Gracious Guadalajara

A mecca full of life's finest and most fun pastimes

Truth be told, you’re not likely to bump into other African Americans while visiting Mexico’s second largest city. Blacks are almost nonexistent in Guadalajara (which means “river of stones”), but you certainly won’t feel alone among the locale’s 5 million residents. You’ll be so busy scooping up buys on jewelry and leather goods (particularly in nearby Tlaquepaque) and indulging in tequila (Guadalajara’s national beverage), loneliness will be the least of your concerns.

  • Who’s Who: Father Don Miguel Hidalgo, the leader of Mexico’s fight for independence, signed a decree to end slavery throughout Mexico in 1810 while in Guadalajara. Behind Haiti, Mexico was the second country in the world to give slavery the boot.
  • Good Eats: You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you taste authentic Mexican cuisine. Just don’t eat the food from street vendors and avoid raw vegetables. Also, drink bottled water and peel any fresh fruit before you partake. Breakfast in Mexico will be big and hardy, so lunchtime won’t roll around until after 2 p.m. . . . It’s upscale dining by candlelight at Santo Coyote (616-69-78 or 616-84-72). Reservations are a must. Consider the house specialty, toasted kid (baby goat). . . . For more eateries, log on to www.mexweb.com/guadvsit.htm.
  • Music & More: Guadalajara showcases Mariachis (Mexican musicians) and the other arts at the Mariachi Festival and Festivales de Octubre (October Festival) during the fall. . . . There’s also El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) celebrated on November 1.
  • On the Radio: Sounds of rhythm and blues on Pulsar FM on Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. and daily on JB FM.
  • Where to Worship: In Guadalajara, 90% of the residents are Catholic and the Cathedral is the city’s most famous monument. It is located in the main plaza downtown. For a special blessing, purchase one of the milagros (miracles) that are on sale.
  • Sites and Sounds: The downtown area houses most of the city’s cultural sites and you can venture to the various attractions afoot in a few hours. . . . For starters, watch the murals come to life on the walls and ceilings of the Instituto-Cultural Cabañas (Cabañas Cultural Institute). The painted illusions move about as you admire them from various points in the facility. Also enjoy a historically based ballet at the Teatro Degollado (Degollado Theater) performed every Sunday at 10 a.m.
  • Sleepy Time: The deluxe Camino Real (800-7-CAMINO) is a country-club-style facility with 202 modern rooms. It features five pools, tennis courts, a children’s playground, restaurants, a coffee shop and a bar surrounded by putting greens and large shade trees. . . . The colonial-style Quinta Real (800-426-0494) is a top pick of Mexico’s distinguished guests. . . . Fiesta Americana (800-FIESTA-1) is the tallest hotel in Guadalajara and serves as the centerpiece for the city’s social mixes. Plus, it’s located across from the Minerva Fountain-a popular landmark.

Details: For more information, visit www.mexconnect.com/mex_/guadalajara/guadalajara.htm.

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