MEXICO MEMOIRS – Opening ceremony happenings and Guadalajara development

Elton Tucker, Assistant Editor – Sports

GUADALAJARA, Mexico:

Buenos dias, amigos.

Well, yesterday was a beautiful day to start the XVI Pan American Games. The nights are still cool, but during the past two days it has been sunny (not hot, about 78 fahrenheit), and the organisers would have been very happy.

A monstrous crowd packed the Omnilife Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday evening, and they were thoroughly entertained by traditional performers and current pop stars. The Mexicans can really put on a show and make a lot of noise.

The thundersticks really turned up the volume and there was the usual Mexican wave. The crowd started the wave during some of the performances, which I thought was a bit unruly, but most did not mind and seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

The real problems came after the event with some massive traffic jams. The event was over sometime after 10 p.m., but my media bus did not get out of the venue until well past 11 p.m. despite the efforts of the security men to get the traffic moving.

On my way to the Main Press Centre yesterday, I finally found a taximan whose English was better than ‘muy poquito’. He had lived in California and Chicago in the United States before returning to Guadalajara.

I must say he did a very good job in selling the city. He assured me that despite what I may have heard there was little crime. The weather, he said, was beautiful all year round and there was also a lot of work and things were much cheaper here than in the United States.

“All day (I think he meant everyday) you pick up the ‘el periódico’ (newspaper) there are lots of jobs,” he said.

Then we reached Expo Guadalajara (my destination) and he pointed to the RIU and Westin (two new hotels over 30 storeys high) as examples that development was coming fast to the city and more is planned. My hotel is downtown in El Centro Historico (like King Street in Jamaica, but with many more carefully preserved historical buildings), while Expo Guadalajara could be compared to New Kingston.

I must say, from what I have seen so far, much of what he said is true, but I have only been here for three days and my opinion could change. If it does I will tell you. Until then, hasta la vista.

eltontucker@yahoo.com

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