Sitting on the plaza, sun to my back. Morning air was just beginning to get warm. The day started chilly, as usual, but by ten it was absolutely perfect sitting outside listening to clusters of conversation and children laughing. From across the plaza came pan pipe music. Could any morning be better?
Cinda and I have walked almost every road in Alamos. Many have concrete pavers, but the cobblestone ones are killer. I’ve done them and even climbed through rocky washes. We’ve seen more of the town than most locals.
Days have drifted into a beautiful pattern. Coffee, light breakfast, lots of walking. Stop for coffee and/or lunch. Walk. Listen to street music or watch street events or head to the cathedral for a concert. Walk. Dinner or snacks followed by street music or simply returning to the house we’re staying in.
Today was different, though, because we went on a tour of mansions.
The houses were huge. Massive. One had 7,000 square feet of house and another 3,000 feet under roof outdoors. The outdoor living room was approximately 42 feet by 28 feet. Each room had a fireplace, the only heat. Pool. Views.
One house had a staff of seven to keep the place functioning. I figured that the others needed a minimum of four but likely had more.
My favorite bathroom was quite large. A wall split the room into two parts. Each side had a closet about ten feet long. Against the common wall were back-to-back toilets and large showers with views out onto a private patio. The broad counters and backsplashes of the sinks were tiled, as were the curved, walk-in showers. In addition, one side held a lady’s soaking tub, tiled, again with views into the patio.
The house with the fabulous bath had four other full baths and one half bath that I saw. And an outdoor shower by the pool. Who knows? I suppose there could have been more. No photos allowed, so I can’t pass them on.
The kitchens in each of the four houses were large enough to accommodate a staff of three or four to prepare a meal for thirty. The dining rooms had formal seating for ten to twelve, and of course the huge patio spaces could be set up to accommodate dinner for the aforementioned thirty.
One home had a large entry topped by a dome with a brick ceiling. The patio had all the appropriate arches draped in bougainvillea with views of the mountains beyond. It was stunning.
I loved this tour. I have never been in such homes, seen such furnishings. But as much as I loved it, I have to say one thing: some people have entirely too much money.
Am I jealous? Envious? No. There is no way I want to have all of that. I don’t want to be responsible for maintaining such a size nor employing a staff of seven. I wondered, too, what the staff salaries were. Wages for such work in Mexico is often about $15 a day. I certainly couldn’t ask someone to work in luxury like I saw and then offer such wages. And on the other side, what would it feel like to work in such a place and then go home with wages so minimal?
Now, I don’t know if that’s the case for these households and these workers. These workers may receive a very fair wage. But that whole idea of the poor working to care for the very rich and their belongings is abhorrent to me.
When we left the last house, just like the help, we walked back into town. Cinda and others headed to the cathedral for music while I went to the tourism area for a painting class. When the instructor finally arrived (late) and pulled out the paints and easels, I realized it was a class for children. I asked if I could join, but he had limited supplies and wanted the kids to have access to what they wanted, which I understood.
Barred from painting, I dashed back across the street and slid into a seat near Cinda just a little while before the program began. Violin and piano. Yum.
More walking, beer and guacamole, more walking, a cup of elote. Elote in a cup is corn off the cob with butter, cheese, and lime. Then we wandered the market area a bit and walked home.
Could I live here? You bet. In a heartbeat (except for summer!). Lots of good people, lots of good food, lots of wonderful places to walk. One woman told me about someone who came to town and complained that there was no theater, there was no gym, and there was no whatever else she wanted. They suggested she move to Tucson.
I am quite accustomed to no gym and no theater. The only gym necessary is the out-of-doors, and there’s plenty of that. Theater? Who needs it with birds galore including a variety of hummers and falcons, the trogon, and the jay magpie. We saw the magpies daily around 7 AM except for the last morning. Cinda figured they didn’t like to say goodbyes.
Wonderful description. My mother used to say that Alamos didn’t belong to Sonora anymore, that it should be Alamos, Winsconsin, since most of the large houses were owned by Americans.
The houses were there from the silver mining days, yes? Who built them? Large houses have always fascinated me … the waste, the conspicuous consumption. The fact that people think they have a god-given right to exploit resources. Twas ever thus. Those Alamos houses remain enthralling however. I loved seeing those spaces. Altho, I loved seeing and hearing the lonely cowboys at dawn, making their way on their horses up the cobblestone streets, the most.
Surely there’s more than enough room in those houses for the poor who work there to live there! And I bet the people who own those McMansions aren’t even there most of the time. I’m with you; it’s abhorrent. Same holds true around here. Two people in a house that could easily hold ten and still offer privacy!
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