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January 4, 2009 - Tonala, Jalisco, Mexico

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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It´s hard to believe that a year has already passed since I was last in Tonala. I´m back at the Hacienda del Sol, and they´ve given me a basement room, which at first I wasn´t sure if it was a good thing or not, but have since decided it´s great, I´ve never had a room here before with so much water pressure. There is only one window which opens onto an air shaft, it´s away from the street noise, and it´s like a sensory deprivation chamber, except for the cable TV that lets me catch up on all of the movies that I missed in the 80´s.

We are at the tail end of the Christmas season, so a lot of my suppliers are still away, but I´ve spent the time seeing what´s new, and what I may have missed in past years. Today was the tianguis, or weekly street market. Usually I go to it just to fill up on street vender food (AKA street grunts) and people watch, but after seeing stalls and stalls and stalls of the same thing, my eyes start to glaze over.

Today was different, I found a family that does very original work, it made my day. They take an ordinary wooden box, burn on a slight design, fill it in with transparent paint, and shellac the whole thing, they look like luminescent water colors in box form.

I also brought the new Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico with me. Usually I don´t bring it, it weighs too much, I can´t even remember what the rational was this year for schlepping it, but it makes for interesting reading. LP says that if you don´t have at least one sublime meal while in Guadalajara, you have no one to blame except yourself, or you´re a vegetarian.

I´ve far surpassed the one sublime meal quota, and even vegetarians have a plethera of choices. I did get busted tonight tho, by the guys at my favorite street taco stand. I haven´t eaten there yet this trip, as there´s so many temp food stands, that I wanted to catch those first before they pack up and leave. So I´m sort of slinking through the plaza on my way for pozole, and feeling guilty about it, and I hear Hey Amiga! Don´t you remember us? We´re over here! It was one of the brothers from the taco stand, I wasn´t sure if he had seen me or not, he has Marty Feldman eyes and I´m never sure where he´s looking, but there I was, BUSTED. I told them that I´d be back later, and I guess two nights later still counts, tonight is the last night for the tamale stand, so I just need to enter the plaza from the other side.