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Thu Jan 03 2013: In Search Of... Ancient Civilizations

It rained all through New Year's Eve and into the first few days of 2013.

While I was still recovering from Tequila poisoning, we opted to stay in for the night while the steady rain poured down on all the merry-makers. The sounds of fireworks and music was a testament that you just can't drown out a good party! We are staying at a fabulous (and cheap) bed and breakfast about a 15-minute walk from the city centre. For the next few days we stayed around the neighbourhood, shopping at the local mercado.

Neda cooks up stir-fry vegetables to make up for all the greens that are lacking in the Mexican food

I have been gaining lots of weight on this Mexican diet of fried tortillas, tacos, and huevos. And it's all so cheap! Good thing there was a kitchen we could use in the B&B. Although the local food is high in fat and carbohydrates, obesity has only become a recent problem with Mexicans. Prior to the 1980s, the numbers were negligible, but with the expansion of US fast food chains, the average weight has steadily increased. There is a McDonalds in every city and it seems like Coca-Cola has focused all its advertising dollars in Mexico.

Regular service at Germania BMW

Thankfully the weather cleared and we dropped the bikes off for service at the dealership and walked around Zapopan, a larger town in the north-east Greater Metropolitan Guadalajara.

Almost every Mexican town or city has a gate

Whistling and skipping amongst the orange trees!

"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of... um the Virgin of Zapopan"

The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan is the most famous building in the area, celebrating the likeness of the Virgin Mary. Like all Mexican neighbourhoods, it also has its own market and plaza and we spent most of the day walking around in the hot sun.

Pope John Paul II and a friend

Street musician outside the Basilica


The mercado at Zapopan. More veggies please!

Restaurants are ready for the lunchtime crowd

While in the Farmacia in Zapopan, these two nuns approached me,
and I helped them fix their old transistor radio.
I'm SO totally going to heaven now!

Mural on the wall of a cemetary, now my new desktop wallpaper

Cemetary just around the corner from our B&B

BRAINS! Well, that veggie diet didn't last very long...

The taco place around the corner from our B&B has become our second home. By now, I've tried almost everything on their menu. The report on the tacos de sesos (brains): it tasted exactly like it sounds. When cooked, it's a white meat. Very mushy, but you could still feel the texture of the brain folds. It was definitely an organ meat and not as salty as muscle. It wasn't bad, but not my favorite taco.


During the weekend, we took another day-trip outside of the city to Teuchitlan, about 60 kms away - not too far from Tequila. It's home to a very unique set of structures called Guachimontones. Although not as grand as the Mayan or Aztec pyramids, these have the distinction of being built almost 1,000 years before the rise of the Aztec empire. They are considered "pre-hispanic".

Main Guachimonton, up close and personal. Several smaller ones scattered throughout the area

Another unique feature of the Guachimonton is that they are round in shape and rise up in smaller concentric circles like a cone. All other pyramids are straight-edged. These pyramids were built to honor the God of the Wind. At the very top, it's speculated that a long pole was erected where Velodores (flyers) would jump off the top with ropes tied around their ankles and slowly descend while rotating around the pole. Hearing this story sparked a memory of a TV show I used to watch called, "In Search Of" narrated by Mr. Spock, and in one episode he was describing this exact ceremony. Not sure why this stuck out in my mind so much...

Tourists from all over the area visit the site

These flat pads used to be the site of large permanent huts, all facing the Guachimonton

The town of Teuchitlan lies in the distance

Relaxing afternoon amongst the remains of an ancient civilization

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