From the outskirts of the city I could tell Durango would be the biggest city I’ve been to on the trip so far. This morning while I had wifi at the hotel I mapped out how to get to where I was staying so I wouldn’t get lost. That plan got thrown out the window as soon as I found the road closed and I was sent on a wild detour completely throwing me off track. I tried going down a few streets to find ones I knew from the map but with no luck as streets didn’t always (or usually) have street signs. I passed by a Walmart that looked like it just set up shop in the neighborhood and was ready to, you know, provide great jobs for people and always have low prices. I did find it helpful to get directions though.
There was a women standing in the parking lot and asked if she knew where the street was. She didn’t, but she said to wait a minute and her friend might know. Her friend arrived a moment later and said to follow him, it’s on their way and he’d point me in the right direction.
We left the giant Walmart parking lot and made our way through the busy streets. Durango has a street system that for some left turns you drive on the left side of the road for a block or more. For a traveler it makes no sense. The car I was following pulled to the side and said this is the road I was looking for and to just keep going “deracho” (straight, which should not be mistaken for “deracha”, which is to the right). I found the cross street I was looking for and my destination. In front of the home I was staying there was street sign and I quickly realized why no one knew the street I was asking about, I had been saying the name of the street wrong.
The center of Durango is the historic district which has been revived in recent years to become an enjoyable area with a pedestrian street with cafés, cantinas, theaters, art galleries and artesian shops.
Dotting the city streets and skyline are many old churches, each with their own style.
The city center was bustling with people many of whom were enjoying a unique kind of street entertainment I’ve only seen here. Lining the plaza were two dozen small decorated boxes on stands. Each box was decorated in their own way and had two small holes and headphones. These were mini movie theaters. Filmmakers would make short animated films and people come by for a minute or two of entertainment. If you’ve seen this elsewhere let me know what it’s called.
My host for the night in Durango was Chantal, yet again a wonderful person from Couchsurfing. Born and raised in Durango, yet she has traveled and worked all over the world and shared the stories of her experiences. Coincidentally she is a graphic designer and works on a print publication that is distributed in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, cities near where I live. As soon as the sun went down the skies opened up and the rain poured down. This has become all too familiar. We checked out a few great local bars and a taco shop. You can never get enough tacos.