This is the story of my experiences living as an ex-pat in Mexico since 2003. It's to culminate in a published book. With your help, I'll be editing, selecting a title, and cover art: a participatory project. Your comments encouraged!

Letters from Mexico

Letters - Where Expats Blog

The Silver City

May 25, 2019

City views

Views of Taxco, Mexico. Left, from a cable car. Right, from the terrace of a restaurant. Photos by Don Karp

Taxco, pronounced Tasko, is noted for its finely crafted silver. It's another "magic city," and is located in central Mexico, about an hour and a half ride south from Cuernavaca.

The buildings are all white, built one atop the other, and winding up the mountainside. This reminds me of Greece. My friend Jake, who produced the blog in this series on Acapulco, kindly invited me to visit him.

As the story goes, the original natives mined silver. The Aztecs told Cortez about this, and he invaded and conquered them, taking over the mining operation. The full name of the city, Taxco de Alarcón, comes from the name of the revered  writer Juan Ruiz de Alarcón who was a native of the town.

Taxco, Mexico. Statue of Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. As a revered writer who lived there, his name was affectionately  attached to the town's name. Photo by Don Karp

In the mid 18th century, José de la Borda arrived to Taxco and started more modern operations in the silver mines. At one time, he was the richest person in Mexico. He funded building of churches and set up many museums, giving back to enrich the public.

Taxco, Mexico. Statue of José de la Borda (top), and two views of the main church that he built in Taxco. Photo by Don Karp

In 1931, William Spratling came from the US to Taxco to reestablish the silver industry. He was an artist and silver designer who had a great influence on Mexican silver design. His work was a combination of Mexican indigenous and art deco. You can visit the museum created in his honor to see his work. His home is open to the public.

On top of the city's mountain is a huge statue of Jesus. It's visible from the road entering the city. During the large earthquake of 2018, the left hand of the statue dislodged, and wasn't yet repaired during my visit.

Taxco, Mexico. Statue of Jesus high atop the city. Photo by Don Karp

The streets in Taxco are steep and narrow, with no sidewalks.

Taxco, Mexico. My friend Jake walking on two different narrow streets. Photo by Don Karp

Jake, Nancy, and I took a taxi to the caves of Cacahuamilpa. This was a 45 minute ride. I'd never been to a large cave system like this before, and it was a thrilling experience for me. Since my youth, I'd been attracted to caves, volcanoes, and things underground.

This site offers many venues to explore, including underground rivers. I was excited to go on the tour of the main cave system, with 100 foot high ceilings, and with stalactites and stalagmites.

At the beginning of the tour, I met an interesting man who spoke English fairly well. Iran Sandoval and I became friends. Coming from northern Mexico, he was traveling with his dad and a friend. Below are two videos: one is made from photos by Iran with his iPhone, the other by me made using my small point and shoot Cannon.

Taxco, Mexico. Caves of Cacahuamilpa. Video and photos by Don Karp

Taxco, Mexico. Caves of Cacahuamilpa. Video by Don Karp, Photos by Iran Sandoval

What are your thoughts on Taxco?

My travels have increased lately, and my credit card has been stretched. One idea I have for paying for future travel is to buy silver jewelry (or items for crafters, like silver nuggets, wire, or chain) and carry them into the US to sell to wholesalers. I'd need to develop a list with photos and prices, and then find prospective wholesale buyers in the US cities that I want to visit. It's a project!

Any ideas, references, or even encouragement is appreciated.

Taxco, Mexico.The video shows how this works with pedestrians and traffic. Video by Don Karp