Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guadalajara 10.24.2010

Yeah!! Guadalajara!! We hitched a ride to the airport from Walter & the kids and flew from Palm Springs to Guadalajara with a quick stop in Phoenix. The flights were fine and we made it without issue. We met a nice guy on the plane who was engaged to a local gal and chatted with him during the flight. He had me worried because he made a big deal about how NO-one speaks English here and that if you’re not fluent in Spanish, you’re screwed! Me! The non-worrier, I was worried. But as we exited the plane and breezed through immigration and customs with no issues, finally I relaxed again. Green light….go! :-)

The plan was that Scott & Liz were to arrive about 45 minutes before us and would meet us at the gate. Hmmm….they weren’t there. We called Eric & Sherrell who hadn’t heard from them either. We wandered around the airport for a little while and spotted them! Woohoo! They had one bag that didn’t make it on the flight so they were dealing with lost luggage. We hopped into a taxi (that had to strap all of our luggage on top of the car) and took off looking for the condo. We were in the general area and the driver was asking us if we knew the cross street (we only had the address) or where to go! Luckily Eric & Sherrell were already at the condo and stood on the street flagging us down, after the driver stopped to ask another taxi driver. Haha!

On the rooftop in Guadalajara

The condo was great! A 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo with a fully furnished kitchen, internet, everything you could ask for, all for about $100/day. The main plan for the week was for Liz & Sherrell to get their medical checkups (they both had breast cancer) and to enjoy! Doesn’t sound too difficult to me! :-)

And enjoy we did… Sherrell & Liz did their tests on Monday morning while the rest of us figured out which way to go the rest of the week. When they returned, we all 6 hopped into the compact car that Eric & Sherrell were driving and went to an incredible Chinese restaurant. Stuffed, we went next door to the grocery store to stock up on necessities for the week, the bank & a computer store.

Tuesday we went in search of a guitar for Liz. We went to downtown Guadalajara, which is simply amazing – block after block of small stores with tons to check out. We made our way to the block of musical instruments and found a perfect one for her. Then we wandered around the downtown area, checking out the squares, churches, fountains, statues, & vendors. This month is ‘fiestas de Octubre’ and there were lots of art exhibitions where the artists were creating their masterpieces. Lots of stone artists, it was amazing. Everywhere you looked was beauty and so inspiring!

The beautiful architecture in Guadalajara

Michael and Rene at a fountain in Guadalajara

Wednesday we took another road trip to Tequila, to visit the Jose Cuervo factory & take a tequila tour. We decided to take the ‘Familia’ tour, which was incredible! The tour began with the ‘standard’ tour through the plant. Here we saw how tequila was made, the ‘flowers’ from the agave plant harvested,

The flowers of the agave plant, ready to be steamed

put into a steam room for 24 hours,

The steam room with the agave flowers inside

sliced & juiced to remove the good stuff. Then fermented and either bottled immediately or stored in barrels (similar to wine). We were given samples during the tour, of the agave plant when it is first cut, after it is steamed, a sample of 100% alcohol (after the 1st fermentation), and 2 samples of the finished product.

But the tour didn’t stop there! We broke off from the group and were taken into a private tasting room where we were seated & were instructed on the ‘proper’ tequila tasting process, which included observing color, clarity, the way the tequila ‘sheeted’ on the glass, the particular smell (we compared it to the smell of lime, coffee, cinnamon, and the agave plant), ‘how’ to smell it, and finally, how it tasted. We had 3 glasses and performed the tests one each of them.

Michael at the tequila tasting

Once we were schooled on how to test a tequila, we were taken to the ‘Cava de reserva a la Familia’ (the family’s cave) where we were allowed to drink a special, 5 year old tequila reserved for this tour.

The family’s reserve cave

Yum just doesn’t describe it, it was amazing. Back at the courtyard, we enjoyed a cold margarita with the gal who took the tour with us and then stumbled our way through town to find food. The tour was great and the extra cost for the reserve tour was well worth it. We had a choice of either doing the tour in English or Spanish and decided on Spanish. If I had it to do again, I would choose the English as I’m sure I missed out on some of the info. On our way out of town, we stopped and picked up a tequila barrel for the boat (what boat would be complete with out one?) and Scott & Liz picked up a larger one for the house.

Our barrels of tequila

We spent the following day shopping & just enjoying the area, packing up for the next day when we were all leaving. How quickly 5 days rushes by when you’re with friends! It was an incredible week.

It’s time to get to the boat!! Mazatlan here we come! We have a Taxi scheduled for the morning & are leaving on the Primera Plus bus to Mazatlan, which should take us 5-6 hours to get there. Woohoo! I can’t wait to be back on the boat….

More to follow!


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