Friday, July 30, 2010


Leaving Guadalajara we passed by the town of Tequila. We didn't make a stop since we heard it was pretty much Jose Cuervo Nation, but we did get to take in mile and miles of agave, the plant used to produce tequila.

In this family, we ♥ tequila. Sipped nice and slow with some lime and salt, is the best way to enjoy it. Our friend Mario introduced us to this tequila and now we love it too. The name says it all Quita Penas, literally meaning "take away your worries." We're not sure what we love more though, the tequila itself or the enormous blue bottle!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In Guad We Trust

Ok, so Guadelupe has nothing to do with Guadalajara that I know of, but it's still makes me laugh everything I think of seeing that phrase on the bumper sticker of a car in our old neighborhood on Colfax Ave.

So, as I've already said, Guadalajara was the next destination following San Miguel de Allende. Down the road from San Miguel, we made a little stop in Guanajuato, another colonial city. I had forgotten how the whole town is basically a maze of tunnels, at least to enter and exit. Makes for absolutely confusing driving, but still very cool.

The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara was a place we new very little about and therefore we didn't really have any expectations either. Arriving after dark we made our way to San Jose del Tajo Trailer Park after a few circles past on the highway. (The whole lateral road thing gets tricky). No one was around in the management office, but a friendly permanent resident from Thornton, CO told us to pick a space and make ourselves at home. I'm not gonna lie - it was pretty much one of the grossest campgrounds we've been to and to make it even sadder, there we a bunch of permanent residents that had built themselves patios, carports and additions to their rigs. They were parked and not going anywhere. God, I hope my retirement never looks like that. The bathrooms were Nasty (with a capital N) and we didn't stick around long after we got up. Actually not even long enough for the main office to open up, so we slipped some pesos under the door with a note that we had paid what we thought the short stay was worth.

We found ourselves quite delighted with Guadalajara's city center considering our lack of prior knowledge. There a lots of plazas and walking malls and mini parks that connect to the main square. Plus our travel companion was ecstatic over the amount of fountains around! We did a few hours worth of basic touring, lunching and hanging out. Ben had been dying to try the local cuisine, torta ahogada (drowned sandwich). We're not sure whether it was where we chose to eat it, or the actual torta itself, but unless you like week old bread that's as hard as a rock, we can't really recommend it.

Hidalgo's cry for independence

One of the many nice parks

Inside the cathedral

torta ahogada

Playing around in a park

Mia practicing her "muerto" (dead)....look at her tongue!
After lunch we headed on our way to the nearby suburb of Tlaquepaque, where swanky design boutiques line pleasant cobblestone streets offering everything from ceramics to exquisite light fixtures and handmade wood furniture. Guadalajara's best interior designers are said to do much of their buying there. We strolled the afternoon away, stopping in a few of the more moderate looking galleries and boutiques. I even found a few Mexican hand blown glass items to add to my collection. If there's one thing that I may love more than textiles, it's glass.

The main square was hopping in the evening.

We're always up for ice cream!
Not sure what we'd be doing for the night, we luckily stumbled by a cute hotel that accepts and welcomes pets! Yay! How could we say no? All three of us were ready for a break from camping. Not only did Mia have a cute little playmate for the rest of the night (the owner's pup), but the hotel also had a courtyard full of parrots and pygmy monkeys. Very cool again.

The next day we rose early to hit the much talked about market in Tonalá. Supposedly there are great finds at a fraction of Tlaquepaque's prices. There were certainly a TON of choices at the market, but it was such a headache pushing through the crowds with our hot little dog that we gave up and hit the road for the long awaited return to our favorite beach trailer park!

Glass blowers in Tonalá

Just what we were searching for.....

Confirmed. You need a saw to eat this sandwich even though it looks soggy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

the USA away

Well Dorothy, we're certainly not in Antigua anymore. It's looks a bit the same (sadly maybe nicer with less trash) but it certainly doesn't feel the same. San Miguel de Allende, aka GringoLandia in Mexico, is where we found ourselves holed out for a few days last week.

