A lively market, a solemn history, and a bargain
Whatta day. Esperanza started us off with breakfast at the Abasto market downtown Guadalajara, ran us over to the Hospicio Cabañas World Heritage Site then home to unload bags and bags of produce.
A quick bite and Bob and I were out the door again for the city tour and my much awaited for shopping trip to Tonalá.
But first the market. Every city, pueblo, two tope town in this country has it's market and the grand daddy of them all is the Abasto mercado in Mexico City. Guadalajara as second largest in the country boasts an immense one as well and we nearly walked our legs off exploring it this morning.
The fruits and vegetables made you ache for wanting to take them all home with you. If I lived in this town I'd be here every other day--you wouldn't be able to drag me away.
This is the heart of Mexico--it's culture lives here in these isles. It throbs with authenticity. We saw no gringos here, only Mexicans doing the hard work of making a living and putting dinner on the table.
These permanent market buildings are generally owned by the local governments and leased for cheap to the vendors. They're open every day as permanent open air stores in a store. These are not the Saturday markets put up and taken down in a day--these are serious businesses here for the long haul.
Esperanza kept adding to our bags everything we'd never heard of before. You have to try this! she'd exclaim. Then the minute we walked into the house she started preparing one thing or another to show us how it's done. Like the Chinese pomegranate. You cut it in half and scoop out the fleshy part with a spoon. It's sweet and a little crunchy from the seeds---probably the biggest surprise of all the things we tried. Guava and cho cho, three kinds of mango, cactus and jicima...all with salsas, chiles, sea salt, home made blue corn tortillas and refried beans from peruana beans--a pale colored legume from Peru.
Every time we ate we had a cooking lesson! I'm watching and typing notes and trying to remember it all as we're laughing and eating til we bust.
That afternoon Bob & I took the double decker red bus city tour but really, it was kind of lame. We got off in Tlaquepaque to change buses for Tonalá but as it turned out they only gave us 30 minutes to wander the town and find our treasures.
Oh no. That will never do. So we left the tour and decided to take a taxi back--that way we had all the time we wanted. Tonalá requires lots of walking as it's really spread out, and in our wanderings we found a folklore festival in the main plaza.
What a find! Without understanding a word they said we still greatly enjoyed the music, dancing and brightly colored costumes. There were a few pale skinned folks there, but mostly it was Mexicans out enjoying their heritage.