Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Our first stop on our 2 week Mexican vacation was Guadalajara, Jalisco. I had been to Guadalajara (GDL) many times before as we would usually begin or end our family trips to Mexico with a few days in GDL. But this time around we did a lot more sightseeing than I can remember. My brother-in-law, husband, and I met up with my parents-in-law at the GDL airport. My parents arrived the next morning and met us at the hotel.

Now, the first and one of the bigger highlights of the trip actually occurred before we arrived in Mexico. While we were checking-in at LAX, the attendant mentioned that we were not sitting together. I was about to raise hell (I had booked all the tickets separately but had called the airline twice to confirm that everyone was sitting together), when the attendant added that my husband and I were sitting in first class. And, we were able to wait in the VIP lounge until it was time for our flight. Unfortunately we only had 2 VIP lounge tickets, so my brother-in-law and I stuffed our faces with 2 bite lox and cucumber finger sandwiches and 3-drink cans of juice, while my husband waited outside, starving. There was also a full stock of miniature sized bottles of beer, wine, champagne and hard liquor, but even though we had been deemed first class passengers, we decided 7:30 am was a little too early to start drinking.

The first class experience was quite nice. We got a two-course breakfast with a cloth placemats and napkins, real silverware that included a spoon and 2 sets of fork/knife, and real dishes. The cut-up fruit was followed by breakfast crepes. My husband even accompanied his breakfast with two glasses of wine – 8:30 am is not too early to drink when you are in first class.

GDL is a nice city. It’s very busy and very European-like. A lot of the government buildings are covered in gorgeous murals that often depict very violent or controversial subjects. One example is the Jose Clemente Orozco mural of Miguel Hidalgo during the Mexican Revolution found in the Palacio de Gobierno.

Most of the architecture has a Spanish influence (duh!) and is very beautiful. Below are images of one of the main drags in GDL with the Catedral in the background, inside of the Catedral, the Palacio de Gobierno, and a couple of a huge and neat building that used to be a nunnery (?) and was now a museum.

Tlaquepaque is a suburb of GDL and it is considered the artistic center of GDL. We went there for a few hours and mostly walked around the square and the hundreds of puestos or stands. The highlight was a little ceramic museum with some incredible work. My favorite piece was a hug vase made of ceramic laid in a mesh pattern similar to what you would find in a doily. A picture is below.

Tonala is another good suburb of GDL that offers lots of neat, colorful Mexican stuff, like tables, paintings, and those frosted glasses with the blue trims great for serving margaritas. We all talked about renting a gigantic Uhaul and driving it to Mexico to get lots of “stuff”. The owner of the restaurant we ate in turned out to have managed the Sizzler down the street from my parent’s house in Southern California. He amused us with his stories of working in the restaurant business in Southern California.

Almost all the food we had in Mexico was so good that even after two weeks of eating Mexican food, I was craving it when we got back to the US. The only exception to the food was a camarones a la diabla (spicy shrimp dish) I had in GDL. I’ve had the dish before plenty of times in the US. It’s actually the dish I usually get whenever we go out for Mexican food. However, the way it was prepared in Mexico was so bad I didn’t eat very much of it. The sauce tasted like ketchup and the shrimp had not been cleaned properly. I also preferred the sangrias in the US to those I had in Mexico. The Mexico sangrias seemed to be made of lemonade combined with a standard, mass produced sangria mix and a little vodka was added to make it alcoholic. Not very good in general. But everything else was fantastic.

While I am listing my complaints, I was annoyed that the hotel in GDL charged about 20% more if we used a credit card instead of cash to pay for the hotel room. I would expect 3% or 5% more, but close to 20%? That's ridiculous!

Most of the pictures I will post were taken by my brother-in-law. He had a very nice digital SLR camera and went crazy with it. The first picture in this post is one of my favorites from the trip. It was taken from the balcony of the hotel we stayed in GDL.

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