A popular destination just outside of Durango is Villa del Oeste, a far west town that has been used in the filming of a lot of Westerns. I was rather ambivalent about going because, even though it’s not too far from Durango (just 10 minutes if there’s no traffic…), I didn’t feel like making the effort to take out my truck and go there. So I had popped in at the tourist info kiosk at one point and asked if there is a bus that goes there. Only on weekends, when they have shows. I could take a bus at 1:00 p.m. to make it to the 1:30 p.m. show and then either return on the 3:30 p.m. bus or spend the afternoon and watch the three different shows, to return on the 6:30 p.m. bus. Perfect! I was told the cost was $35, which I thought was just bus fare, but nope. The bus is free and the entrance to the village is $35. Definitely not worth driving!
Julia wanted to catch a guided tour about Pancho Villa at 4:00, so we decided to go catch the 1:30 show, do whatever wandering around we had time for, and come right back on the 3:30 bus. That was more than enough time to get a bit of a sense of the place since it’s pretty small.
The ride inspired a joke that would follow us through the day. The bus slowed down on the highway and Julia said, “Llegamos” (we are arriving). I said, “No. Es un tope” (No, it’s a speed bump). We wound up on another bus later in the day and as the bus slowed down for a tope, Julia said, “Llegamos…” turned to me, and then we both howled, “No, es un tope!” I guess you just had to be there. 😀
One of the frequent comment in reviews about the town is how fake it and touristy it looks in real life compared to how well it photographs. So true!
The shows are held on the main street. Lots of benches for guests, some more comfortable than others.
My oral comprehension of Spanish is still terrible, especially when it comes to fiction. I do okayish following a straight up informational narrative, but when I have to follow a plot, different voices, a variety of inflections, etc., forget it if I don’t have subtitles (Spanish okay!) to guide me. So I really didn’t understand much of the show. But based on the jokes I did get as well as how much everyone else was howling, it was funny!
At one point, a no good husband who was always running off stood up to his wife and pointed a gun at her, yelling, “You’re not afraid of my gun?” She had been chasing and whacking him with a giant saucepan in previous scenes and was standing there holding the saucepan. I whispered to Julia, “He should be more afraid of her saucepan.” She turned to me, a huge grin on her face, and burst out laughing. The joke continued later in a souvenir shop where you could buy replica guns and I bemoaned that there were no saucepans for sale!
There was a cancan show after. Reminded me of Dawson! I was wearing a flowy black skirt, so I went into the street and danced, too, swirling my skirt around. So much fun!
We wandered around a bit, finding a snack (cranberry bun for her, nieve for me), and got some pictures taken. This was my favourite:
The town has a few stores with souvenirs, lots of portrait studios, and some food vendors. It would be easy to spend an afternoon here with kids, but not a full day.
There were a few things we could have done had we chosen to stay till 6:30, like a cart ride or even go horseback riding, and I know we didn’t explore every inch of the village, but we both agreed that we wanted to get back to Durango rather than hang out.
This was a fun couple of hours that I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed half as much on my own!
It was 4:00 when we arrived, so Julia had to hoof it over to Francisco Villa. I walked the block with her, thinking our day was over. But she said she wanted to do a cemetery walking tour quite a bit later that evening, so how about we meet up for dinner around 6:30, then go do the tour? Great! I told her to come meet me at the hotel when she was ready as I would be there having a break.
I was glad to have a few hours to decompress and relax. I also had a headache from all that Spanish! What an education the day had been so far! I didn’t understand everything Julia said, not by far, and I sometimes had to pull out a dictionary to more clearly express myself, but, really, we did okay comprehension-wise. There were so many laughs all day, which transcends any language barriers. This is one of my favourite things about traveling solo, meeting up with someone just for a day and sharing some memories with no expectations of becoming lifelong friends.