Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TPThursday: Getting Stoned in Mascota, Mexico

Our trip down Mexico’s Memory Lane took us last Saturday to the small town of Mascota, Mexico, nestled high in the Sierra Madre’s behind Puerto Vallarta.

We were delighted to see that little had changed since our last visit nearly a decade ago. The pasteleria (bakery), the iglesia (church), the zocalo (town square), the archeological museum; all were as we remembered them. 

As we toured our favorites, Joel recalled ‘that house made of stone' and we set off to stand on the sidewalk and admire its construction as we’d done on previous visits.

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What made it so amazing was that the stones used in the border on this two-story home’s façade were so small they could  easily fit in one’s hand. It obviously had been meticulous, painstakingly detailed work.

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However, we were no longer  forced to admire the home from the sidewalk because seven years ago it had become a museum; El Pedregal Museo, The Stone Museum. Paying the 10 peso per person admission fee (less than $1US) gave us entry to one of those quirky, unexpected experiences that make this life of travel so wonderful.

We were greeted by the owner, curator, artist and our personal guide, all rolled into one Don Francisco Rodriguez, who told me I could photograph anything in the place with the exception of the dozens of historic photos that line the walls (each in a stone frame, of course).

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Perhaps because we were the only visitors at the time or because we were genuinely interested in his work, we toured the upstairs living area as well as the downstairs gallery. (Note the coffee table and the television surfaces as well as the walls are stone.)

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The dark diamond shape designs around the bed’s headboard and base are created by hundreds of black stones set into hundreds of gray stones that make up the background. “This is Fred Flintstone’s bed,” Don Rodriguez joked, as he provided a running commentary in Spanish.

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Everything and every surface in the gallery was covered with stone, including the guitars, and vases displayed at a stone planter.

Tables and chairs, whimsical and practical, you couldn’t help but be ‘stoned’ by the displays.











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Even the public restrooms in the gallery were stone, from the toilet to the sink and waste basket (yes, this really is the ladies room).

Pero, por que piedra? (But, why stone?), Joel asked of our 76-year-old artist as he explained how he goes to the river and searches for rocks, loads them into a wheelbarrow and hauls them back to his work table in the museum.

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Porque es mi pasion, (Because it is my passion),” he answered simply with a shrug and a grin. 

We spent far more time in the little museum than we had planned; his photos and the stories he told about them provided a fascinating history of this town in which he has lived his life.

I told him I planned to write about him and his museum for this blog. It was only then that he told me he was also a writer,  he’s authored four books on various historical aspects of the town and its culture.  (We later saw them displayed all over town). 

Writing is another of his passions and to that one I could relate!

Note:  If you find yourself in Mascota, (a 2.5 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta) the Stone Museum is two blocks beyond the town square and church. It is open ‘all the time’ according to Don Rodriguez (and if it isn’t, it would be worth going back to when it was). 

Today is Travel Photo Thursday so rock on over to Budget Travelers Sandbox to take a photo tour of other great places in the world.

26 comments:

  1. Wow, everything is covered in stone? That's something indeed. I wonder though if the guitar can still be played? I can't imagine how heavy it would be :) Wonderful concept though!

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    1. He had a pinata hanging that was covered completely with rocks. . .he laughed at the thought of how hard it would be to break it as part of the traditional children's game to swing the stick and hit it. So I wouldn't want to hold the guitars too long. He also had wine glasses covered in fine grains of rock as well.

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  2. I love the outside but that bathroom looks like it's covered in dirt! Bringing back the stones in a wheelbarrow must keep him in shape. I bet there's not much else to be covered.

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    1. I couldn't help but think of all the hot stone spa therapies and treatments and wondered what he could have done with that concept.

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  3. Oh, that kind of stoned!. It looks great. Though I would hope that bed is not made of stone too. And that lady's room is a tad too much, I think.

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    1. Yep, that kind of stoned. . .some friends thought we had rocks in our head for traveling within Mexico anyway. . .seemed appropriate to end up stoned."

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  4. I would really enjoy seeing this! Love that stone toilet :) Very interesting. . . thanks for sharing this find.

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    1. If you ever get to Mascota Debbie you should definitely see this place. There is also an excellent archeological museum about a block away that has some incredible displays in it.

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  5. Loved Don Francisco and his passion.

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    1. As we've often discussed Ann, it all comes down to passion, doesn't it?

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  6. What a beautiful property! The stonework is gorgeous.

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    1. Although a bit quirky, the pieces were so artistically coated with rocks that you could tell Don Francisco had an artist's eye for design and detail.

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  7. Those stone toilets are really something :)

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  8. What an interesting place! I can't help but think that it would really, really hurt to stub your toe on the end of that bed though. :)

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  9. What an interesting building and what dedication to one's passion. I can't believe even the toilet is stone. Amazing and the sort of place - and I agree with you - that is worth a visit.

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  10. SO cool- I immediately thought of Fred Flintstone too!! So neat that you could relate to him as an author too!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

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  11. He was very proud of that bathroom and in fact had asked me if I needed to use a bathroom. I told him that I didn't and he seemed disappointed. Then he brightened and said, "Then come let me show you anyway."

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  12. You really grabbed my attention with that title.:) Very cool story and photos. Definitely a unique place that I'd like to see.

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    1. I thought I'd try a little humor in the title to really make the post 'rock' . . .I can hear the groans now. . . ;-)

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  13. That bed doesn't look very inviting, but the toilet looks great!

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  14. What a wonderful find! I really like the stone walls.

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  15. What an interesting post. Love the stonework and the photos. ¡Qué bueno es tener una pasión! (How great it is to have a passion!)

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  16. That certainly is an extraordinary building and one I'd like to see. Wonder if the toilet seat gets very cold...

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  17. Wow what an unique home. I can't believe that bathroom and how dedicated (or obsessed!) the owner must be to not only collect all those rocks and build the house, but keep adding and adding them onto every surface. My 6 year old is completely obsessed with rocks (we usually have to travel with a collection of them) so he would be in heaven if we visited there.

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  18. My husband and I were taken to this beautiful museum in November by great friends in Mexico. What a beautiful place-we still talk about it and all the work and love that went into this place. The owner is such an interesting person to talk to. So happy we had this experience. We also enjoy very much reading your blog.

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    1. So glad you also enjoyed the museum! We think of the owner often and believe he personifies following one's passion. And we are so pleased you are enjoying the blog! Hope you'll continue commenting!

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Glad you stopped by today and took the time to leave a note. Hope we'll hear from you often!

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