Wednesday, December 19, 2007


So last weekend I was in Stanley Park with my life group from church, looking at lights and riding the train. Of course, it was wet, cold and raining, so we got some hot chocolates to ease our pain. Wouldn't you know that Vancouver Parks and Recreation use styrafoam cups? Hmmmmm....

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Chillin' in Guadalajara

I came home last night to the snowy land of, well, snow, after a week of beautiful sunshine in Mexico. I lead a rather rough life, I must say. :)

I went down last weekend to visit dear Sandra Plett, who has been living in Mexico, as a MBMSI missionary for the last year and a half. We had a blast. Here are some pics to tell the story (there are more on my facebook, for those of you who have access).

I was thrilled all week to see orange trees in full, um, bloom (is that what you say with fruit?).

I also got to hang out a bit with the TREK girls (Laura, Nikki, and Angie) who have been in Guadalajara for a month, and have 6 more to go. It was great to get to know Laura and Angie, and to re-connect with Nikki who lived in dorms when I was an RD, and who is actually in GDL for her internship with CBC.

On Monday, Sandra and I headed downtown to see the sights. We wandered through the largest market I have ever seen in my life. It was about four stories, and definitely at least a couple of city blocks big, maybe more. One story was just food stands, like tacos and juices. And a large part was "leather goods" - cowboys hats, boots, saddles, belts...I guess GDL is a cowboy's dream. Another large part that had just been set up was for Christmas. I swear that every strand of lights they could find was lit up and blinking in some way. It was incredible...and a bit overwhelming. I forgot to take a picture.

Outside of the largest museum downtown, we found some fun "chairs" that a certain Mexican artist has created. They were a lot of fun.

Everywhere we went, it was Christmas! Decorations started popping up all over the place during the week. The funny thing was that those ugly tinsel ones that are up on our lamposts were also on the lamposts there as well. Guess someone's got a universal deal on those babies.

While I'm not the greatest history buff, I really appreciate it, I think largely in part because North America is so "new" in comparison. I remember in Peru, just loving the Incan remains and being fascinated with imagining what life was like for them - why did they worship the way they did? How did they build these mammoth buildings that still exist today and our carpentry is destroyed in 50 years? It fascinates me.

So...everywhere I go in Latin America, I'm always impressed with these huge Catholic churches that were built hundreds of years ago, brick by brick, often as a demonstration of the European powers that came in and enslaved all the nationals, built over their graveyards. So ornate, so detailed, I can't imagine how long they took to build, and the controversy that surrounds them.

Monday, touring downtown, Sandra also led me into an old government building because she said there was some neat art in there. Well, we entered, and as we turned a corner to go up a level, I gasped. This is what was before us, covering the ceiling to the stairwell:

The artist is a popular one, known for depicting his ideas - philosophies, politics, religion, and controversy. And it is beautiful and horrid all in one. He uses such brilliant colour, and depicts some horrible events - and gets his point across. I was impressed.

Tuesday was my birthday - which was fun to share in Mexico with Sandra and Jen. It was a relaxing day, sitting by the pool, and heading out for dinner that night. Here we are...Wednesday we headed to another part of the city called Tlaquepaque - all say that with me now (I'll tell you how to later if you can't) - which is best described as an artesan area. I loved every minute of it. Beautiful old homes converted into art galleries and very very fun stores. Oh, and big Catholic churches (of course!).

Here's some of the artwork outside on the street in Tlaquepaque:

Here's an entrance to one of the galleries:

And here's a very nice man I met. He played me a few songs.

Thursday Sandra brought me to Tonala, another area of the city, which on Thursdays and Saturdays practically converts to one giant marketplace. It was a fun adventurous day, looking for Christmas gifts and wandering throughout the stalls.

Friday, Sandra and I had decided to head back downtown to see about going to a few of the museums (which had been closed on Monday). My favorite museum (also the largest) had another area of "ceiling paintings" by the same artist from Monday's adventure. I didn't get great pictures of it - it's like the Sistine Chapel - you just need to be there. But here's an example of his work:

Overall, it was just a great trip. Relaxing and adventurous. I love travelling to a place when you know someone who lives there. You get to see some of the things and meet a few of the people that you wouldn't necessarily meet as a regular tourist. (Thanks Sandra!)

And now, I am home. It is snowing like crazy outside, and I am waiting for my luggage to arrive one of these days. They say it is coming today, but I am doubtful. Turns out that in Guadalajara yesterday morning, my bags were tagged as "voluntary separation" - which means I supposedly volunteered that my bags could travel separately from me. one talked to me about that. Neither in English, ni en espanol. So...maybe my bags told the airline clerk that they wanted to go their own way...