Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
In an interesting change of roles, I have been the guest of Frida, a young woman who was my guest many years ago when she was only ten. Frida came to Canada to practise her English: she went to summer camp with my daughter, she caught poison ivy, she travelled out west by car with us; she marvelled at the “snow” when we crossed the glaciers between Jasper and Banff.
This past weekend, it was I who rode in the back of the van to Manzanillo. Frida and her husband, Ricardo, stopped in Comala on the way to have breakfast. We found a charming place on a side street, overlooking a lush ravine, which served some delicious Mexican breakfast dishes: chilaquiles, sopes, frijoles, fresh juices, and café, of course.
On the beach in Manzanillo and in Malaque, we snacked on fresh pineapple, jícama, cucumber, and shrimp all laced with chile and lemon. We drank green coconut water and beer in the shade of big parasols and cooled off in the beautiful waters of the Pacific.
On the way back to Guadalajara, we stopped in Sayula, a pretty town which specializes in making knives, cajeta (dulce de leche), sweet pastries and empanadas, and birria. It is also the birthplace of the author and photographer, Juan Rulfo (1917-1986).
Usually when we visit, we see various family and friends of Eduardo’s. And each time it is a pleasure. I feel welcome, even when I am here alone.
This time, I came here specifically to have some dental work done. The dentist came recommended by a friend’s son who is also a doctor, a plastic surgeon at that! The dentist is his cousin’s boyfriend. That is the way to do it in Mexico. The dentist is giving me wonderful care, probably the best I have ever had. He even text messaged me to see how I was doing after a rather complicated extraction.
Last night I had pozole with our cousin’s family. Then they sang Las Mañanitas to me before serving the delicious Tres Leches birthday cake. It was the first time anyone had sung this beautiful Mexican birthday song for me. Plus it was my fourth birthday celebration this year!
Today, I bit the bullet and decided to visit a new part of the greater metropolitan area. So, via light-rail/metro and bus I went north to visit the art gallery in Zapopan. This part of the city feels like a small town. There is a traditional central square, and a market a block off the main street.
It felt miles away from the bustle of Guadalajara. The sun was shining brightly which is a relief after almost a week of cool rainy weather. The cathedral had a scattering of people praying, one woman working her way forward on her knees. No tourists in sight, except me of course, but everyone is friendly and helpful giving me directions to the gallery, the food at the food stands, and then to the market to get some fresh vegies for supper.
The gallery MAZ had four different rooms each with modern art exhibits. The first one left me rather baffled. Entitled La Gravedad de los Asuntos (The Gravity of Things punning on the word gravity.) There were poems and drawing on relativity and other scientific theories; I felt more than a bit lost. Fortunately, there was a fun video: Mexican artists and astronauts at a Russian research station had fun with the Russians breaking a piñata in a zero gravity chamber.
They also showed a full-length video entitled Bienvenidos a Nueva America, 2014. An incredible story of some landless people who are trying to resettle around an old open-pit mine in the desert of Peru. I can’t find more background information on this act of defiance. If anyone knows, please let me know.
Enough! I am going to make supper for my dear friends who are hosting me.
P.S. I just learned how to do hyper-links. I hope you enjoy following up on some of them.