The Rancho Tour

By Charlotte Bell

You see them on the streets of San Miguel: men with strong sinewy bodies, faces darkly tanned under cowboy hats, women in checked aprons, jelly shoes, their hair in braids. They seem exotic to the visitor, but of course this has been their home for millennium. Do you wonder where and how they live? Have you ever yearned to visit a rural community, which is the heart of Mexico? Well, you now have just such an opportunity by signing up for “The Rancho Tour.” Las Rancheritas, Mexico’s only rug hookers, designed this excursion into Mexico’s rural roots. The tour will give you an insider’s view of village life. Agustín González is located just 20 minutes from San Miguel on the road to Cañada de La Virgen near the local Otomí pyramid. The Otomí descendants of that pyramid’s time live in the village. And the tour is fun. It includes the following activities, plus a luncheon prepared from home-made and home-grown food. Everything is vegetarian. We begin at St Paul’s church, where transportation will await you.

How can you resist? Photographers have an opportunity to take as many photos as they would like. Vegetarians can eat everything. Children have a wonderful time. We will walk from house to house and enjoy the beautiful area. The tour was created by Charlotte Bell, author of Rich Roots, the book about life in rural villages and Las Rancheritas, Mexico’s only rug hookers.

Reservations required. 500 pesos, includes tour, transportation, and a home-cooked lunch. 152 7548,

Type of License/Tipo de Licencia
House 1: How to make a tortilla by hand
Start with a stalk of dried corn
Remove the dried corn kernels from the cob and soak
Grind the kernels with a metate as the ancient Otomí did
Form the masa into balls and press into tortillas
Cook the tortillas on a wood fire comal
Eat hot fresh tortillas filled with home made cheese and squash blossoms, verdolagas, nopalito with onion and garlic, and cilantro and fresh home-made salsas, one made with wild tomatoes.
You need to sign up just for the food!
House 2: Preparing pumpkin the traditional way
Remove the hard skin with a machete
Prepare the vegetable with piloncillo and cinnamon
Roast the seeds on with fire on a comal and eat hot
Prepare fruit water.
House 3: Stone carving
View a demonstration of stone caving from a master stone carver
See the products of his work
Try your hand at carving
Purchase carver stone sculptures at rock bottom prices
House 4: The ancient language of the Otomí
Visit the house of Doña Maria and hear her speak Otomí
Read the handout of simple Otomí words
Doña Maria will help you pronounce them
The Rancheritas’ Store
End the tour at the beautiful store of Las Rancheritas
Watch a demonstration on how to hook a rug
Try to hook a rug yourself
Purchase one of the beautiful hooked rugs that will be displayed

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