Sunday, June 06, 2004

Guadalajara, Mexico--Day 127

Today I woke up and when I went downstairs for breakfast, realized what all the hype was about last night (the celebrations going on in the street late at night and the big soccer match on TV that EVERYONE was watching). Turns out it was a huge match last night and the team, Las Chivas, finally made it into the finals (of what I still don’t know) for the first time in 10 years. To top it off, the Chivas are staying at my hotel!! So I woke up this morning and went to breakfast and found very pleasant company of an entire professional soccer team to gawk at while I tried not to drool my corn flakes. Anyways, it was quite funny and there was security everywhere--I even was escorted to my taxi after I finished my breakfast!

So I braved the pouring rain and got a cab over to where I thought the ballet was going to be, but it turned out to NOT be there. While I stood around waiting with several other tourists, I asked a man who appeared to be working around the area as a security guard and asked if the ballet was going to be there and he told me no. Luckily I had another address where the ballet might have been given to my by William yesterday. I told the others waiting, who weren’t so sure of my idea to go somewhere else (one girl from Georgia gave me lots of attitude, “well, I was here last year and THIS is where it is at, so there”) so I jumped in a cab solo and several wrong tursn later, was at the right place for the ballet.

I bought my ticket and found William, Cory, Swati and Maria Elena. Cory, William and Swati are all in Mexico for an immersion program for two weeks and Maria Elena is their teacher, who has accompanied them from Washington D.C. for the immersion. It was wonderful to have Maria Elena along not only because she is so fun to talk to, but also because it was like having your own private Spanish teacher to help you out, even me! She would encourage us to talk and then correct our mistakes, and since I haven’t had any Spanish lessons for quite a while now, the help was much needed and much appreciated!

At the ballet I also saw the tourist group who I gave the new address to coming up to buy tickets behind me (I was right! I have to admit that I was worried that the new address could have been wrong, but glad that they listened to me!). Soon thereafter the auditorium opened up and we were seated. The performance lasted about two hours and was just fantastic. I was really impressed by the Ballet Folklorico and definitely recommend anyone going when they are in Guadalajara.

After the ballet, the group of us decided to catch a bus to Tlaquepaque which is just about a thirty minute bus ride from downtown Guadalajara. Dodging puddles and praying for it not to start pouring again, we walked down the road to where we were supposed to catch the bus.

We got on the special blue bus (it was nice to have a group of us instead of trying to figure all of this out on my own!) and headed towards Tlaquepaque. It didn’t take long for us to get there and we got off the bus a few blocks away (the bus stopped and the driver yelled “Tlaquepaque!” for us American tourists) and we walked a few blocks to the main square. Tlaquepaque was really neat because it felt like a small town, almost European, and didn’t feel at all like we were so close to Guadalajara. We spent the afternoon having a great long lunch. It was funny because the whole main square area is lined with restaurants, all seemingly the same, just with different table cloths on their tables. We walked around the square trying to decide where to go and when we finally decided, oh, let’s just go here, we were in the middle of two restaurants. About five men jumped at the chance to seat us and we found ourselves torn and literally standing in the middle of two restaurants that were both eager to help us. We were being beckoned with menus and the lot, and finally one restaurant surrendered us to the other restaurant. It was pretty funny.

After lunch we walked around the stores and little booths, as well as a big, dark and dusty marketplace that was on the third floor of this huge warehouse. The rain came and went (va y viene) and by the time we were ready to leave the sun had come out and it was actually quite warm. We found where to wait for the bus to take us back to Guadalajara and boarded it and made it back to Guadalajara’s central square. This is where we all said our goodbyes, and William and I headed back in a taxi to the area that we both are staying in. I was in for the rest of the night, getting things ready to go back to Tucson tomorrow for a few short days!

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.