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Fri Dec 28 2012: Getting to know you, Guadalajara

We took a leisurely two days to travel from Durango to Guadalajara, opting to bypass the Cuota roads to take the non-toll highways instead. The roads are flat and boring, skirting the far eastern side of the mountains and nothing eventful happens, save for my Sena communicator, which stopped transmitting just as we arrived into town. The problem with constantly being on the move is that if we do need parts shipped to us, where do we send them to? And how long will it take? The logistics involved are annoying. So for the time being, I was in listen-only mode, which suited Neda just fine! :)

Guadalajara is Mexico's 2nd largest city. Our bikes are due for regular service (again, so soon?!?!) and we had originally thought to schedule an appointment in Mexico City, but after some research, we found a dealership just less than 10 kms away from our hotel! The only spot they had open was next Friday, so I guess we're here for a while! We took the opportunity to get acquainted with the city!

Main streets are really busy, so we took to the side streets

A lot of Mexican life centres around three things: the church, the market and the plaza. Every neighbourhood has a local version of this triumvirate. We rode to the center of town to the Marcado Libertad, which is the largest and most popular market in the city, right beside the Catedral de la Asuncion de Maria Santisima, which also happens to be the largest cathedral in Guadalajara.

Snack-time: Watermelons drenched with lime, seasalt and chilli! *delicious!*

Limes are Mexico's beloved condiment, they use them like Americans use ketchup. You can put them in beer, on tacos, watermelons, etc! We met a local girl the other day who just got married to a Belgian and had moved overseas to be with him. She told us that in Belgium the limes are so small and expensive, and this is one of the things she really misses about Mexico!

The moment the camera came out, this guy started doing tricks with his knife,
flipping and tossing it up in the air. Very entertaining!

Mercado Libertad is huge; sprawling through indoor buildings and spilling outside into the open-air stalls. The air was alive with the sounds and scents of vendors selling fast food, groceries, toys, clothing. We had a great day snapping pictures and interacting with the locals, with Neda honing her ever-increasing Spanish skills. As for me, I was skilled enough not to need a knife to butcher their language...

Grabbing some lunch, over-the-counter-style, inside the Mercado

There are so many places to buy food, so we've developed two criteria for deciding where to eat: 1) no gringos! 2) it has to be busy. If there's nobody eating there, there must be a reason! I've fallen in love with the taco asada (shredded beef) and chorizo (sausage), but one item on the menu intrigued me - Brain Tacos! Walking Dead Style? It sounds much more appetizing in Spanish: tacos de sesos. Mmmmm! I've made up my mind to try this the next time.

Mercado is alive with bursts of colour everywhere!

Fruits and vegetables here are so much more juicier and flavourful than back home

Ice skating? In Mexico?

Outside the Catedral, there was a long lineup and when we investigated, we found that a large outdoor skating rink had been built, complete with skate rentals. Everyone wanted to try ice-skating, which I assume is a novelty in Guadalajara. It's 28C outside! Ice-skating skills must be a rarity here, because this girl target-fixated on my camera and I barely got out of the way as she careened towards me, arms flailing. :)

Also, no zamboni, so the ice got pretty funky after a while...

A different kind of taxi around town

Pedestrian traffic is heavy on this beautiful, sunny weekend. Catedral on Neda's left

Inside of the Catedral de la Asuncion de Maria Santisima

The inside the catedral is so beautiful and ornate, however there was a pre-recorded mass playing over the speakers, and the record kept skipping over and over again in the same spot. So we had to leave because it was a little bit annoying and slightly creepy :) A friend of mine told me that this catedral is a popular place to shoot TV shows, a lot of Spanish soap operas are filmed here!

A family is surprised by a toy bird flying overhead,
set aflight by one of the vendors in the plaza

Boys playing by the fountain

Pensive? Or slow day for shoe-shining? I love the look on his face, so lost in thought!

Church spires compete to reach the sky

Catedral de la Asuncion de Maria Santisima, the centre of Guadalajara

Selling beads and other religious trinkets outside the catedral

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