Guadalajara is a coy city, and she most certainly has a fine feminine heart. She doesn’t flaunt her charms loudly or immediately to her visitors. She reveals herself slowly, and getting to know her requires diligent curiosity and an abundance of time.
I realized recently, as I take my leave of Mexico to follow pursuits in another country after two years of residence here, that I’ve managed to walk over a thousand miles across sectors of the city, and I’ve had the chance to watch Guadalajara’s neighborhoods revolve through her seasons. I’ve poked into hidden alleyways, bodegas and garage boutiques, dined in pop-up comida stands and suddenly chic food trucks, relaxed in pocket parks and hiked the urban oases that ring the landscape. Here in this parti-colored heart of the country lies the deep Mexican identity that finds its expression in art, music, dance, food and that mad, mad mescal.
From our first weekend in the city in mid-October, where my husband and I unwittingly stumbled onto pilgrims struggling on their knees to reach Our Lady of Zapopan, to our final days of farewell gatherings erupting with mariachi bands in el Centro, we have been seduced by the city’s – and the region’s – unexpected pleasures.