Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guadalajara's Top 20, Number 4: Tlaquepaque

As much fun as Tonalá was last week, our excursion to Tlaquepaque yesterday was even better.

Whereas Tonalá features streets and streets and more streets full of arts, crafts, and furniture tucked into every nook, cranny, and pop-up tent available, the majority of business conducted in Tlaquepaque is done through artisan shops and galleries.

(Because of this, you can't really take photos in the stores. So, for your enjoyment, I present a random sampling of photos that have nothing to do with this blog save for having been taken on the streets of the city in question.)

Tonalá is where a large percentage of the goods sold in Tlaquepaque are made, and because of this, Tonalá has more of an industrial, salt of the earth feel to it, while Tlaquepaque is afforded all the glitz and glamour of a tourist town.

Tonalá is where you go if you want to bargain shop. Tlaquepaque is where you go to show your family and friends just how beautiful and cultured your new Mexican home actually is. It must be said, however, that although the prices in Tlaquepaque may be higher than those in Tonalá, you'll still find better deals than you would stateside. And the quality is amazing.

Shopping in Tonalá is like shopping at Wal-Mart. Because of the lower prices, you have to elbow your way past throngs of bargain hunters at all hours of the day. You want to get in and get out as fast as possible. But shopping in Tlaquepaque is like shopping at Target. The aisles are wider, there are less people, and the price-to-quality ratio is pretty awesome. You could spend all day there. And because of this, Tlaquepaque is dangerous.

We purposefully went the week before payday so that we would be able to window shop instead of impulse buy. That said, we still managed to walk away with visions of four-poster beds, Chihuly-style chandeliers, and various knick-knacks that we probably don't need but will eventually buy anyway.

Shopping in Mexico is like being trapped in the
Phantom Zone. You don't know how to make it stop.

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