Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ah Chihuahua

I've finished the third segment of the journey. It will get easier from here, people assure me. Certainly as I've progressed southward, the desert is more frequently irrigated, there are more frequent ranches and hamlets and signs of life. I might only walk two or three hours without seeing signs of humanity. The desert stretches further southward, but it also increases in elevation, making the environment less harsh. We'll see.

I've arrived in Chihuahua for it's Revolution Day celebration, so everything is well decorated and the shops in the pedestrian district of the historic city center all have big sales advertised. Chirstmas decorations abound, too. Interesting that the red-white-and-green color theme of the Mexican flag are the same as for the Christmas season. It's certainly nice here, but it's a big city. The absence of noise is something I've gotten used to out in the desert; here its presence is overwhelming.

As I entered the city limits, I sat for a rest in a small shack seafood restaurant, as it was the first place I saw where I could take a break. The folks were friendly, as usual, and a fresh seafood salad made a nice change from the ubiquitous beans and tortillas. Once I explained that I'm a pilgrim, the fee for the small meal was waived for a mention to Our Lady at the Basilica in Mexico. Por supuesto! Marisco de la Playa, if anyone happens by Chihuahua, is a terrific place for restoration.

Onward toward Parral. I was told emphatically that taking the highway to Jimenez and then Torreon is the fastest way to Mexico City but I'll continue on the historical path of the Camino Real to Hidalgo del Parral and then Durango. It's not like I can walk any faster along the highway than on the sandy path through the desert. I choose the desert way once again, as the missionaries of centuries ago did. Parral in maybe a week and then Durango a few weeks following. Internet connections can be expected to be sparse again, so have faith that I'm still walking happily on the pilgrim trail. Buen Camino!

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