21 Days in Mexico- Days 17-21 (Guadalajara & DF)
Day 17- Friday, January 9, 2015: Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico -> Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
We rolled out of the hostel while it was still dark and just gave in and took a taxi for $100 pesos (although he initially asked for $120 pesos) since we were getting all types of contradictory information as to how to get to the airport via public transpo. We got to the airport in about 25 minutes at around 7ish. This time we were flying Interjet. For some reason our flight never ever appeared on a monitor for departures, which made us feel uneasy. We thought our flight was at 9:30am because that’s what was inputted in Google Calendar but it wasn’t until we started asking when our flight was set to board that we realized that it was inputted incorrectly because of the hour time difference (watch out for that shit!). So good thing we got there nice and early. The flight was late anyway and we had a layover in DF, which was unfortunate because the flight should’ve been a lot quicker but we got to Guadalajara around noonish.
They didn’t even pretend to have a tourist info center at the Guadalajara Airport and when we asked about a map they said we needed to get one from a hotel or travel agency. Gracias. We hit up Ivan, our Guadalajara Couchsurfing host, and he told us how to get to his apartment in the center of Guadalajara via a public bus ($6 pesos) and taxi ($40 pesos).Oaxaca to Guadalajara
The second that bus reached the bus station you just knew you weren’t in Kansas anymore. There was just something a whole lot grittier about GDL than the places we’d been up until this point. We got to Ivan’s street on Calle Jesus. It’s this ill sort of republic style house with a cool terrace and ridiculously high ceilings. We rapped with Ivan, a native of DF and somewhere further north in Mexico, and then got a tour around the center with him.
That polite, lack of staring, I valued so much in DF went right out the window in Guadalajara. Men in particular stare harrrrrd, right on through your clothes.
We made our way later to a cool tea/hookah restaurant called Darjeeling (Casa de Té) where we met up with a friend of Ivan’s.
We then walked around a more upper class neighborhood to Calle Chapultepec which had a number of cool restaurants and bars. We stopped for a crepe at a local food truck and cabbed it back to Ivan’s. Ivan got us hip to the crime in Guadalajara so it was clear that while shit may feel cool, it’s almost always better to take a cab come nightfall. We then rapped on Ivan’s terrace with some more folks from Cuernavaca and DF as we drank wine, champagne and Bohemia beer. (Yeh, I know. I should’ve had the headache of the century the next day.) Like most of these encounters we spoke about the socio-economic-political scene of various cities and countries (Mexico, US, Germany, Colombia etc.), relationships, etc. It was a further instantiation of the beauty of the kind of travel where you actually get to know and understand people in the space in which you’re moving about.
Day 18- Saturday, January 10, 2015: Day 2 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
We headed up to Chapultepec around noon because Ivan told us there was a market there. But there and everywhere we walked seemed to be sleeping on Saturday morning. Vendors were just starting to set up when we arrived. And as we tried to figure out what to do we felt the fatigue that had been accumulating over the course of the last 18 days. We stopped at a cute little place called Mon Cote Care on La Paz to recuperate for a bit and check the internet since we’d been without it since we left Oaxaca. We eventually made our way back to the center of town on foot and on our way ran into this shocker.
This dude didn’t just have the swastika; he also had the German flag and this Reichsadler imperial eagle.
The shit was scary. I felt like he was gonna come bash us as I took these pics. Salma noted that this is completely illegal in Germany. That car would’ve been confiscated. But I guess homey thinks it’s no holds barred in Mexico. Boo the hell outta that piece of Nazi trash.
We ended up eating at a popular traditional restaurant called “La Gorda” on 16 de Septiembre and again just worked our way around.
After it all we ended up crashing that night from traveller’s fatigue.
Day 19- Sunday, January 11, 2015: Day 3 in Guadalajara/Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico
We really felt beat down come Sunday morn. We hadn’t been sleeping well thanks to a nightclub behind the house that went hard Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights til dawn. We went to what appeared to be a family-run sandwich and juice spot called La Insalata Verdi on the corner of Juarez by the park and had some much needed and gratifying grub. On Sundays they appear to shut down Juarez for cycling, roller-blading, skate-boarding and walking. The park was full of people of all ages jumping rope, playing with hula hoops, doing acro-yoga and other activities. It was a real dope plus for the city.
We were attempting to make our way to a nearby city called Tlaquepaque but was given incorrect info about the bus so we were waiting on the wrong corner. We made our way own to Calle 16 de Septiembre to jump on the actual bus and were there in about 20 minutes. We had to walk to the city center and as we neared the plaza in the center I saw everyone still and staring upward up. That’s when I saw them, Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers).
