Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giant Puppets in Guadalajara

We were lucky enough to see this wonderful parade in downtown Guadalajara today. The dog of giant marionette called 'Little Giant' of the French street theater company Royal de Luxe, performs in Guadalajara, Mexico this week as part of the celebrations for the centennial anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.

This open-air event is produced by Frenchman Jean Luc Courcoult and his innovative Royal de Luxe company.  There has been a number of parades along the streets of Guadalajara over the past three days.
For more information check out this site: 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ahh!! Tequila

Yes back to the old theme.  It was time to venture out of Guadalajara for an excursion to Tequila. There are a number of tourist trips from Guadalajara to Tequila that include an all inclusive train trip (all you can drink, eat accompanied by a Mariarchi Band, or there is the bus in the shape of a tequila bottle!! (can you imagine driving along the country road in this!!!).  or you could just catch the local bus for around $5.  We decided to opt for the latter as it was more fitting to our budget.

After a very slow trip we finally arrived in the cute little pueblo of Tequila.  As our time was limited our first stop was the Tequila distillery to book in for a tour and then proceed to a nearby restaurant for a quick bite.

After a delicious lunch of burridos con pollo y mole (chocolate and chili sauce), washed down with a ceveza.We headed back to the distillery to start our tour.  After a short film on the history of the production of tequila in Mexico we were guided through the huge vats of tequila in its different stages of production.

At the end of the tour we took the option of a tasting session.  My friend and I were the only two to take this option, so our guide took us to this very elaborate room with a long table.  At the end of the table three places were set each with 5 glasses, and five bottles of diffent tequila's were in the centre.  Our guide proceeded to show us the intricacies of smelling and tasting the different types of tequila.

First we had to tip the glass on its side and pop the tip of our tongue into the liquid.  (??). Evidently the tip of your tongue is where the taste buds are for savouring the realy flavour of Tequila! Then we were shown how to swirl the tequilia in the glass and to observe the ring that it formed around the middle of the glass, and the way the drops slowly slid back down into the bottom of the glass.  (The slower it did this the better the tequila).  Wow!! when are we going to get to taste this stuff!!

Ah!! now we are getting to it.  Our guide then told us to tip the glass  sideways, to take a big breath, clear out nose  and then sniff the bottom of the glass, then the middle and then the top!!! (still no tasting!!!).  Actually, this was very interesting, as in each section the aroma was quite different.  Now we are ready for tasting!!

Deep breath!! and sip!! swirl the liquid around your mouth to the back and front!! Savour it!! our guide advised.  Yes finally we are getting to the real thing.   We proceeded to follow this routine as we savoured 5 different types of tequila and of course unfortunately for me the one I liked best was the last one.  (Of course this was the most expensive).  Actually, it was a very interesting experience and I learnt a lot more about the production and history of tequila and the many different types available.

To finish off our tour on a good note our guide showed us to their bar and provided us with a complementary margarita!!! Delicous. 
To conclude our day in Tequila we ventured down to the centre of town and checked out the church and a couple of the little tourist shops before catching the local bus back to Guadalajara.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

El Panteon de Belen - ghost stories

A couple of weeks ago I visited one of the local attractions here in Guadalajara with one of my friends.  You could call it "el centro de muerte".  (You know that old joke, I visted the dead centre of town!!).  Actually the correct name for this "dead centre" is El Panteon de Belen .  We paid our entry fee of 11 pesos plus an extra 25 pesos that allowed us to take photos while we were on the tour.  This wonderful old crumbling cemetry dates back to the 17th century.  On each side is lined by an arched walkway that contains crypts of the early settlers of Guadalajara. 

Our guide entertained us with  a number of spooky stories, as he showed us around the graveyard.  The one that I found most interesting was about a young boy who was claustrophobic and afraid of the dark.  He died when he was very young, and the day after he was buried, the groundsman found his coffin sitting on top of the cement slab.  Ten times they reburied the coffin and when they came back the next day it was back on top of the slab. One the parents explained that the boy was afraid of the dark, it was decided to leave his coffin above ground.

To this day people bring toys to put around his coffin.  There were a number of people in the group we were with that had toys for him, which they gave to the guide at the end of the tour.  For some more of the ghost stories check out this site:

Monday, November 1, 2010

La Calavera Catrina

"La Calavera Catrina ('The Elegant Skull') is a 1913 zinc etching by Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada. The image has since become a staple of Mexican imagery, and often is incorporated into artistic manifestations of the Day of the Dead in November, such as altars and calavera costumes. The etching was part of his series of calaveras, which were humorous images of contemporary figures depicted as skeletons, which often were accompanied by a poem." (

This morning armed with my camera I headed into the centre of Guadalajara to check out the Day of the Dead Celebrations.  The centre was buzzing, people were loading up with all the last minute necessities for the celebrations, candles, chocolate skulls with their names on them, flowers, cakes etc.  The smells from the market stalls was amazing, a mix of sugar, chocolate and cinnamon!!!  

However, the thing that really struck my fancy was all the different larger than life statues of Catrina.  Different groups within the city had made them and they were on
display all through the main area of the city.
There were Catrina's in traditional dress,
and others dressed in the 70's gear.

 Catrina's with mermaid tails and Catrina's
 made of recycled tin cans.  I have included
 some photos.  Hope you like them.