Guadalajara | Second visit ft. Mexican Carnaval, Lucha Libre, Guachimontones, Snacks and Food list

I realized that I didn't blog about my first trip to Guadalajara. If it was the usual me, I would jump at the chance of blogging a travel post but.. it seems like my laziness has reached a whole new level. I was thinking of writing it now, like what I did with my Europe travel trip blog posts (which I finished not long ago, even though the trip was done back in 2015)... I don't want to squeeze it all in one post, I think it will be too long. And my memories are getting a bit fuzzy, so I won't be writing much stuff anyway since I don't remember them very well. It's always good to write everything down while the memory is still fresh in my mind, as they say.

F R I D A Y // 2 4 F E B 2 0 1 7

So I posted a picture of two pretty ladies sitting in the front seats of a car with the caption "Road trip with friendly strangers.", I'm sure most of my friends thought that I really went to hitch hike with some complete strangers. Well, it's not a complete lie or a complete truth either. 

I didn't know what happened actually at first, it was just too random but I just went with it. My colleagues were asking me if I had plans on the weekend, and I said I didn't really planned anything yet in particular. So, they called over Zaira (a pretty lady in our office) and started to talk in Spanish (which I didn't understand one single bit lol) and then they asked me if I wanted to join Zaira to go back to her hometown and experience the carnaval. I was a bit hesitant actually because 1. I don't know Zaira, that was the first day ever that we talked. 2. There was communication problem because I don't know how to speak Spanish AND she only know basic English and 3. I had to decide in a few hours because all of it was happening at the same day. 
A decision has been made, and there I am. LOL. It is quite an adventure, I have to admit. I think being in a whole new place alone makes you braver and do things that normally people do not do. And it's not everyday you get an invitation for this kind of thing! I am seeing the real Mexico, not those touristy sh*t. I am grateful and thankful. Thank you Zaira for the opportunity!

I went back to my hotel early to pack my things and waited for Zaira to pick me up at the hotel. Then, I met Barbara and Celi, Zaira's friends. Barbara speaks great English, so communication problem was solved. Yay! Big thanks to her because she was kind enough to translate most of the stuff they were talking about during the trip. Then we were on our way to a small town named Tecolotlán which is one and a half hour away from Guadalajara.

Yes, it's carnaval and not carnival. I made a mistake in the beginning. For the whole time, I thought of it being a carnival.. like banners hanging everywhere, red and white lights beaming from the ferris wheel, kids playing on the merry-go-round kind of carnival. Little did I know.....

I didn't mind much because I was pretty interested in watching real life rodeo (even though it is cruel, but it's a tradition). The carnaval is an ongoing event and are held for 10 days. 24 hours every day, non-stop. During the day, people come to this coliseum to witness the rodeo. Also, anyone can participate in challenging the calf(? I think it's a calf because it looks like it is not fully matured yet) exclusively during the carnaval. It's a norm to see teen boys joining in to show off to everyone and their friends that they've got balls. It's kind of amusing to watch especially when the cows get to ram somebody down and I'll go "HAH! Serve you right".

Apparently when entering the coliseum, there's two type of seats you can choose. The "get drunk and get wet" seat and the "for sane people only" seat. As much as I wanted to join the latter, I didn't have much choice plus I rather keep quiet about it. *I sound ungrateful, LOL, but I'm a non-drinker so please understand*. The crowd was rowdy, people were throwing beers everywhere, and many were happily dancing in their drenched-in-beer clothes. I am not sure if it is the alcohol or what but everyone seems so happy and super friendly. Everyone is greeting everyone, it's a small town and everyone knows everyone. I guess you get this warm fuzzy feeling whenever you go back to your hometown and to be greeted by old friends. Overall, it's a nice atmosphere.. minus the crazy ar*e people throwing beers at me. 

