The former Casa Trias who welcomes us is one of the haciendas oldest in the city.
Not only. Its façade integrates the southeastern limit of the Plaza de Armas, the heart of Chihuahua.
Blessing it, as is supposed in any city with Hispanic colonial origins, the metropolitan cathedral, a majestic Catholic temple and, for centuries on end, towering, for some decades supplanted by the building of the Congress Information Unit.
Despite the architectural outrage, the cathedral preserves its function in the lives of Chihuahuas intact. The bells of the two twin towers mark time by time outside. With such determination that, next door, they serve us as unwanted alarm clocks.
Early in the morning, but with some lapse, due to the elevations to the east, the warm sunlight hits the top of the cathedral and recharges the city for the day ahead.
Piton's Emblematic Boots and the Shoeshineers Who Care for Them
Little by little, shoeshine men take up their posts around the garden in the heart of the square, ready to renew the shine of the python boots with the fact that, in addition to hats, jeans and shirts, a good part of the men in the region make up the looks of jeans traditional manly of northern mexican.
Chihuahua is, in fact, one of the main suppliers of this regional fashion. As soon as we leave the Plaza de Armas for the surrounding commercial streets, we see stores filled with these boots and hats, displayed and promoted like the idolized items they have become.
As python boots in particular, they are sold and used in a panoply of materials worthy of a vigorous ¡Ay Chihuahua.
We find them in leather, ostrich, crocodile, snake, anteater, armadillo, eel and blankets, among others.
Depending on the materials, the art used and, of course, the brand's reputation and solidity, prices can range from a few dozen to more than three thousand euros a pair.
The more highly regarded the models, the more the shoe shiners are committed to them.
Sometimes twenty minutes on end, enough for shoe owners to sit back, read half the newspaper and debate the topics of the day, the political scandals, the clashes between cartels and the repercussions of the other, more recent and viral, pandemic.
Chihuahua: a City Increasingly Mural in Mexico
We continue along Calle Guadalupe Victoria, out of the Plaza de Armas, towards Hidalgo, another "square" around a statue and garden, justified by the presence of the Government Palace.
We take a last look at the towers of the Metropolitan Cathedral. When we do, we unveil the first Chihuahua Chihuahua.
Instead of the real portable dog and shrill barking that conquered the world, his modernist painting, almost psychedelic, filling the entire facade of a yellowish building.
At the same time, one of the trenzites children that we are used to seeing in tourist villages in northern Mexico.
On both sides of the street, there is a succession of shops with a little bit of everything. Spaces, other disparate illustrations contribute to the ambition of the rulers to make Chihuahua a mural city that stands out from so many others in Mexico.
The next one we pass, in the shadow of a wall under a concrete slab, has the musical title “Qué Bonito is Chihuahua”. Promotes some of the state's attractions.
Minor villages, a waterfall that we interpret as that of Basaseachi, located in the Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), the second tallest in Mexico, at 246 meters.
In the center, an indigenous person from ethnicity predominant in the mountains and ravines of the state, Rarámuri plays the violin, as if to set the work of art to music.
By chance, when we examine her, two friends of the same ethnicity appear from down the street. They stop there, conversing in their own dialect, each one in a leafy, gaudy, long dress, rising almost to the base of the chin.
Tribute to Alfaro Siqueiros and the Pioneer Muralists
We proceed in reverse directions.
Further down the street, the murals are repeated: the “Muralist in Llamas” by Lizeth Garcia Portillo, shows an imprisoned painter. It is David Alfaro Siqueiros, pioneer of Mexican muralism, along with Diego de Rivera and José Clemente Orozco.
Throughout his life and work, David Siqueiros proved himself an anti-imperialist and anti-fascist, prodigious but fiery. He was accused of attempted murder of Leon Trotsky, for which he was imprisoned and exiled in Chile.
Upon his return to Mexico, he was sentenced to a few more years in prison, after all, the main and dramatic motif that had caught our attention, on the off-white wall.
Finally, the Calle Guadalupe Victoria leave us with the Gobierno Palace in front of.
When we enter it, we find a large mansion with three terraced floors, an immensity of arches opening onto a central courtyard tiled in grey.