We kept walking around the center which was a cool spot for shopping.
And came upon this store with some badass furniture. It made me get the homemaker itch.
We later hopped on a bus back to Guadalajara and went to restaurant called Madrid something or another where the old school waiter insisted upon calling us, “Morenazas” (sort of like beautiful, big, dark-skinned women) as if it were our actual names.
We walked to Ivan’s house and kicked it with him on the terrace, then walked with him and his roommate Gustavo to the market that starts at 7pm in front of the Iglesia del Expiatorio to the Mercado Dominguero del Expiatorio where they had vegetarian food, vendors, sweets, craft and lots of people hanging out enjoying it all. It was another cool plus for Guadalajara.
We got back and spent our last night with Ivan, who was really such a sweet, creative and kind-hearted soul, and who were it not for Couchsurfers we would've likely never met.
Day 20- Monday, January 12, 2015: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico -> Distrito Federal (Mexico City)
We caught a cab back to the bus terminal around 7am but didn’t catch the bus until around 7:45am. We weren’t let off at the correct terminal and finally got to Terminal 2 where all of the domestic flights were leaving with VivaAerobus. This is the lowwww budget airline in Mexico. Their tag line is even “The low cost airline of Mexico.” Our tix cost us about $25, which is the least amount of money I believe I've ever paid for a plane ticket in my life, but we still didn’t expect the shit to be thaaat low-budget. The line was out of control at the airport just to check in. Then it was bananas to get through security because it appeared that there was but one line for everrrrryone to go through. After 30 min or so of the line working it’s way down the terminal they decided to open the second gate. What!?! There were two this whole time? Again, it’s really important to give yourself plenty of time for airport/transpo foolishness in these sorts of trips with lots of variables and uncertainties.
We boarded soon after we made it through security. We had no idea that being in Group 4 meant we were the last to board, which wouldn’t have been a big deal except that there were no assigned seats! Yep, "get in where you fit in" style. Salma’s seat felt weird and before we took off she pulled the thing up like a band-aid on your arm. There were pieces of paper hanging from the ceiling and when the plane took off the tray table of the dude next to us fell down like something out of comedy called, “When Planes Fall Apart.”
But in the end we landed safely after about an hour. But oh no, it can’t stop there. We get to baggage claim and our Salma’s bag is completely open and the side-pocket of my suitcase is completely open. Hell nah. And it was only our bags and the bag of another girl who when she opened her’s realized that her perfume was missing. I luckily had my main compartment locked, exactly for this reason. The folks at baggage had us fill out reports and told us that this tends to happen more from places like Cancun and Monterrey where they are less regulated. He was surprised it happened coming from Guadalajara but said that it does happen with manual baggage checking. Some shady folks had to tip someone off at GDL that our bags seemed like they might have some goodies. But why not close the bags? He said the folks that have their bags closed are even more likely have had things stolen and won’t realize until they arrive home. Come on, VivaAerobus. Do better.
We took two trains back to Silvia’s, chilled for a bit then took the Trolebus to Salto del Agua. While on the trolly Salma was examining the subway map when an older man out of nowhere asked if we needed help and then said we were getting off at the same stop and got off and walked with us down the street. And he didn’t want anything! The helpfulness and niceness of folks in Distrito Federal is still shocking and refreshing to me.
We walked back to Mercado Ciudadela for last minute shopping. But after an hour we met up and both had the same distraught, tired faces. We were over it. The shopping all felt the same at this point. Oh and of course more of these.
And for some reason I was just starting to rapidly get sick, sneezing everywhere and feeling like shit. You won, Mexico. I’m beat.
After making our last purchases we took the subway to Insurgentes to meet Ixtzel and her friend for the last time. We then got to see a bit of Avenida Colima and Obregon in the Roma neighborhood that I’d read about in the 36 Hrs in Mexico City piece in the NYTimes. It’s a fly neighborhood with cute places to eat and drink, little boutiques. It was super Euro. We ate at a spot called Billiard Lucille and said our final goodbyes before being dropped at the train station.
Day 21- Monday, January 13, 2015: Distrito Federal (Mexico City)-> New York City
My travel partner for the last 3 weeks left at 6am. I rested for a few hours more before packing up. Then I sat rapping with Silvia and just started building on the different projects we want to work on and it was just so damn fortuitous that it was her house that we stayed in. I got great ideas about the website I’d like to create and I was giving her suggestions about the classes she wants to start teaching in, guess what, web page creation. It was great. Of course it meant that I was super behind in getting ready and had to take a cab to the airport ($103 pesos) but it was more than worth it. Because here it is! www.machetesandhoney.com! Woo hoo! (UPDATE: now www.machetesymiel.com)