Gallivanting ‘Round Guadalajara: Humorous Fiction and the Harsh Reality

This weekend I visited the city of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco.

THINGS TO KNOW 

Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico and the 10th largest in Latin America.

With limited time, I made sure to focus on a few main attractions as to not get too overwhelmed. 🙂

TRANSPORTATION

I took a Primera Plus bus from Querétaro for around $30, which took about 5 1/2 hours.

Guadalajara’s bus terminal is gigantic. This is only the terminal for Primera Plus!
IMG_0303 IMG_0306On the plus side, they had a nice cafe and a comfortable waiting area.IMG_0305Also, the new bus terminal is located very far from the city center in the municipality of Tlaquepaque. It took around an hour in bus to get to my hostal. :/

ACCOMMODATION

I stayed at the Roof Backpackers Hostal. For around $9/night, they had clean bathrooms, bottled water, WiFi, comfortable dorm beds with thick comforters and included breakfast of fruit and hard boiled eggs. The staff was also extremely helpful. They e-mailed me suggestions beforehand of things to do in Guadalajara and how to navigate the city! 😀IMG_0302

ATTRACTIONS

The historic city center of Guadalajara is absolutely stunning. Highlights include the National Palace with murals painted by the famous Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco, the main Cathedral, and El Instituto Cultural Cabañas, which had additional murals by Orozco.

National Palace and Murals
IMG_0143IMG_0185IMG_0167IMG_0187 IMG_0190 IMG_0194Guadalajara Cathedral
IMG_0146IMG_0170El Instituto Cultural Cabañas
IMG_0160 IMG_0152The wall murals were strikingly beautiful and the additional wings of the building also showcased more modern works of art.

Sometimes I think I can understand and appreciate art. This is a beautiful woven art piece.IMG_0149Other times I am left puzzled, like with these paint sticks and old cassette tape. :/
IMG_0148 In general, the Spanish colonial architecture, and abundance of monuments and quaint plazas throughout the city leave you with quite the impression. Guadalajara is clean and modern, but retains a lovely historic charm.
IMG_0207 IMG_0209 IMG_0142 IMG_0164IMG_0136 IMG_0138 IMG_0200IMG_0291IMG_0162
GOOD EATS

The traditional dish of the Guadalajara is tortas ahogadas or drowned sandwiches. They are sold everywhere from restaurants to street carts. To prepare this regional specialty, a fluffy bolillo roll is first slathered with refried beans, stuffed with roasted pork, and then dunked in a sweet and spicy tomato sauce, hence the name drowned sandwich. Most are served with pickled onions and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Yum!
5069938_So6-JCIzJZaUTXp7Mte8Y4MXj97ZLUyt98as6h5FI20Here is an easy recipe I found if you want to try making some delicious tortas of your own. 🙂

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/braised-pork-sandwich-with-spicy-tomato-broth-tortas-ahogadas-recipe.html

Anyway, while in Guadalajara I had hoped to explore some historic sites and natural wonders in surrounding towns, but unfortunately my plans were rained out. With the unfavorable forecast, I began to seek out recommended indoor attractions.

First, I went with a friend of mine from Germany to the International Film Festival of Guadalajara.We saw a film in Portuguese called Circo Voador-A Nave, about the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll music in Brazil.On the way to meet her I was even fortunate enough to see more of the cities beautiful architecture illuminated at night. This is the University of Guadalajara and El Templo La Asunción.
IMG_0297 IMG_0294 IMG_0296After a bit of contemporary culture, I sought out more traditional entertainment.

Rodeos or Charreadas are well-known in Mexico and the Charros or horsemen of Jalisco are the most famous of them all. 😀

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I headed over to Lienzo Charro de Jalisco to witness the event.
IMG_0219

The Harsh Reality

To be honest, I typically blindly follow the advice of my guide books not really knowing what to really expect. Whenever they recommend a museum, taco shop or historic site, I go and check it out, and I’m usually never disappointed. 🙂

My guide book recommend the traditional Mexican rodeo, so I went to see what it was all about.

