Valle de Juarez

This is the leather shop where I bought my new phone’s leather case.

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The place is actually more of a saddleshop.

Here is a close up of just one of the saddles they make.

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Believe it or not, this is one of their more ordinary saddles. They also make saddles that are all tuned out with fine silverwork and more elaborately worked leather.

It’s extraordinary that this small shop not just retails but also makes everything they sell.

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The entire shop is no larger than maybe 1000 sf yet they manage to do so much with so little.

The proprietor is a veterinary doctor and out back is a vast area that contains stables, horses, memorabilia like ancient bridles and old photos from ages past.

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The town of Valle de Juarez sits like an apparition 8 km. off the main highway to Colima. It has an enormous lake in the foreground and the town itself climbs the mountain that forms the background.

Because of its altitude, it’s cold there. We didn’t arrive there until shortly after 5 pm but still everything was closed up in spite of the fact that it was a Friday. There was no traffic to speak of and the plaza was mostly empty.

We parked and walked several blocks marveling at how clean and pretty the streets and houses were. We finally came upon an open shop selling the town’s most famous product, longaniza; a long skinny sausage that you can purchase spicy, mild, dry, or wet.

I ended up buying a 1.2 kilos of the stuff for the ridiculously affordable price of 100 pesos ($5.00). So yesterday I made 36 meatballs which took me the better part of an hour to do. I cooked them as well before refrigerating them and will add them to various dishes over the next several days.

Longaniza is interesting in that you never buy them refrigerated. They hang in ropes over metal racks for perhaps days on end, I’ll never know. The shop where I bought mine had hundreds of such ropes of sausages hanging in the open air to dry? To ferment? Again, something I’ll probably never know.

PS – Valle de Juarez – pretty as it is – has no foreign tourist trade. It is just too far from anything else of interest. But it is preciously and interesting old school Mexico. It is a beautiful place I’ve been to before and hope to go there again.

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