The Historical-Political Museum of the Palacio del Gobierno
Around the ground floor, there is an entire museum of Mexican and Chihuahua history, which even has a Altar of the Fatherland dedicated to what is considered his father, Father Miguel Hidalgo.
Here too, murals abound, no more or less than 360m2 of paintings by Aaron Piña Mora. Hidalgo appears in another of them, in the center of a mural that immortalized the moment of his execution, at the hands of a platoon of Spanish soldiers, on July 30, 1811, precisely in Chihuahua.
we leave the Government Palace through the opposite façade to the entrance, straight to Calle Libertad which, there, separates it from another imposing building, formerly the pre-firing dungeon of Miguel Hidalgo.
Today, the building houses the Casa Chihuahua, a museum dedicated to traveling exhibitions.
As we see it, at the entrance, the bronze sculpture of the gorilla "Alter Ego", three meters and a ton, seems to envy the ice cream devoured by a young couple and their two children, sitting on a wall opposite.
We continue in hyperbolic mode, towards Plaza de la Grandeza and its better half, Plaza del Angel, from which a golden angel stands out against the blue sky.
the last address by Francisco “Pancho” Villa
We got into Av. V. Carranza. We zigzagged at right angles through the city's geometric grid in search of the Casa de Pancho Villa, the last home inhabited by the Mexican revolutionary, with what was considered his wife number twenty-three.
The count has proven to such an extent that the current museum insists on displaying a list of its loved ones.
Unobscured, the house is now owned by the Mexican army.
There are soldiers on guard in the troop of visitors around Villa's numerous belongings, especially the car in which he was following when he was ambushed at the behest of the Mexican president of 1924-28, Elias Calles.
The jalopy remains parked for history in a courtyard of the mansion, pockmarked by the many bullets fired at Villa as he was on his way to a family party taking place in the village of Parral.
It's with a party that we find the Plaza de Armas when we return to it, later in the afternoon.
The fall of dusk reinforces the contours of Antonio de Deza y Ulloa, the founder of Real de Minas in San Francisco de Cuéllar, the city that would give rise to Chihuahua
The statue in which the governor seems to indicate the place where he ordered the construction of the village is centered between the bandstand at the heart of the garden and the Metropolitan Cathedral, against the detailed lacework of its façade.
On the opposite side of the garden, hundreds of residents and visitors share a pagan celebration of the day and life that contrasts with the ecclesiastical solemnity inside the church.
To the Rhythm of the Pachucos Dances of Chihuahua
Leads the movement the duo of pachucos Mi Bárrio, active and motivated as never before, after several months were barred from animating the square due to the pandemic.
Sergio Boy, generates and inspires mambo steps and other rhythms, in bright outfits and zoot fashions.
Mi Barrio and the pachucos they are often survivors of the Mexican heirs – especially El Paso – of the gang subculture that proliferated in the United States during the 30s. Sergio Boy invites spectators to participate.
At spaces, he interrupts the elegant dances to produce another unusual Selfie, with a small SLR aimed at itself. Meanwhile, dancers from other collectives inaugurate parallel dances.
The Uncontrollable Sweetness of Chihuahua
We circle around, excited by the city's unexpected popular exuberance. We passed by stands of elotes (cooked corn on the cob) of churros, tacos and other snacks.
One of them is surrounded by candied fruits of all colors and shapes, resplendent in double due to the incandescent lighting that emanated from the interior. As we approached, we noticed that a huge swarm of bees, attracted by the sweetness and intoxicated by the light, had taken over the apparently deserted stall.
Upon realizing our presence, Javier, the owner, questions us. Polite, strives to sell. When we asked him what the beekeeping phenomenon was, he shrugs his shoulders and bursts out laughing.
“Qué quieren que haga? I am your slave. Come and go when you want. They only stung me once. Here!” and shows us a swelling in the head.
A family appears, determined to oblige the kids. Pressured to win the day, Javier reenters the bank. To our amazement, he serves them the sweets and passes them change among hundreds of bees in a crazy orbit. Return to the outside unharmed.
There, as in its old Plaza de Armas, Chihuahua surrenders at night and in the footsteps of happiness of the Chihuahua people.