We took a 24 hour marathon bus ride and tour to the capital of Jalisco, the city of Guadalajara. As is the standard when you don’t speak the language a little got lost in translation. Following a wonderful German dinner at The Black Forest Restaurant on Valentine’s day, we boarded a Pepe’s Tour bus at 10:30 p.m. Pepe drove all night to the first stop in Guadalajara at 5:30 a.m. As it turns out, this trip is a shopping tour. The passengers on our bus are small store owners in the Puerto Vallarta/La Cruz areas. They travel once or twice monthly to Guadalajara to buy goods for their stores, mostly clothing. The first stop was in a clothing district of sorts. There were many blocks of vendors which carry clothing lines of one or two companies. The passengers make their purchases and return to the bus with boxes and huge bags of new clothing. Needless to say we were a bit surprised at where we stopped only to be further surprised by the fact that the bus is only open to leave for 15 minutes after stopping. After the bus door closes people inside sleep until 8:30 a.m. when the door opens again. We got out to use the restroom only to find ourselves locked out for a few hours. We walked for hours in the morning darkness looking at things in the clothing stalls we weren’t in the least bit interested in purchasing. Once the door reopened we reentered and slept for a couple of hours.
Next stop was downtown Guadalajara. Now this was more like it. It is a town of a few million people and like any big city there is beauty and blight. Guadalajara is famous for their cathedral, their tequila and the traditional musicians of Mexico - mariachis. We had 6 hours and spent it enjoying the historic district. We took an hour city tour bus and got to see and hear about the highlights. The area we were in was both business and tourist which made for a nice mix. The highlights were the cathedral, government complex, various town squares and the centro market where we enjoyed lunch. We found the people here to be friendly and more diverse. It appeared that there were fewer Indians and more Spaniards here. The least favorite part was an area near our bus’ staging area that seemed to have a lot of problems with drug users. It was sad to see so many young men mixed up with drugs.
We returned to La Cruz at about midnight last night and slept in a little today to recover. All in all, we are glad we made the trip a quick one. I am not sure it is fair to the city to say this but one day there was enough for us for now.