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the boys become cowboys

In Tepehuanes, without warning, the boys suddenly develop a fascination for cowboys hats. I have been talking about buying a cowboy hat, for my sister, ever since I entered Mexico and none of my travelling companions showed the slightest interest. Now, with the bikes packed and ready to go the guys are irresistibly drawn by some mysterious but compelling force into the shop on the corner beneath our hotel which stocks a vast array of hats and boots, the bare essentials of stylish cowboy attire.

An impressive array of hats - all with subtle differences which are largely invisible to the untrained.

An impressive array of hats - all with subtle differences which are largely invisible to the undiscerning eye.

Jeff trys them on for size.

Jeff tries one on for size...

Cass is drawn to the colourful array of boots.

...while Cass is drawn to the colourful array of boots. He spends considerable time pondering on their practicality as cycling footwear before somewhat reluctantly declining to buy a pair.

It's hard to imagine someone actually wearing these.

I find it a little hard to imagine somebody actually wearing these fancy numbers.

Finally, the boys exit the shop all sporting new head-wear whose stylishness, if not practicality, is absolutely guaranteed.

Amazing.

An astonishing style statement. (Photo: Jeff. Volk.)

Stylish though pointy cowboy boots may be the boys stick with their more practical footwear.

Attractive though pointy cowboy boots may be, ultimately the boys all decide to stick with their more sensible cycling footwear but the pointy toes here belong to Abraham, a local mountain biker, who sees our bikes and seeks us out in hat shop.

The new items of attire allow for all sorts of games.

The new items of attire allow for all sorts of fun.

Our antics, in a town that clearly doesn’t see a lot of tourists, attracts the attention of a number of locals. Abraham, a local mountain biker, sees our bikes lined up against the wall and seeks us out in the hat shop and, after much discussion of local routes, the intriguing possibility of riding along an abandoned train-line all the way to Durango is presented to us along with some useful contacts in Santiago, the next major town on our route.

A young girl, from the fish restaurant where we both dined and lunched, clearly impressed by our continuing presence in town, suddenly appears with gifts of key rings boasting clear plastic bubbles containing a real scorpion, the symbol of the state of Durango.

This girl gives us gifts of scorpion key-rings and asks to have her photo taken with each of us.

This girl gives us gifts of scorpion key-rings...

...

... and asks to have her photo taken with each of us in return.

Various people ply us with quiote, a fibrous sweet made from agave, sold on the streets. It is an acquired taste but one I definitely ending up being able to appreciate.

Quiote - a fibrous sweet made from agave. You take a bite, chew awhile and then spit the fibrous matter out. An aquired taste that took me a while to appreciate.

Quiote - a fibrous sweet made from agave. You take a bite, chew awhile and then spit the fibrous matter out. An aquired taste that took me a while to appreciate. (Photo: Jeff Volk.)

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