Old friends in Guadalajara and a visit to the birthplace of Tequila !
03.07.2016 - 07.07.2016 20 °C
I arrived at the bus station in Guadalajara to meet my old friend Franki. We threw my stuff into the trunk of his car and hightailed it - you guessed it - for tacos and micheladas. Even as I write this now, I am filled with some sort of sweet yearning and nostalgia to be back in Mexico where the air is filled with the possible taste of the next sweet ass meal.
We drove over to Dirce's house, stopping to buy her a huge bunch of flowers on the way. I was so excited to see my friend, but possibly even more so to see my beloved puppy Taquito - who had since grown into a giant 2 year old boxer x bulldog !
I stayed up late chatting with Dirce, knowing that she would be working all week so I wouldn't get to spend much time with her. She hadn't been having the best of times so I was desperate to get a smile out of her. It made me so happy just to be back in her house, wrapped up with all of her beautiful dogs and drinking tea in her kitchen as always.
Early the next morning Franki came to pick me up and take me on an adventure - god knows the guy owed me a few after I showed him around so many of my beautiful secret Kiwi spots! He knew I was freezing after coming from the Caribbean to the cold summer of Guadalajara (high teens - low twenties) so I must admit, he did a bloody good job in lining up the days plan - a trip to a naturally hot water river in the midst of the mountains of Jalisco.
We hiked up and down the river, finding the best spots to lie against the natural springs as the hot water washed over us.
I fell off a huge boulder into a huge pile of mud (and got an equally huge bruise on my leg that lasted about 2 weeks), but it was all in the name of adventure!
That evening, I wanted to spend some time with Dirce but I really wanted to make sure she got to go on an adventure. so I talked to Franki (who of course is how I first met Dirce all those years ago in Auckland) and together we came up with a list of 3 things she could choose from:
1. Going to see a movie
2. Going for tacos
0r (inspired by a giant billboard we passed on a highway)
3. Going to what shall forever be known only as trampoline wonderland.
We called Dirce on our way back to the house and presented her with her three options, to which she nervously replied she would be ready for anything by the time we arrived at the house - and so we kidnapped her and took her to trampoline wonderland!
From the moment we stepped onto the trampolines, we all began to laugh and laugh and laugh. I kept needing to run to the bathroom to pee cos I was laughing so hard. We bounced and threw ourselves against trampoline walls, played trampoline basketball - and then we found the pit. We threw ourselves off the trampolines into a huge pool of foam and laughed hysterically as we landed in twisted positions or directly on top of each other.
It all got completely out of control when we watched a giant man (possibly too giant to be on the trampoline in the first place sized man) have to be dug out of the foam. And as they dug, he kept falling down and down, further into the pit and further away from his redemption of being heaved back over the sides. Our plan on kidnapping and taking Dirce out for a fun night proved to be great therapy for all of us as we laughed and laughed ourselves the whole way home - stopping for these killer cookies on the way too ...
They were so good, I went back to take a photo so I would never forget them (sometimes I do wonder about myself...)
During my time in Guadalajara I also got to catch up with my friend Adrian which made me so very happy since he had spent so many hours with me patiently practicing spanish many years previously in both New Zealand and Mexico! Naturally we met over tacos and chelas - does anything in Mexico revolve around something different? Certainly not when I am there that's for sure!
The very next day , Franki and I headed out on our planned roadtrip to the actual birthplace and town of Tequila!
Tequila is like Champagne and can only be called Tequila if it is produced from the blue agave plants grown within the area of Tequila in this particular part of Jalisco, Mexico. I had been to the province of Tequila during my previous travels to Mexico, but had never made it to the town itself. Franki had never been before either so it was a perfect opportunity for an adventure with an old adventure buddy.
As soon as we arrived in Tequila, I saw this absolutely ridiculous ginormous chile car wearing a cliche Mexican sombrero, parked right next to the town square.
I usually hate tours. But I fell head over heals in love with that chile and in true Katy style, I begged "PLEASE OH PLEEEEEEASE CAN WE GO ON THAT CHILE!?" and so naturally - we did!
The Chilote turned out to be an awesome tour of the town of Tequila and it was super fun to ride along in with all of our new chile bus friends. The Chile drove us all over town and stopped to let us off and see the sites (and taste plenty of Tequila!).
We booed at the only factory in town that sold off to the Japanese (Sauza), and cheered at the famous Mexican factories - Jose Cuervo, Patron, and more. We stopped to see a set of wash basins known simply as Los Lavaderos. The tour guide told us the story of how the women of the village used to meet and wash the clothes at this famously old basin that has fresh river water constantly running through it. The women would sit and talk of love and good things in their lives, and the guide laughed as he called it the old fashioned facebook.
We saw inside the factories and learned how tequila used to be made - and of course how it is made more easily now.
The vats of tequila smelled DISGUSTING and it was not at all pleasant to linger beside them
So we sneaked off from the tour and found a pile of blue agave on a plate which we treated ourselves to a private taste testing (dont mind if we do!) and I must say - it was delicious! It tasted like a mix of pineapple with a crunchyness of an apple. I really liked it, but I don't think Franki did.
We returned to the tour just in time for Tequila tasting - and wow, I never knew there were so many different flavours of tequila! First of all we tried the different strengths and colours to determine our palate - and I discovered that just like rum, I really like the extra viejo style. Dark tequila and dark rum (dark like my men perhaps? haha)...
Our last stop - and where the beautiful chile abandoned us, was at yet another tequila tasting station where I may or may not have had a tiny wee nap on the couch between shots... We tried so many flavours - chocolate, mango, banana, chile and lime, and finally the strawberry tequila that my wonderful friend Dan had told me about many years earlier. Then wandered through to explore the rest of the town on our own
The sun was shining and warm so we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in one of the swimming spots that we were told about on the tour. Typical Mexican Frankii was more than fine to drive, while old bad liver Katy was hanging out the window singing the whole way to La Toma natural water springs where we floated away the rest of the afternoon.
The next day our adventures continued, and we drove through the beautiful mountains and valleys with the windows down and some sweet tunes playing as we drove past fields and fields of blue agave with the volcano of tequila looming in the background.
Our destination was the most delicious tacos at Franki's friends new vegetarian restaurant - I think we ate like 9 tacos between us, my favourite was the portobello mushroom one!
After feasting on Tacos, we walked around the lake town and it's beautiful craft market. The bright colours of everything were gorgeous, and the handiwork was perfect. I found myself wishing for more baggage space as I was buying hammocks for the hostel, bracelets for Billy, shoes and bracelets and earrings for me - and all for such ludicrously low prices that I gave everyone a tip because I didn't think they were selling their crafts for a fair price.
The towns of Tequila, Chapala, and Ajijic were so beautiful, I really didn't want to leave and head back towards the city to spend my final night before heading back to the USA. I was spellbound by Mexico, and truly believe if my baby Grace had not been awaiting for me at the other end of my flight to Los Angeles I would not have boarded the plane! Even as I write this, I still feel eternally grateful for the opportunity of a visit back to mi querido Mexico, without dwelling on the fact it was such a short trip. I will always hold so much love and awe for a never endingly beautiful country, filled with wonderful friends I have shared so many memories with over the years - and millions of new friends that I just havent met yet. Gracias mis queridos amigos y muchisimas gracias amado Mexico mio x