Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pictures Pacific Coast

More from our trip:



Playa de Santiago

Coco Loco


Boca de Iguanas

Guadalajara and Surroundings Map

View Tiyulon in a larger map

Outside Guadalajara: the Pacific Coast

Our first day began with a highway drive and a short stop in Comala, also known as El Pueblo Blanco. There wasn't much there, just the typical town square with Cathedral, but we walked around most of the town and it was super cute and picturesque, with all the houses being white washed with red roofs. Next we stopped in Colima. Colima is a much larger city, capital of the State of Colima, but again there wasn't much to see. We did however have a good lunch, picked up some brochures and got on the internet in a park! Then we were off to the beach town of Cuyutlan to stay in a friend's apartment. The beach town is super small and it was pretty quiet without any of the Mexican vacationers. The sand was totally black and the waves really strong, perfect for surfing but no swimming. The locals also neglected to tell us that all the beachside restaurants close at 6pm; so it was tortas (sandwiches) for dinner.


The following early morning started off with a long walk along the black beach. We returned before any restaurants had opened but there was one guy with coconuts and we had the juiciest (milkiest?) coconuts ever for breakfast (topped with lemon, sea salt and chilly). After a failed attempt to visit the turtle reserve, we started the drive north and stopped in Manzanillo for a proper Mexican breakfast in a beachside hotel that was the most retro-awesome hotel. Then we continued north and made a slight detour (mistake) to the cutest little cove beach (Cuastecomate) for some oysters and coco-loco. A little more driving on a windy hilly road and we were in Tenacatita beach. Finally there was soft sand, calm waters and plenty of open (albeit empty) restaurants to enjoy the evening.
Playa de Santiago



Our final day started with another long walk on the beach, breakfast and a quick swim. The beach was surprisingly longer than it seemed and strangest of all, the sun was coming up in the ocean (south-east) even though we were on the pacific! The coolest thing about Tenacatita, is that you can walk less than 10 minutes and get to another little beach that is facing north-west (but no restaurants or swimming) and we did see a few Canadian trailers taking advantage of that view. We were then off to complete our beach reconnaissance mission. We stopped just a few kilometers away at Playa de Iguanas (Boca de Iguanas), where we didn't see any iguanas but did see a HUGE crocodile. So while it was very pretty we decided it would not be a suitable future vacation beach. We made one more stop in Manzanillo's Playa Azul (a built up beach on the main road just by the port, which is the largest port in Mexico) for a quick lunch and then it was back to Guad.
Boca de Iguanas

Our last day in Guadalajara, we signed a contract on the house, browsed some furniture stores and packed up for the long ride back.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guadalajara 3: Tonala

Sunday we checked out the apartment for the second time to see it in the morning light. Then went down the street for brunch at a recommended restaurant. Then it was time to join all the Guadalajarians on a typical outing to Tonala. The suburb is like Tlaquepaque in that they produce artisanal crafts there, but it is not as refined and the prices are a little lower for that. On Sundays they have an outdoor market with street stalls full of typical market junk. We were less than impressed but at least we got to see some of the "rustico" furniture you can get there (unfinished).
And Monday it was time to get back to business with paperwork, errands etc. In the afternoon we visited the D'Celina factory and saw how the little communion and baptism kits are handmade. It was cool to see that up close and it also meant we saw a bit of the eastern side of town which we hadn't really frequented (and probably won't in the future).

Pictures- first week in GDL

Pictures are now in Posts:

Guadalajara 1

Guadalajara 2: Tlaquepaque and Chapala

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Guadalajara 2: Tlaquepaque and Chapala

day 4:
One last morning of looking at apartments. After lunch it was decision time and we put a deposit down on one- yay! In the afternoon we finally got around to seeing the historic center of town. The main cathedral is surrounded by several plazas with fountains, vendors, some performers and lots of people just sitting around. It was really pleasant to walk around with lots of trees and it basically looked like what the center is expected to look like. We've concluded that the food is great- after four days in the city and not even one mediocre meal. But evening entertainment was yet to commence and it was probably the best day yet! We went to the VIP movie theater. For about 9 dollars we sat in super comfortable leather recliners, and had waiters service us as we ordered food and drinks! We couldn't say much for the movie (Michael Jackson) but the experience was amazing! Before going home we swung by a gated neighborhood to visit a cousin of the people we're with and saw where all the who's who of Guadalajara live...not bad.

evening mariachi performance in the historic center

day 5:
This was tourist day. In the morning we went to Tlaqupaque, a suburb of Guadalajara that is full of artisanal shops. There were lots of pedestrian streets with tons of shops selling everything from furniture, to lamps, to household goods, to art to jewelry and more. A lot of it was really really nice (with prices to match) and it felt very touristy but pleasant.

in Tlaquepaque

The family we're staying with owns a bakery so on the way back to the city we had to check that out. Then after tasting the local fresh totally natural and delicious ice cream we were off to Lake Chapala. The lake area is only 45 minutes out of the city but it is a different world, really mountainous, a little chillier and small villages dotting the landscape. The area of the lake is full of retired Americans and Canadians living in little houses and if you're in Ajijik you don't need to know Spanish. The lake is contaminated so it's only good for looking at, but the boardwalk was nice. In Chapala itself there's more of a town with a Cathedral, shops and restaurants. It was another long tiring day but very fulfilling. If you come here, we'll take you there.

on Lake Chapala

Guadalajara 1

day 1:
Our morning started off with a campus tour: we saw the hospital campus (for the third year), the medical school campus (for the first two years) and the main campus (with administration and other schools). Overall they were fairly nice and we got the impression that the schools were really hands-on. Most importantly fantastically located in the West side of the city which is the nicer and more modern area.

ready to tour

medical campus

Day of the Dead alter, main campus

main campus
We met a woman that will be in school with M for lunch and she gave us some tips as she's been living here for a few years. From there we saw our first couple apartments, stopped at a brand new fancy mall (owned by the family that owns the university) then had dinner at a local chain. However the most important part of the day was yet to commence. We were introduced to the local casino. The family we are staying with frequents it relatively often, so we joined in on the evening activity. It was surreal to say the least.

Andares mall

day 2:
In the morning we were introduced to proper home-made gorditas (fried dough like an english muffin with some beans and cheese on top), and mexican coffee (with cinnamon). It was a delicious way to start another long day. The method for finding an apartment here is to drive around the neighborhood and call phone numbers of agents on signs outside the apartments. And that's just what we did the whole day. Meanwhile we were getting acquainted with the neighborhoods between the school campuses (about 3 km from each other). We saw a lot of nice properties; there's lots of building going on of new high-rises and your money can go a long way here. By the end of the day we had a few prospects and several more appointments for the next day. But the night was young (see a pattern here?). This time we were off to the Festival Octubre, a month long festival that is like a county fair with rides, games, food stalls, and a rodeo. There was a famous performer so the stadium was packed and we couldn't see a thing, but at least we enjoyed the rest of it.

Fiestas Octubre

day 3:
Another morning, another great family breakfast of chila quiles (like tostada pieces with tomato sauce) and fresh juice and we were ready to start the day. It was another day of apartment searching, but by this day we figured out the price range at which we could get the best value for our money and we narrowed down the areas we were looking in. We also stumbled upon the complex that houses Walmart, Sears, Sam's club, Costco etc. and another shopping mall with all the brands. We stopped to check in and see what was available, as the apartments come totally empty (you're lucky to have a stove) apparently along with furnishings, we'll be going refrigerator shopping...By this time we can confidently say that the city is nice. The weather is nice (chilly mornings and evenings with sunny days). The people are very nice (so far everyone has been super helpful).