This pretty little puebla sits 9 km off Highway 110 – the road to Colima – and is just 40 km south of where I live in Sahuayo, Michoacán. And has not, as I discovered yesterday, direct bus service. But no matter how inaccessible, I just had to visit it.

I’ve ridden by it several times on my way back and forth to Mazamitla and have seen it glimmering off in the distance where it appears to sit at the end of a solitary road before majestically rising up a mountainside with this jewel of a lovely blue lake laying at its feet.

The view looking back in the direction of the highway.

The view looking north back in the direction of Hwy 110.

An artfully camouflaged 30 yr old parrot unwittingly hanging with more diminutive and less intelligent companions.

After my long trudge into town I was in need of sustenance. The cop standing watch over the empty plaza recommended the Restaurant and Bar, El Troquero. I got a nice little fillet of fish that came with rice and a salad.

The place has both indoor and outdoor seating and comes complete with an unpretentious charm and loads of ambiance.

Botanas - snacks and salsas that are served before the entrée.

Botanas – snacks and salsas that are served before the entrée.

More restaurant photos:

Old family photos

Old family photos

That fearful old rascal, Pancho Villa (right) with one of his generals.

That fearful old rascal, Pancho Villa (right) with one of his generals.

IMG_2750

A colorful Botero reproduction.

The town of Valle de Juarez actually sits a few kilometers inside the neighboring state of Jalisco. It is a few hundred meters higher in elevation than Sahuayo and the local residents are justifiably proud of their fresh clean air.

Classic

A working classic.

Valle de Juarez is an undiscovered little secret gem of a place rivaling nearby – in my opinion – the more heralded Puebla Mágico, Mazamitla. This contradicts what I was told, namely that Valle was a tourist mecca; and that it got a bunch of retired American and Canadian visitors every winter.

I thought about that. Like here it was mid-October and I saw no evidence of anything even remotely smelling of a sustainable tourist driven economy. And there certainly wasn’t even the merest hint of outposts supplying those whiny northern neighbor creature comforts.

They say the town has a small dairy and cheese-making industry but that anything of any consequence is purchased in Sahuayo. Which includes visits to our Mercado for meats, vegetables, produce, plastic goods, clothing and whatnot.

Which leads me to believe that the one resident’s boast of popular foreign tourism was just that, a boast. Why? Because those phantom winter tourists would also be also forced to do their significant shopping in Sahuayo. And from my experience the only tourists we get are returning locals from the US who are back to visit family for their annual holiday.

And I mean come on, really. Not even the Japanese visit here; and they’re all over most places like white on rice. (Was that racist?) So no Japanese tour bus presence must be the one true leading indicator for just how untouristy this entire region really is.

A partially exposed adobe brick wall.

A partially exposed adobe brick wall.

And I for one am thankful for that comfortably uncrowded perspective from which to admire so much beauty.

PS – As it turns out you can get motorized transport to Valle de Juarez from Mazamitla. It is counter-intuitive that you have to go considerably further west to pick up a back road that runs easterly back into Valle. And that appears to be an experiential thing as neither the bus company or the bus driver knew that.

PPS – And you’re dying to know if I poured that Coke into that glass over those ice cubes; a definite no-no in all the guide books. And the answer is yes I did; my internal fauna is now totally Mexican.

I wish that I could present evidence of that – being part Mexican – in my visit next week to their consulate when I apply for resident’s status.

Being part Mexican could I qualify for citizenship? Are there any legal precedents?

All useful thoughts.

Or not.

 

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