10th Oct 2018
Coming from San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, via Querétaro, because I had forgotten the key to my home at my host there, I slept most of the time on the bus. It was still a five hours drive from Querétaro till Guadalajara. I awoke once with pain in a leg. Fortunately, I soon fell asleep again, even I tried to be awake. Anyway, I could see, that we were crossing the state of Michoacán and that it had a mixed shape (part of it was flat, another part was mountainous).
In Guadalajara I had a host waiting for me, I thought and took a taxi to the address I had got. Guadalajara is a big city (see link above). Unfortunately there were no possibility to prepay the ride and I had to pay 150 MXN after I put it down by offering 120 MXN from 170 MXN. I thought, it is anyway too much, but no taxi driver was willing to drive me to the address I had given them for less than 150 MXN and it was a young driver, who did take me there.
When I ringed the bell at the address I was awaiting my host’s mother, because Pau, my host, had texted me, that her mother will be “there” from 3pm. Actually a student, what I discovered later, opened for me. He called Pau’s mother and he was afterwards giving me the key for the room, which also had the key for the front door and the gate. He told me, that Pau again, did not had informed her mother – I also understood by the whole conversation, that all the rooms of the floor – where that room was situated, had five small rooms, a common kitchen and a shared bathroom, were rented to students, but the one was just free for the moment. That might also had been the reason, that I could not stay for longer than four days, Pau had messaged me, when I was in contact with her for the address.
It felt miserable for me. I was locking for a usual couch surfer opportunity and then this. I contacted Pau by WhatsApp and she told me, that her apartment is so small, she could not host me there and that the other couch surfers had been satisfied with that option. Pau also told me, that she is very busy, though she did not even come and welcome me. Even her mother was not interested in to see me. I was still tired, therefore I stayed at that room, but for the bathroom. I also booked the hostel for three more nights, but the first night I had to stay in that room. I was happy, that I could book the same hostel for the additional three nights. I did not have anything to eat, but there were no restaurant or shop in that street and I was not in the mood to look further. There were no bed linen or cover either. Fortunately there were a pillow with a pillow case. I put my winter jacket over my legs and my fleece jacket over my upper body. This way I slept most of the night.
11th Oct 2018
The next morning I was thinking about, what I would do. If I would try to get a taxi right off or take a shower, because the shower did not seem to be clean. I decided for a shower, because I was not able to shower at my host in San Miguel de Allende but once, because the pump for his water reservoir was broken (it took air instead of water). The shower at this place worked well and with my flip-flops on my feet it was safe. I also had asked Pau, where to leave the keys and she had answered me, that I should leave the keys in the room. So I did, but I could neither lock the front door nor the gate. It was not far to the next busy street, where I soon could stop a taxi. I actually did not ask for the price before the taxi driver left me at the hostel and I was surprised. It was only for 76 MXN. It is right, the hostel is situated in the historic city center and the bus station far away from there, but 150 MXN seemed me too much anyway.
Even the check-in time is 2pm, the female receptionist did check me in already when I arrived – around 10am. I also could leave my backpack in the locker etc. without any extra payment. I also was happy, that I could pay by VISA-card. I have not had the opportunity to find an ATM before I was going to the hostel. In the price for the nights a breakfast is included, but that morning it did not count, of course.
Outside the hostel was a Mexican waiting for something or someone and he showed me the right entrance to the hostel, because on the first floor is another business situated. He was still there when I was looking for a restaurant for breakfast and he told me, it is one just at the next corner and also told me the direction. I was wondering by myself if he get paid for it. There were two important things I had to fix this day: For the first I had to find an optician to repair my glasses – just the little things, which hold the glasses on my nose. One of them broke the evening before and it is always best to have two new of them, when one break. The frame of the glasses has actually not the best quality and the humid heat is not good for them at all. The other important issue was to find an ATM and as usual an HSBC ATM, though I do not need to pay a fee for taking out money. Both was done smoothly and I had the rest of the day to explore the city.
I walked the historical city forth and back and listened for a while to Mariachis, who were playing at a restaurant for people, who paid them. I hope, that I after a while will find a restaurant, where they will play a whole evening. I am also willing to pay an entrance fee. The most strange thing I saw that day were women, who were knitting etc open air in a pedestrians zone, where crafts women and men were selling their items. For lunch I have had a big and expensive, but good, ice cream. For “dinner” I was at Mc Donald’s and had a chicken nugget meal. This time I was telling them, that I would have exactly the one announced for 72 MXN, though they could not sell me something more like bigger French fries or a bigger drink. It worked.
