I had no idea that today was superbowl Sunday. While my friends back home are all posting about botched lyrics and bad vocals, I was bus hopping. Getting directions around here is a feat in connecting vague dots and extrapolation. The Mexican guidebooks are very spotty about actual bus or transportation information, and that may be because it’s always changing and hard to pin down. Rarely are there actual bus stops, just mutually agreed on corners where people congregate and flag down a bus heading in somewhat the right direction. I had asked a friend last night which bus to take to Tonala, and they waved in a generally southern direction and said, the 643 over there. Over where. Oh, over there a few blocks, you’ll find it.
I did, by chance, and after waving down a bus that seemed exasperated and having to actually stop and pick up passengers, I was on my way for a lovely bus around to the next town over.
If Tlaquepaque is where tourists, Mexican and foreign alike, come to buy things, Tonala is where they are actually made. On Sunday the entire downtown of the city is a maze of covered stalls on every street packed in as close as possible with thousands of people pushing and shoving to get at the next best deal. The centro is turned into a sea of multi-colored ceramics, clothes with beautiful embroidery, shoes, hand-made beauty products, produce, and, of course, food. Or as the most racist of my three roommates claimed, “oh I don’t want to go, it’s probably all ghetto and stolen stuff anyway.” To quite the contrary, it is a gorgeous market in a rather beautiful plaza.
I love how they make the enchiladas here. Instead of pouring the sauce on after like the American version, they take the tortilla, dip it in a big bowl of enchilada sauce, roll the chicken in it, cook it on the fire for about a minute, and then prep it with cheese, salad, and at his stand, fried potatoes. Delicious, and all for 20 pesos (less than $2.00).
To get away from the pushing for a while, I took a walk down some side streets away from the center. Tonala is on a rise in the landscape, and although all the power lines tried to ruined my view, there was actually some interesting mountains, and a mesa like formation in the distance.
One thing I find about the people here is that they are very aloof until you greet them. I was standing at a stall where I was considering buying a hand embroidered linen shirt, and the woman just wouldn’t acknowledge me. Until I said buenas tardes, and then she was all smiles, handed me several sizes to try on, and was friendly as can be.
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