Nothing but the best for me!
November 29, 2.10pm: I wonder if El vecino Gallo misses me, because I’m not really missing him…
After spending a wonderful few days in Aguascalientes, it was time to catch the bus back to Guadalajara.
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate Executive Class long distance buses in Mexico.
Unlike in Australia, the buses are not run by Sciatica Inc. There is plenty of leg room and a footrest, so if the person in front of you wants to recline, you don’t want to stab them. You get snacks and two drinks when you check in and you have your own entertainment system with movies and video games. You actually arrive at your destination not walking like the Brady Bunch after they rode mules down the Grand Canyon.
I guess one thing I will never really get used to in Mexico, is that I am automatically interesting, just by the fact that I am Australian.
Because I know for a fact Australians are like flies – everywhere you go, we are there and I have heard the accent on the street in Mexico City, on planes, in hotels in Puebla and on the beach in Playa del Carmen, I just kind of assume everyone has met lots and meh. So when I check into a hotel in Guadalajara and get a rock star’s welcome, it is a pleasant surprise! Granted, the hospitality in Mexico is usually to a high standard, but this was extra nice.
I highly recommend Hotel Porto Alegre – it’s not fancy, but the location (still in the historic centre, but thankfully not on skid row), price and the service are very good, so you won’t be disappointed. (I’m not being paid for this link FYI). Gustavo if you are reading this, hi!
The historic centre of Guadalajara, like many places in central Mexico is very pretty and a lot more “Mexican” (aka heavily Spanish influenced) than cities in the north of the country; cobbled streets, street food vendors and old buildings. My main tip in Guadalajara is to not follow the locals when crossing main streets – obeying the traffic signs is not a thing for cars or pedestrians…
Sandwich wars: Mexico v Portugal
This next tale is a little bit sad. As anyone who knows me will attest, I love eating and I eat everything. If there is a typical dish in any place, I will find it. Any Tapatio (a person from Guadalajara) will tell you that a trip to Guadalajara is not complete without a Torta ahogada, which translates to “drowned sandwich” – it consists of a bread roll with chicken, pork or beans which is drowned in a spicy red sauce made from arbol chiles.
Having had an almost religious experience with a “francesinha” (a Portuguese sandwich in a spicy sauce) in Sintra, Portugal a few years ago, I was excited!
The dish came out and it looked great – lots of sauce and I couldn’t wait to bite! The taste was (drumroll) – good, but was it as good as I expected? No :(. All the elements were nice, I think it just wasn’t as strong in flavour as I expected, or maybe my expectations were too high. Or maybe this just wasn’t a good Torta ahogada? So many variables. I guess I’ll need to eat more (if the Tapatios don’t read this and ban me from re-entry).
Sandwich wars round one: Portugal 1 – Mexico 0.
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, four…
1. Mexicans drink a lot: True
2. All Mexicans drink tequila: False
3. Tequila is only good for shots: False
4. After a few tequilas, everyone is friends: True
5. Most tequila is produced in Tequila, Jalisco: True
In about 2010, I lived with a Mexican in Carlton for about a year (she is still one of my besties – shout out Rody). It was from her I learned, among other things, that tequila is not just about getting fucked up on the one with the plastic sombrero and vomiting in a park.
As a tequila lover, I convinced Piolo (not a tequila lover), that we needed to go and see how it was made. So off we went in a little tour bus to the Ruta Tequila – a like the Barossa Valley but with Tequila, about an hour out of Guadalajara.
One thing that became immediately apparent was just how beautiful the countryside was. We were surrounded by mountains and agave as far as the eye could see. Because agave plants are blue, the entire countryside had a blue hue.
I won’t go into too much detail here, as google is your friend (tbh, I would just be googling a lot of stuff anyway because I elected to do the tour of the hacienda in Spanish and missed a lot of details). I will just share photos and a few facts as I go…
Learning over, drink now
After tasting about 15 different tequilas, we went back to the bus. It should be mentioned here that we weren’t the only ones on the bus, it’s just that none of us had spoken to each other. The bus driver made us all margaritas and by the time we made it to the town of Tequila, we were all friends.
Tequila, Jalisco is a World Heritage site and also a ‘pueblo mágico’ – a title given to towns by the Mexican government which are noted for historical significance. We didn’t have much time there, just enough to eat lunch and have a quick wander around to take some wacky photos with our new friends.
Charles Bronson woz ‘ere 1983
We finished our last day in Guadalajara with a stay in a hotel that was from 1610. If that wasn’t impressive enough, it turned out a Charles Bronson movie was filmed there in 1983. This fact is significant for me and my siblings, because our grandfather was a huge fan of Charles Bronson and my grandparents house always had an impressive never-ending supply of his movies on video (as was the style at the time).
You can see a preview of the movie and at 4:20, he goes into the hotel. The lift is still in use today! This one’s for you Ernie!
Sadly, as happens with most holidays, it was over too soon and it was time to go back to Hermosillo.
Jalisco, you were great, see you again!