5 highlights of Guadalajara, Mexico

My 11-day Mexico road trip started in Guadalajara on Dec. 26. I honestly didn’t know anything about Guadalajara, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was seriously impressed by the 5 following perspectives I got to enjoy:

1) The people

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The purpose of our trip was to visit the Campos family, which is the family with whom Shane’s mom lived during three consecutive summers while studying in Colima. It is an amazing opportunity to visit a family who lives in the country you are visiting. You get an accurate perspective from people who have known the country throughout the decades and can tell you what life is like on a daily basis. They spent the first three days of the trip with us; they were our guides to Colima, Manzanillo, and back to Guadalajara.

Here is an incredibly culturally insightful 22-minute video on YouTube– an interview with six different family members about the best sights of the region and about their family history. I never thought there could be so much intercultural exchange in just one conversation! Highlights include abuelo working for a newspaper and nieto managing the Mexican bobsled team! (Who knew?) At the end of the video Marta gives us an example of her enthusiasm of practicing English and reveals to us some universal truths about being a teacher! My students should watch this on a rainy day!

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2) The culture

Guadalajara has incredible culture seen through its architecture, historical figures, and theater:

Grand cathedral known as Catedral Guadalajara or Catedral de la Asunción de María Santísima.

Grand cathedral known as Catedral Guadalajara or Catedral de la Asunción de María Santísima.

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Statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla: Mexican priest and leader of Mexican war of independence.

Statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla: Mexican priest and leader of Mexican war of independence.

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Teatro Degollado exterior.

Teatro Degollado exterior.

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Teatro Degollado interior.

Teatro Degollado interior.

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3) The amusing street lights

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Check out how the dude speeds up as the count down gets lower!

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4) The family atmosphere

Mexicans are so family-oriented. In the middle of the city square is a child-friendly over-the-top menagerie scene, seeing as it was just after Christmas. The animal figures were enormous.

Wise man with camel in tow.

Wise man with camel in tow.

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Larger than life elephant.

Larger than life elephant.

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Casey is 5'2''

Casey is 5’2”

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5) The overall laid-backness

Aspect #5 of Guadalajara carried over into the rest of our road trip. Mexico is a totally chill, unhurried place. It’s culturally acceptable (and even encouraged) to sit on benches and watch people go by. People relax on warm sunny afternoons and spend quality time with their families. Mexicans seem to be aware of the fact that life is really short. They enjoy every moment with the people they love. This is one of my favorite aspects of Mexican culture (not to mention the food, crafts, jewelry, music, weather, geography, art, etc!).

People relax on benches outside the cathedral.

People relax on benches outside the cathedral.

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A man gets his shoes polished while relaxing on a bench on the plaza.

A man gets his shoes polished while relaxing on a bench on the plaza.

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A vendor sells bouncy streamers.

A vendor sells bouncy streamers.

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Children play in the plaza.

Children play in the plaza.

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The plaza even offers free WiFi! Mexico's on to something...

The plaza even offers free WiFi! Mexico’s on to something…

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