alamos, Sonora by John Messina
The Palacio
The Alamos History Association Research Library newspaper clippings
Adios! Linda Lou

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Finished Room

Buenos Dias!!
Beautiful day here, breezy, sunny, very nice and very quiet for a Saturday.

I am going to give you a quick update on the casa and show you some photos.

The utility room has its floor and baseboards, painted walls and shelves.

The room in the photo below is the bathroom and they are working on it now, and behind it, is the utility room. 

As soon as the floor is done I will paint the bathroom, but it is far from being completed as Senor has a major tiling plan in mind. 
I am staying out of that now that I have my niches.





Below Marcello is laying the acid stained cement tiles I have been making.
Behind him is the room that will be the master bedroom. 
When he and Rosario are not laying tiles they have been taking down the old plaster in that room.

I am busy filling up the shelves that they have put up.


 The room below is where they are removing the plaster.
 It is a mess.
But the old adobe bricks are sure beautiful.
Rosario says they are very very old adobe bricks.


So, it is interesting to say this..............we have a finished room.
What do you think.............
I have to run and go down to the bookstore before Senor leaves to play bridge, so hope you are having a great day and when you look at your house and your lovely finished rooms, be thankful!!!!
I know I am for just this one!!!
Que le vaya bien!
Linda Lou

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Beautiful Project


Buenas tardes!
Just going to show you a few pictures and give you a quick update on the project.
First, is this what it has come to? To be called a project?
 I don't know why I said that.
A project, it sounds like something like something I should be doing for science class.

Well, it almost is just that, something for science class.
If you recall we made these huge concrete slabs and broke them apart and I have spent time acid staining the pieces, some of which are small and others medium and then, some are quite large.

If you have never acid stained, then you should. Everyone should, at least once in their lives.
It is an incredibly artistic and scientific process.

We buy our acid stain in Phoenix, several different colors and then we mix it according to a formula of colors that we have worked out.

I have a work area in the back yard, away from all the plants and with foam brushes, I coat the concrete pieces in layers and drops and streaks and rubs.

The acid stain bubbles and smokes and actually creates its own patterns.
Then the pieces all get layered with polyurethene.

It is pretty unique.
You just cannot drop it on your shoe or a shirt or get it on your fingers.
I have.
Believe me.
It really is acid.

So, finally we have begun to install the floor.
It is not grouted yet, and not cleaned so these pictures really are not showing you how beautiful this floor will look, but I thought you might like to see how it looks in its beginning stages.
Senor has chosen to mix his own grout using an almost black paint powder.

He will start the grouting next week.

The concrete slab beneath the window is where the counter and sink will go.
 He had to change all of the plumbing and the electricity after I decided to put this counter in a different location.
I think it will look really nice beneath the window, don't you?



Well, that is about it for now.
This is a beautiful project.
Que le vaya bien!
linda lou