Friday, May 27, 2016
Los Ricos de Abajo (population: 232; dwellings: 45; 1870 meters; GPS 100° 49′ 1.3″ W, 21° 1′ 22.9″ N) is a little out of the way and we missed the turn. After turning back and fording many large puddles left from recent heavy rains, we found it. When the Laja River floods, the community is left with only a pedestrian footbridge for access and it can be washed away in some high water years. Since we want to paint here another time, we will have to go soon or wait until late summer.
An aside—even though it had rained heavily the two or three previous evenings, the road with all its puddles was full of scampering lizards. I don’t think we ran over any.
Once we arrived, the Iglesia de San Nicholas de Tolentino was easy to find. There are some names such as San Isidro Labrador and Guadalupe that are used over and over again for the capillas in this area so this name was a curiosity. Saint Nicholas de Tolentino, an Augustinian friar, lived in Italy in the 13th century and is the patron saint of holy souls and was something of a mystic.
A healthy, pink cantera was used in the construction of this well-maintained iglesia and its calvario; although, the cantera used in the calvario is such a bright pink it may have been painted. The bell tower, which we assume is made of cantera, shades to an orange. Cantera stone is a quarried, volcanic rock that is mined exclusively in various regions of Mexico and Central America. Its properties are unique, in that it offers color, texture, durability, and a softness that allows for detailed carving and cutting. This is the brightest pink cantera we have seen.
Our only company today was a nursing mother dog looking for something to eat. Maybe we will have to start bringing dog food…..