Spot Team Goku

As I said, the carnaval runs for 24 hours. At night, everyone would gather at the square. Old or young, doesn't matter. I think almost everyone in the small town was out at that square. Mariachi everywhere, people are still dancing (although this time, the clothes stay dry), and people are mingling around. It's loud. Kind of reminds me of being in a club, except it's in the open air and I am the only Asian there. Probably the only person who doesn't speak Spanish either. I feel like an endangered species suddenly. 

I did talked to a few people and I found some of them actually flew from LA. Be it a friend or a colleague from work, they came for the carnaval like me. Also, I danced with some strangers who doesn't speak English. It was very awkward, especially if both parties doesn't understand each other. Truthfully, it was fun to see but not fun to be in because I wasn't drinking at all. That's the first rule, if you want to enjoy, you have to have booze. If you are sober, nothing seems enjoyable. LOL. But yeah, this isn't my kind of thing. 

The lady actually saw me holding up my phone then face the other way. LOL. But yeah, behold the hot bartender. 

the aftermath
It was 3am and it was too chilly for me so I asked if we could leave the place. Most of the crowd have already gone home but there were still quite a number of people there. Too much beer, too much hard liquor, basically too much alcohol. They say some people can even drink till morning comes. That is dedication, my friend. 

S A T U R D A Y // 2 5 F E B 2 0 1 7

Everyone looks much sober during the day, although people are still drinking! All the ladies look very presentable and at their best too. So fashionable. I have to be honest though, I am a bit disappointed because there wasn't much good-looking guy there but I spotted a lot of pretty ladies. Hahaha.

Ordered my first non-alcoholic Micheladas. If you are in Mexico, be sure to try this. Basically it is a mix of clamato juice, salsa and beer. It tasted like cold soup for me since I ordered one without beer. I also tried the one with beer, I didn't like it because.. beer. Oh, if you are wondering if they sprinkled chili flakes on the tomato, no those are not chili flakes. It's like a lime version of salt. It's just a sour condiment which is very common here. People eat it with cucumbers and fruits. 

The original plan was to go back to Guadalajara on Sunday with Zaira but I don't think I can take one more night of that. I'm an introvert, one day of loud songs playing around me and being surrounded by so many strangers has drained the soul out of me. If there was other activities other than drinking and mingling, I would still survive. Luckily Zaira was pretty chill about it and his brother had to fetch a cousin from the airport, so I can just hitched a ride with him. I would feel quite bad if she needs to drive me up to Guadalajara and back to her hometown again. I was ready to take the bus back if it was inconvenient. And that is one of my unforgettable experience I had here in Mexico.

S U N D A Y // 2 6 F E B 2 0 1 7

Actually I was feeling a little bit lazy on Sunday so I went out after 3pm, so it's kind of late for an outing, but better late than never. My original plan was to visit Bosque Los Colomos which is a huge park in Guadalajara. So, I made the effort to find some interesting things to see around that area. So, my first stop was Plaza De Las Americas and Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Zapopan. Actually I got a bit lost after the Uber driver dropped me off. I wanted to find the entrance to Zapopan Art Museum but ended up somewhere else instead, but it's a good detour. There's some markets along the roadsides during the weekend selling foods and handmade goods. 

This is the Basilica

Zapopan Art Museum showcasing "Gravity". Not entirely sure if that was the title but it is definitely gravity related.

I really like the colour composition of the shelf and wall actually.

This is not a piece from the museum, it's just a random chair in the museum but I thought it looked kind of art worthy.

I only get to drink Tejuino once in this trip. Sad. I wish I had more. Fav drink in Mexico. 

Walking towards the park while passing through the higher end neighborhood. Some houses are really fancy and huge. 

Passed by a small park on my way there. 

Arrived and greeted with the sight of horses. People can rent a horse and ride around the tracks.
Didn't like it, I feel like there were too much dust when the horses walks by the sandy ground. 

Even though the park is indeed huge. I only manage to walk a part of it and most part of the park doesn't look as what I have expected. I expected too much. Most of the paths are a bit... barren. It's still full of trees but.. doesn't make me feel like "woahhh". The only place that exudes beauty is the Japanese Garden and that is also the place whereby most visitors go. The garden is quite small so it was kind of crowded for me. But anyway, I got some pictures, but I didn't like it. I prefer taking pictures without people in it. Apparently, it's quite an impossible thing to ask for. 