Back at the hostel I asked for the Wi-Fi code and the receptionist wrote it down for me. It was very easy to remember as well. Finally working with my blog again, I updated it. I saved time, because I had already the text as a document and only needed to copy and paste. Anyway I sat until very late for adding some photos as well. There were still links missing for additional photos. I promised myself to work with that as soon as possible.
12th Oct 2018
I enjoyed the breakfast, which was cereals and milk or yogurt, fruit and toast bread as well as butter and marmalade. There were also coffee and juice. I took of everything. I was really happy about the breakfast and really full, when I finished. Before I left the hostel, I asked the receptionist – who was male one this morning, about the free tour, which is included in the price for the room. I do not know, if one have to stay for some days to get that free tour or not, but that does not matter for me either. I was explained, that the (papers) bracelet I had got, was not for the free tour, but to show, when I ring the bell of the hostel, though I will be let in. I have seen people wearing it around their arms, but for my 9 nights at the hostel, I think that is not an option. They accept, that I show it for them without wearing it.
I have got a lot of birthday wishes during the night and the early morning and it continued during the day as well. I am happy, that all of my children remembered it and also some relatives and some friends. Anyway I cannot really believe, that I am already 68 years old.
This day the “Dia de la Raza” is celebrated in Guadalajara and I thought, that I will have a good time on my birthday, because I was told, that there will be a lot of dance. I walked to the cathedral and the open plaza in front of it. Nothing did happen there. Though I was waiting, sitting on a bench and enjoying the sun coming out behind the clouds. After a long while a group of Indians (most of them looked like Indians, but I am not sure, they were. I did not ask them.) arrived with four drums as well as grass and flowers. With the grass and flowers they made two rings. One for the drums and the players and the other, bigger one for the dancers. It was a monotonous melody, which was drummed. The dances were similar to the others I had seen of the “Aztecs” and the other “Indians” (see Querétaro and San Miguel de Allende). A group cowboys on horses gathered nearby, but was after a while riding away.
When the music group made a rest I was looking for a restaurant and found one, which was not expensive. I had three quesadillas with meat and papaya drink. I had to pay 82 MXN for it together and I was really full after the meal. I walked the town and explored another area, close to the historic city. I passed a small group of musicians, playing melodies on a big xylophone and a drum. They asked for financing and I actually gave them 10 MXN. I think it is like Pipi Longstocking. She did made gifts on her birthday instead for expecting gifts. Somewhere I had an ice cream. One scoop for 27 MXN. That was not the cheapest either, but also this ice cream was very good. Afterwards I went back to the plaza in front of the cathedral. The Indians from the morning were still there and danced again.
I got tired in the late afternoon. I think the reason was the few hours I had been sleeping that night because of heartburn and the hot weather. We actually had 26°C during the day. Though I was up for my birthday cake. I went to a café, where I had a cappuccino and two small cakes. It was an offer: 1 for 39 MXN, 2 for 49 MXN or something like that. Together with the cappuccino I had to pay 73 MXN. After the meal I brought my hat to the close by hostel and was going to the plaza again. On the way there I saw a horse with a carriage and a man going on the site of it. The horse had a plastic cover like a rain mantel. That really surprised me. At the plaza I could help a shoe cleaner and his client by changing a 100 MXN note. I actually only had 99 MXN in 2 times 20 MXN notes and the rest in coins, but they asked me for it anyway. I really hoped, the 100 MXN note is not false.
Even the rain period is just gone, we got a really heavy rain this evening. It seemed first to be over quite quickly, but started over again and became worth. The first time I took shelter in the fore yard of the theater nearby. The other time I took shelter in the cathedral. I was quiet and had shut down my cell phone, but people did talk in their cell phones and talked with high voices with each other as well even there were a service ongoing. There were also people walking the church in short pants, taking photos etc. I could not understand, that they lack so much respect. By the way, most of them looked Mexican. When the rain did decrease, I was going back to the hostel, taking shelter under long roofs, if there were.
I used the evening to upload the new photos, making albums on Google photo and updating my blog. That was not really what I had expected from this day, but anyway we are six or seven hours back home by the time zone and in real, that is not my birthday anymore, when I am working with my photos and the blog. Even this day it became midnight before I went to bed.
13th Oct 2018
I attended a “Free Walking Tour”. Our guide was a young man in the age of 28. He studies tourism and also had been working for the hostel before. This tour was a little different to the others. It started as the tours do usually, but he was late. Nobody got angry about him, because he was such a charm guy. He walked not very far with us, but that is not necessary either, because the center of Guadalajara is rather small and especially the historic center. The most important he told us, was, that the historic center is not very historic. In the fifties were lots of historic buildings destroyed for wider streets etc. There are a few old buildings, which remain, because suddenly one day the government has seen, what they were doing and tried to conserve the last old buildings.
