Potholes Keep the Economy Going in Puerto Vallarta

Potholes Keep the Economy Going

Sometimes the potholes in Puerto Vallarta are so big, we are afraid to drive over them, lest we disappear into their black depths. The big ones, however, are outnumbered by thousands, possibly millions of smaller potholes that can make for a rough ride, especially once the sun goes down over the horizon and we can’t spot them as well. Taxis don’t seem to notice potholes but when you’re riding in the back, you tend to hang onto those oh-hell-handles above the windows and raise yourself a bit on the seat.

Why don’t they just pave the roads with asphalt or concrete?

It does seem like a good solution, yet it would put a lot of people out of work. This is because those holes get repaired year-round by a crew who are skilled and adept with a wheelbarrow, shovel and cobbles. These workers spend hours on end in the hot sun, picking rocks out of the road and replacing them into grooves that are master puzzles. Some concrete, a bit of mud and sand, a lot of sweat, keep our roads bumpy and quaint.

There is an argument as to whether Puerto Vallarta has cobblestone streets. Those with self appointed authority might tell you that cobblestone streets are made with even stones of the same scale. Actually, those are called pavers. The true definition of a cobble is a stone one that is larger than a pebble, yet smaller than a boulder, so we are happy to make the claim that Puerto Vallarta is, indeed, paved with cobblestone roads. These handmade roads also have an environmental benefit of actually being permeable, so that normal rainfall is absorbed, avoiding flooding. Cobbles move under the weight and constant pressure of vehicles and beasts of burden. Shod horses, which are still quite common in Puerto Vallarta, get better traction on the cobbles than they would on smooth pavement. The same goes for carriage wheels of any size. Cobbles move around, rather than break and crack and can be repaired easily, without huge machinery and expense.

We may complain sometimes, wishing roads were smoother but we also like to see the local economy thriving with people being provided with meaningful employment and putting ancient skills to work.

Que es cómo es.

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