Thursday, October 13, 2011

Patrick Mans Up

Our friend Patrick visited over the Independence Day weekend. No, not the 4th of July. I may be behind on blogging but I'm not that behind. I instead refer to Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16th.

Anyway, Patrick (You remember Patrick, right? We visited him in Houston last November.) was one tough cookie to get down here. He was a frequent visitor when we lived in Florida and even managed to pop up to DC twice during our nine month stay in Falls Church, VA. Yet almost a year into Mexico and we hadn't seen hide nor hair of him. I think he was scared. Hah. I know he was scared. He even went so far as to book and cancel a flight within an impressive 24 hour period. Yeah, buddy, I called you out like that. Much love.

I was able to con him into rebooking the flight by batting my eyes and saying "Please? I really miss you." Well, ok, so i think I might have said he was a bad friend and hella-lame. I don't remember. Either way, it did the trick. So how did Patrick fare in Mexico? Let's find out!

Arriving at the airport on Wednesday afternoon, Patrick was quickly whisked away for a fat slab of cow at one of our favorite steakeries, Un Romano y Dos Ladrones. We ordered a bottle of wine, three ginormous steaks, and a cold octopus appetizer. Other than the appetizer, a good time was had by all. Score: Guadalajara-is-Fun: 1, Mexico-is-Awful: 0

For Thursday, the plan had been to pawn Patrick off on a bus tour and have that entertain him until lunchtime, at which point I would send him home to wait on me until work ended. At the last minute I decided to take the day off, and boy was that a good idea. Thanks to the aforementioned Independence Day, streets all over the city center were closed, including the ones leading to and from the bus tour, which I think was itself closed for the day. We opted for a walking tour of El Centro, where we were able to tour Catedral de la Asunción de María Santísima and Mercado San Juan de Dios (two very impressive features of the city that will eventually make their way into this blog. We then stopped by Instituto Cultural Cabañas, where I was disappointed to find a boring church photo exhibit had replaced the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit of the previous month. Fail. I was able to save the morning by enticing Patrick with the delicious comida tipica at La Chata. He was also able to help Father Hidalgo rile up the locals and start a new war for independence, which was very exciting for him.

An evening of good drinks and better friends at co-worker Pablo's swinging new pad sealed the deal on a great day in the city. Score: Guadalajara-is-Fun: 2, Mexico-is-Awful: 0.

Friday was supposed to be a trip to Guachimontones, but that got rained out. Fortunately, it turned out, as Patrick deadpanned "If we miss it, I'll still sleep tonight." We settled for introducing Patrick to the joys of chilaquiles and then making a day of it at Zoológico Guadalajara, which I suppose was a better option, as Patrick had been saying for two days that he really wanted to go there and I had been halfway ignoring him. The zoo was fun, as usual, but the line for the safari was ridonkulous and we had to forego the giraffe feeding. But Patrick was very amused by our Lindsay Lohan sighting: were in "Mean Girls," right?

A fun addition to the zoo is a Diego Rivera-inspired mural at the entrance that features depictions of many important-to-Mexico items, including Los Gigantes. Score: Guadalajara-is-Fun: 3, Mexico-is-Awful: 0., Saturday was the true star of this vacation. For that is the day that we boarded the Tequila Express. What this means is that we hopped on a train bound for the Herradura distillery and started drinking tequila-based drinks at 10am, took a tour of said distillery, had a lunch buffet and more tequila, listened to some mariachi, watched some Ballet Folklórico, took in some Suertes Charras (National sport involving lasso tricks), and hopped back on the Guadalajara bound train for some more tequila. Yep, you guessed it: Guadalajara-is-Fun: 4, Mexico-is-Awful: 0.

Sunday brought a whirlwind tour of the artisan markets of Tonalá before a sad return to the airport. Patrick was observed as grumpily stating "I've seen all of this stuff before," only to find two things he couldn't live without moments later, bringing our final score to: Guadalajara-is-Fun: 5, Mexico-is-Awful: 0.

Since his trip, Patrick has maintained contact with some of our new friends here in Guadalajara via Facebook, has attempted and failed to find chilaquiles worthy of the name in Houston, and has vaguely talked about a return visit to Mexico.

So there you have it, folks. Mexico ain't half bad. We've now had two successful visits and nobody has left traumatized. If you've thought about visiting, please do. We have about a year left before a new adventure begins in parts unknown.

And as for Gwen and Patrick, the only souls brave enough to make the journey thus far?

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

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