There is a kind of rotunda, which I was wondering about before. On the tour I have got an answer, even I never questioned. That “building” is a kind of sarcophagus for well-known citizens like the governor. In the last 15 years, none has been buried here. The government could not decide, whom was worth it!
At the end of the tour, our guide was taking us to an old market. He recommended us to try the dish “Birra”, which has nothing to do with Beer. Original it is cooked goat meat. Now it usually is cooked of beef. Meanwhile I earlier had been told, that Birra is spicy, here it is not. It tasted good and was easy to eat – together with tortillas, but there come no vegetables or salad with the meal. At another stall I bought papaya juice. I was happy, they had, because it is quite unusual. After the meal we bought fruit respectively berries. I was lucky, who could buy half a portion “Zarzamora” (blackberry/Brombeeren/björnbär). Unfortunately, they were not as tasty at all as the Swedish ones. I did give the most of them away. For dessert we were going to another place and only close to it, our guide told us, that our dessert will be Tequila and beer.
We were in an old “cantina” (pub), where it was not possible to buy a meal. It was one of the few which survived after all the changes of the law about pubs. As in all public places in Mexico, it was not allowed to smoke here – regarding to smoking, it seems, they have the same rules like Sweden. We stayed there for almost an hour and our guide as well. He told us, that he will travel Europe soon, though I invited him to crash on my couch, if he will come to Stockholm. You may imagine, how nice he is.
I was first going back to the hostel, but soon walking the town in another direction. Unfortunately I did not come where I wished to, I did read the map wrong again. It is also very difficult because in that map, I have got of the hostel, are not all streets shown respectively they are not named and the streets change names often. Anyway I did find the way back easily. Before I was back at the hostel I also bought body shampoo and lip care.
You may believe it or not, but when I finally was back at the hostel, I just took a rest and awoke in the middle of the night with my pants etc on. I changed clothes, was to the bathroom and started looking for my key (the one for the room at the hostel). I did not find it during the night.
14th Oct 2018
Next time I awoke was around 5am and I started to look for the key systematically, but even this time I did not find it. I was thinking about the situation, when I had to tell the receptionist, that I had lost my key – in the room, because I did remember, that I opened the door of the room by that key before I took the rest.
I put a shoe in the door, though I want not to be locked out. Then I had my shower etc. Finally, when I was dressed and should sneeze, I found the key in that pocket, where I had my tissue. You cannot imagine, how happy I became! At the same time, I was thinking, how stupid I had been. I checked most of the pockets of the pans twice and even three times, but just that pocket I did not check.
I had breakfast as early as possible, because I had booked a tour to a “must see” lake. It is the biggest lake in Mexico and how the driver of the bus, who also was our guide, told us, the lake would be the next big in the whole of Latin America. Only the Titicaca lake at the border av Peru and Bolivia would be bigger. I checked this by Wikipedia, but it was not right, even there is nothing written about that in the article about the Chapala lake, I found that in a list of the biggest lakes in Latin America and the Chapala lake is not under the biggest five.
As I was afraid, tours are not done for me. There is always advertising and other business included in addition to the regular tour. Though it was here as well. The first stop was at the hacienda of the famous Mexican Mariachi singer Vincente Fernandez. The hacienda is not open for visitors, anyway the Mexicans pilgrim there and take photos of the walls, the gate and the name and all, what is possible to take a photo av. Very close to the hacienda is also a shop and a restaurant and if I understood that right, the owner of them is the singer as well. The restaurant has bathroom service for 5 MXN per person. I guess, the gasoline station nearby has the same service.
When we arrived at the lake, we were early for the boat trip. These small boats are called “lancha” here, but actually it was more a raft as a boat. It was built by old, empty oil barrels and wood. It had chairs on it, like you have at home, around the table. We were around half an hour on the lake and did not go far either. The captain 😉 asked us all, where we come from. All other attendees were from Mexico – from different states in Mexico. I was the only one from outside Mexico. The captain did tell always something about the Mexican state, the passenger asked, comes from, though he explained, that Suecia (Sweden) is a country in Europe …, close to France – even he said Suecia, he mixed it up with Suissa (Switzerland) as the Mexicans usually do. I left that “boat” at the last one and told him, so the other passengers could not hear it, that I am from Suecia and not Suissa and that Suecia is not close to France, but in the North of Europe. He apologized and I told him, it was for the next time.
