Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This past Sunday, our friend Antonio invited us to visit his hometown of Tepatitlán, located approximately 70km (43.5mi) east of Guadalajara. The municipality, founded in 1883, rests in Los Altos de Jalisco (Highands of Jalisco).

Tepatitlán, or Tepa, is the largest producer of eggs in Mexico, the largest pork producer in Jalisco, and home to the country's primary milk basin. The city also prides itself on being a large producer of Tequila. According to Wikipedia, the lead-singer of Mexican rock band Mana once told Latina Magazine that he had sampled the best tequila of his life in Tepatitlán...though this is thought by some to merely be a deliberate snub against the town of Tequila.

See? I told you they produced
a lot of tequila here!

But enough about statistics. They aren't mine, anyway. Instead, let's talk about 1st-hand accounts.

Tapatios (those that call Guadalajara home) were quick to tell me that there was nothing to do or see in Tepatitlán. I would assume this is quite similar to how those in Washington DC will tell you that there is nothing to do in Virginia. In other words, opinion based on little to no fact.

Sure, immediately upon driving into the city limits, you are struck by how...little there is. Lots of houses, maybe one or two abarrotes (general stores)...but not much else. To that, I will simply say "keep driving." Because if you dare to keep driving, you will stumble upon a fairly large town full of the normal hustle an bustle. In fact, Tepatitlán on Sunday was far busier than I have ever found Guadalajara to be on the same day. The photos above were taken in the town square, and from them I would hazard that you can see the tell-tale signs of an active community (i.e. lots of people hanging out in public and beautifully maintained landscaping).

As pretty as I found the square to be, it's nothing compared to the cathedral, Templo Parroquial de San Francisco de Asis.

So massive that I struggled to find just the right angle (and worry that I still failed), this has got to be one of the most cared for, well-preserved churches I have ever seen. Construction began in 1742 and would not conclude until 1775. A clock located on the south tower has been keeping time non-stop for over 140 years.

Although Sunday happened to be Mother's Day back home in the states, here in Mexico El Día de la Madre, always celebrated on May 10th, was still two day's away. So I wasn't expecting to see vendors selling flowers outside the church...and I REALLY wasn't expecting to find a stage and grandstand erected along the church's broadside, from which volunteers were handing out presents in honor of the town's mothers.

Sure, most of the gifts were microwaves, toasters, and various other domestic products, but so what? Is it not the thought that counts? In the United States, our mothers are often infuriated to receive such gifts. They prefer perfumes and the like. But here in Mexico, where the mothers are hard working women, maybe they appreciate such items? No, wait. American mothers are also hard working. This means that blenders probably piss of Mexican mothers, too. It's harder to tell, though. People here are sometimes too polite for their (or your) own good.

Close to the church, in typical small-town fashion, was Presidencia Municpal. A gorgeous blue building that was, like any respectable City Hall, closed on Sunday. So it was to our utmost surprise that, upon walking by, the security guard and cleaning staff recognized us for just what we were: two gringos with a big honkin' camera and matching dazed expressions. They could have exchanged pleasantries and continued with their day or, perhaps more rationally, ignored us all together (ah, the American way). But, no. Instead, they invited us inside so that I could take photos of the four stunningly beautiful murals in the entryway and adjacent stairwell.

The one pictured to the right encircles the staircase and tells the history of Tepatitlán.

Our short visit did not allow for much more sightseeing, but we did manage to do a little window shopping (this town is filled to the brim with knock-off Hollister, Abercrombie, and American's a shame they typically charge name brand prices) and snack on some gorditas before heading back home.

The town makes for a wonderfully relaxing day trip. And, from the small glimpse I got of casinos, bars, and nightclubs, will make for an exciting overnight trip one of these days.

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