T U E S D A Y // 2 8 F E B 2 0 1 7

Homer in the office. 

Tickets for Lucha Libre!
I came across Lucha Libre when I was researching for what to do in Guadalajara. I know it was in a business trip but since I was there, why not just make the most out of it right? Anyway, I asked my colleague about it and they were kind enough to organize an event on Tuesday night with everyone that was interested in going there. Mereka ni sibeh "on" punya loh. In the end I think we got a headcount of around 20 people, that's quite a number!

Looks familiar? This bus is suppose to replicate London bus. That's the theme of the pub.

Chao Yee and me representing Malaysia. LOL. And that you see, is a one litre mug of beer.
For some "pre-partying", we they started to drink beer at the Red Pub (the name of the place). While I tried to order and eat some snacks in the effort of preventing my stomach from growling too much during Lucha Libre. Beer is dinner okay, but I ain't having nothing of that....

Okay, maybe a little. Carlos wouldn't shut up about it if I don't drink a drop. Hah. I'm just sampling the beers, I was not chugging everything down. Don't worry.

Mask galore! If you're into kinky stuff, this is an alternative. XD

Women's round

Hubba hubba, the only eye-candy in the whole event. I forgot his name though. LOL. Apparently, he is a guest wrestler from US. 

Carlos and Omar sacrificed their seats for us (not those two in the picture). We got to sit on the top of the bus! Woohoo!

Riding on top of the bus was super fun! We had to dodge electric cables and tree branches that hit us. LOL. Then this lady right here was throwing profanity everywhere and to everyone. She even asked us to teach her a bad word in chinese We taught her "ta ma de" which means "his mother". It's kind of lost in translation but yeah, it's a bad word alright but not as severe as the ones I could think off. She started shouting that to everyone, and I died. Not only that, they were also shouting to some random strangers on the street and making fun of everything. Everyone was just laughing and having a great time. I'm sure we look like a bunch of drunks to sober people on the street. But it was hilarious, it would be funnier if we understand more Spanish. We were kind of lost without our trusty translators (namely Carlos and Omar again, thank you very much again for everything!).

S A T U R D A Y // 4 M A R 2 0 1 7

I finally got to meet Helena! She's a friend I made during my student exchange program in Germany. We were in the same project team. It's such a small world. I mean she lives in Spain and she just moved there for work purpose. She's an incredible photographer. All her photos are just amazing. I rarely say this about people but I really really do like looking at the photos that she takes. If you are interested to check out her works, please look at her instagram profile: @helenallum. You'll know what I mean when you see her in action. One of the most talented person I meet. It was nice to see you and talk to you again after almost 2 years! Hope we'll meet again someday. 

S U N D A Y // 5 M A R 2 0 1 7

Cute dogge rolling around affectionately. She aimed straight for Chao Yee I swear. Hahaha.
Decided to take on another tour. I enjoyed Tequila tour when I was in Guadalajara on my first round there. So, I wanted to go to another one again, so I took the Guachimontones tour. Unfortunately, the experience was really bad this time. Mainly because of our driver cum tour guide was not capable enough. He didn't speak much English, and does not even try to explain much of the tour to us. It feels like we're just thrown in a van without any explanation at all of where we are going or what's the itinerary. There were another group of 6 ladies with us on that trip. He did explain somethings in Spanish but he didn't bother to explain it in English. Very disappointed. I did ask if he could, but he said okay and just didn't do anything. But luckily the other ladies that were on the trip with us helped out with the translation. We also got to know that apparently our driver was drinking late last night therefore was quite tired to do much that day. Much wow, but not my problem if he sucks at his job. We didn't get enough time to roam around Guachimontones or did much of a tour because he hassled us to go off early and for some reason we ended up eating our lunch at 4pm..... The only stop we made was for buying micheladas, Guachimontones, and then a church nearby the Guachimontones then back to town for lunch. As I said, we didn't know what they were planning because they were happily just speaking Spanish. Sigh. 

