The Sunday Chronicle…More On Mexico

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The years have gone by, but the memories remain of those summer trips to Mexico when I was young.  Each summer seemed to change our mode of transportation on getting there; train travel being a favorite. Three days of reading, playing cards, and eating wonderful meals in the dining car. The photo above has to be our departure from San Antonio, Texas, my home town, but again, it could be somewhere in Mexico, as I have no written clues left me on the back of the photos I’ve found recently.

We boarded the train in San Antonio, and at the Mexican border the locomotive was switched over to a Mexican engine, with a lot of bumping back and forth and steel against steel grinding and screeching, and then we were off into our adventure. The small border towns slowly gave way to scrub brush, Saguaro Cactus, and dry open land; and as the speed of the train picked up we settled in to a cozy compartment that would be home for the next few days.

Walking through the train  on our way to dinner was always an adventure, peeking into other compartments, seeing all the people who were a part of our onboard family, and what they were doing. And sticking our heads out the window on the sections of the train that connected one car to another.

The dining car always amazed me; a moving restaurant, that had tables on either side of the car, covered with crisp white table cloths, and set with silverware that was heavy, and nothing like the utensils we had at home. Who could concentrate on food with the vistas going by outside the windows.

The sleeping berths in our compartment would be pulled down and made up for us while we were at dinner. Sleep was always non-existent though, the first night, with the excitement of sleeping in the moving train, and hearing the occasional wail of the train’s whistle as we sped past little towns. The window shade was pulled down tight, but little peeks from under the shade were taken to see lights far off in the distance somewhere, a sign of life out here in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere.

Stops at little towns during the day was a colorful, exciting, almost circus with vendors from the village on the train platform with baskets laden with appealing fruits, sandwiches, cold drinks, and sweets that created a lovely picnic for us back inside our compartment when we pulled out of the station. The train made stops in some of the larger towns along the way too, with a chance at some places for a few minutes to explore the station

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This photo is from a post card found amongst my photos, of the train station in San Luis, Potosi, Mexico. I’ve enlarged the mural for a better look

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Hard to say what year this was, but in researching on Wikipedia, I’ve found the artist to be Fernando Leal (February 26, 1896 – October 7, 1964); here is what is said about this mural: “In 1943, he painted two panels in the train station of San Luis Potosí called El triunfo de la locomotora (The triumph of the locomotive) and La edad de la máquina (The age of the machine).[1] The first of these contrasts the old and new ways to travel. The old way, by foot and horse/donkey, shows robbery and other violent scenes, while the train is shown as traversing great distances”.

And traverse great distances we did, either to Guadalajara or Mexico City as our final destination on the train. I always knew that the train trip was over, but further journeys within Mexico with our Mexican family were on the horizon. Our trip was just beginning.

The first installment of Mexico memories can be found here

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About Angeline M

Love to travel, read, garden. I am a nurse case manager working in Disease Management. Photos of locations visited are personal file photos.
This entry was posted in A Little Bit of the Everyday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to The Sunday Chronicle…More On Mexico

  1. Stein says:

    Very, very nice account of the train golden travel era. it is really a pity that today most people have lost the “enjoy the ride” sense and only want to get there as soon as possible. I wish Mexico had more passenger train routes, it would be a wonderful to get to know this wonderful country.

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  2. CMFowler says:

    Oh my gosh! I absolutely loved every bit of this beautiful account of your trip. You have a way of transporting one away into another land. Stunning!

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  3. awax1217 says:

    My wife and myself and our children went there thirty years ago. We went to Mexico City and to the pyramids. We also went to the gardens, the park and the museum. These photos bring back a lot of memories. Thanks

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    • Angeline M says:

      Wasn’t Mexico City fantastic back then? I haven’t been back since 1968!! I’m sure it’s changed just a wee bit.

      Glad you caught this post to join in the walk down memory lane. And thanks for stopping in to comment.

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  4. CMFowler says:

    Oh – these are simply stunning! The images have a dreamlike quality to them as if you are reaching into you’re own memory or imagination. And your words – absolutely poetic.

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  5. restlessjo says:

    What a lovely step back in time with you, Angeline 🙂 Are you in touch with any Mexican family still?
    I look forward to the book. It sounds great!

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  6. archecotech says:

    Loved the post, I’ve never traveled long distance by train except in Russia, which was mostly by night. We would awake and be at our destination the next morning. One day I hope to travel the length of Russia this way, to really see the country in a way it can’t be seen otherwise.

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  7. Sindhu says:

    This was a lovely read! It reminded me of train journeys I had taken in South India with my family back in the days. My sister and I (both of us being very young at that time) found the whole travel so fascinating. We haven’t been on an Indian train in a long time now – and probably won’t be for an even longer time – but the memories are so much fun to look back on!

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  8. Imelda says:

    What a beautiful memory and piece of history. Thanks for sharing, Angeline. 🙂

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  9. ShimonZ says:

    Brings back a lot of memories. Your story covers so much territory and time.

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  10. I also remember my summers being spent in Mexico as a child, thank you for sharing this and making me reminisce about my summers. Good post.

    quit-your-culture.com

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  11. My friend, there is a book here somewhere waiting to see the light of day…..you have the photos to back up the text of your childhood stories…..your mission, should you choose to accept it.

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  12. dadirri7 says:

    so interesting angeline! i too travelled by train as a child, but just over the mountains and out to the central west of nsw, not through days and nights to another country …. thanks for sharing your memories 🙂

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  13. Reblogged this on La Güera Pecosa and commented:
    Read about some of Angeline’s memories of Mexico!! Great photos, too 🙂

    — Güera

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  14. Love your account of your trip! I felt like I was right there with you, peeking out the train window at the passing lights. What a fun journey!

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  15. ChgoJohn says:

    What great memories you have, Angeline! I bet you entire family looked back on those trips quite fondly. We have given up so much for speed. Travel once was exciting and relaxing instead of the stress-filled “thing” we must endure to get to where we want to go. Such a shame.

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    • Angeline M says:

      That sparked the travel bug in me that persists to this day. And so true, travel sure was a lot more relaxing in those days. I wonder if a long train trip would still be so fun, or if it, like travel by air, is just as harried now.

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  16. Amy says:

    A beautiful memory of train journey to Mexico cities. Thank you for taking us along, Angeline!
    And, you found the artist on the Wikipedia, how amazing!

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  17. I truly enjoy reading your chronicles about Mexico as it keeps showing me places and times I don’t know yet… It’s so much fun!

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  18. treneebolton says:

    I haven’t been on a train in years, but this post made me want to purchase a ticket! There is something so nostalgic at the thought of a train ride. Truly magical 🙂

    Like

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