Yesterday, I said Guadalajara, Mexico, isn't a particularly pretty city. That said, many cities around the world have their rundown sections and unattractive blocks. A friend here at the school says it's really beautiful when you get a little above the city and see it as a whole.
More important, Guadalajara is alive and busy. I love walking down the city streets and seeing how the locals shop and eat. There are tons of stores selling material, thread, yarn and more. Someone's making a lot of clothes. My maestra here at school says it's not inidividuals making their own clothes (too busy) but people making clothes to sell.
Vendors sell cups of pomegranete seeds, huetlecoche-a mushroom-like fungus that grows on corn, a green drink that is made with pineapple and alfalfa (or so a Mexican compatriot from the school told me) and a powder called pinole made from corn, sugar and cinnamon. It's dry as dust. Something we might put in milk and mix up. But they eat it straight from the cup with a little spoon. It's really good! I bought a little bag to take home and probably need to go buy more.
There's something called menudo that is defined as giblets in my dictionary but looks like huge swaths of boiled chicken skin - that color anyway. My Mexican buddy told me it was from a cow but I'm not sure we always communicated perfectly. And there seemed to be two pig legs, same boiled color, in the big metal pail it was all sitting in.
Upstairs were all sorts of stalls selling religious items. Snake skins (chopped up for some religious purpose or for health?), small statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, incense, candles, herbs and many other items for worship and health.
As for the "pan", the bread here, I go every day to the same little panadería next to the school and try a different kind of bread. Usually three kinds at a time. I seldom finish them. Yesterday I gave the remainder to a beggar on the street.
Speaking of which, last night, a stranger knocked at the door of Titi's house, where I'm living. Apparently, he was hungry. She gave him three burritas (small burritos) that we were eating for dinner. It seemed like the U.S. during the Depression.
It's apparent that there are a lot of hungry people and a lot of poor people. Not that we don't have our homeless in Washington, DC. But another time I saw Titi give the rest of her bottle of juice to a beggar who pointed at it while we were walking. If someone's desperate enough to take half-eaten food, I'm happy to give it.
But back to the bread store. The style is to pick up a large, dented metal tray with sugar and sticky bits from the bottoms of previous patrons' choices, and a pair of tongs, and put all your items on the tray. Hand it to the woman behind the counter. She adds it up and puts it all in a bag.
This seems to be typical of Central and South American countries. A bowl or a tray to use while choosing your goods. I think it's fine because the only things that have been on the trays have been pieces of bread or cake. It's not like someone sat there and ate from them and they then were placed back on a stack for someone else's use.
Photos: 1. Cactus leaves for sale. The makings of menudo - pig's legs and tripe.