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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Tarahumara girls

These girls make and sell their baskets at Copper Canyon. They are a photogenic, and mysterious, people.

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04/18/2007 | Rita
My boss came back from a trip to Copper Canyon today and gave me a little pine needle basket and told me about the Taramuhara. I googled it and found your blog with the pictures of women making these baskets.....I have a blog too and like to get comments, so I thought you may too. It looks like you're on a long and interesting trip, so I will check in once in a while to see what you're doing. Love your pictures!!! Good luck with your trip,
Pascale meets Taramuhara girls
01/20/2007, Copper Canyon

Pascale gives gifts (little bracelets) to little Taramuhara indian girls, in front of their log cabin home built into a cave on a canyon cliff.

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Tarahumara women making baskets
01/20/2007, Copper Canyon

The Tarahumara women (and girls) learn to make intricate baskets from grass and long pine needles, from a very young age. The skill and quality of the baskets is very impressive. It takes an entire day to make a small basket that then sells for 2 to 3 U.S. dollars.

The Tarahumara women are unbelievably circumspect; they will not look at you when accepting money for a purchase, nor acknowledge you at all. They typically hide their faces behind a scarf or veil. They will not negotiate on their prices.

The typical transaction will go like this:

[buyer] Quento questa? [how much?]

[vendor, averting her eyes, and speaking very softly] Treinte. [30 pesos, about $3 US]

[buyer, hands money to vendor]

[vendor, without looking at buyer, takes money and says nothing].

I think their circumspect attitude comes from their value of showing respect to strangers.

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The Mirador Hotel

Here's a view of the Mirador Hotel, perched on the rim of Copper Canyon

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Francois meets Tamahumara Indian kids
01/20/2007, Copper Canyon

Francois and I did a 2 hour guided horseback ride around the rim above Copper Canyon. Along the way we saw many Tamahumara indians. These handsome people wear very colorful clothes, make intricate baskets that they sell to tourists, and grow corn and beans on their garden plots. They live in tiny log cabins (about 10 foot square) or sometimes in caves with log cabin fronts.

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Arrival at Copper Canyon

We arrived at the fabulous Mirador Hotel, an adobe colored building perched on the edge of the precipice that is the north rim of the Copper Canyon; every room in the hotel has a commanding view of the impressive canyon.

At 2400 m altitude, the temperatures were below freezing at night and in the 30's (Farenheit) in the daytime.

We spent two nights at this delightful hotel, enjoying the views, hikes around and into the canyon, and tours to surrounding areas.

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Getting fooled in Cerocahui

We got our bags packed at the Mision Hotel around 11:00 so that we could make the train that would pick us up at noon. It rained all that morning, so we the guests of the hotel and the hotel manager spent the morning relaxing and talking in the hotel salon.

At about 11:00, the hotel manager announced to us that he just received a message that, due to the rains, a mud slide had closed the railroad. Due to lack of roads, this railroad was really the only way into or out of the area. He told us it could take possibly one, or maybe two or three more days before rail service could resume.

He had everyone believing it right up until 11:30, when it was time to board the bus that would take us to the train terminal!

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We boarded the train from El Fuerte and arrived at Bahuichivo, elevation 1700 meters. A rustic school bus picked us up and drove us another half hour over dirt roads into the mountains to the village of Cerocahui (serro kah wee). The village features a Jesuit mission that was constructed in 1685. Right next to the church is the Mision Hotel, a beautiful Spanish style hotel. It rained the whole time we were there, so we briefly toured the village, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the hotel's salon, playing cards with 4 other guests and dining together at the common dining table. (These guests followed our itinerary for the rest of our trip and we came to know them and enjoy each others' company).

Francois became the keeper of the fireplace, starting the fire in the two fireplaces in the salon and adding logs when necessary.

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