Tecali - The Marble town

in Pinmapple11 days ago (edited)

Mexico is full of well-kept secrets and magical mysteries, and Tecali is probably the best kept secret in the whole state of Puebla, at least when it comes to keeping tourists in the dark regarding the existence of a small town in the middle of nowhere in the outskirts of Puebla, that pretty much no one knows about. Or at least that's what everyone wants you - the tourist from another part of Mexico or the world - to think.

It's not only the locals who keep Tecali a whispering secret among only the real locals, but also all the businesses pressure so Tecali remains unknown for everyone outside of those who do business with the merchandise sold here.

And I mean, I understand their mindset. Imagine being able to buy the dolphin sculpture below for 1k USD and being able to sell it back to upscale, posh families who live in an upper class bubble in Mexico city for 4 times that amount, or closing a deal with a seafood franchise in the United States east coast where they'll get 10x their investment for each of the 17 restaurants the franchise has? Or imagine selling that same sculpture for 10k euros to a German politician or a French actress?

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It comes all the way from Mexico, it's a real piece of art, made by the hands of short craftsmen and women!

The best part is that Tecali is a Marble town in the whole extension of the word. There's so much marble that even small kids craft little sculptures and sell them for 5 bucks in the streets of Puebla. The main streets are made of Marble, the local church has marble sculptures everywhere, and even the poorest families' homes have amazing marble pieces decorating their houses.

Tecali is not a beautiful town per se, the town looks like a normal Mexican town in the middle of nowhere, and even though the locals know how valuable marble is outside of this marbled bubble, they stick to crafting and fabricating sculptures and selling them within the town. It's only thanks to shark businessmen and commerce entrepreneurs who stumbled upon this gold mine that we have tons of stores in the city of Puebla, and over the past decade they have expanded to other regions of Mexico, always keeping the original location a secret, because they don't want any competition and they obviously don't want their customers to realize they are paying five times the real price of a sculpture.

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Oh yes, Tecali is part of Mexico's Magic Towns, an initiative that began around 15 years ago to encourage national tourism to spread their wealth within Mexico and to visit places within their country instead of spending their hard earned pesos in the US or Europe. This initiative worked in the beginning, but after a while, every small town with just a single touristic location was deemed a Magic Town and even some towns with no relevant architecture, cultural contribution, social relevance got the Magic Town title only because they have a kickass flea market in the town's square every other Sunday.

The term Magic Town was depreciated and lost its meaning, successfully rendering irrelevant all those unpopular towns like Tecali that got the title too late to become a trend. Tecali was kept in the dark, both because of unfortunate circumstances but also because the town staying in the dark was aligned with deep pockets interests.

At one point I was planning on leaving to the Caribbean for good and start a business there. The marble from Tecali is so cheap that I even considered buying it on the bulk and hiring a couple of craftsmen to come with me and my gf and set a shop in our new destination. I ran the numbers and it was profitable as hell to just bring tons (literal tons) of marble at hilarious prices, pay the craftsmen twice what they made in their hometown, rent a shop in the upscale side of the city, sell only 40% of the new pieces I made every month while having a better price than the local competition... and I would be making enough to buy a full BTC every four months - after my expenses - at this freaking price.

That didn't happen because my plans changed a couple of months ago, but I'm just giving you an example so you picture how cheap this place is compared to the posh stores in the main avenues of your city.

I mean, if you are not convinced, take a look at this chess set and leave in the comments how much would you pay for it in your local currency, and I will tell you tomorrow how much I paid for it:

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Anyway, I've bored you enough with personal matters, here's the real deal:

Getting to Tecali is easy as hell if you are coming from the city of Puebla - in the state of Puebla. You'll get there in around one hour if you are coming from the downtown area, I'll use the city square as a reference:

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And yet, so close to the civilization and so far from being popular...

Every store you find in Tecalli is owned by the same family that crafts the sculptures, no one else could compete with the prices at what they offer their products, so you have at least that, you know you're helping the local family by buying in these stores.

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There's an email up there, you can even call them to check if I'm not bullshiting you, those two knights' price are around 300 bucks and the horse, peacock and dinosaur below are around 200 dollars. How much would you pay for those back home?

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On every corner of this small as hell town you will find gardens full of sculptures like this one, with old pieces and new ones, expensive and cheap ones. This people are not looking to bargain or negotiate, they know their prices are cheap and if they sell one of them, their monthly expenses are covered - perhaps even more - so they are not in a rush, besides, having a garden full of sculptures attracts tourists like myself - pity I don't have money.

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Did anyone say Africa? They got the animals right here.

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Anyone mentioned ancient Greece? They have that covered in Tecali.

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Or maybe you want to decorate your home like a 1850's plantation owner or like a modern narco and include some bears and panthers in your doorway. You can do it for the cheap here in Tecali.

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Walking inside every store means a whole new world and endless possibilities, where you have no idea what concepts these craftsmen came up with, and what kind of pieces you will find inside.

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Are you recently married and you want your new home to be styled like this? Bring 1k bucks and every corner of your house will look like an 1900's European aristocrat.

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Redecorating your bathroom? Why would you pay hundreds of dollars for this when you can spend a couple hundred so your bathroom looks like the one the dutchess of Westfalia has at home?

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There are even stores targeted for the really upscale who want to decorate their living room to look like the seventh hell.

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It's just incredible to look at these pieces and then take a glimpse at the background, the actual town and realize how crappy this town is apart from their main craft, and how little money it actually flows towards these families that offer an amazing product for such little money.

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Wolves, chess, and bathroom pieces, you can find anything in these stores, all you have to do is perform a deep dive, have comfy shoes and endure the sun.

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Of course there's an ancient church there like in every town with more than 100 people, it's abandoned now and the new one was built next to this one, but damn, if you have the time to visit, don't do it just for the marble because there's a lot to sightsee in Tecali.

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Tecali it's not only about the stores, there's also the marble factories where they bring all the mined marble and the craftsmen start doing their magic. Some miners do not have a store, so if you manage to find one these backend rooms that sell directly to the stores in Tecali you will even find cheaper pieces, all you have to do is search - and look Mexican, if you're white and blonde or look chines (as Mexicans refer to every Asian origin person) you will not get a good deal.

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In the end, I wanted to share with you the Magic behind Tecali, and let anyone who's coming to Mexico know that this town exists, and you can bring home amazing marble sculptures for little to no money (for you, if you come from the first world).

I hope you liked this little tour around Tecali, the Marble Town.

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I wonder if I would look Mexican or "Chinese" to a Mexican XD

The old church looks impressive, can you wander in or is it one of those things with safety tape around it? All that marble :O that chess set looks pretty awesome, it would probably cost about a million times as much as however much you paid for it over here XD

Totally amazing, good for them keeping the secret, hopefully everyone who lives their prospers from riches in the region.

@tipu curate 2

I am torn about keeping it a secret, because if more people knew about the town, they wouldn't buy overpriced stuff in the city that comes from the town, they would instead go to the town and give more income to the locals without the middle man! But on the other side, if a lot of people hear about this, the prices might moon, so who knows hehe, thanks for the Tipu curation!

Excellent craftsmanship displayed should have higher prices, difficult letting a secret out knowing it may do this lost little community the world of good financially.

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