Short trips

Wow, its been almost two and a half week already in Guadalajara. I have been waiting to record my experiences, but was really very busy visiting places, sleeping, working and watching movies. Let me first start with the places I visited. Disclaimer again: might be a long post again

a. Downtown Guadalajara

During the first weekend I was here, I wasn’t sure how to go about my trips to the nearby places, because language is an issue here. Not many people speak English and secondly, the food. Its a big problem because even the well known food chains have the menu’s in spanish and spanish speaking people, so I would not have a clue of what I am ordering. But as per the “Moon Handbook’s Guadalajara” the first place that you might want to visit is the Downtown area. So I decided to give it a shot and started to the downtown area in a taxi (Not that far away from where I stay) and got down near the Catedral. It looks amazing. The Plaza Liberación which is a plaza or a market sort of place next to the Catedral is very huge and isnt a multi-storeyed plaza we see in other places.

I got down from my taxi and was taking in the beautiful Cathedral and the plaza square with the beautiful fountain. The day was very very hot and went around the square to take some snaps and to think of what to do next. That is when I saw the downtown tours in these buses. It costs 80 MXN and so I decided to take one. It starts every hour and so I was waiting for another 15 mins, which gave me time to take in what people around, were doing. It’s a sort of place where people hang out, even if its very hot just to spend time. Nice to have such places to spend time with friends (normal, girl/boy whatever) and family or even by yourself, rather than sitting outside of a mall entrance. And then it was time to board the bus. It had both Spanish and English commentary of the places it covers. It was good. It started from the Catedral and went around the whole of Guadalajara covering quite a lot of place (which I wouldn’t have gone otherwise). Some of them include the Degallado Theatre, Chapultepec square and Independence Square showing us the important and historic buildings of the downtown area. It was almost for 1.5 hrs and I could see newly built streets and old ones too.  It was a good start for me atleast to get going out in the city. Of course I couldn’t have anything anywhere because I was not so confident of asking if the food had meat or to tell them that I am a vegetarian. So went to a super market, got some snacks, water and got a taxi (this was the only thing I was confident of) back to hotel. I couldn’t do any more experiment because I was already de-hydrated and would have fainted if I had roamed for a little more time. It was so so so hot here. After my stint with snow, this was unbearable for me atleast in the beginning. That was my first solo look @ the city’s downtown.  

b. Guachimontones

The next Saturday, my team mates and their friends decided to join me on my venture (if that would have happened) to a place called Guachimontones which they haven’t seen yet. It was almost an hour drive from Guadalajara and it was very hot and humid (nothing new here in this place :D). It was in the place called Teuchitlán which was a very small and cute Mexican town on the way. This is a little high up on a sort of a mound where the pyramids are present. My first encounter with the Mayan time pyramids. It is said that it was a very huge area where these pyramids and temples were there, but a lot has been already destroyed and they are trying to restore. We could see some excavations which is half way through. I don’t think they would do that in that hot weather. It was a very very dry place as you can see from the photos, but it was interesting to see how they had a pattern in building a temple to have a Central Pyramid surrounded with smaller ones like them.

You could also see the lake which was on the way from this place. There were no stalls or any shop of any kind, except for a few guides sitting to guide the foreign tourists for 100 pesos. I was wondering why they haven’t upgraded this place and made it a tourist spot yet. Well it might be done in a few years I think once they have got some more findings. Quite a few places around are private property and I think that might hamper the findings.

After our trip to Guachimontones, we decided to have lunch @ Goa restaurant near Chapultepec. It was really good. They enjoyed the Gajar Ka Halwa which I got for them to try it. They asked me for a few dishes and tried them too. It was almost authentic and I was glad to have rice and sabzi there after my week’s stint with Mexican food which was also very good. Then we were taking a stroll in the Chapultepec, just like the Brigade Road of Bangalore and R.S Puram of Coimbatore. It is a very rich area with beautiful stores and places to hang out with fountains and stuff. While on our way we were checking out some of the sculptures there which had young soldiers in it. My friends said that it was in remembrance of the young children who fought against the Spanish soldiers during the capture. The Spanish came to capture the castle thinking the King was there, but it was long ago converted to a School and these kids gathered and fought and got back their school. There is no proof for this act, but it’s been told and retold and they have sculptures to demonstrate them it seems.
While strolling, we saw a big group standing for something and police were there. Suddenly one guy got excited because he remembered reading a Nude Parade for a Green Earth (!!What the heck!!!) and wondered if it was that and got his camera ready. I was so scared for a second.. What.. Now I have to see this!!! Live!! Gosh.. Save me from that.. After a few mins.. everyone got a doubt about what it was because they saw some gay flags being waved. So the other guy checked his Twitter to see whats happening in the city at this second (!Wow!! .. I saw the real use of technology out there..) and he pronounced that it was the Gay Pride Parade that is happening out there in Guadalajara (because the Government didn’t give permission for a nude parade and that was happening elsewhere… Nice!!!) I don’t want to comment on that parade. I felt as it was a overdone a bit but they were making their point. It was ….what to say.. I felt sorry. For most of the people it was just news and a headline. You should have seen the way the press and TV were flocking them…

After that, we had some coffee and suddenly it began to rain (but not that much too really bring down the heat) and so we decided to go home. We went to this friends place, played Liar’s dice (which they taught me there and was something like a poker game they said. I wouldn’t know that anyway) and came back home by 10. Saturday went on well. The next day we had plans for Tlaquepaque.

c. Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque is again one or 1.5 hours roughly from Guadalajara. We were almost 9-10 people and in two cars. We started @ around 12.30 pm and were there by 1.30 or so. It’s a very cute typical Mexican town which is exclusively for shopping Mexican products at cheaper prices and to enjoy the Mariachi’s.  We went around the shops for a almost half an hour and then around 3 pm decided to get to the restaurant which has Mariachi live performances along with good food. The performances starts from 3.30 to 4 anytime and goes on for 1 hour. After that you have choices of asking the artists to play something exclusively for you too. Honestly, I was quite surprised with the Mariachi songs. They sounded very very familiar. It was like the songs you heard in the older, very older hindi movies. The use of guitar, trumpet sounded like them. It was nice.. except that I couldn’t understand the meaning of those songs. But it was good to hear them. My friend asked them, after their performances, to play for us near our table, a song named “Mexico Mexico… (Me-hi-co) .. “ which they all like and it was cool. I felt really special out there when those people sang for us. It was nice. I have got it recorded, but need to extract the song along from the video before I upload it here. After a leisure lunch and song sequence, we strolled again the lanes and bought a few items. Its amazing to see how two different countries, even though in the same plane in the globe but widely distant from each other, have almost the same kind of handicrafts and arts to thrive on. The pottery, the handicrafts , the people make here reminds you of the ones you see in India. Almost around 6 pm after the shops started closing one by one and we were exhausted with our purchases (not much,..but enough to carry back as souvenirs) we headed back to our homes to have a good night sleep.

The weekend went off very well for me with the help of my friends who helped me to see some of the real Mexican stuff out there in Jalisco state. Thank you Amigos!!!

The trip to Tlaquepaque and some discussions on Mayan Civilization tempted me for another trip, which is coming up in my next post. Keep watching..


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