As regular readers know, I attended the Zihuatanejo Writers’ Workshop last week. John Reed and Elizabeth Engstrom were very generous with their expertise and we seven novices all learned a great deal. During the five intense days, we had little time for anything but writing which I hope adequately explains the dearth of postings as of late… But happily, I am more energized than ever and eager to write on!
Throughout this coming month, I will lead two Life Long Learning groups and Guadalajara is the first place on the itinerary. Arriving into the city was a huge thrill for me because my great friend Mary was there waiting. She will be participating in the tours that will take us through Mexico’s Independence Route and later to Mexico City Puebla and Oaxaca. Jorge will join us in La Capital for the second portion of the journey…
When I taught English in Peru, Mary and I were introduced by mutual acquaintances. We exchanged letters and finally met in person at the airport in LIMA, Peru , on January 31, 1971. I remember seeing her get off the plane and I thought I think we are going to be friends…We did indeed become instant friends and embarked on the first of our many travels together… The five months of shared experiences in South America created a bond that has deepened steadily through (I can’t believe it…) 40 years!
In those days, it was not at all common for two young women to be trekking around unescorted through Latin America, but we looked out for one another. With my Spanish language and Mary’s unerring sense of direction, we tripped from one adventure to the next. And here we are 40 years later… still meeting in airports, climbing onto buses and sharing our friendship. What a gift!
Now back to Guadalajara… The charro – ranch culture is a very important aspect of Jalisco’s and Guadalajara’s identity. Ranchero music and elegant mariachis are symbolic of this region. Last night our merry band of transplanted internationals spent the evening in the city’s world renowned mariachi district. Some of the revelers urged me not to detail the evening but I will say we had FUN!
Our hotel is located in the historic downtown of Guadalajara, the oldest section of the city, There are a large number of beautiful Squares and public parks, markets, lovely buildings and monuments that we’ll be visiting today. Among them is the cathedral.
Construction began in 1558 but was not finished until 1616. Its two towers were built in the 19th century after an earthquake destroyed the originals. They are considered one of the city’s symbols.
After today’s thorough tour of the city, we we’ll set off tomorrow on an all day tour to see the blue agave fields. From there we’ll tour the Herradura distillery and learn (still more) about – Tequila!