Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, April 08, 1937, Page PAGE THREE, Image 3

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Mexican Hegira
The Ides of March! I wonder if
they still exercise their mystic pow
er over the turn of events as in
Caesar's time? At any rate, though
we started out under a dull, gray,
rain-pregnant sky, we soon ran into
Unwittingly, of course but when
"on the loose" adventure dogs my
heels as Lady Luck smiles on some
consistently and as regularly denies
others at any rate, a hunch while at
Santiago or the Villa de Santiago
was strong enough for me to turn
around in someone s front yard, af
ter a workman had dragged an ox
plow out of the way and we re
turned to the San Antonia restaurant.
There we asked the way to "Villa
Hermosa," the site of "Horsetail
Falls." The boy asked if we had
tickets "No" so we bought two,
though we were to need three later.
Then, he asked if we wouldnt like
to see the ' cathedral on the hill, so
we drove up to the plaza in front of
the "iglesia" took some pictures,
and started on up the winding, nar
row village street, with plain stuc
coed walls on both sides, broken only
by an occasional dee-set doorway,
We were all agog to see the iron-
barred homes; the quaint shops with
no display windows; the bougauv
villea, roses, hibiscus, camillias and
lillies that hung over the high stone
walls of the enclosed patios.
Occassionally we saw men stand
ins along the street wrapped to the
eyes in their serapes against the chill
of the Texas "norther" that had
blown us from Texas into Mexico
they were apparently too cold for
motion, for several hours later, when
we returned from the long detour,
thev were still standing there.
The street went on and on and
finally after dodging burro caravans
and ox carts, we came to a wide
place in the road and depided to turn
around, or, at least ask someone
where we were. The first man that
strolled up, his gay serape noncha
lantly worn as knight of old wore
his medals and sashes, couldn't
speak English and he didn't care for
my brand of Spanish which is "muy
poco!" I didn't know that within
drivers to "ride us" to the falls, we
set out on foot and walked up the
creek for a half mile.
The "Horsetail Falls," 190 feet
high, pour in misty sprays over a
flat, cone-shaped rock, hence the
name, and thunder into smaller cas
cades which lead off from the foot
of the falls. It was a sight to make
the visitor forget twisting country
lanes and dirt roads; the rocky path
up the canyon gorge, and to mur
mur only ,"Que bonita; Muy bonita!"
We met some people from Texas (in
fact, we think half of Texas is in
Mexico, judging by car licenses) who
thought it remarkable that we were
going, to Mexico alone just ."Two
Girls from Oregon."
We jammed ourselves into The
Tiger's front seat again and retraced
our route, stopping at the "Villa
Hermosa". just long enough to re
ceive permission to keep our "bil
otes" for souvenirs. Again we en
joyed the charm, the enchantment
of the country roads, even to the
sight of two burros sound asleep in
the middle of a lane, pretending they
didn't hear the horn, only waken
ing with an insouciant flip of an
ear as we were almost upon them
when, they slowly wig-wagged off!
Soon we were back in San Fran
cisco where we gave tne guide
"whatever we may wish or feel" in
the form of 1 peso, which we con
sider "cheap bounty." He grinned,
we grinned and departed in an an
tiphonal chorus of "good-bye," "a-
dios," "good luck," "hasta luega."
It had been great fun! We had
had a Spanish lesson we had been
to "Real Mexico" we had enjoyed
a conversation with a happy, well-
mannered boy who was the son of
a "comercio," a courteous, pleasant,
the next two hours I was to have a
continuous lesson in Spanish.
A boy ran up, tipping his hat, but
he spoke English as he said, "very
few." I showed him our tickets
oh, yes, he knew the way did we
want him to go along? I asked, "cu
anto?" and he said, "Whatever you
may wish or feel like." So, I took
a chance in a country where every
one bargains and he "came along."
However, there was no room for
him to ride! oS the "Botika Lady"
(Pharmacy Lady), as he was scrub
bed and as clean as the proverbial
whistle, moved over, and he got in
front with us.
We were in "San Francisco" he
told us though we thought we had
seen S. F. ten days before by the
Golden Gate but perhaps here was
the original, the seed from which
spawned the City of Seven Hills by
the Golden Gate. We drove through
El Cercada and another village
whose name we didn't catch.
