My Life: What am I doing?
Transport Mode: back and forth
Tlaquepaque and Tonala
Cute, upscale large town with a compact central plaza. I immediately liked it. The narrow streets were clean. The people were friendly. The air was fresh.
Tlaquepaque and neighbouring Tonala are renowned for their exceptional arts and crafts. The galleries are full of stunning collections of furniture, pottery, handblown glass, sculptures, and home decor.
After looking at several hotels, I found one around a corner from the central plaza. Wonderful breakfast, friendly owner. Twenty years ago, the nightly rate at this hotel would have been $10. But 20 years later, with no improvements made, it was an inexplicable $45 per night. The excellent breakfast didn’t quite make up for the toothbrush I saw stuck in the clear PVC bathroom drain pipe.
I wandered around in awe of the street sculptures, art galleries, and interior design palaces. Who would buy a 25-foot tall chandelier made of handblown glass bulbs the size of watermelons? The shopkeeper told me that the customers who buy these and the ornate handmade four-poster wooden beds with canopies, are exclusive hotels, royal families, politicians, chiefs of police, and zillionaires, of which corrupt Mexico has many.
I found a fabulous tiny restaurant in which the clientele and owners were friendly. I thought this boded well, and the food turned out to be excellent. The steaks and salads were delicious.
The most amazing thing happened while I was trying to find Tonala. I was on a city bus, sitting in the back by a window, when a huge, open-sided trailer with vertical bars swung wide around a corner, almost sideswiping my bus with its tail. Suddenly, a young tiger hissed and took a swipe at me through the bars! Its paw was less than a foot from my face. Wow!
So I spent the next hour asking everyone who looked as though they might talk to me if they knew of a circus in town. They all said no, but a couple of policemen told me that there was, in fact, a circus in town, but it was more of a literary circus. Literary circus? My mission was clear. I had to see the tiger again.
The policemen gave me directions and I walked about 10 blocks and came to a corner where a small circus tent had been erected. There seemed to be 4-5 people involved in this event. I bought a ticket and stepped inside the tent. It smelled musty. I was the only gringo. After the tent was about half full, the event began with two costumed actors performing a lively routine. From the audience’s laughter, I discerned it was comedy. Literary circus? Indeed. I was pleasantly surprised that the sexual connotations in the dialogue didn’t bother the parents in the audience. Everyone laughed, kids and adults alike. Suddenly, a group of young 10- to 12-year-old boys sat beside me and began asking me questions. After the two comedians finished their act, a young woman came onstage alone and sang to some recorded music. Then, another comedy routine by the same two comedians, but in different costumes. Very funny, because of the slapstick, although I have no idea what they were saying. The young boys were especially excited about the upcoming act... the hypnotist. They pleaded with me to come onstage with them, coaxing me with every possible manoeuvre they could think of. I declined. They went onstage. I watched for awhile, then left. I loved it. I will never forget that “circus.”
Alas, it was time to say goodbye to Tlaquepaque and move on. If only I had known, at that time, that the town of Tequila was a mere 60 kilometres away!
It was supposed to be a day trip. Arrive, stay awhile, leave before night.
Guanajuato, Guanajuato, is a charming hillside city, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To my surprise, I arrived during the Fiestas de San Juan y Presa de la Olla. There were a lot of people in the streets but didn’t see any other foreign tourists. I watched a rock band, then walked about. It started to rain and became quite cold. I was dressed inappropriately for this unexpected Vancouver-style weather. Still, I sat outside in the light rain as it grew dark, and watched art movies projected on the sides of buildings. Musicians strolled along the sidewalks and streets.
Alas, I missed the last bus, which I had intended to take back to Tlaquepaque. As a result, I had only a bit of cash for a hotel, but a kindhearted hotel manager took pity on me and allowed me to pay less than the posted rate.
Guanajuato is gorgeous at night. Golden street lighting gives the baroque-style colonial architecture and cobblestone streets a profoundly regal appearance. It’s the perfect city for walking and sitting in sidewalk cafés.
I didn’t have much money with me... just enough for a meal and bus fare back to Tlaquepaque. The bus was due to leave soon so I looked for the bus station. To my horror, when I arrived there, it was dark and there were no buses.
I saw a hotel that looked inexpensive (all hotels are expensive in Guanajuato) so I asked the desk clerk the rate. I didn’t have enough money. The kindhearted woman gave me a room anyway. I left Guanajuato the next day but I would have liked to stay longer. There is so much to see there and the nights are alive with festivity and golden light.
- travel the underground roadways
- view the monument of “Pipila”
- see the former house of famed artist Diego Rivera
- tour La Valenciana silver mine
- visit the many grand churches
Taxco will be added later. I’m too sick.