Adventures in Guadalajara

I think the thing about travel that I’ve always found so addicting is the unfolding of an adventure.

Sure, that happens at home too. In the Lost Coast more than anywhere else I’ve lived in, but the thing about traveling is that you the opportunity to have an adventure in something just completely, utterly unexpected. Okay, I’m thinking of the Lost Coast again, and I think life on the Lost Coast is as much alike traveling as one can get while at home, but you know what I’m saying. Life on the Lost Coast is far from usual, and so is traveling.

Take Guadalajara, for instance.

Huge city. Something like 4 million people? Right, big, B-I-G.

Mikey’s been looking forward to going there for a donkey’s age, like since we were in Baja and every store that sold anything he liked had had the item shipped in to Baja from Guadalajara….  I was a lot more on the fence about visiting, just because big cities make me go crazy now.

Staying in Guadalajara

But when we drove into Guadalajara, it was fun and easy. Mikey had studied his maps ahead of time and had a good fundamental understanding of how the city was laid out. We had agreed ahead of time to stay in a hotel. Mikey had fixed the camper, but we wanted to keep it easy by staying someplace fairly central. We just had to find someplace that could fit our rig easily, accept Kianna, the chitlins AND not be expensive.

It didn’t take long to find a place that met the first 3 requirements, but it was more than we wanted to pay. So we figured we’d stay one night there, then if we liked Guadalajara enough to stay longer, we’d switch to an RV park on the outskirts of town.

Well, we did and we did – the next day we switched to an RV park… I’m glad we did because it was beautiful there, but I’m not glad we did because the long driving to and from the RV park made us miserable and is what resulted in leaving soon. The traffic just slaughtered us and had Mikey frothing at the mouth and yelling at everyone cutting him off, cussing at the freeway signs (that didn’t make a lot of sense to us) and the 4 hours it took us to get somewhere that should have only taken 40 minutes.

The kids were really cool with it all (going to McDonald’s helped, that’s for sure), but still. We don’t want to make that mistake again. In the future, we’ll either just stay at an RV park at the edge of a city and taxi/bus in, or we’ll find a good parking lot in the center of town, park everything and stay at a hostel that’s close to everything.

Anyway, Guadalajara.

One big adventure.

One thing always led to another. We’d walk by something interesting, stop, ask someone where something else great was, follow their advice and get our socks knocked off. I’m not sure if there is a better way to travel. In fact, I feel like for a lot of the photos in this post, I should be leaving an arrow trail – like, “we wandered in HERE; met this one guy and he told us about THIS place; then when we were in THAT place, they told us about this OTHER thing, so that’s what we checked out…”

It’s just the way we roll.

Here are some photos of it:

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We parked where we could find a spot big enough. Followed our leader.

She led us here:

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An indoor market where we had a FABULOUS lunch for a few dollars

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this was the happy picture, before Mac-Q went and broke a dish and Moxie toppled the full cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice
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I don’t think I knew what anything besides the beans and rice were. We just asked for what they think they cook the best. It was delicious.

Then we went walking around

 

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…before getting back into our truck and drove to the Tonala district, where we had heard there were some great crafts shops

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I swoon for murals and good graffiti – I want to go back to Guadelajara just for that. They had some OUTSTANDING pieces, absolutely incredible, gorgeous works

With that, we pulled into Tonala and it seemed like everything was closed… huh.

But this one shop was open

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We had wanted to get some clothes for the kids anyway, so we stopped by and bought some items… including a complete little outfit for Number One. We asked the shopkeeper (a delightful woman with a big smile and even bigger dimples) what was going on? Why were we seeing so many people walking by in one direction?

She said everyone was headed for the Temple.

We asked where that was, could we go too?

She said, sure, why not, and gave us the directions.

So we headed off.

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On the way, we saw this little pottery shop open and stopped by –

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Stunning.

I was personally speechless for the better part of being there; so much beauty, and they artisans were making and painting it RIGHT THERE.

The owner was a delightful. laid back guy who had no qualms about our kids and Kianna being in his shop FULL OF BREAKABLES, he even gave the kids little toys made of pottery. He had dimples too. Must be a dimpled-person thing.

From there, we found the Temple

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And understood why everyone had been kind of chuckling when they asked if we were walking there.

OH. Right. Temple on a BIG HILL and we have the kids on our backs.

HA. HA. HA.

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Gotta work off all those tacos somehow, huh.

So, we get to the top and it is CRAMMED FULL of millions of absolutely adorable Mexican children in traditional clothes.

