Mexican life

How to build a stone street

A FULL RENOVATION of the street surrounding our large, spectacular plaza downtown has been going on for quite a spell. It started last November on two streets radiating out from the plaza. Those streets are completed. New, wider sidewalks too.

Another radiating street is being done as we speak, plus two sides of the plaza itself have been the object of work for weeks now. One of the principal pluses of this work is a brand-new drainage system, which was sorely needed.

I’m downtown for a brief spell most afternoons for café Americano negro and ogling beautiful women who pass my sidewalk table. Finishing that, I walk over to see how the work is progressing. I find it highly interesting, and I’ve never seen this sort of manual labor done in the United States.

The work done above the Rio Bravo is faster, more efficient, less lovely and, I’m betting, lasts far fewer years. Our work here is slower, less efficient, more lovely, and will stand the proverbial test of time.

Another notable difference between how things are done here and how they’re done up north is that there are no barricades to keep pedestrians and onlookers at bay.

That’s great for Nosy Parkers like me.

24 thoughts on “How to build a stone street

  1. There has been a discussion going on around here about cobblestones. Some adamantly say they are “rocks.” You are discussing “stones.” So some research I did, and stones are just big rocks made from the same geological materials (mostly) for this discussion. Cobblestones are hammered into cobbles from rocks and stones. I like your stone road better than our rock roads.


  2. Now I have to figure out what is the difference between a road and street. Toss in an avenue, and I’ll be busy the rest of the day.


  3. So from these descriptions, a road is an improved path between two points whether in areas outside settlements, in the suburbs, or in urban areas, while a street is a paved public path within a built-up area, and an avenue is a road or street with trees planted along both sides, generally of the same species for uniformity.

    Got it! Now I can go back to bed with hopes this GD head and chest cold will go away. Thanks for keeping me busy for a bit.


  4. There are guidelines as to what roads, streets, etc., are, but most of them are ignored by modern planners. In some cities, streets run North-South, and Avenues run East-West, and are numbered. Also, even ones are one-way in opposite directions to odd-numbered ones. Makes driving great for street racers.


    1. Kris: And in Mexico, some streets have no names whatsoever, and the houses often have no numbers. It always amuses me to see addresses written here as, for example, Calle Madero s/n where the s/n means sin numero, i.e. no number.

      It’s an Alice in Wonderland world here.


      1. Felipe
        When I lived there, in Puerto Escondido, there was no mail delivery, just PO boxes. In Patzcuaro, we had no street names, just the subdivision name, Salud or something like that. Our mail went to everybody in the neighborhood. I got a PO box, and the bank made me close my account because they wouldn’t deliver the statements to a PO box.
        Of course, phone bills, water bills and electric bills were always hand delivered.


        1. Kris: Some areas — I imagine outlying ones like mine — do not get mail delivered directly to houses. What happens is that a central drop-off point is assigned. Often it’s one of those little general stores (abarrotes), but it can also be the house of someone who volunteers to do it. I imagine they get paid something. Everyone in the neighborhood knows where it is, and they go by there to pick up their mail. I’m not sure why this system exists, but I imagine it’s due to that fact that many streets have no names and many houses have no numbers. It’s part of our wacky charm.

          Our house is in one of those areas. Right after moving to Mexico, I opened an account at Banamex. I already had a PO box even though the rental where I lived at the time did get mail delivery, but it was just that the mailman tossed the mail over the gate onto the ground. Not a great idea during the six-month rainy season. Banamex initially said they could not deliver to a PO box, but I eventually got them to do it. Persistence can work.

          But I have long since abandoned Banamex and have accounts at both HSBC, a marginally crappy bank, and at Bancomer, a very good bank. On their websites, you can cancel delivery of paper statements, opting for electronic versions instead, which is what I’ve done for ages now. I don’t have a landline phone, so no bills there, and my electric bills are paid automatically via my bank account. I have also canceled the paper statements from the electric company, CFE. So if anyone sends mail to my home, it goes to some house about two blocks away for pickup. I never pick anything up there, so God knows what may be there. Probably nothing. Whenever someone asks for my mailing address, I always give the PO box.

          Such is life here.


  5. We are fortunate that we live in a place where craftsmen can take the time and effort to hand make something that actually is almost a piece of art. Such construction techniques would be cost prohibitive NOB, and replaced with asphalt or concrete that has absolutely no charm or beauty associated with it. They would rather repair the asphalt every 4 or 5 years where here, they know it will last almost forever. Could you imagine how expensive it would be to have a team of masons do that kind of work NOB? Funny you should mention the lack of barriers around the workers, can you image the liability goons that it would attract if done NOB? There would be a battery of suits with briefcases ready to hand out business cards at each construction corner.
    Here nobody gets hurt, no one falls down, nobody get sued, what a cultural difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tancho: How right you are. However, I imagine guys do get hurt now and then doing that sort of work, but they accept it as part of life and don’t try to make a financial killing in court out of what usually is just a freaking accident. Accidents happen.

      Life here is superior.


  6. Wow. Go away for a while, and they redo everything. It looks like our street up the hill from your cafecito will be torn up in front of our casa just in time for our late March arrival. Take a hike up the hill past Lupita’s, and you will see another street redo. Well, it will be real nice when it is done. Great video. Thanks.


    1. Patzman: You two must have left quite a spell ago. They started at the far side of Dr. Coss, and that street (plus new sidewalks) is almost completed. You are right. It will all be spectacular when finished.


  7. What with even more Mexican charm, now including cobblestones, can hordes of Gringos be far behind???


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where there are no cobblestone streets, though some are just as bumpy.


    1. Kim: That is my unending concern, of course, and it’s happening. Nuttin´ I can do about it, however.

      We had cobblestones there before. It’s just that now we have better cobblestones, and the drainage will be superior.


        1. Kim: Truth be told, the Gringo quality has gone down, not up. From what I can see from a distance, and I keep my distance, there’s not a lot of difference between the newbies of recent years and Gringos in San Miguel. Way back when, we had a far more interesting bunch, some of whom were clearly deranged, dangerous or on the edge in some way. I, of course, was none of those things.

          Liked by 1 person

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