California Painter, Photographer, Jewelry Designer, Treasure Hunter, and (above all) Travel Fanatic
Friday, April 12, 2013
All Leather in the Pristine Town of Naolinco, Veracruz
We spent the night on Wednesday in Naolinco, Veracruz, and I didn't want to miss writing about this gem of a town tucked in the mountains. Naolinco is known for its leather goods, where they produce custom handmade shoes, boots, sandals, handbags, wallets, jackets and more for distribution all over Mexico.
You won't find shops selling jewelry, textiles, or chachara of any other kind here. It's ALL leather, handmade, using many different colors and exotic skins such as snake, crocodile, and stingray. The boots are sold at incredibly low prices compared to what you would pay at a store in the states (directly from the shoemakers, as low as $30 usd per pair for gorgeous cowboy boots).
But beyond the leather, the other thing that inspired me about this town was its immaculate, quiet streets, charming houses, low traffic, and relaxed atmosphere.
Windows and doors are left open, lending the strolling onlooker a glimpse inside the life of the inhabitants here. Religious art seemed popular, be the house small,
or more grand.
Unassuming facades gave way to lush courtyards.
And the houses were painted a variety of brilliant colors, reminiscent of Guanajuato.
Throughout the town, you could see men leading burros, delivering water.
We discovered that just at the edge of town you can find the water station,
with the burros resting nearby, waiting for their next job to deliver water to the town!
Walking through the town, we discovered a blacksmith shop run by a man named Guillermo Garcia Munoz.
As is so often the case in Mexico, we were intrigued by the entrance to the shop, and an onlooker from across the street came over and talked to us about Senor Garcia, and encouraged us to go in and talk with at him.
Garcia has been making hoes and agricultural tools for his community since he was a boy, and at the age of 80, he still swings a mean hammer! Here Eduardo looks on as he works on a hoe.
Using primitive tools, he is still thriving and taking pride in his work, doing a job that he loves. We should all be so lucky. Inspirational!
There was a photo exhibit in his honor in the entrance to his shop, and I especially loved this photo of him as a young man.
And speaking of young men, on the way out of Naolinco I spotted these fellows painting stripes on a speed bump, in between passing traffic.
At first I just found this funny, because the cars roll over the paint while it's still wet. But as I was posting this photo, I realized they are really doing their community a great service. Anyone who has driven in Mexico on the free roads (libre) know that they are filled with these speed bumps, called topes, which are sometimes SO hard to spot that you hit them at breakneck speed. These guys are warning us about the topes! Next time I will be sure to have my pesos ready in great thanks to them for their effort.
Today is Friday, so hang it there everyone because the weekend is almost here! Send you all my best wishes for a great day.