Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Found a Couple of Things in Mexico

We are stayed at the KOFU Ko-Op Escapees Park for a few days.  Sunday, we drove over to the other side of Yuma into California and another 5 miles to the border town of Algodones, Baja California, Mexico.

We were here almost 4 years ago to the day.

We parked in the parking lot and paid $6.  It was about 200 yards from there through the border gate.
The bathrooms at the gate have been upgraded and were very clean and well maintained.
We wandered down the street and along some stalls and shops seeing what was new this year.
It was nice day as we wondered around.  We saw some wood carvings and I was thinking it might be nice to get a Roadrunner.  Sadly, I did not take any pictures of those made of ironwood.  My reluctance centered around "where am I going to put it?".  So we didn't get one.

But we did have a bit of fun bartering/negotiating with a vendor over a metal sculpture/rock roadrunner.  Started at $35.  Got it for $15.
El Correcaminos
The other thing we bought was a small rug from Onesimo.  Hand made - $40.
Without a doubt, the most interesting part of our day was talking with the owner of the store where we bought the rug:  Onesimo of Oaxaca Shops.
Check it out if you are in the area.  Definitely worth it!

We found his store and Pam was looking at the workmanship and the rugs when he came over.  This was not your average hawker, '!!Come over here, I have anything you want for a good price!!! guy'.  We had already been past lots of stores and through gauntlet a few times, but he was different.

He is an entrepreneur and businessman. I was impressed as he was very generous with his time.  He was glad to show and explain lots of things about his business and his rugs.  As the owner and head of the family, he has 31 other people in his family to care for.  Many aunts, uncles cousins etc have made things that he sells in his shop.
Pam asked some questions about the rugs and the next thing you know, he was going through the whole process.  He didn't start out making rugs so he spent one summer learning how his mother actually did it and he documented some of it in his pictures.  The short version is the poster/pictures he has hanging in his shop.
But when Pam asked more and more questions, he went and got a stack of photos and really detailed all the steps of the rug-making process. Obviously he had done this before.  It was fascinating.
First the sheep, then making the yarn.  He had about 10 photos.
Then the different dyes he uses and the different ways he gets plants and boils them for the colors.
He had many different designs and sizes and colors.
I believe he said his uncle does the larger rugs.  But the grayish one is a rug that Onesimo actually did himself.  He said it took about 11 hours.  And an average day at that time was about 7-8 hours.
In addition to showing Pam the different kinds of wool and the designs, he talked about how the dyed wool is washed a couple of times so the colors won't run.  Still, he recommended washing in cold water and stretching it out tightly while it is drying.
It was one of those great learning experiences and the highlight of our time in Los Algodones.  If you are looking for a great shop we can recommend this one.

It was still only mid-morning and we walked around a little more.
We were here four years ago and the town seems to be cleaner, with more improvements.  It was a Sunday morning so maybe that is why there was not a whole lot of traffic.
It seemed to us that in general, there were less 'snowbirds' here than four years ago.

Next, we thought we would stop for lunch at the Quechan Casino.  We dry camped here last time we were in the area.
We went inside and looked at the menu and decided we'd grab something in Yuma.  But the dry camping area looked like it had some improvements.  It was larger and there was some order to where people had their rigs parked.

On the way home, we saw a well done series of murals on the city water towers:
That was our day in Mexico and our return to Yuma.  One that we will remember for a while.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...


  1. I chatted with the same guy when I was there! I regretted now not buying one of his rugs. I still have a pic of the one I wanted. We were on a tight budget and decided to do a bunch of needed dental work instead

    The Oaxaca region is well known for their rug weaving. I have two smaller mats, but a bigger rug is on my radar for the living area of the motorhome. ahhh next time.

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

    1. He gave us some business cards, so I suppose you could call and order them?

    2. Sure! Can you email me his contact info? pfundt@gmail.com

  2. We were in Algodones yesterday but missed the rug shop. Will keep it in mind for next year. The place was packed yesterday. We ended up buying nothing - well except glasses for Jim.