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.
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
“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.