Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/84

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78
THE FOOT-HILLS OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

tember, but this year it did not. It was now the middle of October, and still the clouds poured down showers every evening and during most of the night making traveling, which ought to have been better than at any other season, almost impossible and slow at best. It was raining when we left Tornila, and we hardly saw the sun that day. The country from Colima to Zapotlan is quite populous, and in the middle part nearly all the arable land is cultivated.

The road is very wide, but poor, and inclosed between very high and substantial stone walls. The crops are corn, beans, pumpkins, rice, sugar-cane, &c., &c., and all are very good. From Tornila we ascended rapidly, and were soon among the foot-hills of the Sierra Madre of Mexico. The country is not unlike Central Arizona in formation, but the vegetation is rank and luxuriant to a degree beyond comparison. At all the houses along the road there are little open windows, in which are exposed for sale fruit and bread cakes, tortillas and cheese. For a medio—half a rial, or six and one-fourth cents–you can buy a milk-pan full of bananas or other fruit, and bread, etc., is very cheap.

Women, lightly dressed in loose cotton camesas and skirts, are seen in every house, squatted before the hollowed block of lava, on which they grind to a paste the half-boiled hulled corn, from which they make tortillas. Placing a handful of the corn on the stone, they take hold, with both hands, of a stone about a foot in length and three inches square, which they rub back and forth over the corn until it is reduced to a pulp, then taking up a little mass, pat it with both hands