El Triunfo

On our drive to La Paz, we stumbled upon a delightfully quirky pueblo called El Triunfo. (Think David Lynch in Mexico.) In the mid 1800s, El Triunfo was a booming mining town with 10,000 residents. By the turn of the century, the silver rush had made it a cultural center, bringing miners, merchants, artists, foreigners, dancehall girls, and anyone else looking for a profit to the quaint mountain town. Oddly enough, it also brought pianos- lots of them. At one point in time, El Triunfo had more pianos per capita than anywhere else in Mexico. Today, it’s home to 303 people, a delicious cafe aptly named Cafe El Triunfo, and one international highlight: a spectacular piano museum

We visited the museo de musica, and I tickled the old ivories for Tree and Kiki, and then we went to the cafe and ate an entire pizza made with prosciutto and arugula. It was divine. The crust was thin and crispy; the sauce was made with sweet, fresh tomatoes; clumps of melted raw mozzarella kept the liberal portions of salty prosciutto from falling off; AND, it was cooked in a wood fire oven. It was so incredibly delicious, in fact, that I had to meet its maker. His name was Mark. He’s an expat, ex-drug addict, and maybe had trouble with the law and “had to leave the States.” He had bright, twinkly blue eyes, a bald head, and a very thick and long steel mustache that hung from the sides of his face. He’s also a biker, so I couldn’t help but think that it was like his face was wearing hair replicas of a Harley’s handlebars. Yes, his mustache really was THAT big. His arms were huge too, the way bikers arms can be, and covered in tribal tattoos. I’m not going to lie, he looked scary, but he was as sweet as his tomatoes. 
Given the fact that he was around 60 and had the same history as my biological father who died before I was born, I couldn’t help but think how some people get second chances in life, and some don’t. 
Wouldn’t it be so cool if instead of being buried in a small grave in Hope cemetery, my dad was making mouthwatering pizzas in the Baja?  At the age of 34, it seems too late to wonder what it would have been like for me had my father not died. There’s too many years to rewrite, and quite frankly, that’s exhausting. But, in a parallel universe, why not?  I can see him living on the lam, smiling with a big mustache and a rolling pin, standing TALL in front of a wood fired oven somewhere deep in Mexico. More pepperoni for me pops! -Stevie 


  1. Stevie, you do these beautiful write ups that are so insightful about your travels and life itself. You get some nice responses.
    ……..You write a little blurb about peeing and everyone has something to say.

    Keep up the good work Stevie, the Simko's really enjoy your insightful writing.

  2. Thanks guys. I´m glad that there´s an audience for something other than my potty posts. An army of 1 is all I need 🙂

  3. I am with John, it is an absolute joy to read your posts. I love your insight and perspective…such beautifully written musings.

  4. Stevie, your prose, the integrity and emotion that enters each word and the stories that you weave take me away for moments, and then for indefinate relfections. You have a gift, and I am always so excited to read of your new adventures.

  5. Wow! Thanks Sis! I just went back in the blog and found this comment. I'm writing an essay for an online UCLA class right now, and I've been struggling with a small bout of writer's block. You just renewed my spirits! xoxoxoxoxo

  6. Anonymous says:

    How do I get the hours for the piano museum. Each time we have driven through this area, the museum is closed. Is there a phone #, email address, etc. Thanks Linda

  7. Hi Linda,
    Email us for details…
    you can find our email on the "contact us" page above.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This town want Pueblo Magico status. What do you all think?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately Mark is not as sweet as his tomatoes :-(. Believe me I know very well what I'm talking about.He doesn't look scary, he IS scary!He is fucked up and he is very well aware of his lacks. Just a poor soul who is haunted by his past and present. He is a great Pizza cook and he is a very creative home designer. But as a human being- just full of shit! So don't get dazzled by his bright blue eyes and his charme!

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