My friend, Clemente invited me yesterday to visit an old friend of his who lives way out in the country. In fact it was so far out off the main road it was surprising they had electricity.
After a long bumpy ride over some incredibly uneven dirt roads – which made holding our cups of mezcal difficult – we finally arrived to find no one home.
The house was locked up with chains passed through holes in the both sets of doors secured with padlocks. Clemente whistled a farmhand over who dutifully hunted down a hammer and knocked one of the padlocks free.
I laughed thinking these people and Clemente must be great friends for him to break into their house like that.
We went inside where it was much cooler than the outside. Adobe has that effect. The hacienda according to Clemente was at least 200 years old and it was obvious to see that the house was constructed in the old Spanish hacienda style; meaning that the huge house was constructed around a central courtyard.
The decorations – or should I say, the preservation of artifacts – that lined the walls were nothing short of breathtaking.
Take the kitchen for example. Who has a kitchen like this?
Everything – with possible exception of some of the plastic containers and a couple of the chairs – was handmade. Some of them I suspect are as old as the hacienda itself.
Centered around the edges of the courtyard was a small table and then a large table. The large table must have been 20 feet long. It didn’t have chairs like the small table but instead had two long benches that spanned either side.
That 15 liter mezcal bottle sitting on the long table in the foreground was so old that Clemente wouldn’t even hazard a guess to its age.
One of the collection of objects hanging on the wall were some short arrows that were so old they didn’t have metal points.
The fletchettes – called such because they are maybe too short to be called arrows – ranged with tips varying from different types of chipped sharpened stones to obsidian. Do you notice the bright clear colors of some of the feathers? Amazing.
Look at some of these handpainted plates and bowls.
The house was positively filled with old memorabilia.
This is a photo of Clemente’s father’s friend and his new bride. She’s lovely isn’t she?
An ancient cupboard still in use. Do you see the molcajete?
I wished the owners would have been home because there were so many questions I would have like to have asked. Like how old is this painting of the man on the horse? I’m guessing 1920 or so. About the time of the Mexican Revolution. (And just who is that man anyway?)
And what is the story behind this handcarved courtyard bull? It appears to be a child’s rocking horse, albeit muy hombre, judging from the almost life sized male member.
PS – Those open doors in the photo leads to bedrooms. The living area is the courtyard with exception of the coldest days when the family then congregates in the kitchen around the stove.
BTW – Clemente and I spent a couple of hours in the house. He had brought some sun dried beef and a bunch of vegetables which he prepared into a fine meal while we waited for the owners who never showed up.
I’ll remember yesterday for the rest of my life. Breaking into the house. The intimate tour of an ancient hacienda that seemed more of a museum than it did a house. And of course, eating another one of Clemente’s fine meals.