Mexican Memoirs: It’s all good in downtown Guadalajara
Hola amigos, buenos dias. Some have said it’s a country under siege. A dear friend warned me to be very careful, just before I left Jamaica. She said Mexico was not a safe country.
Well, I have been here for nine, going on 10, days and it is all good in downtown Guadalajara.
Wednesday night I took a walk to see what was going on, what made the downtown tick. And the heart of the city was alive and teeming with activity on what I learnt subsequently was just a normal night.
The calandria (horse-drawn carriage) drivers were out in their numbers ready to take sightseers around the city to have close-up looks of places like the Catedral de Guadalajara, Plaza de Armas, the Plaza de la Liberacion; and government buildings like Teatro Degollado, the legislative and justice buildings for the state of Jalisco for which Guadalajara is the capital.
I have read that the Roman Catholic cathedral has been there since 1618. In fact this is a ‘new’ one.
The old one, built 60 years before, was destroyed by fire.
Near to the staging area for the calandrias, the taco vendors, or taqueros as they are called, were doing a thriving business. Families were out for walks, young and middle-age lovers were showing very public displays of affection and the main and side streets where crammed with traffic.
In a small restaurant on the corner others were having tacos and watching a Pan American Games football match, Mexico versus Ecuador, live from the Omnilife Stadium, and really enjoying themselves.
The home team was on top and winning 2-1.
Downtown Kingston, King Street and its environs, wake up, you are way behind.
On another topic closer to sport, I got a chance to see, close up, the world-class Brazilian swimmer Cesar Cielo and was impressed by his humility.
While the Brazilian journalists (and there are many here) tripped over themselves to hear what he had to say in the mixed zone, the gentle giant maintained his cool.
As the 2008 Olympic champion and world record holder for 50 metres freestyle and world record holder for the 100m freestyle, 24-year-old Cielo is true swimming royalty. His popularity was such that he had his own cheering section, a very large group, in the stands.