December 9, 2018

I came in to Guadalajara on the late side and went right to bed but not before admiring the lovely Hotel Morales in the heart of the Centro Histórico. I would gladly stay here again.
I have most of the day, until 2, for a walk-about in Guadalajara Centro Histórico.
The hotel had some decorations up and these are around but I was expecting a major holiday extravaganza which has not materialized yet.
It was a Sunday morning and at least half the streets in Centro were shut down for pedestrians. "The ‘Vía RecreActiva’ is a free zone for pedestrians, bikers, skaters, and anyone who wants to take over the streets."

They started in 2004 with 11 kilometers and by 2014 they were up to 25.
I put this in black and white by accident and then I couldn't let it go.

At the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of the historic downtown.
More, including the Guadalajara Cathedral.
Palacio Municipal de Guadalajara, City Hall, also on the Plaza de Armas.
Here's a giant manger scene with a huge elephant and a camel and a sheep and a donkey all the same size.
The Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres honoring the memory of the people of Jalisco.
I googled every which way and couldn't find this guy. Anyone know his story?
You can climb up onto the top of his head and here's the view.
There's plenty of chaos around this tram construction.
It was Sunday and I went into so many churches but services were always on so I didn't take pictures. I guess this was late in the afternoon.

This is the image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe​ also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, other names for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the most important religious symbol in Mexico. Her big day is Wednesday so I'm excited to see how that looks.
Shopping! Another place where you call out your requests for fruit and veg and the ladies choose and bag it up for you.
Hands, another one I can't find. I need to stop being so lazy about identifications while I'm taking the picture.
Ingalill, for YOU! Do square ones count?
Oh my goodness, I'm mixed up between the Governor's Palace and the Municipal Palace and I can't tell from the pictures. More research required!

The Palacio de Gobierno. I peeked through the gates and then I decided, heck...
...let me see if I can get in. So I convinced the guards to let the woman come in with me so I could see...
…a mural by José Clemente Orozco, "“The People and Its Leaders” mural is found above the main staircase and depicts the revolutionary leader wielding a flaming torch to ignite the independence movement."
Teatro Degollado, inaugurated in 1866.
Another view looking toward the Cathedral.
She's good.
December 10

Michi's home for two months in Chapala, one of five units in this fabulous building.
She's got the lower floor, two bedrooms, a big bathroom with a fantastic shower, and all the rest including three patios to enjoy.
Chapala is a small town on the banks of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico.
Early in the morning it is quiet and peaceful along the boardwalk here whereas on the weekend from afternoon on it's a madhouse.
We walked a mile or so to this one-day-a-week market with blocks and blocks of stalls selling everything a household would need. No handcrafts though.

And you can't see the ground very well but it is made of large rocks and dirt. A person could use some hiking books when shopping here.
We took the bus several towns north-west along the shore of the lake, to Ajijic...
...and the Lake Chapala Society, the Lake Chapala Gringo Gulch. In this town it is not necessary at all to speak Spanish. Every shopkeeper, restaurant worker, everyone around town speaks English, and it's a little odd.
This is Michi's ukulele group that practices in the restaurant next door. This week they had an open mic for performances.
Here's Michi playing and singing so wonderfully to the acclaim of all.
Back in Chapala...
...and a pier off the boardwalk.
It's much more local here where Spanish is the first language but here too you can get along perfectly speaking only English.
Foto Foto!
Sunset across the lake.
December 11-12

We have been eating like queens, no surprise since Michi was a professional chef for years. We had a picnic out here in one of her patios for lunch.
A view from a restaurant table, I forget where, but it was yummy for sure.
Here comes many pictures of the church in Chapala, a small church for a small town, decked out in preparation for the Guadalupe Day celebrations.

There she is, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe​ also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, other names for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Patron Saint of Mexico.
The entire front of the church was piled high with flowers.
People pouring in for the evening service...
...and the priest checking his Instagram feed.
In the end it was so crowded all these folks were standing outside. Then the singing began. They had no choir, no organ even, but everyone knew all the words. I think there are special songs for this day that are as much patriotic as religious.
The view from the street.
And speaking of the street. The church is to the right of this picture and the lake is behind where I am standing. It's really a sweet place.
All the boats have bright new flags for the celebrations.
A skateboard park off the boardwalk.
There was a line and we got in that line for...
I couldn't get it all in one shot but like the town itself, it's a sweet little display.
December 13

I took the bus from Chapala this morning into Guadalajara to catch a few sights I was sorry to have missed the first day at the beginning of the week.

