We arrived in Durango after a 5ish hour drive from Parral that consisted of mainly sparse farmland. Jill was lucky enough to count about 8 cow carcasses in various levels of decomposition along the way, so that was pretty exciting. We had arranged a couchsurfing stay in advance so once we pulled into town we called Frida, our host. Her and her husband, Jorge Luis, live right in the middle of the most popular part of town, Constitucíon Street, which is the only pedestrian street and has lots of bars, cafes, the cathedral, etc. Their house was very beautiful and had an awesome patio that overlooked the street. They also had a pug named Yoda that was a trip and really likes men, so Mike had an instant friend.
(Us with Jorge Luis, Yoda and Frida)
(view from the patio)
We hit it off with Frida right away and really enjoyed hanging out with her. Her English was impeccable and we shared a similar sense of humor and had similar interests. She is currently in school for her second PhD in law, but that did not keep her from spending a ton of time with us. Jorge Luis was also very cool but spent a lot of time working as he is the best vet in Durango. We had planned on only spending 2 nights in town, but on our second day we ended up doing rounds with Jorge Luis to the clinic and then to several ranches and haciendas around town. On one ranch, there was a shetland pony that had a nasty trauma to his head, leaving a major cut on his face and requiring several shots. Also on the property was a large barn full of exotic birds. (We later found out that the property was owned by a family involved with some potentially less-than-legal activities, allowing plenty of money and time to collect things like horses and exotic birds.) We also went to an extremely nice hacienda that had dancing horses. Jorge Luis has to give them mineral oil on a regular basis to keep them healthy and shiny. It requires that you fill a syringe with the oil and shove it into the back of horse´s mouth and make sure it swallows it all. Unexpectedly, he handed the syringe to Jill and told her to take over. The horses are massive and it kind of scared the crap out of her to stick her hand into their mouths, which they can sense and react to by not cooperating and scaring Jill even more. A couple of the attempts did work though and hopefully she managed to not waste too much of the oil in her "work". Mike does not trust horses to begin with, so he got out of the oil feeding duties.
(this dog was going in for a bath, but was too fat to walk to the car)
(Jill trying not to pee her pants)
(barn at the hacienda)
Since we spent a full day working with Jorge Luis, we asked to spend another night and luckily they were happy to let us stay. Frida works from 9-3 every day so we had to be out of the house anyway during that time, so we ran errands around town. Our first errand was to change the oil in the motorcycle. We looked all over town trying to find synthetic oil. Every place we went would send us to another place. After about 10 stops, we finally got oil. Then we went to the Honda service shop and asked if we could change the oil ourselves. They were nice enough to let us pull the bike into the shop and change the oil. There were 3 repairmen working at the same time in the smallish shop and they were very eager to help us. It was funny because any time Mike would need a tool or a funnel or something, the workers were already prepared to hand him what he needed. They were great.
(Mike with help changing the oil)
Our next marathon errand run consisted of us walking around the market trying to find a belt for Mike (his was held together with duct tape). He was very tempted to purchase the alacrán, scorpion, belt buckle that Durango is known for (there is a very poisonous clear scorpion that all the stands sell) but ended up with a simple brown belt instead. Then we searched for some straps that would work to repair the engine bags that we destroyed in our wrecks in Copper Canyon. We again were sent from store in our search for some straps and buckles. We finally found both and even were able to have a seamstress sew them up for us. Unfortunately, when we tried to use them, we discovered that the buckles could not even hold their own weight, let alone the weight of the engine bag, so we ended up just tying them on, which was how we had them before. You have to love marathon errand running days though. No matter what, just build in an extra hour or two for each errand and your timing will be about right. Luckily, we both enjoy running errands because it is a constant battle to find what you are looking for (or for something that will work) and you feel a great sense of accomplishment and happiness once you actually complete the errand.
For our last evening, we grilled some delicious hamburgers on the patio. They live next to a bar that has live music on Friday nights, so we were lucky enough to hear live covers of various American songs throughout the night. There is nothing like waking up to a Joan Jett cover in the middle of the night.
Here are some additional pics of Durango.
(Plaza de Armas)