Did a little side trip to get some Micheladas. The drink is the same size as her fae

Holy ground for rituals 

Nothing special about this tree, I just feel like it looks good on a picture.

Mini durian. 
I forgot the name but it can be eaten or made as tea with hot water. I did pick and bring some back home. It smells okay but I didn't like the taste when I tried to drink the tea. It just tasted too weird for me.

// T H I N G S  T O  B U Y  I N  M E X I C O //

If you are planning to visit Mexico and wanted to buy something back which is not too souvenir-ish and also edible, I might have a few suggestions. I, for one, does not really buy souvenirs like keychain or dolls back for my family or friends anymore because I feel like it's a waste of money, and waste of space. Too often the keychains that I have bought or received from my friend are left inside a box stuffed at some obscure place in my home and just don't know what to do with it. So, I rather buy food.

Some items to consider:

  • Chia seed (as it is very cheap there in Mexico. Cost like 70-80 pesos for a bag of 250g bag)
  • Chicharron (I recommend the Sabritas brand as it taste more "clean", as my colleagues testified)
  • Taco chips!!!! (like Rancheritos or Takis which I love)
  • Beef jerky
  • Tequila (it's super cheap in Guadalajara)
  • Doña María Mole sauce (example recipe as reference if you bought some)
  • Nuts

Rancheritos snack and Chicharron

Beef jerky in different flavors

Weird Doritos chips! It piqued my interest because of the poisonous appearance. 

Tostadas snack is yummy but I cannot find small packaging like this. Usually they small packages like this in the restaurant.
You could also make your own tostada by baking taco shells.

Unfortunately this is not Kinder Pingui although it looked similar. *sad*. 

// T H I N G S  T O  E A T  I N  M E X I C O //

I saved the best for last. Behold, my food experiences in Guadalajara. Mexican food are \\ S C R U M P T I O U S \\ yeah, I'm highly affected by The 1975 recently. Before landing my feet on the land of tacos I think I have only had two Mexican meals. Once when I was in Germany, grab a burrito in some random small cafe, and the other time in Popilla in IOI mall back in Malaysia. I'm pretty sure they aren't very authentic because it tasted very different from the one I had in Mexico. But I think this phenomenon is very normal since people will tend to change the cooking method to suit the locals' taste.
In those days that I was there, I have open my eyes to a whole new gourmet experience (damn right I did). It's not just the tacos and burritos, the cerviche, barbacoa taco, mole, gorditas, grilled beef, shrimp cocktails, guacamole, torta ahogadas, tostadas, birria, garibaldi, tortilla soup, and so much more. Oh, I can just keep going. 

I have to say this though, there is one found that I was never fond of. It's the tamales. Apparently there's loads of ways to prepare tamales. I tasted only one, in the hotel, and it's the salty kind. I don't like it, especially the sandy texture. Not for me. 

First day at work, lunch at El Ranchero. Their barbacoa is a killer.

I love the sides that they serve when I'm eating tacos in Mexico

Barbacoa with queso
Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term “barbecue” derives. In contemporary Mexico, it generally refers to meats or whole sheep slow-cooked over an open fire. - Wikipedia
Not a very original explanation from my side, but it works. You can even choose the level of crunchiness (of the taco shell); soft, half crunchy, crunchy. My colleagues recommended the half, a wise choice. Topped it with some salsa, chopped onion and some lime juice.. Mmmm mmm. Even the caramelized onion and grilled chili tasted oh-so-glorious. I'm not exaggerating! Oh my, seeing these pictures bring back sweet memories.

