We’ve stayed longer than expected in Guadalajara. We got sucked in by the awesome hospitality of the Casa Ciclista. The Casa is a non-profit organization in Guadalajara, raising awareness on the benefits of cycling and promoting the bicycle for urban transportation. No one lives at the Casa. It has a bike shop, meeting room, kitchen and full bathroom, and two lofts. They graciously give touring cyclists keys to the place and allow us to sleep in the lofts for free. Their location is fantastic, just 1.5 miles from the historic downtown and everything we need is conveniently located within walking distance. We originally thought we would stay for two nights. It’s going on five.
While here we made some additional repairs to the tent, a few holes we missed the first time around. We took care of domestic matters (i.e. laundry, banking, etc). It took us three days to realize that we had crossed a time zone and our watches were an hour off (we’re now on Central Time).
We pretended we weren’t in a foreign country and went out for things familiar, like hamburgers and pizza. We pretended we were locals and ate at the market, street stalls and had the Guadalajaran specialty, torta ahogada. It’s a chopped pork sandwich served on crusty birote bread and then drowned in a tomato-based sauce. Spicier versions use a chili pepper sauce. As my friend Julie put it: It’s like a Mexican French Dip. The most odd thing about this sandwich is it’s served for breakfast. Clearly Mexicans are immune to the food coma.
We’ve been here long enough that we can identify the food carts and other vendors by their bells and jingles. The corn-in-a-cup vendor sings something in a deep, resonating baritone voice. We listen for a high-pitched whistle if we’re craving fried plantains. We find our way to the tortillarias by following the repetitive squeaky noise of the tortilla machine conveyor belt. The propane gas truck has a snappy tune that gets stuck in our heads and disappointingly, the cow bell only signals the garbage truck is on its way.
I was so hoping the cow bell would indicate something of the dairy variety; cheesy, ice creamy, yogerty goodness was about to be delivered to my door. I’m on a first-name basis with the lady at the bakery around the corner. I am ADDICTED to the sweat bready things that are made at the Mexican Panaderias. Needless to say, we’re leaving Guadalajara with our waistbands a little tighter than when we arrived.
We played tourist and visited Guadalajara’s Historic Center with the Cathedral and surrounding plazas that form the shape of a Latin cross. We were entertained by all the goings on of urban life. It’s a good thing we travel by bike because it kept me from buying all the beautiful colorful things in the plaza markets!
One of the plazas had paper mache-like Catrina skeletons from the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations.
We were wowed by a group of parkour acrobats in another plaza.
We packed up our stuff this morning and said our goodbyes in full anticipation that we would roll out. We’ve been sharing the Casa Ciclista with two other cyclists, Sean and Hiram, both from Taiwan. Sadly, Sean’s bike was stolen while he was in a grocery store. Hiram headed out this morning. We’ll probably catch him on our way to Guanajuato. But by late morning, we were still at the Casa. The weather report called for a partially sunny day with 0% of rain, but when we stepped outside it was drizzling (so much for 0%). In addition to the crappy weather, Scott is not feeling well, he’s caught a cold. It does not take much convincing to decide to stay another night. We may never leave!!!