Two weekends ago, I took my first trip to Guadalajara with Carlos and two of our friends, Chaires and Pau. The whole reason for the trip was to see “el clasico” between Chivas (from Guadalajara) and America (from Mexico City). This game is one of the biggest rivalries in Mexican league soccer. We were all pulling for Chivas (back in middle school, when I first started caring about all things Mexico, I noticed that so many Mexicans in Texas wore Chivas soccer jerseys. I have always liked them, then, because they are the first Mexican soccer team I ever knew about!). It was one of those trips where you’re basically exhausted the whole time, but it doesn’t matter because you’re having so much fun. Highlights include:

-Eating tacos (thanks Pau and Chaires!) en route

-Driving through more of Mexico’s interior-Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Jalisco-the scenery was so beautiful

-Walking through a really lively, pedestrian-only area in Guadalajara on Saturday night with lots of restaurants, bars, and street vendors selling lots of artsy things

-Having dinner and drinks at a Spanish restaurant, 100 Montaditas, in the aforementioned district. We sat outside on their beautiful patio, talking for hours. Chaires invited some people he knew,  and Carlos’ friend Pedro from Saltillo (who now lives in Guadalajara) joined us. AND Anny, who was my first roommate in Ireland, came too! She and her boyfriend live in Guadalajara, and it was so wonderful and unexpected to see them after 2 years.

-Eating Sunday morning brunch at a delicious, traditional restaurant downtown. We ordered chilaquiles (always amazing) and I also tried birria for the first time-it’s a shredded meat kind of like barbacoa, but better.

-Sightseeing around downtown for a few hours. I kept telling Carlos, “I want to move here!” because everything was so beautiful. We even splurged and took a horse and carriage ride for 30 minutes. Split between 4 people, it was pretty cheap, and it gave us the chance to see more of the city.

-Experiencing the festival outside of the stadium on game-day. Their were lots of reporters, music, food-I finally tried a “torta ahogada,” which is a torta submerged in salsa, and a Guadalajara specialty. And everywhere you looked, you either saw white and red, or blue and yellow.

-Watching the game. Though the Chivas lost 4-0, I was honestly just excited that someone was scoring goals, and that it wasn’t a 0-0 tie. The whole environment was so much fun, and a definite cultural experience.

-Exiting the game and seeing different stages set up, with live bands and DJs and people dancing. After observing for a minute, we joined in and danced and danced and danced to all kinds of music. I’ve had several of these moments in Mexico, and I had another one here-feeling so happy to be alive, to be dancing salsa outside of a soccer stadium in Mexico wearing a Chivas jersey.

-Having a carne asada at Pedro’s apartment after the game. We stayed there for several hours, laughing and talking and eating.

-Stopping in Zacatecas for lunch on the way home. That city is colonial, hilly, and so, so beautiful. I’m excited to spend more time there exploring in the future.

Here are some photos (thanks to Carlos) from the trip:

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