Monday, December 13, 2010

Through the Keyhole -- San Sebastion

While wandering the cobblestone paths of San Sebastion, we were privileged to gain access into several old homes dating back over 300 years.

Beautiful old keyhole on an old wooden door.

Looking through the entryway into an inner courtyard.

The garden within.

Another quick look through an open door.

Coffee plants grow wild in the jungle surrounding San Sebastion. Residents gather the beans and roast their own. Here a bowl of coffee beans sit drying in a bowl waiting to be ground.

Many households and stores in this area of Mexico have pet birds. In Yelapa, a talented parrot wolf whistled on a 30 second loop all day long.

Gustavo has befriended two 90-something year old sisters in San Sebastion and visits them each time he travels there. He took Craig and I along to meet them in their home.

Craig at the front door to Isabel and Gregoria's ancestral home.

Isabel and Gregoria sit in the kitchen of their San Sebastion home. After getting to know the sisters, they told Gustavo their life story, which is worthy of a movie script. As young girls, they saw their entire family murdered during the violence surrounding the Mexican Revolution. Traumatized by what they witnessed, they've stayed together in their ancestral home their entire lives, rarely leaving their home except for brief errands and church.

A blooming geranium in their courtyard.

View of the San Sebastion church from their upstairs window.

Stone stove in their kitchen where tortillas were made. They told Gustavo that it's been awhile since they made their own tortillas. When we were there, they had beans cooking and were using tortillas purchased in the town.

We climbed the rickety stairs of the 300-year old house to the upper level. Isabel and Gregoria aren't able to go upstairs anymore, so it's primarily used for storage.

Here's a link that explains the history of San Sebastion. It's interesting that the town dates back to 1603, about the same time Jamestown in the United States was settled. From what I've read, the Mexican Revolution, which extended from 1910 to 1920, ended the prosperity of San Sebastion. The town, because of its silver mines and natural riches, became the focus of various factions who robbed and murdered. Gustavo also took us to the old bullring, pictured below, which was the site of many executions during that time period.


Ann said...

How did you find this wonderful guide, Gustavo? I think he made all the difference in your trip--showing the non tourist areas. ( you might have explained that earlier, but I don't remember)

Life's a Beach! said...

Ann, the owner of the place where we stayed in Bucerias had a book of recommendations. Gustavo actually owned a sweet shop down the block and around the corner and does guided trips as an extra. We ended up spending a lot of time with Gustavo since he also drove us down to Boca to catch the water taxi to Yelapa. And -- he also works at a fancy Italian restaurant that was down the street from the condo!

Nancy said...

Wow Becky, what a wonderful experience. This was quite the trip!

Moongrl722 said...

What a wonderful treat to get to meet Isabel and Gregoria and be invited to their home and what an interesting and heartbreaking story. I'm so glad that they have each other and that Gustavo comes to visit them. Wow!

drgeo said...

I wonder what "wild" coffee from San Sebastian tastes like. Try any?

jeanie said...

What a great trip! I can't imagine anything better that meeting those lovely ladies.

Life's a Beach! said...

Thanks everyone! Actually drgeo, there's a small coffee plantation in San Sebastion where they pick the beans, dry and roast them, and grind their own. I bought two small bags of it (the size bag you buy of the Mayan coffee at duty free in Cancun) for either $5 dollars or 50 pesos. I'm not sure if Craig's tried it yet since I'm not there. It has a photo of an old woman nicknamed La Quinta Mary on the front. There were also cherry tomatoes growing wild in the vicinity of the cemetery. We tried them and they were very sweet!