I had read recently about a week long street fair in Ticul, actually I thought it was in Muna until a few days before departure. An error was made in the original advertising and luckily I read about the error before the big adventure. Anyway, Ticul is known for its pottery, mostly barro(terracotta) pots and statuary. From small to gigantic, plain and painted they have a huge selection of nice pots and statues. They are also becoming known for their ceramics.
And of course they make shoes, LOTS of shoes.
On the appointed day friends C&G arrived; they had just 2 days prior returned from a week long bus trip through Chiapas, and were amazingly up for another road trip.
Of we went - after a few stops, and some purchases we arrived at the decision point, straight to Ticul, or detour for lunch first; one thing I love about C&G, always ready to go do something, and always ready to eat! So, we headed off to Santa Elena to have lunch at friend Valerie's restaurant, The Pickled Onion. Read Valerie's interview on YucatanLiving here.
What a lunch, so amazing to find such wonderful food in such an out of the way place. Three of us had the fish special which was a bass fillette with a creamy cilantro sauce, mashed chayote, rice, steamed veggies, one of us ordered lomitas de cerdo yucateca, also ordered were hummus, avocado soup, garden salad, and a pitcher of jamaica, oops, don't forget one order of fresh cheesecake with berries. All that, plus a generous tip for less than 600mn. Wowee, wow, wow!
Valerie looked wonderful, is enjoying her life, and is truely a 'part' of her community.
Now, fully sated we should have hit the hammocks but instead headed to Ticul. We headed straight for Centro for the street fair. We were actually disappointed, they were really only selling shoes, cheap jewelry, and cheesy T-shirts. No pottery, no ceramics.
After a walk about, and a few small purchases we decided to head out and stop at the pottery stores - we walked through a bunch of them but just didn't find anything we couldn't live without. At the last store, which is actually the first heading in to Ticul, we spied an old guy in a workshop making pots.
We strolled over and I asked permission to enter which he granted. My spanish is quite limited, which he seemed to sense and so spoke slowly and clearly for me. His name is Lorenzo. don Lorenzo has been making pots for 58years. He explained all the secret places where he gathers the clay he uses, it is special clay, pure without a lot of impurities. He and his family have been gathering the clay in the same places and in the same ways or generations.
As we stood there talking he continued at his work, stopping occassionaly to point out something or get up to show us something. It was one of those really great experiences - I tried to translate as best as possible, but my translations leave out a lot of the flavor and texture of his spoken words.
Of don Lorenzo's five children, four continue in the pottery business in Ticul.
He is a maestro, and it was incredibly fascinating to speak with him, and to watch him as he created pots, using rudimentary tools before our eyes.
C&G actually purchased one of don Lorenzo's pots, a beautiful, simple, fluid vase shaped urn about 55cm high, soft curves, and amazingly symetric.