Hola Amigos! It's time again for another update. I have spent the last two months in Guadalajara and have had a blast.
Arrived here after 9 hour bus ride from Mazatlan. Got dropped off a couple of blocks away from the hostel due to road works so wondered up looking for it, when I heard a load Aussie voice yell out "You looking for a place to stay". I found the hostel, or the hostel found me. Spent the night on the balcony drinking beer, tequila and smoking a joint with a group of Aussies, Kiwis, Americans, and a couple of Germans and Irish.
I started off staying in the hostel for a few weeks then moved in with Antonia and Michaela who are two girls I met while they were holidaying in Cabo San Lucas. They are over here on an exchange program organized by their university in Germany and are in a 4 bedroom apartment and had 2 spare rooms available. During this time I also met a fantastic guy, Emmanuel. I have spent most of the time here with him. It was very hard leaving him.
For those who need some help with the pronunciation of Guadalajara, it is like "gwa - da - la - ha- ra". It is a very cosmopolitan city with a population of approximately 5.5 million. The Centro area however at the moment is a bit of a disaster due to all the road works taking place. They are replacing all the footpaths and roads to improve the centre for the 2011 Pan American Games. If you are interested in reading a little more on this city here is a link to the Wikipedia site for Guadalajara.
Well, what have I done since I arrived here.
I visited a town on the outskirts of Guadalajara called Talaquepaque. This is a beautiful area with a lot of artisan shops.
Went to a Luche Libre match. This is Mexican wrestling just like in the movie Nacho Libre with Jack Black. It was very funny. The crowd really get into it and start the chants when the wrong person is winning.
I went on a Tequila Tour organized by the hostel which takes you to the town of Tequila This is where a majority of Mexico's tequila is produced. We went to two factories and a restaurant for lunch, with all the tequila we could drink. OH DIOS MIO (English translation OH MY GOD). Christian and I did 44 shots (they were actually half shots). This included shots in the van on the way back from the hostel in which we finished a bottle of Tequila we had purchased at one of the factories. No more tequila in my lifetime ……. Well it was a couple of weeks anyway. I do however now have a new appreciation of Tequila and know that the darker the better and smoother.
Went to the Guadalajara Zoo. It is a pretty big zoo and it did take all day to see everything. They even had an Australian exhibit where you walk through and see the kangaroos. They also had a Tapir (kind of like a wild pig) there which was in the movie Apocolypto.
Guadalajara is also home to what they claim is the largest market in the world, and I think I might believe them. It is 3 levels high which also extends out to the streets. It is extremely crowded. It has just about everything from bootleg DVD's to pig snouts (Mum and Dad … this is where I got your tacky little gifts). Walking through the meat section is a bit of a stomach churner. I ate some Taco's in one of the local eateries here, which is where all the locals go. They do say though just watch out for the Taco stand where the local dogs are missing limbs !!!!.
I have also seen many of the museums, art galleries, parks and old buildings. There are so many, even over the two months I haven't seen everything …… and some are just not worth seeing. There are also many plazas where you can just sit and do some people watching. This is becoming one of my favorite things to do. I love watching the local people going about their daily business.
I spent my birthday here with some good friends I have met while in Guadalajara. We started the night at the house doing jelly shots, then ventured out to a jazz bar for a few drinks before stumbling back to the house to finish off the shots. It was a great night.
I have seen a couple of concerts while here. The city hosts many festivals in the main plaza where they set up stages and host free concerts. Most of the bands playing are Mexican pop / rock bands, and most are also from Guadalajara. They were really good and I now have some of them in my iPod.
I also took a little side trip back up to San Diego to catch up John and some very good friends who were over from Australia on holidays. It was fantastic to catch up with them again.
Apart from the above, been seeing a lot of bars and clubs and I am really starting to enjoy the Michelada's. These are beer with lime juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Very much like a Bloody Mary but no vodka and a lot of beer. They are normally served in 1lt glasses. One of my favorite places to drink is a Pulqueria. They serve Pulque which is an alcoholic drink made from fermented Agave, which is the same plant used to make Tequila. You can have it natural or with flavors. The Pulqueria is in the front room of someone's house where they have set up a few tables and chairs where you can relax and play a game of chess, dominoes or UNO while consuming your beverage.
I was due to head over to Mexico City next, however with everything currently closed down due to the flu I have decided to fly to Cancun where I will then make my way to Cozumel Island and do a little more diving before I head into Belize to start the Central America leg of my trip. There are still a lot of places I want to see in Mexico so will try and see these on my way back up through after South America. On the flu, it was extremely interesting to be here during this and see how the locals all reacted. At first about 80% of the people you saw in the streets were wearing the face masks. We even bought some. It took a couple of days to find them though as all the pharmacies had sold out. We found a lady on the street selling some which were made from material with Spiderman print on them.
My Spanish is improving even more now. I can now do more than just ask for things, however I am still finding it extremely hard to understand what they are saying to me. They speak very quickly and it is difficult to hear where one word ends and the other starts. But I am getting there.
Well that's about it for now. Hope you enjoy the accompanying photos (which some of you will have already seen some of them on Facebook) and stay tuned for the next update.
PS. Thanks Mum and Dad for the dose of Aussie food. My Mexican friends loved Tim Tam Slams and I enjoyed the Mint Slice all to myself, and no one else wants the Vegemite, apart from Emmanuel.