Thursday, March 06, 2008

Traffic and Tlaquepaque

Today was our day to look around the city of Guadalajara, including the artisan suburb of Tlaquepaque. Trying to distill a metropolis of over four million people into one day’s worth of sights and experience isn’t possible. But we did our best to try to get a general sense of the sights and atmosphere.

The tour we planned to take didn’t depart because we were the only customers. So we found ourselves instead on the tacky red double-decker buses. We couldn’t have been more obvious tourists if we’d stuck signs onto ourselves. But the upper deck did provide a good view over the city, and especially of the traffic that we seemed to be continually stuck in.

We drove along the bus route, taking in the monuments, the fountains, the old Gothic churches and buildings, the parks where young couples made out and older people strolled, the businesses and the long rows of bright, noisy cars.

We sat in the direct, blazing sun, the force of the heat burning us to a crisp. We covered River with a blanket, as if he wore a burqa to protect his young skin.

We spent most of our time strolling the streets of Tlaquepaque. Compared to the hustle and bustle of Guadalajara, it is peaceful, tranquil, quiet, flowered, marked by artisan shops, beauty salons and fruit stands. We enjoyed an excellent meal of fish stuffed with shrimp and shrimps grilled with garlic and chili peppers, as well as the first margarita we’d had that didn’t skimp on the tequila.

Back in Guadalajara, we made a quick stop at the Cabanas. Our final meal in Guadalajara was an ice cream sundae at a local cafĂ©. Then it was a long trip back across town to the bus station, back onto a comfortable ETN bus to spend one last day in the Morelia area. Tomorrow is the day I’ve been looking forward to most during this trip – a visit to the monarch butterfly sanctuary.

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