As planned, we returned to San Antonio today, arriving at the Cultural Center at 10am. Xochitl arrived momentarily, so we went inside, powered up her lap top, and she and Bob went to work transferring files from USB drives onto her computer, making new files for some of her photos and music, making copies of some files onto DVDs, then backing up all her files onto an external hard drive. This took quite some time because in addition to doing basic work, Xochitl wanted to take notes and try her hand at each step so she could learn to perform each of these processes by herself in the future, a laudable goal. Bob, having spent lots of time learning new processes himself, and understanding how easy it can seem to people who have done it a hundred times, took his time and let her learn by doing.
About 12:30 we wrapped it up with hugs, and left to find lunch. We went to a highway-side two-table restaurant, and ordered Tortas, in this case a sandwich made with eggs, machaca and avocados. Total cost for the two of us: 65 pesos, or about $5.50 including two bottles of water. The restaurant was run by a single woman who had her next door neighbor’s 5-year-old daughter with her. We assumed her husband, brother or son was the fellow who ran the adjacent mini Mercado.
After lunch we headed into the hills to see the San Antonio mine ruins. We ran out of time yesterday and wanted to see them to complete our understanding of San Antonio. One of the things we learned is that the local residents, several generations removed from those who worked in the mines, still harbor strong resentment over the foreigners who ran the mines and are viewed as having exploited the land’s wealth, leaving nothing behind in the way of benefit for the locals. This resentment is now manifested in the local people’s unwillingness to sell any nearby land to outsiders (there’s not a single gringo resident of San Antonio), and they want the town to remain out of the mainstream. So different from the more typical approach of wanting the outsider’s money in the economy even if it means they then live within the community. A further note about the mines is that we received more than one warning from locals, complete strangers to us, not to touch anything while touring the mines as the bricks and ground still contain toxic arsenic and could make us very ill. We were told to wash our hands thoroughly after leaving the area.
We got back to the house mid-afternoon, partook of a siesta, then went to do some grocery shopping. We returned to the house at 5:00 and had just put our purchases away when who should arrive at our doorstep but Xochitl and her sister Marisonia. They had come down to Los Barriles this afternoon to deliver some of the art work produced at the Cultural Center to some stores here, and followed up on our earlier offer to stop by the house if they had time. The stayed for about an hour and a half, which was full of lots of talk and laughter, and a few more tutorials by Bob on the use of the computer. At this point we really feel like we have some new friends. They’ve invited us to return to San Antonio late next week to learn how to find and make clay, then construct pottery.