Arrival at Alba's

Trip Start Aug 31, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
Alba's House

Flag of Mexico  , Jalisco,
Thursday, October 1, 2009

After an amazing three weeks of travelling we finally arrived back in Guadalajara. The house we're staying in is owned by Alba, a legendary old Mexican woman who drinks, smokes and swears constantly. It's a huge place full of antique furniture and it even has a bar in the living room. Aside from Alba, Abuela (grandma) and Alba's son Hector, there are two Mexican students, three Americans and one Canadian girl staying here.

Everyday Alba cooks amazing Mexican cuisine for us, including a variety of soups, tacos, and other local dishes. Practically every meal in Mexican includes some form of chili, lime, avocado, refried beans and tortilla but I have yet to grow tired of it. One thing I would not recommend however is a "Michelada", a Mexican larger served with tomato juice, chili, lime and salt. Try it at your own peril.

Having arrived shortly before the start of term, we still had a few days to settle in and explore the city. During the first week I visited the historic city centre, browsed several local markets, and took a trip to La Barranca, a huge green canyon on the edge of town which offers a stark contrast to the urban metropolis. The second biggest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is completely unlike any of the places we had visited previously. It is further north than anywhere else we had been, and has much more of a modern, American feel to it. There is less indigenous influence, but being the birthplace of Tequila and Mariachis it is still a distinctly Mexican city.

On the first weekend I took a walk with Isobel and a few of the Americans down the railway tracks near our house. After about half a mile we reached a shanty town next to the line, where we spoke with a few of the local inhabitants. One was a former gang member from East Los Angeles, who had been deported from America and was living estranged from his family there. His story was just one of many similar tales we had heard from Mexican immigrants who sought work in the promised land, but had failed to realise their dreams across the border. He was very repentant of his former ways and now strove to keep his friends from violence and robbery. Many of his companions had resorted to drink and drugs but he assured us that noone would harm us here.

The next day we enrolled at CEPE, the University of Guadalajara's language centre for foreign students. We have Spanish classes everyday from 9 til 1pm, but the afternoons are free for us to do whatever we please. Directly in front of our house is a small park with courts where I've been playing a bit of football and basketball with the local kids who gather there each night. I've also joined the CEPE football team here. After barely scraping together 11 players  for our opening game we were a tad unfortunate to squander a 2-0 lead and lose 3-2. Another new activity for me was going horse riding for the first time. Sadly I forgot to bring my sombrero, but I still felt suitably like a cowboy as we rode along dirt trails through the forest in a nearby park. It was great fun and the horses were surprisingly easy to control, but once they start galloping it is not the most comfortable experieince for male riders! 

Guadalajara has a huge student population so there is a plenty of local nightlife to explore. In the first few days I met loads of other international students (mostly American) at a couple of house parties. We also went to "Mutualista", a popular Cuban salsa bar, which was fun but for those of us who cannot dance salsa there is only so much to keep you entertained. On another night we met up with Becca, a girl who came here three years ago on the same course as us from Warwick, and soon returned to live here permanently. She had plenty of advice for us, and it was strange to think that maybe one day I'll be here dispensing such advice.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: