It is +11C or about 51F this morning. The altitude here in Guadalajara is 5362 feet, so the nights cool down and the afternoons get into the low 80’s. It’s very comfortable.
We got rolling after another very good breakfast served by the hotel, hoping to go to the zoo only to find out that it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. So our friend, Enrique, suggested that we go see Zapopan (accent on the middle syllable) which is a municipality of Guadalajara. The door man of our hotel helped us with the bus numbers and so two busses and 25 minutes later we were in Zapopan center looking at fine plazas, grand churches, lots of shopping (flowers, shoes, hardware, wedding dresses, electronics, Internet shops, bicycles, leather goods, shoe repairs, cowboy boots & hats, etc. and lots of small restaurants.)
The plaza in front of the big cathedral starts to fill up with small portable venders selling tortillas, deep fried foods, fruits, and jucies. The cathedral is a basilica and is a major place for pilgrims so is very busy. Basilica de Nuestro Senora de la Expectación de Zapopan is a massive elaborate cathedral with lots of statuary and gold leaf every where inside. It feels too irreverent to take photos so you will have to imagine. Hundreds of people worshipping. We walked in and sat on one of the benches and a woman came up and was whispering something fast which we interpreted as having to pay to enter. It turned out that we got fleeced for 10 pesos. We had to laugh after. Attached to the side of the cathedral was a fine museum of the indigenous peoples of this area, lifestyles, legends, and artifacts.
In front of the museum an entrepreneur was set up to give eye examinations and fill the prescription immediately from an assortment of lenses and glasses. The picture is not focused, as I was in a hurry to take the photo, but it is such an unusual site (for us, anyway). See the eye exam poster on the side of the window. . .
On the North side of the big plaza in front of the cathedral was a government building with a long line of people, so we had to ask what was happening. It turns out they were waiting to pay their taxes. Also along there was a nurse at a small table giving out vaccinations for the flue.
There were some fine bronze sculptures in the plazas, but of course the big Museum of Art was closed, it was Monday. So we stopped and had an expresso and a cardamom coffee at a neat little shop under the arched breeze way of a fine old building.
After having a very disappointing Chinese buffet, we explored a bit more and then decided to come home. We got on a bus which soon filled up too full and the driver kept stopping and taking on more passengers which seemed impossible, but still more pushed on. The door would hardly go closed. People would get in the back door, where there was more room, then pass their fare hand to hand up to the driver, where he would make the change and the ticket and change would make its way back to the passenger. It was so crowded that the fire extinguisher got pushed and a cloud of white powder filled the bus. This is another one of those humerous situations. The people just shook their heads and took it all in stride. We couldn’t see where to get off and went past our stop several stops. No big deal. We walked back streets for a couple of kilometers through interesting neighborhoods till we reached our hotel.
Later after a good nap we went out and walked to the grocery store and purchased two cans of ready mixed margaritas, a tres leches cake (three milks cake), and an eight liter jug of water. The margaritas go down like pop, smile, and oh the cake is to die for. Such goes our day. Galen