Shortly after waking up on the street we get some hugs from a few missing members of the Paparazzi who just happen to be passing through for a few hours. They had just flown in from vancouver and were in route to Oaxaca, but it was great to see them en route. Ana and Nico took us out for a breakfast of tortas ahogados (drowned sandwich) which is a GDL delicacy and while it now exists across mexico but apparently is originally from and still best here. We cant disagree, and this huge sandwich soaking in spicy salsa was a great start to our day. Back at the house we snag a quick shower, a few more hugs and are on our way so that the group can get back to their studies and exams. We wanted to visit Tlaquepaque on our way out of GDL because we've heard so many good things. We spent a few hours walking around and enjoying the shops and architecture. This entire neighborhood is known for its local crafts from sculpture and jewelry to ceramics. Every block is beautiful and the street where we spent most of our time would rival the world's best outdoor malls and shopping strips. Even here in what is clearly a shopping district we see only locals and everyone speaks only spanish...such a stark contrast to our experience on the coast.
On the way out of the parking lot (after getting a warm farewell from the attendants) a gentleman in a vocho tells us about a VW shop only 10 blocks away with tons of parts for old kombis and stellar prices. We hadn’t planned on parts shopping but do have a running list of needs and ask if we can walk there. “yes, but better to drive” he tells us and then offers to lead us there. We easily cover 40large city blocks and several neighborhoods and laugh at the day we would have spent wandering Tlaquepaque looking for the shop. We go inside and ask for our parts. They do have fantastic prices, but not so much in the way of parts for pre-67 kombis, so they direct us to another neighborhood a few blocks away.
This neighborhood is clearly a bit more “off the beaten path” and not exactly somewhere you’d want to hang around after dark. We know this because a woman walked up and gave us that same unsolicited advice...not that you couldn’t tell from looking around. Block after block of endless stores crammed full of every auto part you can imagine and guys running in and out of shops, pulling parts off vehicles on the side of the street and installing others. Pure mayhem. We ask a few shops for the top items but realize (while we could probably rebuild the entire bus here) it will take us a day of part scavenger hunting to find even an item or two. We move on, eager to get to a more comfortable area, and head out of town towards lake chapala and ajijic.
Guadalara is a great city and the people we’ve met there are always happy, terrifically proud of their city and very welcoming...but its just a bit too big for us. The traffic and driving situation alone will keep us from coming back too often...but we sure do have a good time while we are here!