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Albert Maywood Courtright II

Trip to Mexico, Summer 1940

Sunday, August 4

Went to Xochimilco where we took some color film. Had Jim & Patricia Grey, friends of the youngsters along. Yolande went horseback riding alone. Alan & Jim intended to but too many horses around them scared them out. Yvette tried some cactus & found it good but too many seeds for me. Alan, Jim & I went to the bull fight. Sat in sun (sol) for 2 pesos each. Six bulls were killed. Alan would go again but to me it was a lot of morons tormenting a dumb animal. One toreador was knocked flat & his pants ripped by the bulls horns, providing the one real exciting moment of the afternoon. One picador & his horse were also knocked down. The horse must have been injured in spite of the padding. Coats, hats, walking sticks, purses & furs were thrown to the hero who returned them all. Flowers, however, he kept.

Monday, August 5

Went downtown in afternoon to see a "Silver Factory." Had intended to go in the morning but we had a visitor, a lady from Houston & two sons who told us all about her aunt in Italy. They travel on a railroad pass. Saw no filigree work being made. Trying to find glass factory but had wrong address.

Tuesday, August 6

Left for Taxco at 8 a.m. After leaving Cuernavaca the road straightens out across the valley. Rice & sugar cane besides a few fields of corn. Reached Taxco about noon. Ate our lunch in the car before entering the town. Had half a dozen boys for company as usual one of which we picked for a guide. We needed him to get into town but not afterwards. Streets are barely wide enough for one car and hillier than Québec besides being paved with cobblestones. Most of them are only for foot travelers or donkeys. Town is overrun with tourists & silver establishments. Yvette bought earrings. $1.60. Happed to strike the town the last day of a fiesta in honor of God. There were two bands - one playing from music (manuscript) & the other by chance. There was a parade about 3:30 when the fireworks was brought down to the plaza. We decided to see the display so waited until 6 p.m. when the show started. It consisted of fireworks fitted on to a high pole erected in the plaza. There were about six of the frameworks each having a number of mechanical figures operated by fireworks. The whole connected by a continuous fuse. There were whirling dervishes, trapeze artists, a drummer & cymbal player, leopard & goat fighting etc, besides five birds which flow off into the air when the fire reached them. Except for the tourists the crowd took the whole thing very seriously. The band played without a rest. Being 2000 ft lower than Mexico City it was quite a bit warmer & we suffered from thirst - drinking 3 bottles of coca-cola apiece total 45¢ (U.S.). Our food cost us 17¢ (U.S.) & consisted of a fried tortilla with frijoles, lettuce, tomato, radish, cheese, pickel [sic] & meat on it. Besides these we bought peanuts. Very little traffic on the way home. Arrived at the house at 10:30. Had to wake Tonio to get in.

Wednesday, August 7

Went downtown on bus. Stopped at real estate office to find out process of houses. Takes about 4 months to build a 6 rm house. Price $15,000 to $20,000 pesos depending upon situation. Land sells for from 25 to 80 pesos a square meter. Looked over a little of Merced Market. Got home late.

Thursday, August 8

Went shopping for Yvette's glass ware. Got mad when shop lady tried to force us to buy a pair of shoes which Yolande got a little dirty & walked out without buying. Went over to glass factory where we watched them make bottles   tubing until our eyes began to smart. A frog orchestra made of glass very interesting. Most of the ware very primitive - full of flaws.

Yvette went to beauty parlor to have hair washed & got an earful of information from the operator who had worked about 10 years in Los Angeles. To enter a city school parent must put up 100 pesos & prove that his child has enough intelligence to profit from an education. Tuition at the American school is 35 pesos per mo in grades & 40 in H.S. Children are not sent to public school if parent has means to send him to a "Colegio."

This is the first election at which the people ever made any pretense at voting. Cardenas sincere but is surrounded by crooked politicians. Going at things wrong end too. Giving Indians land before teaching them how to use it. Result - impoverishment for all concerned. Former hacienda owners going into building apartment houses in Mexico City.

Country school teachers salaries always at least 3 months behind & very poorly paid.

Friday, August 9

Yvette's birth certificate arrived. Went to Toluca again & met out girl friends. Gave them the pictures taken last week. Went to the market where we bought belts for Yolande & myself & a machete for Alan. Yvette got some table napkins. Met the girls again at 3 p.m. & went to visit their school. It was just off the market place & was built around a central patio like the other buildings. School is private & run by an old lade. Kindergarten thru H.S. Went next to depot where one of the girl's sisters was to arrive from Mexico City. She didn't come so we went to visit Celia's house. Saw only entrance & living room - both very clean. Met mother & sister. Furnishings good but much different style. Piano looked like ebony. Next went to Elisa's - probably one of the nicer homes in town. Lower floor devoted to offices of father & grandfather who were both lawyers (notaires). Went upstairs through patio. 2nd floor balcony filled with flowers in pots. Living room large. Two large windows opening on street. Furnishings modern. One end of room glassed with door leading to probably a bedroom. Before we left we visited rest of the house. Large bathroom - very new - with lavender colored glass window. Entrance to the bathroom thru a small hall off patio. Dining room at other end of hall. Large & very modern furnishings. Large skylight overhead. Kitchen very large & old fashioned. Large brick stove with white porcelain top. Also small oil stove. Cupboard had wire screen in doors instead of glass. At this point the grandfather entered upon the scene as he carried the keys to the library. A large room with old furniture. Tile floor. Many busts & pictures of Napoleon. Went back to living room where we were served wine, little cookies & dried prunes & raisins. Visited offices & met father of Elisa.

Next stop was Christina's house to get her clothes so she could go to Mexico City with us to see the Mexican consul. We understood that everything was arranged for her to go back to U.S. with us. Had to go & see brother-in-law who worked at weights & measures. He said no disapointing [sic] both Christina & us. Christina was one of 5 sisters whose parents were dead. Home was quite poor. They all rode with us past the market place. Got back at dark.

Saturday, August 10

Went to visit British consul. Yvette bought her silver belt. 18 pesos reduced from 24. Walked to market.

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Sunday, July 28 through Saturday, August 3
Sunday, August 11 through Saturday, August 17

Last modified on 21 March 2017 @ 19:10