Cuarto de Kilo

I know burgers aren't really a Mexican thing but heck. If they put guacamole in it, I'll order and eat it. Damn, the burger was a lot more than what I had expected. And look at that meat! As the name suggest, they do serve burgers by "cuarto de kilo" (of patty!) and it's effin huge! They also have this thing whereby they will take a picture of you holding a "I could eat two" in Spanish and put it on the Wall of Fame if you finish two quarter kilo burgers. I asked my colleague if  they will give out the food for free if people completed the challenge, he said "most probably not". I don't understand what's the point anymore. *suppress disappointment*  

More tacos. I think these were from the taco stand nearby our office which the colleagues jokingly refers to "sand taco".. because a lot of cars passed by the road so I think we can assume the amount of dust that falls into our food while we're eating. :P Also, at this place, I tried chicharron tacos. Not the best, but it's still good.

One of the fanciest meal I have had during my whole trip. Figured I have to spoil myself at least once to the massive beef steak in front of me. They only sell by 300gram portion in this restaurant. Which is TOO MUCH for me. It's such a waste. But the steak in Guadalajara is definitely super tender and delicious. Steak is a must have. 

This place is definitely my favourite place because I just simply love everything about their cerviche. Be it shrimp or fish, it's oh-so-delicious. I miss this so much.

Restaurant Save (pronounced as sah-vey)
Non-alcoholic Pina Colada. Yes, I have to stress that. 

Cream cheese stuffed shrimp with mango sauce.
It's weird, one or two shrimps is okay but whole 6 of them.. No thank you. Too much cheese I am afraid.

Grilled almon, shrimp and octopus. This is a MUST-HAVE! It's super nice!

Grilled octopus with spicy sauce. This is really good too.

Guayaba pie
Guava is a very common fruit here. Except that their guava is not our kind of guava. They eat it while they are young, small, soft and mushy. Or maybe their guava is another species of guava. I don't know. But the taste are exactly the same, just that the textures and sizes are very different. And this is the first time ever I have seen a dessert made from this fruit. Unfortunately, I didn't really like it because it's just.. not for me.. and it's too sweet.

Pipiolo Carnes Asadas

Mexican cheese is love
Love the sides, although I wish it wouldn't be that spicy. The guacamole salsa is awesome! 

A very very popular spot for seafood tacos. As you can see the queue is very long and it does not matter what time of the day it is, there will always be a queue! Luckily we only had to wait for like 40 minutes until we were seated which is not that bad. I love their seafood tacos and it's super cheap given that it's a proper restaurant. Got hooked on their berrylicious frappe too. Thanks Helena for bringing me here! It was a good discovery. 

Apparently Karne Garibaldi is a fast food restaurant! Heck, who would have known. This place only serves one kind of main dish that is the garibaldi. Basically a dish with beef and beans. This place have a rating of 9.1 in foursquare. No comment needed. I tried to find the recipe but to no avail. It seems like only Karne Garibaldi cook and serves this kind of dish.
Although it does seem familiar to birria, another specialty dish in Jalisco. I forgot to take picture of that dish when we had it. Too bad but garibaldi and birria are definitely must-eats! 

Mexican "Karipap" (without the kari)

Bought breakfast on one fine day from this old lady just outside of Continental. I am not sure about the name of the food but it was quite nice. Basically it's just fried taco with filling inside. Taco are made from scratch!

This... this is the holy grail of Mexican snacks. Oh sweet gorditas, so lovely. Particularly, the ones that this lady is selling. We tried gorditas also from another stall but it doesn't have that cinnamon-y aroma that these have. They are so so so so good. Oh my gosh, I am not exaggerating weh. In the office, it's gorditas day every Friday and everyone will have it. BECAUSE IT'S SO GOOD AND IT'S TO CELEBRATE THE COMING OF WEEKEND. 

lol. Joey. Chill.

Anyway, the stall doesn't really have an official name I think? The stall is open early in the morning and will close around 9am as my colleague said because she only sells a limited number of pastries. I have pinned down the location also and the link is on the sub-title above this picture. I will definitely try to make these back at home!

And with this picture of the view from my hotel corridor, I will end my post here. 
Thanks for reading this long long post! 

pito ciko, que pedo cabron, ranfla, chinga tu malay, kiahonda, pao ling ah

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