Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
homes, broadcasting conspicuous consumption, stood across from corrugated, tin-roofed
shacks, which were decorated with flowers in pots that were lovingly cared for.
I caught an 8 a.m. bus. Breakfast would be in Real del Monte, an old mining town. Look-
ing out the bus window, I felt like I was viewing the background for the original King
Kong movie. Driving the Sierra Gorda Corridor of Mining Towns, you are surrounded by
a sense of the forgotten world, a primeval forest. Peering through the bus window, plants
seemed like a picture book of pop-up cutouts.
There were two former mining towns along the main route Zacualtipan-Pachuca that I
wanted to visit, Real del Monte, and El Chico, now a biosphere reserve, the oldest in Mex-
ico, established in 1892 by President Porfirio Díaz.
Real del Monte is famous for pastes (pronounced pas-tays), originally a miner's meal of
meat and potatoes baked in pastry, like a turnover. Pastes are now filled with just about
anything, and even those filled with fruit are often called pastes instead of turnovers or
empanadas .
The bus let me off at the roadside. I walked down hill about a half mile to Real del Monte.
Real del Monte looked like a Hollywood movie set. Hills formed a backdrop for the town,
with arches, plaza and church. Buildings seemed to be harmonized in pastel colors. The
premier paste restaurant was under the arches. I ordered the traditional paste of meat and
potatoes and an apple turnover and coffee. I was curious about the paste; it was new to
The waitress, a friendly woman, showed me the kitchen. There were a number of busy
workers; I felt singed by the heat from the ovens. They made empanadas and pastes for
much of the town, and tourists took them home by the dozens.
I asked about the paste . She said, "It came from the English." She showed me how the
empanada is folded, but the paste is creased, pinched along the edge. The paste is a real
meal. It's filled with potatoes and chili. It's got a bite. She said. "Miners took pastes with
them for their lunch underground."
I walked outside. Stores opened at 10 a.m. The silver shops and restaurants attracted tour-
ists. There was a mining tour and a double-decked faux English bus for the city tour. The
bus was stubby-short so the driver could navigate the steep hills and tight corners.
Search WWH ::

Custom Search