A beautiful colonial Mexican city, with a bit of an expat following (like 10,000 - no lie), San Miguel was the very first "real" Mexican town I ever visited (after a quick couple of days in the D.F). That was 5 years ago, when I spent part of my summer traveling and studying Spanish with some friends & coworkers. Of course I fell in love with it despite it's gringo problem, and wanted Ben to experience it's beauty too. Like Puebla, San Miguel has been on our "must go to" list for this stateside return trip for a long while, so we were pretty excited when we finally left Mexico City and made the 4 hour drive north.

Rolling in after dark, we found our way to the San Miguel RV Park & Tennis Courts, right in the center of town. While the location can't be beat, and the bathrooms are the absolute best we've experienced yet, the campground could have used a bit of sprucing up. It appeared that the grass hadn't been mowed in months and all of the RV spaces were in the dirt. Ewe. One of our 2 neighbors was quick to tell us that it was the best RV park for nearly 200 km....that's not saying much!

One side of the small campground backed right up to some chicken coops, which would have made our travel companion's day, but we opted to set up camp in the best spot left on the other side, right next to a giant German tank. (Close your eyes and scroll down a few strokes if you feel enraged when you see Hummers on the road....this thing may give you an anurysm!)

I swear we have seen this monstrosity another time during our southward bound Mexican road trip. The campground manager told us that it has been stationed in the park for a year - at $17/day that's kind of pricey - but considering that they shipped a tank across the Atlantic, I'm sure money ain't a thang. Ben swears it is a legitimate converted garbage truck and I think he maybe right. Anywho, let's just say that the folks inside (and their cats) didn't seem to be so happy that we pulled in next to them and pretty much didn't speak (or show their faces) to us during our entire 3 day stay. Well actually that's a lie. The woman did make an appearance one afternoon to polish her case of jewels (not kidding) at their outdoor table. The whole thing was a bit comical considering it was at one of our last trailer parks that we met a super friendly, humble German guy.

Moving on - it was there in San Miguel that we spent the next couple of days roaming the streets, taking in the sights and just relaxing.

The main cathedral is amazing & looks like it is right out of Barcelona.

The streets are so gorgeous and vibrant.
They make you feel like you're walking during another time.

The cultural center makes for a nice walking destination.

Flashback to June 2005

The artisan market, filled with some of Mexico's best handicrafts, wanders on forever.

I even found my Must Have Lust: Otomi textiles
(but alas, I didn't make a purchase....yet)

If you don't have a problem speaking English and hanging around a lot of other foreigners, it's a lovely place to visit and one day we'd really enjoy taking our families back.

San Miguel de Allende = very safe tourist friendly Mexico, without a beach.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mystery guy

I've made yet another delightful culinary discovery here in Mexico......

ToniCol - a vanilla flavored soda.

Any beverage that has a motto "it's different" is sure to spark my interest, so when I came across ToniCol here in Sayulita, I had to give it a try.

Who is this Toni? How different is he? Different good or different bad?

Instantly my taste buds reminded me that this was not my first encounter with the mysterious Toni. Then it hit me - it was merely just a year ago in this very same town that I first came to love & lust after ToniCol. Sort of like a cream soda, but not so fizzy and sweet, ToniCol hits the spot. Mix it up with a little ron (rum) and it makes the perfect afternoon cocktail (a flashback to vanilla coke & Stoli in my college years)!

So "it's different" turns out to be a way good different, at least for me. Ben on the other hand, isn't much of a fan, but I don't care - I'm still stocking up before we make a run for the border.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Por Favor!

I'd be so happy if I could have just one more.....

night at the Monoloco

morning on our terrace


walk down chicken bus lane

stop at my favorite stop sign

browse through my favorite Saturday morning market

drive through the green countryside

breakfast at Cafe Baveria

photo in front of the house fountain

visit to Pollo Campero

view of the amazing Agua Volcano

glimpse at the beautiful tiles at Hotel Aurora

walk under the arch

smile when I see floating flowers

night in front of the cathedral

morning by the fountain in Central Park