Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/661

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SONORA AND THE APACHE COUNTRY.

rugged hills, entirely destitute of vegetation, and reflecting the rays of the sun until the place seems like a huge oven. . . . . The country around Guaymas, for a semicircle of about one hundred miles, is a blasted, barren desert, entirely destitute of wood, water, or grass, producing only cacti and a stunted growth of mesquit. The water is all procured from wells, has a brackish, unpleasant taste, and generally causes temporary diseases with those unaccustomed to its use."

Situated at a commanding point on the Gulf of California, Guaymas should control, with its unequalled connections with the United States, all the trade of the upper Gulf. One may voyage, even now, down the coast, to Mazatlan and Acapulco; and over across the Gulf, almost within sight, is Lower California, a fabled land of riches, but of hostile shores and desert interior. The vast Bay of Guaymas is ever alive with fish, and its oysters are reputed excellent; but there are few fishermen, the principal purveyors for all the markets being Indians, from down the coast, Yaquis and Mayos, who are agriculturists, likewise, and so far advanced as to deny the white man a residence within their towns. The Indians of Sonora are numerous and interesting; up the Gulf, on Tiburon Island, resides a curious family called the Ceres, which once was powerful and independent.

A good tramway connects railroad station and town, where the buildings are mostly of adobe, and all of one story. Most painful to note is the total lack of green; of gardens there are no visible tokens, save of one, over a hollow in the hills beyond the town, where a thrifty German has established himself, and taken possession of a small grove of palms, watered by a stream fed from an artesian well. On the way there you pass the water-works of Guaymas, a deep well, at which a stalwart Indian presides and doles out the agua to the donkey boys from the city.

If I have said there is not much here of interest, let me retract, in favor of these water-carriers of the town. They are going and coming all the day long, barefooted, barefaced little rascals, of Indian descent, who sit perched astride the burro's