The lake has beautiful surroundings, the Sierra del Tigre. The Heron is the only bird I could see flying over respectively using the lake. The captain filled a cup with water, which was totally clear, but I do not know if it is healthy again (see the Wikipedia article from 2006 I linked to above). After the short trip with the “lancha”, we got an hour to eat something in the restaurant very close to the pier. The restaurant had mostly seafood, even I do not think all was from the lake like shrimps, but also a very few beef and chicken meals. The prices were absolutely high and I guessed, the other restaurants around will have the same price level. I ordered a chicken steak with Parmesan. I have got it served with a Parmesan sauce. It was not bad, but for the price of 160 MXN, it was just OK.
Back in the bus we were carried to the town of Chapala. There we got around one and a half hour to spend. The driver had explained, that we should walk the “Malecon” (Pier) etc and that they have lots of nice handcrafted souvenirs. The bus driver let us out in front of the church and told us, he will pick us up at the same place at 5:20pm. I walked by myself the Malecon, which had an interesting statue, I thought and took a picture. I also was close to the statue and there I could read, that it meant “Jesus, the fisherman”. All the Pier was full of stalls with souvenirs and food. I did not buy anything and was back in good time to the meeting place. My seat neighbor, a Mexican woman from the area of Monterrey, was already there. Though I took a seat on her site. We started talking about traveling and family. At the end, she wrote down her name and address for me, therefore I gave her mine as well.
Most of the attendees of the tour were in time and they also have seen, that the bus was parking on the other side of the street. The bus driver had to ask a few to come over and four persons were not in time at all. Anyway, the bus driver told us about the sweet Membrillo (sweet quince/Quitten Süßigkeit/kvitten godis) and made a stop nearly halfway back to Guadalajara at a shop. Luckily we got taste bites, because nor did I like it, neither did others. Maybe half of the passengers did buy of it. Fortunately it was the last market activity before we were left of close to our hotels respectively my hostel.
I was back to the hostel to put my sunhat away, which I nearly did not have use for this day, because it was not very sunny this day, mostly cloudy. On our trip it had not be raining, but in Guadalajara were the streets wet of rain water. I took a short rest, but did see, that it was already around 8pm, though I was to the closest café, the one I had been before for breakfast and my birthday cake. I ordered a sandwich called “Avocado”, but there were nearly no avocado on it, even the cheese I had to look for. I also had asked for a smoothie: Piña Colada. It was served in a cup and did not taste pineapple at all. Furthermore the French fries, which came with the sandwich were salty. When I told the waiter, he were going to the kitchen and came back and told me, that they cannot taste salty, because they do not put salt on it in the kitchen. It might be a combined spice they use. I was so disappointed I asked the waiter to eat it – he took it out to the kitchen, but I did not get any new. I was not so very hungry, though it did not matter so much. I also had half of the sandwich to go, because I still were full from the meal at the lake. The sandwich had been served in a basket, with a big sandwich paper under it. I took the sandwich paper around the left over. The waiter asked me, if I will have it in a bag. I told him, that it was not necessary, but he insisted. I did not give a tip, of course and I will look for other cafés or restaurants the upcoming days.
Back at the hostel I updated my blog. It took almost three hours again, because the upload of the photos already did take around an hour.
15th Oct 2018
I was looking for a supermarket like Soriana and for a pharmacy after breakfast. I needed more tissues, eye drops and more of my t}Thyroid medicine. I had enough of the medicine for another week, but I thought it might be easier to get my medicine in such a big town as Guadalajara, if I need to meet a doctor. The first pharmacy was a “Farmacia Guadalajara”, because it was closest to the hostel. They had my eyedrops, but told me, they did not have the medicine. I did not believe them, because this medicin is so usual. They told me, that it was from another chain. I thought, maybe I should have been told, that I had to see a doctor for a prescription, but she did only tell me, they do not have it. Not far away from this pharmacy is another one, of another chain. I was welcomed in and the receptionist soon found a similar medicine. He showed me, that it was the same active substance and the same concentration. He offered me 3 x 100 tablets, because there was a lower price per unit if I bought three boxes at the same time. I could use the medicine until march 2020. It was not so much for the price, that I did buy the three boxes, but for my future travel. I just do not have the problem to buy the medicine.
Back at the hostel, where I put the medicine in my isolated bag – even this medicine only need an environment cooler than 30°C, I asked the receptionist, how to go to Tlaquepaque, where there are restaurants with Mariachis playing. There is also a Museum for ceramics. In addition to that, I asked for the pyramid in Guachimontones. For both I could get an explanation. I decided to go one of the upcoming days to Tlaquepaque and the other one to Guachimontones. I thought, that day it was too late. for one of the goal.
I was going out for lunch, but had an ice cream instead. My goal was Chacultepec.
16th Oct 2018
Newspapper – Octubre fiesta . Museums tour – only last museum of interest to me
Rain – Internet until 8 = out for “dinner” – Internet
Fore more photos follow the link, please.
— will be continued, please stay tuned!