There are several tour companies that offer a bus trip to Copala, but you can also hire a van for a day and go on your own. Head out of town towards the airport, but continue past it on Highway 15. You'll pass through a small town called Villa Union, which used to be a military post established by the first Spanish settlers.
Just past Villa Union, you'll pass several brick factories. A brick maker can make up to 1000 bricks a day. The put clay, water, and grainshafts into a form that makes four bricks at a time. This concoction is then dried for 24 hours. Then the bricks are stacked up and lit on fire for about an hour. The heat hardens the bricks, and turns them reddish brown. In the summer, when the humidity is as low as 100% every day, they light a big bonfire from about 2am till 10 to dry them. After al this work, a brick sells for about 7 to 8 cents US.
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Now turn left onto Highway 40, and look for a called Malpica, which means bad bite in English. Your first stop is a small bakery, where you can sample a delicious cinamon roll. You enter the bakery through this small living room. In the back of the living room, is the clay oven. The racks to the right of the oven are where the goodies are cooled after backing. Check them out and have one to go.Across the street you'll find Gorge, the tilemaker. He's been doing this since the 1970's, so he's gotten pretty good at it. Tiles are made out of a combination of san, marble dust, cement, and water. They are then soaked in water for 18 hours, and sun dried. Delicious with a little salsa...oops, that's the corn chips. The tiles are not glazed and baked, and get more shiny as you wash them. Surprise, surprise, tiles are available for your shopping pleasure. We're told that they make excellent trivets. They are only two dollars, one of the best bargains in Mazatlan. Our next stop is Felipe's pottery and furniture factory, which is just before the town of Concordia, on the left hand side. The photo here is Felipe, with my friends and guides, Jack and Val. You can listento Felipe welcome you to his workshop. Felipe sells pottery, and chackas. The painted plates are really quite beautiful. Here is Felipe's helper, creating inventory. The next stop is the washing ladies. Go down the first dirt road on your right, as you enter Concordia. It is just a few hundred meters past Felipe's pottery mall. In 1953, the government decided to upgrade a natural hot springs that runs through the area, and created the structure above the pools. It also installed the concrete slabs and washing stalls. There doesn't seem to be an age limit on when you can start working. The ladies are very friendly, and will even let you help them do the washing. If you bring your laundry with you, they'll wash it for you for only 1 peso (about 10 cents) per item. We weren't there long enough to see the spin cycle. On our way to Copala, I couldn't help but snap this photo of the local mop and broom salesman. Finally we reached the town of Copala, and Jack and I sat down with Daniel, owner of Daniel's restaurant and hotel, for a interview. Next we walked down the cobblestone street from Daniel's place to the town square. Along the way, we ran into these two young entrepreneurs who allowed us to take their picture for only one dollar. Here is the group at the plaza. Valerie's mother and sister just happened to be visiting this week. There is a very pretty little gazebo just to the right, and the Copala church is in the background. At the left of the square is this beautiful mural, dipicting village live. Here is the front of the church. Before entering, walk around the outside on the left side of the church. Here you'll find what the local legends call the carving of the devil. It looks more like a poorly sculptured bull to me, but legend has it if you throw a stone at it and hit it on the first try, you will be blessed with good luck.
|Next we entered the church. It was originally built in the 1600's and is in the process of being restored. It is called the San Jose church, and was damaged by the blasting that went on in the area because of the gold and silver mining.|
Next we headed over to Daniel's restaurant, for a marguarita and some delicious banana cream coconut pie. Inside the restaurant I came across this interesting tidbit of historical information. In the back of the restaurant you can descend into an original mine, that was cleaned up and remodelled by Daniel. Me taking a picture of Jack taking a picture of me in the mine!