It seemed as though we drove for
endless miles up and down and
around on typical country lanes
over-shadowed with great trees
alamos and black walnuts there
were "elephant ears" in the creek
bed and wild hemlock. After enter
ing a gate where we bought the
third ticket for the guide, a young
fellow in his second year of high
He asked me, "Do you want to
speak Spanish as I want to speak
English?" I told him that I thought
Spanish a very lovely language and
he said, "And I think English a very
pretty way to speak for me. So
we spoke halting Spanish and Eng
lish respectively, until L. became
enthused and started in on Spanish
herself. That lesson lasted two
Vinnrs and we nimbly leaped or
stumbled over subjects ranging from
why he was not in school, ("It is
holv week.") of flora and fauna
without benefit of verbs.
Finally, after traveling on the pri
vate road of the "Villa Hermosa"
for a mile or two, we left the car
and refusing to mount the saddled
burros waiting with their small-boy
informative, inquisitive he was,
perhaps, a happy representative pi
the new, young Mexican.
On we sped from Santiago for
Mr. Mumm at Laredo had carefully
scheduled us for the Villa de Juarez
but the Botika Lady and I are not
well-disciplined and we have gyp-
sied more or less as we pleased. He
particularly deprecated any whim
we might have for stopping in Cm
dad de Victoria so we stopped there
in spite of his "there is nothing
there." But it is the capital of the
state and there is much there jail
un-Americanized and very natural
and Mexican. It has a cathedral and
all the trimmings a plaza, band con
certs, promenades, narrow, one-way
streets down which I nonchalantly
drive relying on the foreign li
cense, and policemen who think it
doesn't pay to bother with "crazy
Americans" who probably can't read
street signs most of us can't, as
they are, of course, in Spanish!
At long last, after asking several
Spa nish-speaking garage men
where "auto courts" were (the ho
tels look rather uninviting) we were
rather at a loss I had no Spanish
fr auto courts, except "Auto cuar
tos" which they thought meant i
place for the car. So, at the garage
sign of "The Red Fighting Cock"
which Mr. Mumm had recommend
ed as a brand of gas and oil to buy,
we found an expatriate who had al
most forgotten his English. He said
he had some "auto courts" but
"he had no no swimming" (with a
downward motion of his hands)
he meant no showers must you
have hot water?" We told him no.
we could do without "agua caliente"
this time, so he guided us two
blocks to a Mexican home, arranged
for tourists. It was a break for us
as it was a lovely place to stay.
The expatriate showed us through
a stone wall, four feet thick, with
large, red lacquer doorway into
patio in which grew poinsettias.
brilliantly red, ten feet high, banana
trees, papaya trees, and countless
other flowers in beds, pots and
vases. A heavenly place!
Our room was a high-ceilinged,
square place, the walls tinted four
feet up with dark green paint and
tinged pale blue the rest of the way,
the doors being lacquered dark red
Blue and yellow tiles in an exquisib
rug-pattern covered the floor two
large beds with immaculate bedding:
chairs, stools, drinking water all
for thre pesos! 84c. Everything
but heat! 'And the Texas norther
was still evident. But the room had
been warmed for so many years by
the sun of the Torrid zone, which is
just 24.4 miles south of Victoria, that
it retained a lot of warmth when the
long, narrow doors were closed. One
fastened with an iron bar and
clever locking gadget, while the oth
er had a six-inch key, with the
door-knob installed upside down.
The garage expatriate told us the
best place to eat was at the "Cafe
Colon," four blocks down the street.
It was a fine place for Americans
desiring to practice Spanish as no
one spoke much English. The man
ager came up and bowed and smiled
we were the only guests save a
tableful of Mexican men haying a
very good time.
"Comer?" I looked up and he
hurriedly added, "Dinning?" I said
"si, si" and he departed no nap
kins, no menu though the place
was clean and new. Soon a waiter
appeared, dressed in clean wfyite
shirt, a napkin over one arm, and
black trousers. He brought in soup
plates and two large "bombs" of
crusty "French" bread. We were
to have soup, then.
The whole dinner was a gamble
we had no idea what would come
next and we could enjoy the pres
ent course, with wondering what the
next would be. The soup was veg
etable, very rich, very tasty and
rather cold! That Texas norther, I
suppose! Next, rizo fritos (fried
rice) not too warm, either; appar
ently we had arrived after the first
two courses had been taken off the
stove! The rest was piping hot
The cafe was newly painted,
though its large plate-glass window
overlooking the street, before which
we sat, was very dusty the archway
was neon-lighted and it was ra
dioed for music in Spanish!
After the rizo, we had tiny, round
peas in chili with onions and pep
pers (good); then the entree, gallo
(chicken) with chili; that course
11 44 1 1 I
was toiiowea Dy mjoies, Deans;
mixed with ground peppers and on
ions with a touch of garlic, also very
good, especially when I used some
Continued on Page Seven
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