Here's how my day went: walk to the Chapala bus station for the 1 hour ride into Guadalajara.

A) walk from the bus station to the largest market I have ever ever seen. I do say that every time I'm in a gigantic market because I can't see from one end to the other so who knows.
B) visit the Hospicio Cabañas | Instituto Cultural Cabañas which was indeed all that and a bag of chips.
C) walk over to the heart of the Centro Historico again to catch the Christmas displays.
D) stroll down to the hotel I stayed at before and enjoyed so well to catch an uber for a ride...
E) to the town of Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tla-ke-Pa-ke), once a town standing on its own but now surrounded by Guadalajara.
On the walk from the bus station in an industrial part of the city...
...through the half-mile stretch of livestock and pet provisions... the three square blocks of covered market stalls. It was mind-bending in there. I circled in and out one little corner because I started to lose my breath.
Instituto Cultural Cabañas, a UNESCO World Heritage building and totally worth the bus trip into Guadalajara.

I'm copying from wiki:

'The Hospicio Cabañas in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, a World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in the Americas.'
'The complex was founded in 1791 by the Bishop of Guadalajara in order to combine the functions of a workhouse, hospital, orphanage, and almshouse. It owes its name to Juan Ruiz de Cabañas who was appointed to the Holy See of Guadalajara in 1796 and engaged Manuel Tolsá, a renowned architect from Mexico City, to design the structure.'

There are maybe 20 of these courtyards throughout the complex each with its own decorations and personality.
This is a small portion of a world map created by the star of the Instituto, José Clemente Orozco.
There were several shows on as well as the highlight of the Orozco frescoes. Notice the door and the height of the ceilings.

It was a splendid venue for these tapestries, created from the original murals painted by José de Almada Negreiros in Lisbon.
One room contained photographs of various artists and an expression of their art on a copy of a news magazine...
...and then in other rooms each artist had a work displayed.
The big gun. It was huge and very disarming and totally awesome, and not pleasant At All.

'Following the death of Cabañas in 1823, construction continued until 1829. Although it served for a time as barracks in the mid-19th century, the hospital lasted well into the 20th century and continued to function until 1980, when the Cabañas Cultural Institute, with affiliated schools for arts and crafts, moved in.

'The highlight of the interior decoration is a series of monumental frescoes by José Clemente Orozco, including one of his most famed creations, the allegory of The Man of Fire (1936–39).'
More. I could show more and more, but you get the idea.
The main courtyard of the Instituto.
A photo in the children's room, and me in a fun house mirror.
Yet again another courtyard. I stayed here for 3+ hours, an eternity for me in a museum.
On the pedestrian mall between the Instituto Cultural Cabañas and the Centro Historico.
The nativity scene in the Plaza de Armas, containing camels and elephants and goats. All the nativity scenes I've seen so far look like this without a baby Jesus. They must put the baby in the cradle on Christmas Day.
I ate here at Chata on my first day because it was a well reviewed local joint and because there was a line. I didn't use a picture before but look, there's still a line.

I walked this way to stop off at the Hotel Morales to use their wifi to call for an uber.
It all went smoothly although the traffic was as insanely bad as anywhere in a congested big city.

I just looked it up - Tlaquepaque is now totally absorbed into Guadalajara but it still has its own borders with a population of 600,000 in 2010. I'm shocked. In 2017 Santa Monica had a population less than 100,000.

Here we have a model taking pictures for donations.
So obviously I saw only the tiniest corner of Tlaquepaque which included the tourist streets of SHOPPING. You cannot believe all the high-end arty-stuff there. Here's an example.

Lordy is right.
The churros they do here are hand-rolled, more like donuts, and delicious nonetheless.
There were several of these vegetable carts around. Wow. You could get a huge bowl of steamed vegetables, a rare treat. I had it with salt, chili, and lime. The local people filled the bowl with a mixture of mayo and cream until it was a vegetable soup. Everyone was happy.
Hey kids let's put on a show.
Rene met me here to take me back to Michi's. He's like Michi's private driver - just give him a day or two notice and he'll take you anywhere.
HomeMexico and the Caribbean • Mexico • '18 Dec: Guadalajara Area, Mexico

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