I feel just like Micaela did when she blogged about her family's vacation in the Philippines. So to keep from being too intimidated by the scope of the task, I am writing about this vacation to my grandchildren, to tell them about a wonderful part of the world, and I hope that my other readers find it edifying as well.
Our priest, whose family lives in Leon in the state of Guanajuato, invited us to come visit him during his vacation so he could show us around his part of Mexico. We went to the airport on Tuesday, August 6th, and discovered that our flight was for the prior day! Our hearts sank at that news, but the Aeromexico ticket agent told us "no problem" since the flight that was leaving in 45 minutes had lots of empty seats, and we didn't have to pay any extra for the mess-up (whew!). The next anxiety was that since I had given Padre our itinerary that I had printed out from Orbitz (but clearly had forgotten to read), he may have driven the 3 hours from Leon to Guadalajara to pick us up the day before! I tried to call him, but he didn't answer his cell phone, so we got on the plane and prayed for God to cover my mistake.
When we landed in Guadalajara, we called again, and he was about 10 minutes from the airport. He hadn't looked at my itinerary either - he just remembered that I had said we would arrive on Tuesday! Thank you God! We drove into Guadalajara and got rooms at a nice hotel, then went out to see the sights.
Of course, when a priest is your tour guide, the focus will be on churches (the picture above shows the towers of the cathedral). The summer I graduated from high school I went with a Presbyterian youth group to Europe and the focus was on churches then, too. The major difference was that these churches in Mexico are places where the Body of Christ is strong and active, as compared with Europe, where so many of the old churches had clearly had the Glory pass from them, being primarily museums or having few parishioners. Guadalajara seems to have a church every couple of blocks, and Padre said that they're always filled at masses, which in most of these churches is held several times daily.
The three of us went for a carriage ride around the old part of the city. The carriage driver gave us an excellent running commentary on what we were seeing. I was thrilled to find out that I had no problem at all understanding him (or anyone else) as we were totally immersed in a spanish-speaking environment (no English speakers anywhere). And I had no problems making myself understood either...in fact, at the end of our trip I had my first dream in spanish, which is a sign that you're comfortable with a language.
While we were on the carriage ride we passed this mask store, and the Pirate made a joke about getting everyone in the worship team a mask, which Padre thought was pretty funny.
I had noticed a couple of yarn shops while we were on the carriage ride, so when the ride ended we went there so I could get some yarn to make a baby blanket for a friend on the worship team who just had a little girl. Padre and the Pirate were gracious about having to wait while I shopped for yarn.
The shop may be small, but it's well stocked and there were lots of women working on projects in the little space that was there. Since I have not yet found a store in our entire state that sells a variety of yarns, I am sorely tempted to fly to Guadalajara occasionally to get yarn.
When I came back out from the store I found the men fascinated, watching the groups of women who were sitting on the benches in the block-long promenade in front of the yarn stores (the whole block was filled with them). What a wonderful example of community, Mexican style!
By that time we were all tired and hungry, so we went to a restaurant that specializes in the regional dishes of Jalisco (the state where Guadalajara is). Tomorrow I'll write about our second day on the mainland. Until then, Dios te bendiga!
For part 2, click HERE. For part 3, click HERE. For part 4, click HERE. For part 5, click HERE.