Initially, I was blown away by their equestrian skills.
IMG_0284The way they are able to maneuver the horse backward, forward and in repetitive 360 degree circles is without a doubt, extremely impressive.
IMG_0228IMG_0232My favorite rancher was this jolly fellow, who had his very own cheer section hooping and hollering for him the whole way through. 🙂
IMG_0263 IMG_0265 IMG_0266All of the charros looked so dignified in their traditional suits and cowboy hats as they strode into the ring on horseback.
IMG_0238Then the events began.
1. The first event is known as horse tripping, where they must quickly lasso the legs of a galloping mare, and literally send the horse flailing to the ground.
2. The second event is called steer tailing, where the charro must race alongside a sprinting bull and try to flip him onto his back by grabbing and twisting his tail.

I was kind of in shock, as this was not what I had expected to see.

3. For the third event, one charro rode in on a bull, then four other charros on horseback subsequently attempted to lasso the bull by his neck and back legs to hogtie him to the ground. The bull was drooling and appeared extremely stressed.
IMG_0271 IMG_0276When the bull was finally released he just laid there on the ground. The charro then went for a hot prod, which he jammed into his rear to get him to move.
IMG_0280At this point, I was literally feeling sick to my stomach. I couldn’t handle anymore and had to leave.
Here are some clips I took of the event. Feel free to watch it and make your own judgement.

I’m usually not a preachy or negative person, but I strongly feel that any type of animal suffering purely for entertainment purposes is absolutely ludicrous and unnecessary.

Since the event, I have found a few sites like www.change.org, where you can sign petitions to try and stop these types of activities from continuing. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know. 🙂

On a more positive note, I returned home Monday to Querétaro to encounter some true animal lovers. ❤

First of all, my roommates pug had puppies and he is keeping one of the two-month old males at the apartment, while trying to find him a home. I spent the afternoon loving him up. 😀

He is very curious and kind of a troublemaker, but still absolutely adorable.
IMG_20150317_172836_378IMG_20150317_171548_419

Tasty sock. 😛IMG_20150317_175423Dropped my sock. 😦
IMG_20150317_175143_226All tuckered out. 🙂
IMG_20150317_182025_830 Secondly, we are continuing how-to presentations in the classroom and one of my students gave an informative speech on how to ride a horse. 🙂

She showed a few videos riding with her horse and told us how we should always reward the horse with a carrot when they do a good job. 🙂

At the end of her presentation, she told the class they had done such a nice job of listening that she would reward them all with carrots as well. 😛IMG_0312 She handed out cups of shredded carrots that the kids topped with salt, chili and lime. This combination of seasonings is used on almost all snacks in Mexico, including fruit. The kids were thrilled and quickly scarfed down this nutritious treat. 🙂

Humorous Fiction

In both classes, we have been using our imaginations to talk a lot about unrealistic fictional scenarios.

In 5th grade, we are talking about space and the future. They are learning conditionals like could, would, maybe and might.

I had them imagine life in the future and the possibility of taking vacations in space. They had to create travel brochures about vacations on other planets. Their pamphlets were very artistic, and the grammar they used met the aim of the lesson perfectly. 🙂IMG_0322 IMG_0321IMG_0320 Looking at the Earth’s moon is nice, but do you know that if you took a vacation on Uranus, you could gaze at 27 beautiful moons? What a sight!IMG_0323 Did you also know that if you took a trip to Saturn, you might be able to cuddle with cheetahs, since the cheetahs on Saturn are vegetarian? Haha. Too funny!
IMG_0324Then in 6th grade, we have been learning about Vikings and Norse mythology.

I always try to keep things entertaining, so I found a website that generates Viking names and assigned one to each of the kids in class.:P

They were cracking up with names like Igimund the Hairy, Olga the Goose Farmer, and Nori the Dung Shoveler. Hah.

Additionally, I had the kids create Viking helmets in class using old cereal boxes, tape and paint.
IMG_0128No wonder they have so much energy in my class with the types of breakfast foods they eat! Sugar, sugar, sugar! 😀
IMG_0129To wrap up the unit, we are now creating an unrealistic humorous skit about Vikings that time travel into the future. What would happen if Vikings were transported to the year 2015?

I have read a few rough drafts, which include everything from Vikings being swept up in a tornado and ending up in the middle of Times Square to a Viking ship that gets lost in the Bermuda Triangle and ends up sailing next to a Carnival Cruise Line.

Will the Vikings end up adjusting in these modern times or creating havoc? They will present their skits tomorrow and only time will tell. For now, enjoy their Viking gear and have an excellent night. 😀 Until next time.IMG_0318

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