Pemex on the Alameda in Álamos

68… At the Alameda’s western edge is the gas station…

Looking northwest from The jail on Guadalupe Hill, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A summer view looking northwest from the old jail on Guadalupe Hill.

Three busy centers of Álamos can be seen above: the gas station is at the photo’s bottom left, just to the left of the two story building. The Asoc. Ganadera local de Alamos is seen to the left of the gas station with its large angled metal roof that is behind and part of the local cattlemen and ranchers association’s office. The roof’s design acts like a speaker broadcasting music from dances held here across town and off the mountains. In the middle near the right edge is La Capilla Zapopan. Chapel Zapopan was built in 1841 for Dona Juana Mallen by Don Ignacio Almada y Alvarado.

pemex gas station in the alemeda, alamos, sonora, mexico 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson.

One approaches the busy Alameda as the highway from the west ends.

The nature of my documentary efforts is capturing an area’s geography and events during a certain time period. There has been numerous times while I edited history films that I wished someone had taken a picture that benchmarked a landscape in a specific era. My photos will, hopefully, be accessible to future film makers as they look back and interpret the past. The body of my work is not commercial photography: these images were not made for someone or something. They are part and parcel of a time-capsule-database-puzzle driven by my quizzical eye. This Journal you are now reading is my attempt to make it less a puzzle by providing information about the photos and the context that they were produced in. As example, Alamos’ population has nearly doubled since I last visited and I am sure that many of these scenes have changed just as I am sure that many remain the same. I have heard for years that the jail on this hill would become a cultural center, a wonderful idea for a substantial structure with million dollar views right in the middle of town. The question becomes, is this same vantage point in 2011 a view from a cultural center or is it a photo from the old jail? All I know is this is what it looked like in 1996 and behind me was a jail with armed guards wanting me to buy inmate handcrafted horsehair products.

Looking down into gas station, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The only gas station in town is part of a Federal monopoly.

On March 18, 1938 the Mexican government nationalized foreign oil companies operating in Mexico. This was the birth of Petroleos Mexicanos, Pemex. Today it is the second largest state owned country in the world as well as the second largest company in Latin America. Pemex has 138,000 employees and pays taxes that cover 40% of the federal government budget. The Mexican petroleum industry has come a long way from Tampico in 1876 when oil was first successfully refined into kerosene. Modern Mexico and Pemex, with assets worth USD $416 billion, are tied at the billfold.

Pemex gas station, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Need gas? Need air? Need directions. Here is a good place to go.

If one was to spend a day watching the comings and goings at the gas station they would learn much about what makes Álamos go. People pull in for gas and air all day long: on foot with gas cans, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, big trucks and buses. Conversations take place between customers, attendants, people passing by and folks hanging out. Locals, tourists, ranchers from out back, North American community members, employers, workers, poor and rich all show up if they need gas here and now. Waiting in line can be a social event.

Late afternoon in the Alameda near the gas station, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Another day is coming to an end, a time of reflection and preparation.

These kids are sitting across the street from the gas station. What are they thinking? And where are they today? Did they they know of Carlos Slim Helu? Currently, Carlos Slim Helu is thought to the wealthiest man on planet earth. His father, Julian, emigrated to Mexico from Lebanon at the age of 14 in 1902. Julian began his business career, and long lasting family fortune, with a dry goods store and Mexico City commercial real estate investments. Today, Carlos is chairman and CEO of Telemex and America Movil. His conglomerate Grupo Carso SAB has extensive holdings in other Mexican Companies. All together, his corporate holdings in 2011 are thought to be worth USD $74 billion.

Soon it will be time for these kids to say goodbye to each other and return to their families for dinner. The future of Mexico is tied to Pemex, the likes of Carlos Slim Helu, these kids and the kids who are now sitting in this very same place. I wonder what the kids of today are thinking?

gas station, pemex, alamos, sonora, mexico, 1993.  photo by anders tomlinson

No customer with cash, or good credit, is too small or too big.

This is a busy place in a noisy neighborhood. It is a junction that keeps Álamos, Sonora, Mexico functioning in the modern internal combustion era. In reality, not ever one in Álamos owns a car. In fact, most do not own a car and if they need to travel they walk, ride bikes, motor scooters, an occasional horse, taxis or buses. Life without a car is a slower life. Some would say it is the way to live life come sunrise, come sunset.

Alamos today, recent photos by alamos photographers.

The Old Gas Station

 The traditional gas station is on the western edge of the busy Alameda, Alamos, sonora, Mexico. Photo by Humberto Enríquez

The busy station on the western edge of the Alameda – Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

In Álamos the gas station of Jesus Salido in the center of the town is the traditional gas station that has been serving for many years Álamos residents, tourists and anybody who have a car, motorcycle, truck or bus. One person said if you watch the peoples coming and going at the gas station you learns much about what makes Álamos go, that is true and the Álamos activities, over the years don’t change much – Humberto

A Bird’s Eye View

The Salido gas station on the Alameda seen from Guadalupe Hill. alamos, sonora, mexico .  photo by Humberto Enríquez

The Alameda gas station seen from Guadalupe Hill. Photo: Humberto Enríquez

Many things change, different people, different stores, different cars, different trees but our necessities of gas for our cars, or air for our bicycles, or tires are the same until we find energy other than fossil fuels for our cars and motorcycles – Humberto

Eco Gas Station

New natural gas station is the eco station.  alamos, sonora, mexico.Photo:  Humberto Enríquez.

There is a natural gas station in Álamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

This station is one 1 km west of Alamos on the highway to Navajoa.

Welcome to the 21st Century ala Pemex. another new gas station in alamos sonora mexico. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Welcome to the 21st Century ala Pemex. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Since the year 2000 Álamos has had many changes. Álamos went back to its beginnings years with the opening of two mines and that started an avalanche of companies who serve to the mines. These past years the Municipal Government, State Government and Federal Government promoted the town as an international tourist destination. Álamos was introduced in the program of Pueblos Magicos de Mexico. Several promotional videos of the region and the town which were shown in different countries around the world to attract tourists. This produced increased – excessive flow of vehicles and the opening of more gas stations – Humberto

A modern gas station fills the auto needs of Alamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico

A modern gas station fills the auto needs of Álamos. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

Today we have 3 gas and one natural gas station in Alamos> The oldest one is owned by “Jesus (Chuy) Salido” in the center of the town. The other gas stations are all on the road to Navajoa. “La Carretera” is located near the Álamos hospital. “El Datil” located 3 KM from Álamos. The natural gas station is located 1 km from Álamos – Humberto

now and then photos of alamos sonora mexico

The Alameda Gas Station Now

2014 - Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico.

2014 – Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez

The Alameda Gas Station Then

1995 - Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson. alamos sonora mexico

1995 – Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

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