Evidently, they wear traditional clothes to symbolize the native Indians who converted to Christianity, and the day was celebrating the Virgin Mother.

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See the statue of the left?

It’s of a native Indian who is embracing the cross – and with it, Christianity.

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I wanted to take photos inside the Temple, and I also wanted to take photos of the children. But the mothers of the kids said no when I asked, so… no photos. And I thought it would be disrespectful to take photos inside on such an obviously holy day, so… no photos.

And that’s fine.

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On our way down (stairs this time; easier), I came upon a young girl with Down syndrome, so of course I introduced us all and we had a very enjoyable time, getting to know her and her beautiful family

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Being spontaneous works for us as a family and is our travelling style. But it’s not a good way to connect with the Down syndrome and disabled communities in Mexico.

I was thrilled to be able to talk with this family and get to know them.

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And there. That was our first full day in Guadalajara.

*****

Access:

Guadalajara is such a big city that it’s not fair for me to give a sum-up when I was only there for a few days.

With that in mind, I saw some things that I found interesting:

  • buses with the ‘accessible’ sign on them, I guess indicating ramp access?
  • decent ramps and access in the main square areas
  • a few buildings that seemed designed with universal access in mind – the ramps were integrated into the structure, not added as an afterthought.

But… yeah… oh man. there were plenty of streets that you wouldn’t be able to get by easily WALKING, let alone using a wheelchair, where we had to pull the side mirrors in just to drive through.

Other kinds of access are still very much in their infancy – deaf/blind/sensory, for example. I would absolutely love to meet someone who knows about what’s going and how disabled access is unfolding in this beautiful city

 

Meriah

is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).

She likes her coffee black and hot.


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6 Comments

  • Love taking your trip along with you all, through your blog and posts. Love your description of “adventure”. Indeed – you nailed it 🙂

    • We were in San Juan de Tijo – was that it? it’s beautiful – lots of trees. The drive to and from Guadalajara can get rough though if there is traffic. And their bathrooms were not nice. At all. It’s in the Church book – are you guys using that too?

      • Yes, we’re using the Church book, just like every other RVer we run into. When we were cruising the Sea of Cortez on our sailboat, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, had a copy of a guidebook by a couple named Shawn and Heather. The Church book is the RV equivalent. I was reading a few of your blog entries beyond this one after I asked the question. The one where you’re sick? It sounds like you’re at Parque Aquático Chimulco in Villa Corona. Did you stay at the both San Jose Del Tajo and Chimulco? Roca Azul is OK so far although it’s kind of far from town (or so it seems at the moment). Tomorrow we’ll find out what it costs to take a cab in to Jocotepec. We need some groceries and it looks like a pretty far bike ride. Roca Azul does have nice clean bathrooms, though not a lot of them. They even have toilet paper!!!!! And Lulu informs me that the women’s has soap and paper towels (not so, the men’s). All the showers are associated with the two swimming pools so they’re a little bit of a walk but nice.

        Looking forward to Guadalajara. We’ll likely take a cab to the bus depot and ride the bus in to Guadalajara. May even stay overnight in a hotel. Sounds like you guys loved it. Enjoying your blog. It’s especially enjoyable since you’re just a little ways ahead of us and we can us you to figure out where to go.

        Take care and bién viaje.

        -Steve

        • thanks so much Steve. I think yours sounds better than ours (and ours was far from town too). The trees were gorgeous but if you need to use bathrooms, it wasn’t good. and the women’s showers were just unusable, they were that bad.
          I think we’ll go back to Guadalajara – we liked it a lot and also missed out on meeting some people from the Down syndrome community there that I’d like to meet – but we’ll park the rig outside, cab in and stay in a hotel. That downtown area is fantastic. Also, the crafts area – not the fancy one, the simpler one. We loved it, but we’d like to have been able to go to the fancier one too (- the driving got to Mikey and we had to leave).
          And YES, we got sick at Chimulco. Really nice place, but it was SO COLD. Oh, and in Villa Corona, the town by Chimulco? There are a lot of people who used to live in the US = they went, worked, didn’t like it and came back to Mexico. It seemed like literally every local we started talking to had an amazing life story.

  • Nice Trip! That must be a really unique experience, I live there right now, but I dont have really much time to explore the city xc. It´s sad, but at least i know all zapopan!
    If you want to come back, I recommend you this hotel, was the one where i stay when i travel here for the firts time

    https://www.gdlplazalopezmateos.com/en

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