Tuesday, January 3, 2012


TJ and I have this deal when we go on road trips. I hate to drive, so I read to him and he drives me around like I'm Jessica Tandy or something.

Recently, a co-worker loaned TJ a book by Tina Fey, entitled Bossy Pants. We are both fans of the woman, and as we both stared at the book, he said "I'm reading it first, you know." My response was a hopeful "Can I just read it to you on the drive to and from work?" That turned out to be a fair compromise, and when we finished the book a week or so later, I grabbed the first thing I could find, which was Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card. This is of course a sequel to the very popular Ender's Game, which we had both read previously. Everything was going great until, halfway through the book, our carpool suddenly expanded. We couldn't be rude and continue reading in front of other people, so it was decided that a weekend road trip was in order. Monday, January 3rd being a government holiday presented the perfect opportunity to finally visit Tapalpa . (Wow, this blog post is kinda like an episode of The Simpsons. The stuff in the beginning has absolutely nothing to do with the stuff in the middle or end.)

Ninety minutes south of Guadalajara and 6400 feet above sea level, Tapalpa, the Pueblo Mágico, is a beautiful mountain town surrounded by lakes and pine forests.

As with most small towns in Mexico, life seems to radiate outward from the city center, beginning with the church. With that said, Iglesia de Tapalpa is one of the most elegant churches I've seen yet. I'm not one to normally take photos inside a house of worship (though it's been known to happen), as it makes me feel a little bit like a creep if worshipers are present...but in this case I couldn't resist. The arching ceilings made of brick are beautifully complimented but not overshadowed by vibrant artwork.

Caddy corner to the church is Antigua Iglesia de Tapalpa. Apparently no longer used for its original purpose, the building now acts as a small market from which merchants sell candies, jams, and handmade crafts and clothing. Among the knick-knacks we discovered a large metal box with the logo of the recently concluded Pan American Games. Further inspection of the box revealed an import valve for gas. The top of the box appeared to have an opening that would allow for the release of the gas, perhaps in the form of a flame. Whether this was an official torch from the games, or a homemade craft project, we are unsure. All we know for certain is that Tapalpa hosted the mountain bike competition during the recent sporting event.

Behind the newer church you can find a small sculpture garden that contains, among other things, this bull and horse. Note that the horse, at first glance quite beautiful, has a...scorpion...in his stomach?

Ten minutes outside of the city limits is a little tourist trap called Las Pierdrotas, The Big Rocks. Nobody knows exactly what they are, but, well, they're there. I guess you could say that makes them something akin to Stonehenge, only they are definitely not manmade.

Located in the middle of what appears to be a cow pasture, with the cow patties to prove it, the giant stones are surrounded by barbed wire fencing. The only discernible entrance to this field is a tiny gate straddled on either side by booths set up by the locals to sell food and handmade crafts. There is no entrance fee, but the merchants do request a donation, as they are responsible for maintaining the site. Or so they say. Whatevs. 100 pesos later and we were climbing rocks.

The mysterious formations in the middle of nowhere reminded us of our September visit to Guachimontones. Although both were fun, Tapalpa earns bonus points for more climbability. I guess rocks aren't as precious as ancient pyramids.

Next was a drive up into the mountains to Eko Park, an extreme sports destination, where we signed up for the Tirolesas (zip line) adventure. It's described as a "canopy tour," but I don't see how anybody does this and enjoys the scenery, for fear of falling, slamming into a tree, or both. That's not to say it wasn't fun, because it was. It's just scary. Especially when the safety instructions are given in a language you aren't exactly fluent in. I won't lie. I almost peed a little when I made the first of the nine jumps. It was pretty exhilarating after that.

Below you will see a photo of TJ lamely pulling himself to the end of the line because he slowed down too soon (L) and of me being awesome (R).

Not pictured is me jumping off for the ninth zip line, dragging the cable down, and butt-skidding down the side of the mountain before finally clearing the edge and going airborne. TJ didn't do this. Who's lame now? Yeah, it's me. Skinnier people go airborne as soon as they jump. I hate skinny people. I hope to be one someday.

We had intended to explore the city more, but were at Eko Park an hour longer than expected and wanted to make sure we were back in Guadalajara before nightfall.

We concluded the day with a delicious Mexican/Italian dinner at one of our favorite Guadalajara haunts, La Grelha, before heading home and promptly collapsing in exhaustion.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a holiday.

The book sadly remains unfinished, with but one chapter left. I think we'll knock that out tonight.

1 comment:

  1. I love following ur adventures. I do love zip lining! You should try sky diving next. Miss ya. Derek.