Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
them disappear behind a cloud of dust. These charros , who were mostly high government of-
ficials, had left their work to do me this last honour, as they had done the day I arrived. Au
revoir, charros ; he-men, gentlemen, friends!
The Mexican Mesa
Although the rebels had been defeated by the Federals, trouble was by no means over, and
minor skirmishes took place here and there, and I could not help feeling the unpleasant under-
current that existed.
We followed an old highway which had been destroyed at the time when Carranza's re-
volutionary army marched towards Mexico City from the north. This old road has been prac-
tically abandoned since, and the ruins of formerly prosperous estates could be seen all along
our route, which led over rocky hills in some parts.
I was glad to have warm clothes, for in the mornings there was a nasty nip in the air. Some
of the sandy plains we came to later very much reminded me of the Bolivian altiplano. Near
some of the settlements large water reservoirs have been walled-in in hollows, with walls
made of large rocks holding the water back at the bottom end. Maguey plants grow every-
where, and from the juice of these pulque , sometimes called 'Mexican wine', is made. The
magueyplantand pulque arethecurseofthecountry,forowingtotheabundanceofthisplant,
which will grow where nothing else can be cultivated, the drink made from its juice is very
cheap and within the reach of everybody.
Themakingof pulque isveryinteresting. Whenamagueyplanthasgrowntoacertainsize
the centre leaves are cut out with a knife, and a hollow is made in the direction of the roots.
After a few hours this basin-like hollow is filled with a clear and very sweet juice which is
later collected by putting the end of a long, flute-shaped calabash into it. At each end of this
implement small holes are bored, and by dipping one into the juice and sucking at the other,
or cowhide skins. It is left standing thus for a night and then the pulque is ready to be con-
sumed and is taken into the village or town in skins, loaded on burros, one on each side. The
beverage has a peculiar 'medicine' taste, but often it is flavoured with fruit juice and other
To make mescal and tequila the big roots of the maguey plant are dug out, and after being
steamed for some hours, which is done in huge ovens, they are crushed under a big stone
roller, which is turned by an ox or a mule pulling on a pole. The juice, thus squeezed out,
runs into tanks where it is left to ferment, being distilled later. Alcoholic drinks, together with
marihuana , have caused a great deal of degeneration in Mexico. Marihuana is a weed that is
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