Friday, September 7, 2012

Guadalajara, a shopping mecca

Over-the-top-shopping-experience!
Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico.  It's huge! 

It’s a busy, thriving area with many types of industry nearby including glass blowing. Nearly every drinking-glass, bowl, chandelier, or vase that you have seen in other parts of Mexico was made here in Guadalajara. 

Any silly me – I didn’t buy any of it! 
Got off the plane - headed straight to Krispy Kreme!
We spent three nights in Guadalajara.  We were on a mission to take possession of an Explorer Sport Trac being imported from California into Mexico for us.  Bringing a used vehicle into Mexico is a whole other story that Lawrie will write about in a subsequent blog. 

Since we were waiting to be sure the vehicle had actually arrived in the city we didn’t buy a lot of things – just in case we had to return to Isla Mujeres via airplane instead of driving home. 

In the meantime we window-shopped.  On our first day we took a taxi ride out to Tlaquepaque in the suburbs.  It’s a fabulous area. 

Think of Murano glass from Italy – on steroids; chandeliers that required a house with twenty-foot ceilings, glassware in every colour, size, pattern and description.  Antiques from all over Mexico.  Pottery.  Furniture.  Designer studios and rustic furnishing.  I was in heaven looking at it all.  And in Hell because I couldn’t buy anything!

Drove twenty miles past our turn off!
The second day we took another taxi ride to nearby Tonala, a suburban area specializing in more traditional Mexican handicrafts.  This driver was a hundred times more entertaining than the one we had the day before. 

Our first clue should have been when he hollered across the street to a friend, asking how much he should charge for the fare to Tonala. 


Tonala Centro
As we ricocheted along the streets of Guadalajara our driver never quite seemed to be in control of the vehicle.  Finally we were on the very busy multi-laned Highway 15.  We passed the first turnoff of Tonala, but we weren’t concerned.  There is usually another exit a few kilometers along.   Then the second turnoff zipped past.  By now our driver was waving his hands around, muttering a lot in Spanish. 

We got the gist of his problem.  There were no more turnoffs.  Okay then.  Mexico City here we come!

As we rocketed along the highway for another twenty kilometers, he finally spotted an exit for another suburban community. He zipped off, tried a few different roads, and then noticed an under-the-highway drainage culvert, wide enough for the car. And that became our turn-back road. Finally arriving in the Centro of Tonala, we exited the taxi, giggling wildly at our adventure.


Entertainment is where you find it.  
Lawrie shopping in Tonala
We spent the remainder of the day meandering up and down the many side streets in Tonala, looking at the various displays of pottery, furniture, and yet more glassware. 

Nope.  Still not buying.

Returning to the Hotel Morelos, a lovely old colonial hacienda located in the centre of old Guadalajara, we decided a cold drink was next on the agenda.  Luckily for us the first week of September is celebrated in Guadalajara as the Day of the Mariachis. 

We had the pleasure of listening to live music in our hotel lobby, across the street in the square, and near the gorgeous 160 year-old Guadalajara Cathedral located in the heart of the historic centre of the city. 

One of the Mariachi bands participating in festival
Friday night, our last night, we wandered around the historic district, snapping photos of the many locals enjoying the start of the weekend. 

When I downloaded my photos to our laptop computer I thought that I must have held the camera at a slight angle as one of the spires of the cathedral had a decided lean to it. 

It turns out the cathedral was damaged in several earthquakes spanning from 1932 to 2003.  There is a slight tilt to the north tower, and structural damage to the dome.  The cathedral is still in daily use.  I’d being saying my prayers with my fingers crossed.



Guadalajara Cathedral in Centre - damaged by earthquakes
As for the shopping – we did take delivery of the white Sport Trac, and we are on our way towards Puebla – another shopping mecca. 

No worries.  We can still fill the truck with good stuff.

2 comments:

Life's a Beach! said...

That must have been a complete killer being in Guadalajara and not being able to shop. Hope you find plenty of unique items in Puebla to make up for it! And the ride to Tonala? LOL Safe travels!

Lynda said...

It's such a pretty area ... and fortunately we lucked out with an pollution for three days. Not the norm as it is a huge city. Cheers L